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Author Archives: Frank A. Pelaschuk

POLITICIANS FEEDING THE MOB: THUGGERY, STUPIDITY & CONSERVATIVES

In time we hate that which we often fear. — William Shakespeare

It’s not the load that breaks; it’s the way you carry it. — Lena Horne

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Some would say this was an American import. There may be some truth to that; as a people we are not predisposed nor very imaginative when it comes to political disruption, law breaking, and mob behaviour so we turn south for lessons importing the vile, racist conspiracy theories of those with agendas of their own that we either miss or don’t care to understand though, it is also true, some need no lessons being naturally predisposed to mean-spirited victimhood with violent acts of stupidity and vulgarity that lends neither liking nor understanding for whatever cause they hope to promote.

They make almost daily appearances in the news, individually, as when knocking to the ground an elderly woman caught unaware, apparently Asian, while she waits for a bus and in mobs spitting furiously attacking politicians, journalists and those of particular hues, cultures, dress, religious beliefs, and relationships. Mostly, they prefer the mob perhaps too cowardly, feeding off the energy and rage of others finding courage in numbers and from the signs of visible fear and consternation of those they target aware that even in the presence of police, they are likely safe provided they don’t go too far and, if they do, their chances of escaping punishment is all but certain because the crowd is too large and the temperature too high for the authorities to risk further inflaming the mob.

But why all that anger, that talk of loss of freedom, that fear of government and authority? Do they really believe their own stories or even understand it? Are the words, the ideas, the thoughts based on any reality or are they merely manifestations of some inner need, a desire in this age of gadgetry when it’s possible for almost anyone to have their moment in the sun, to be recognized, to be assured that, yes, they too matter? Whatever it is, there is rage and its reality cannot be denied but is that fury justified and, if justified, are the objects of that fury the right targets? It is possible the majority of them do not understand that need, are too inarticulate and impatient to find answers else why do they look to others for help turning to the web, seeking others feeling as they do? They do find them on the web in the many thousands like themselves: lost, lonely, bewildered feeling somehow the world has outpaced them and angry that it is so. There, on the web, they have confirmed what they have suspected, they are not alone and soon, in their searching, they begin to hear other voices, ignoring the signs they may not be all they seem with agendas of their own, offering answers and quick fixes mixed with the comfort of promises and assurances that all will be well if drink what is offered. And what is offered? Just more confirmation of victimhood, voices of reason, common sense: the truth. And the truth is, they are not losers, only perceived so by others. If they have failed, it is others who are responsible, shading them from the sun, denying them opportunities to be seen and heard. They haven’t failed but have had their trust and naïveté abused. By whom? Well, the Socialist media with its lies and fake news and its dependance on Big Government supplying them the news regarding governance it deems fit for public consumption including ignoring real criminals and illegal guns while targeting law-abiding gun owners, pushing the feminist agenda of abortion, pandering to Indigenous people with truckloads of public money and apology after apology for crimes of long ago and in which they have no role, pandering to the Black Lives Matter Movement calling for defunding of policing, and creating special rights for every homosexual, transgender, he, she, they and it group possible while, behind it all pulling the strings, is Big Business bleeding dry the true victims.

It’s nonsense but, for those not wishing to look too closely, with enough elements of truth however minute, to fan the flames of intolerance. Maybe they have always been like this but I suspect not. For whatever reason, they feel swamped, overwhelmed and afraid of a life they no longer understand undergoing imperceptible changes no one notices but which transforms them forever into strangers desperate and fearful. When fear turns to anger, danger becomes real. Before we, or even they, realize it, they are “freedom fighters” warring against a common foe the rest of us are too blind, too stupid or simply too indifferent to recognize. We are docile sheep. In reality, it is these folks who have surrendered finding liberation in anger and relief in shedding all responsibility for all the things that went wrong in their lives. Have they ever asked themselves: Does this make sense? Is everyone really the enemy? Why have they targeted me?

Why should they? They don’t care to know. Not really. They just know they are getting s-c-r-e-w-e-d and will not take it anymore.

The stroke of political approval is often enough to encourage the haters, blamers and wallowers of victimhood to do the grunt work and be the public faces of the dirty work waving vulgar placards stating opinions on the Prime Minister and his governance or demanding his resignation or even that he be arrested for treason without explaining in what way when it is they refusing to recognize his government as legitimate. The pawn, stroked and emboldened will risk lives, their own and others, liberty and families, disrupting political events and stalking politicos and their staff condemning as mindless treacherous sheep anyone who supports government mandates, follow advice of medical experts, who obey Canadian laws and the rights of others to be safe while also accepting the legitimacy of their government while, themselves, the angry mob, flocking to websites in search of daily diets of half-baked ideas, outright lies, and conspiracy theories counting the ways in which they have been victimized by a cabal of Big Government, Big Business, Big Science (particularly Climate Change Alarmists), Socialists, abortionists, homosexuals and aliens walking among us helping Bill Gates and drug companies monitor us through bots-loaded Covid-19 vaccines (and why isn’t our government talking about that?).

And while it is true, the targets of hate and violent vitriol can be anyone — even minor disagreement among friends or refusal to be cowed can make one a target — women, particularly those of colour, in business and in the public eye, seem to merit special treatment trolled constantly online and in person by cowardly misogynistic imbeciles; they are threatened with rape, other forms of violence including threats of death at the workplace and at home, they and their families under siege by the ugliest of so-called proponents of “freedom”. Even so, no one of any gender, age, status or condition, fit or disabled, is spared.

Recently, in Alberta, Chrystia Freeland, Liberal MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister and other female members of her group were accosted while attempting to enter an elevator by a loud-mouthed thug and his female accomplice. Armed with Ms. Freeland’s itinerary, they knew where to find her and, once spotting her, began to harass her questioning her right to be in Alberta hurling vile, misogynistic epithets to which bullies often resort. The two stalkers, particularly the man, identified as Elliot McDavid, are large, overweight, and intimidating. Judging from the video highlighting their messages of ugliness and stupidity, both seemed particularly proud of their antics boasting like excited children about the success of their idiotic stunt working better than hoped, clearly demonstrating for the world two prime examples of Mother Nature’s most egregious blunders. They look little different from the troglodyte freedom fighters who occupied Ottawa for several weeks or from those that stormed the US Capital the year before leaving a few outnumbered security members dead.

These people do not act alone. Often in the background they are manipulated by others with their own vile goals. But not all lurk in shadows or on the web. These are politicos so steeped in the stench of ambition and cheapness that there is nothing they will not embrace, nothing that is so low or vile that they will not want you to swallow. Besides, most have made the job easy for them, having swallowed the poison on their own, or so they may think. Still, not folks to take chances or waste time with honesty and a life-time of integrity, these lowlives will stroke the tender sensibilities of those the woo engaging in the dog whistle political codes their supporters understand and appreciate because it is only then that they, the hoi polloi, are convinced the likes of America’s vile Donald Trump, or Canada’s Danielle Smith, Maxime Bernier, Randy Hillier, Leslyn Lewis, and Pierre Poilievre really do know them, get them, feel their pain. If these politicos understand the codes, the rabble know their intelligence has been noted as well as their wants: Make America (Canada) Great Again (let’s keep out the rapists and killers and job stealers crossing from Mexico or America and stop those homosexuals controlling our entertainment and media); restrictions on weapons (an excuse to target legal gun owners while leaving real criminals free to do their thing); the Harper era plan to introduce the Barbaric Cultural Practices snitch line (targeting you know who); illegal immigrants (job stealers); Muslims (who want to impose Shariah Law) and: Critical Race Theory (employed to offer reasons to not teach racial history, diversity, equity etc.). And then we have Leslyn Lewis, vying for the Conservative leadership who, in opposing Covid-19 mandates and vaccines, offers her vile contribution to dog whistle politics by raising the Nuremberg Code (an ethical set of principles passed following the war regarding scientific experimentation on humans). In evoking this, there is no mistaking what she intends by linking Covid-19 vaccines to Nazi experimentation of Jewish holocaust victims.

Coming from a female lawyer/politician of colour strikes me as particularly vile. She not only insults real victims of Nazi scientific experimentation, Jewish holocaust victims, she also cheapens political discourse in demonstrating a reckless disregard for any semblance of truth by conflating the two. In doing this, she has made herself irrelevant, demonstrating her unfitness to be MP let alone leader of a major political party.

Pierre Poilievre, another leadership contender, is, himself, no slouch at political grandstanding and cheap shots. During the Harper era of misrule and error, he made a name for himself when he and his buddy Dean del Mastro (the less said of him, the better), sought to bring disrepute to the House with their moronic actions including personal attacks against the Speaker of the House. Poilievre made a name for himself as Minister of Democratic Reform by seeking to discredit the chief electoral officer of Canada who opposed his Fair Elections Act which would open and close parts of the Elections Act restricting the rights of students away from home and citizens who are homeless from voting. Guess which political party would benefit? If you believe any other party than the Conservative party, you should not be reading this.

Most recently, in proudly being photographed shaking hands with members of the so-called “Freedom” Convoy, he and Lewis and other PC members have demonstrated support to seditionists wanting to overthrow an elected government, going so far as to support their whines of having lost “freedoms” with the Liberal imposition of Covid-19 mandates. A minor inconvenience becomes a loss of freedom? And yet they seem unconcerned about the rights and freedoms of others to be safe from harm by idiots masquerading as freedom fighters when, in truth, with their complete disregard for the well-being of others by refusing to mask, social distance and avoid crowds, could as easily have been members of the death squad infecting innocent citizens.

Poilievre? He’s been a dog whistler long before the term took hold.

And when asked to comment on the Freeland, something he and Lewis and other Conservatives have encouraged with their rhetoric, he made the thing about himself and his wife, saying she, too, has been harassed. That should never happen. Even so, there is much about him I find distasteful and, to my mind — cheap— though when speaking of politicians, that seems an oxymoron but here I am referring to character rather than his benefitting from the public purse.

Dog whistle politics can only lead to more of what happened to NDP leader Jagmeet Singh when confronted on the street and told to “look Canadian” by removing his turban, or protestors throwing pebbles at Trudeau and the thugs who took on Chrystia Freeland. It shouldn’t happen. No one should be subjected to the treatment endured by Freeland, Singh or Trudeau. Yet every day, in Canada, ordinary citizens are accosted daily online and in person, verbally and physically. It should not happen. That it does can be set at the feet of the likes of Leslyn Lewis, Pierre Poilievre, and far too many Conservatives to count. Anger is one thing, but, as John Steinbeck hinted at, when anger turns to fury and fury to action, things become dangerous. To my regret, I too, have not been as judicious as I might have been in writing to MPs. There is no excuse. I have been rude, and even used some euphemisms whose meanings are unmistakable. But I don’t harass, threaten or resort to outright vulgarity. That’s not necessarily a virtue when one is still rude. And I have been.

Now, some of the criticism made against Trudeau and his governance are correct. He is a sanctimonious hypocrite. He has been found to have abused conflict of interest guidelines at least three times and is the first to announce, often at the top of his lungs, moves to make changes that most are happy to support and yet, as with electoral reform, will undermine when be believes the gains will no longer be to his benefit offering excuses and lies for justification. And, as with electoral reform, this boastful feminist (he was more so the first few years as PM) he ensured that Maryam Monsef carried the chain for its failure and that her replacement, Karina Gould, strike the fatal blow to reform. He has accepted free gifts from benefactors, attended many secret fundraising events with Chinese billionaires in attendance who donate to a foundation in his father’s name. He has attempted to subvert the rule of law in the SNC-Lavalin matter, been less than forthcoming regarding sexual harassment allegations when he was 27 and his black face fiasco when even younger. His overweening and oozing sincerity is particularly cloying and even more offensive when one looks at all his broken promises.

I like neither Poilievre nor Trudeau. While both go about it differently, they have done far too much to cheapen and damage politics. But, as far as I know, Trudeau did not go out of his way to shake hands with white supremacist cowardly occupiers of the nation’s capital who do not believe in a democracy that I recognize.

Well, that’s it. I’ve ranted long enough and feel no better for it. I’m hoping this is my final post but make no promises. So, to the one or two who have read this mess over the years, thanks for your patience and endurance.

So long.


But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

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LIBERAL COMPLACENCY, CONSERVATIVE BOTTOMFEEDERS OR NDP DECENCY: TAKE YOUR PICK, I KNOW IT’S WRONG

Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy. — George Carlin 

Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defence. — Steve Landesberg

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Whenever Pierre Poilievre, Candice Bergen, Cheryl Gallant, Leslyn Lewis, Andrew Scheer, Jason Kenney, Scott Moe, Doug Ford, or any gathering of Conservatives numbering more than one, appear in the same room, observers can be assured tedium, often the product of the shrill whine of white noise issuing from relentlessly flapping lips, is the main course.

The recent Conservative “unofficial” leadership debate of May 7, from which Patrick Brown wisely kept clear, perhaps an indicator of acute foresight and leadership credentials, gave a pretty clear picture of what I mean particularly of three of the contenders who are exemplars of windage, though it must be stated in all fairness that the perceived leader for the top position, outdid all the contenders in both windage and gas. That was Pierre Poilievre. The other two considered as possible contenders, Jean Charest and Leslyn Lewis didn’t stand a chance though Lewis gave a pretty good accounting of herself in the areas of pandering and fulminating noise slugging it out with Poilievre to see who could out-pander the other in trying to win the hearts, minds and votes of the same thugs, bullies, whiners and wallowers in victimhood who occupied Ottawa under the banner of freedom while denying such to the locals. 

Leslyn Lewis took Pierre Poilievre to task for not showing enough support for the so-called “Freedom Convoy” which, of course, Poilievre would have none of saying his was “the loudest voice” of support. When has his ever not been the loudest, most obstreperous voice? Jean Charest struggled for attention, finally achieving it when booed by an ignorant and noisy audience for saying Poilievre supported an illegal protest which was true but also understated because many of those thugs were seditionists calling for the overthrow of an elected government which, apparently appears to be the side Poilievre and Lewis have opted for, each trying to outdo the other in supporting folks who not only whine about non-existent losses of freedom, but also consider democracy fair game adding salt on the wounds of real victims of lost freedoms, some with losses that were absolute, as in Ukraine, victims of the Russian midget butcher, Putin. 

“Freedom Convoy”? Bullies, thugs, ignorant, gathered to convey some vague message of discontent and anger while others, in the background, pull their strings. Ask them exactly what it is that angers and what it is they have lost, they’ll give you the finger accompanied by a few expletives and spittle. 

Look at Poilievre, loud, arrogant and, unbelievably, proud that cheapness and ugliness is all that he has to offer, such is the dearth of ideas and shamelessness of his pursuit of winning conspiracists wallowing in their miserable fetishism of victims of a tyrannical government and a world arrayed against them.

Leslyn Lewis puzzles me somewhat. She’s pro-life. That’s fine. But, in competing with Poilievre for the race to the bottom of the sewer, she too seeks the hearts, minds and votes of folks who, not that long ago, if not still, would not have allowed her to use the same lavatory let alone dine in the same restaurant. What disturbs me is the both Lewis and Poilievre seem incapable of a vision that emboldens and ennobles. They apparently are content to seek the support of bottom feeders.

The official debate of May 11, while a quieter affair because of the format which led Poilievre to unwittingly silence himself somewhat because of his eagerness to speak on every issue. As a consequence, to six questions, contenders were allowed to challenge others up to five times by raising a paddle. Lewis and Poilievre quickly used up their challenges and were thus relatively silent while the others were allowed to offer their thoughts. While the fireworks may not have been there, I did get to learn more about the others. Again, for me, Poilievre came across as particularly odious, when, to a question regarding the so-called “Freedom Convoy”, he seized the opportunity to attack the moderator and media because they concentrated on “truckers who lost their jobs because of an unfair vaccine mandate imposed on them by the Prime Minister, who was targeting them without any scientific basis, than you were about holding accountable people who’ve actually done violence”. The tirade is untrue. The fiction of one who misrepresents, distorts and bends truth into something unrecognizable particularly to Ottawa residents, I am certain, who endured weeks of honking horns and torturous sleepless nights. 

Poilievre was and is by far the worst of the lot. We learned Roman Babar would open the north to mining. This is a highly sensitive region and is already threatened by climate change. Interestingly, while the debate was taking place, the feed at the bottom of the screen was of Nunavut hunters wanting to put a stop to a mine’s ice breakers because of the threat to Narwhales. Charest insisted he would cut taxes. Well, that’s not new. Every Conservative promises that and look what it gets us, infrastructures neglected and Healthcare and Education used as political footballs. Too, he expressed a desire to have more involvement of the private sector in public healthcare wherein taxpayers who will save money on taxes so that they can spend the saving plus even more on healthcare because, remember folks, private health thrives on PROFIT. Well, let’s face it, many politicos, when they leave office, often find work in the private sector, so why not help Big Business further feather the nest with government contracts before they leave or are forced out? That’s the sum of Charest’s vision. That’s some vision. Why not just put the money directly into Healthcare, hire more healthcare workers and cut out the middle men? Not for these folks. Oh, it’s fine to declare you wish to serve Canada, but really, come on, we all look after number one, right? 

Question Period in the House should be required viewing. None of the sides come out well but Conservatives have a penchant for demonstrating how truly ugly they are always on the lookout for the “gottcha” moment, asking questions with answers they already know allowing for no response, whether honest or not, that they will accept. It’s ritual, a game in which none of the players seriously play, an indecent, noisy gong show of insincerity and one-upmanship played on a seemingly endless loop. Loud, shrill and totally without decorum, the Conservatives seem particularly adept in creating the hysterical tone, in acting the wounded, outraged and wronged opposition members fighting mightily to do the job, not for which they were elected, but for seeking power and keeping it by fanning the flames of discontent and fear and untruths feeding the rabble what it wants to hear: they are victims of a inept, corrupt, unheeding governing party. Everyone’s agin ‘em. 

Sick, childish, disgusting. Only a masochist can watch and be inspired.  

Yet, here we are, expected to believe that they are fit to lead a country. Is this truly the best the Conservatives have to offer? Or the Liberals? Is this what we really seek? If so, then we are truly lost, deservedly so because we want it to happen finding it easier to embrace only that which conforms to what we want to believe. 

Conservatives, simply put, with Poilievre and his ilk, have sold themselves for the vilest of reasons and none of them have anything to do with serving Canada and Canadians. It began with Harper and Peter MacKay and the betrayal of the progressives in the party, such as they were, when they turned their backs on a handshake with David Orchard. It’s been downhill since. Look at the list and ask yourselves: Are these people good for Canada? Are the all we have? Do they really have vision, ideas, solutions? Jason Kenney, Stephen Harper, Scott Moe, Doug Ford, Derrick Sloan (booted from caucus), Michael Cooper, Melissa Lantsman, Candice Bergen, and every Conservative MP and MPP holding office today. They are preoccupied by the concept of Power: winning power by any means at any price for as long as possible. If that means stoking the fires of fear, conspiracy, intolerance, and superstition intermixed with a thick larding of revisionist history, so be it.

The Liberals are likely a bit more palatable. If just by a hair. They are probably nicer in handing out their poison but just as deadly. They suffer from a complacency and arrogance that is intolerable with a leader who is not only shallow but also dishonest, deceitful and weak with a propensity for a smug, loudly declarative style when making grandiose promises which he then undermines (as with electoral reform) or quietly walks away from or, when confronted, will lay at the feet of others. For a long while during his first term as Prime Minister, he was also fond of boasting of his feminism until exposure, time, and events laid bare the hollowness of that claim. Saying is not being. Revelations showed him to be less than he seemed and is. Wisely, these days you don’t hear him brag all that much about his feminism.

While it is true I have no fondness for the Liberals, it is the Conservative Party, in its present state, with its paucity of ideas and slate of representatives I find repellent for their meanness, anger, bigotry and parochialism. Just days ago, there was news of Ontario Conservative MPPs, eight thus far, receiving “expenses” from their own riding associations. Earning $165K+ salaries from the public purse, these honourable members were also willing to dip into donor contributions for these generous and quietly offered bonuses. Hopefully “honourable” members and the leadership of the riding associations made it appoint to inform all donors as to how their contributions were being used. I suspect not. It’s not illegal but can this really be ethical? According to Global News, here are the amounts donors directly, if unwittingly, gave to four MPPs on top of their salaries: Lisa Macleod, $56K+; Vincent Ke, $54K+; Kaleed Rasheed $23K and,; Greg Rickford, $14K+. And some people have the nerve to call them “cheap politicians”. With Conservatives, there is no such thing. Doug Ford refused to take questions regarding the matter and went into hiding for a day, perhaps enjoying his “buck-a-beer”. It’s likely donors to eight ridings might reconsider next time they get a begging call to “give”.

Still, while this practice may upset some Conservatives, particularly in the ridings of these members, I suspect this will not be enough to cause supporters to vote for an alternative party other than Liberals. It is almost a certainty that come next election, regardless of who leads the parties, the government of Canada will be Conservative or Liberal.

People often claim they want change but they don’t really mean it. If they did, they would look at the Green or, more realistically, at the NDP with its progressive agendas on health, housing, education and care for the aging and homeless populations while focusing on jobs and wages of those men and women, the real contributors to society, who actually keep the country humming. 

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is not a perfect man. I never heard him claim to be. But I also know I have never heard him appeal to the worst in us nor heard of him exploiting any situation to enhance his own interests at the expense of others. Look at what we have now with the Liberals and Conservatives. I believe Jagmeet Singh honest, intelligent and more than capable. He is young enough to see and embrace opportunities that will work for Canada and its citizens and yet mature enough to learn from mistakes and own up to them. But even he has made mistakes. I am thinking of his treatment of Erin Weir. I did not like it. But, as I said, he is not a perfect man.

I believe in the hopes and dreams of the NDP. I support them when I can and am able. I believe in the Party’s integrity and ambitious goals and I continue to hope. But, I have seen enough to know that it is doubtful I will live to see the NDP allowed through the revolving Federal electoral door that allows only Conservatives and Liberals to govern, regardless of how coldly, mean-spiritedly or ineptly because the guardians at the door cannot, will not, embrace change. No one owes me that. I would love to see the NDP govern federally but accept I likely will not. But you do owe it to yourself to be smarter, to examine all the platforms of all parties and be open and willing to listen to all sides and to embrace change you believe in even if there may be a risk. Since when should fighting for a decent, just and noble vision be easy. Easy makes me wary. Taking the path of least resistance as we have federally since we became a nation has not allowed us to be the best we can. In fact, we have the flavour of Pablum, have become smug, and are viewed with amused tolerance as “nice people”. But, clearly not all are nice. While visiting the campaign office of Jen Deck in Peterborough, ON, NDP leader was greeted outside by group of thugs, loud, foul-mouthed and cowardly, hurling racist epithets and death threats. These are the types to which Poilievre and his type seek to woo. Bottom-feeding lowlifes. This has happened to Singh before. Again he proved himself calm, poised, adroit and clearly capable of keeping his nerve. That’s not just nerve under threat, but signs of a leader able to react coolly while under fire.

I have heard too often folks saying they want change yet, given the opportunity, do nothing to make the change possible. I have even heard them say, “My heart’s with the NDP but they can’t win” and then go on to ensure they don’t.

That sort of voting is astounding in its simplicity and stupidity. How is it possible for some to be so obtuse and willfully self-harming? Instead of trying something that’s been on standby, and ready, for decades, they are too timid to take the test; so, with a chagrined shrug, perhaps even saying, “What can I do?”, they opt for the easy choice, the “safer” choice, preferring what they have experienced time-and-again, the mean-spiritedness and opportunism exemplified by the Conservatives of today and the complacency and arrogance of a regime too corrupt and tired to really care about offering, let alone making, a real difference. 

Now, when I hear someone say to me, “I want to vote NDP but they can’t win,” I just mouth, “FU” and walk away.

Malcolm X said: If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything. He was right.

Canada will lose again and again every time we opt for the same ol’ same ol’. We will convince ourselves we made the right choice but we never will because we could not bring ourselves to take that small step towards change. Voters need to shrug off that apathy, rid themselves of their doubts and fears and sense of victimhood and accept some responsibility for their own choices. Until we do, Canada will be the worst for it.

 And that’s on you.

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

TRUCK CONVOY: HIJACKED BY THUGS, EXTREMISTS, IDIOTS, AND CHEAP POLITICOS

Most people mostly use freedom of speech as freedom to bitch. – Mokokoma Mokhonoan

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Whatever the message intended by the so-called “Freedom Convoy” (80 – 90% vaccinated) on Jan. 29, it was lost not only because it happened to fall on the same day as the 5th anniversary of the the mosque attack in Quebec that claimed six lives and injured 19 others, but also because those with agendas, right wing extremists in the white supremacist, anti-government, anti-science movement and Maxime Bernier’s lunatic People’s Party, co-opted the protest in so many despicable and demeaning ways. Because of the few crazies, folks wanting to honour the memory of that tragic event were denied access to the site and opportunity to share their grief. Instead of Canadians witnessing a memorial in which people suffered the ultimate loss of freedom, we were treated to an astounding and disgraceful spectacle of folks loudly and proudly cavorting before cameras ecstatic that the world was able to witness them in all their glorious derangement. 

I agree that truck drivers and all Canadians have the right to protest, the right to be stupid and proud of it. But I don’t support their stated reasons for holding the massive and disruptive protest. Those there, moan of loss of freedom, loss of the right to make their own decisions; everywhere they look they see the big hand of government tearing away at their freedoms. They reject government mandates “telling” them what to do.

They haven’t a clue.

They are selective in what laws they are agreeable. I suspect every truck driver there has a valid license. That’s the law. I would guess they came from wherever in sobriety. That, too, is the law. No drinking and driving. There are countless examples of curbs to what we can do and they are, in fact, limits to our freedom. But we accept them. Yet, during this pandemic which has accounted for millions of deaths worldwide, those truckers and their ilk dispute the right of government to mandate, and businesses to enforce, requirements that employees be vaccinated, the wearing of masks, of social distancing, of not participating in large gatherings and reckless behaviour. In other words, they demand the rights to do whatever irresponsible and dangerous act they wish while denying the same of other members of society who wish only to be safe from the reckless actions of morons who believe themselves special and apart. They are, but not in ways they wish to imagine. 

Those anti-mandators do not like that governments and employers demand that they get the shots, mask, distance and isolate at the risk of losing their jobs. They have the right to refuse and many have done so, placing themselves and their families and their neighbours in danger. If they wish to endanger themselves, that is their right. But, if in doing so, they place others at risk, they are breaking the unwritten social contract necessary for the survival of all. In doing so, they have accepted the attendant risk of refusal: possible job loss, illness, even death. That is their choice just as we in society and employers have a choice and right to be protected from them. They have been warned. And they should pay with their livelihood if necessary. Just as they should if, in refusing to take measures to protect themselves, they end up in the hospital. Health care is publicly funded and, with this pandemic coupled with irresponsible political moves by governments, already at serious risk. Frontline workers are in short supply and those who are left behind are at extreme risk of burnout and falling ill themselves. So, if making stupid decisions lands you in the hospital with Covid because you didn’t like the guidelines and protective measures offered by medical experts and imposed by our government, then you pick up the cost for your own treatment since you have added unnecessarily to the cost and burden to the public purse and workers. Personally, if you end up ill because of your wish to be “free” to make your own decisions, I hope you never make it to the front of the line. You made that choice. But you will because those people you abuse and harass and threaten and, in one instance I am aware of, drove to suicide, will do everything in their power to help you recover because that is what they do. If you do get well, they will line the hallways and applaud their efforts and yours as you leave to resume your life. They care more for you and society than you do. They are the heroes in spite of your imbecility. That life you were willing to squander and that they gave back to you, is much, much more than you deserve. 

In the images on the news (yes, main stream news), there were a few s that stuck out. An anti-vaxxer, maybe 50, parading shirtless in 20 plus below zero; a female, 30 – 40, screaming how she could not wait for Donald Trump (whom she “loved, just loved”) to get re-elected. This, a Canadian protest held in the Canadian capital, with an overweight male without enough sense to come in from the cold and a real, live (breathing, in any case), if simple-minded barbie bimbo apparently confused about which country she was charming with her vacuity.

One of the comments often heard is the concern of injection of “foreign” substances into their bodies. That struck me as strange since we do it every day if not with over-the-counter drugs, with canned foods and frozen pizzas made from who-knows-what from who-knows-where. What do most of us know about what goes on in these factories? We go on trust, believe the food suppliers are legitimate, the products of good quality, the workers hygienic. What if some bored or angry worker spits in the mixture about to be canned, or handles the ingredients immediately after picking his nose or blowing a spray of snot into that ice cream you’re nibbling into. Would we know? Still we eat from the cans, swallow the pizzas, lick our lips to get the last bit of that creamy ice cream. Yet we don’t trust doctors and scientists to work in our behalf, which is also theirs, for they, too, have families and loved ones. No, we will not listen to science but will swallow without question Donald Trump’s recommendation to ingest ivermectin, a deworming drug for farm animals and Hydroxychloroquine which recommendation led to the deaths of a foolish elderly couple with misplaced trust. In the past, there were people who resisted treatment just as they do today. Nevertheless, thanks to science and government efforts, many diseases have been eradicated. Smallpox and polio vaccines have virtually eliminated them as threats and recent vaccines appear to hold promise of putting an end to malaria. Unfortunately, there will never be a vaccine able to erase the line of willing conscripts to misinformation, conspiracy theories and ignorance.  

“Loss of freedoms”? Those anti-mandate, anti-vaxxer folks mostly have no more awareness of what real loss means any more than I do. While all of us likely have experienced the pain of losing someone, most of us have not lost the freedom to roam, to vote, to get educated, to meet and marry the one we love. But there are parts of the world where women cannot work, cannot drive, cannot walk unveiled, cannot get educated, or even vote or speak out except by the say-so of men. In some places, if a woman is raped, she is the one to be faulted. In some parts of the world, homosexuals are imprisoned, even executed. Being a Christian in some parts of the world, as being a Muslim in Canada and the US, can get one killed. Those fortunate few who manage to escape those areas do not always wholly escape the racism, bigotry and violence that drove them here. One needs only look at the news to see how they suffer for wearing a hijab, look and dress differently, speak another language. If they are successful, they are accused of stealing our jobs or being favoured by governments or accused of bribery and corruption. But those six muslims and 19 wounded in Quebec five years ago, the family of four mowed down in London, Ontario last year, their families and friends and community, know all too well that Canada is not immune to the hatred and bigotry and violence played out in all parts of the globe for they and far, far too many pay a terrifying price including the absolute loss of freedom, their lives taken by Yahoos no doubt considered saints by white supremacist whining about wearing masks, social distancing and taking the vaccine shots. That is about their extent of knowledge regarding the loss of “freedom”.

Then you had those others, same type, picayune, parochial, stupid, draping hateful messages on the Terry Fox statue, mostly racist and vulgar, anti-Trudeau messages, the Canadian flag hung upside down having nothing to do with the putative purpose of the protest while others dance upon the grave of the Unknown Soldier. These folks possess not an iota of shame, of decency, or of understanding of the history and sacrifice that gave them the good life they presently enjoy and refuse to recognize. They prefer to whine and bully and threaten while uttering the words “freedom” and “rights”. They are not talking about rights or freedom for all. Otherwise they would not behave as they do. It is their rights and their freedoms only and always, on their terms.

To add insult, almost all of them informed and manipulated by extremists with agendas of their own, are seen in increasing numbers wearing a potent symbol of the past, the yellow star in which they seek to equate their imagined suffering and loss of freedom to the pain, torture and deaths of millions of holocaust victims forced to wear this symbol that identified and doomed them. This vile insult by the protesting, posturing jerks is defilement of the grossest kind. 

Yet, when one thinks it can’t get worse, it does. The anti-mandate thugs, and there are too many, went about harassing pedestrians and beating staff of businesses seeking to enforce the mask mandate. In one instance, they attacked and beat a security employee of a shelter while hurling racist taunts at him as they stole food meant the homeless who, unlike those thugs, really do not have anything. You see everywhere pro-Nazi sympathy, the Confederate flag and hear the endless blare of truck horns and partiers depriving citizens of sleep unconcerned about the health and well-being of the elderly and ill. Citizens were taunted and called “traitors” for wearing a mask, which is their right to do. Evidently these ugly lunkheads don’t seem to understand the irony.

And then you have the low-life sewer rat politicos, Andrew Scheer, Erin O’Toole, Max Bernier, Pierre Poilievre, Candace Bergern and the rest of the sleazy conservative and libertarian haters apprently sanctioning racism, violence and stupidity calling these folk “good”, “honest” citizens. Sure they are. Even the imbecilic Donald Trump and his equally brainless son inserted themselves into the foray. Nothing is too low for such as these. Lawrence J. Peter once quipped, “There’s not such thing as a cheap politician.” He almost had it right. Far too many are cheap in character.

Stealing food from the homeless! Dancing on the grave of the Unknown soldier! Going after the statue of Terry Fox! Displaying the Nazi flag!

Am I angry? You bet. I despise these people. The protestors live in their own world of victimhood, indulging in fantasies and imagined wrongs done them and the opportunistic politicos spur them on, adding fuel to those fears and wrongs. To them, nothing matters but their own selfish desires. They deny others what they demand for themselves. But when they demand the overthrow of a government, they should face charges and for the costs to taxpayers, they should foot the bill with severe fines or, better yet, the seizure of their trucks until the fines are fully paid and the city of Ottawa compensated. Not all the truckers were looking for trouble but those blocking highways, streets, forcing businesses to send staff home were no doubt encouraged by agents provocateurs. They are beyond selfish. They are frightened, loudmouth losers who deep within their core fear that they are less than adequate, that their lives are as empty and meaningless and worthless as they suspect. 

Watching them in action, I can offer them assurances: They are absolutely right in this only. Their lives are empty, meaningless and worthless.

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

SAINT JUSTIN TRUDEAU: THE END OF PRETENCE

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. – Winston Churchill

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Abandoning Allies & Abusing Democracy

Justin Trudeau doesn’t even talk a good game. For the Afghani interpreters and their families numbering in the thousands, there is doubtless a profound sense of betrayal by the US, Canada and allies who have set August 31, 2021 the final day of hope for those seeking help in escaping the Taliban who have marked them for torture and death. 

For Trudeau, who has called an unnecessary, unpopular election in the midst of a pandemic that is on the upswing with the Delta variant, just two years into his second term, the fate of the Afghani men and women, women in particular, who have worked, suffered and risked all alongside Canadian and American troops, is of less importance than that Trudeau gain his Liberal majority. 

He may have miscalculated in that. 

By offering little more than a token gesture, begun eight years too late, he likely weighed the costs and determined the risks of working to rescue those people who helped Canadian troops when they were needed. He likely has determined he risks and gains little by doing nothing; he will allow Americans to bear the burden and do the work.

When Canada, under Harper, pulled out of Afghanistan seven years ago, the Taliban was still seen as a resurgent threat and even then, there were calls to assist those who had worked with western nations hoping to stabilize the country because they were clearly at risk as were their families. The calls fell on deaf ears and Harper and crew, waged the 2015 election exploiting the suspicion, fears and bigotries of Canadians against Muslims from Syria which would eventually extend to almost all Arab speaking states. For Canadians, the Harper-fed bigotry has run deep and still flourishes unable to differentiate friend from foe or, more likely, indifferent to such nuances: all Arabs look alike and must be Muslim and will threaten our good Christian way of life. Trudeau understands this. If he is one consumed with his public image (the saintly, heart-on-sleeves, politically correct, embracer of all safe, feel-good, societally approved schticks) and winning, he is also a pragmatist who finds it very easy to discard and kick aside all that has lost public favour or that proves useless to him embracing even what he once ridiculed. Trudeau loves nothing but the image of Trudeau intact and polished to eye-burning sun-dazzling extremes. He will do as much and as little possible to ensure that his star is the one that is ascendent and witnessed and draws the loudest gasps of awe. For a politico of his stripe, everything is of less importance than what offers the best chance of securing his political survival. He has no soul, harbours no real beliefs and is adept at moving whichever way the wind blows.

Canadian veterans have begged him to act; he has made a pretence of doing so but much, much too late. Men and women and their families are hiding, they are frightened and they are being hunted down. Many will die. But Trudeau will have his election.

And, like all federal elections since Canada became a nation, the outcome will be as it always has been because we have a revolving door that only allows Conservatives and Liberals to win. In spite of claiming to want change, to want something new, better and more transparent, Canadians will vote as they have always done, wanting more of everything while holding tight to their wallets. And the politicians will promise more of everything waving bright, shiny trinkets as bribes and we will snap them up and believe them as we have since 1867. We say we want change but that is a lie. We say we want honest governance. That, too, is a lie. When we keep on voting for the same parties offering the same lies, it’s clear we do not want change or honesty. We are not even honest to ourselves. 

We just want to be stroked, lied to and led. We have always wanted that. If not, why don’t we try something new and yet not that new. What do we really risk by voting NDP? There is no risk. We don’t like what they do, we vote them out.

But at least, we will have opened the revolving door enough to accept one more member. That’s a start. Maybe one day, Canadians will actually do what they say they want to do, that is, hold fair, democratic elections. 

Maybe the day will come when Canadians will actually embrace Proportional Representation as a model. But I will not hold my breath. And I will not hope. I’ve seen this charade too many times and know voters really do not want change, or have vision or even have wisdom. Politicians, when they lose will utter this platitude: The voter is always right. 

They don’t believe that. Neither do I. And, if you are honest, neither do you. 

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, ERIN O’TOOLE, JAGMEET SINGH: HOSTAGES TO QUEBEC; DOUBLE STANDARDS IN THE FACE OF ISLAMOPHOBIA

Terrorism will spill over if you don’t speak up. — Malala Yousafzai

Speak your mind even though your voice shakes. — Eleanor Roosevelt

Never be afraid to speak your mind, you have one for a reason. — Sarah Moores

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Maybe it’s just me. In Canadian politics, I just don’t see much, if anything, to admire or respect, to risk hanging one’s hat on; it’s all about the main chance. Apparently, in matters of belief, principle, duty, and ability, the most important facility one needs to enter politics is the ability to be shameless. Integrity, character, empathy and sincerity are useful assets but not essential, items to be called upon when needed then set aside when not if and when they threaten one own’s goals. Honesty is a mug’s game so best possess a pokerface proficiency when lying.

The day of the truly honest, perhaps principled is a better word, politician has long passed, a product of another era; there was Tommy Douglas and Stanley Knowles. Three were even Conservatives: Robert Stanfield, Flora MacDonald and Joe Clark. But these are mostly personal impressions from what I have read, heard and witnessed on television. Though I cannot vouch for them first hand, I suspect these five were people, I might have liked though not enough to join the party of three.

The politicians of today do not interest me. None intrigue me or show signs of promise offering hope. The Conservatives are obstreperous, shrill, whiney, dishonest, short-sighted, and two-faced more likely to draw upon and appeal to the worst in us; they prefer to tear down than to raise up and are more willing to foment fear, create enemies and exploit bigotry not with the goal of making Canada a better place but in gaining power and clinging to it for as long as possible. The NDP fares not much better. It has surrendered too much of what I have always supported in the socialist vision. In fact, it spends too much time denying its roots drifting to the right, less interested in actually achieving things, as it often did in the past by holding the balance of power, than in gaining power. It’s a party that has consciously sought the middle ground threatening to drift and sink on the shoals of irrelevancy. As for the Liberals, well, what can one say? It’s a party steeped in corruption, hypocrisy and putrid with smugness, less interested in the governance of the nation than in protecting malfeasant corporate interests at the expense of judicial integrity provided the corporate interests are Canadian.

For all three, it’s about the main chance. 

Justin Trudeau is not a man I would care to know or even meet; I see enough of him on the daily news and that is more than sufficient to form an opinion: he is a poseur. When he wants the world to know that he is about to do done something, particularly if it is politically correct or, at the least, sounds good, as when he announced during the 2015 campaign that that year would be the last ever first-past-the-post election in Canada, he will, first looking to ensure the cameras are there and correctly positioned, loudly, and smugly make the declaration with a bombastic flourish, head high, chin and chest out. A certain cartoon majesty seeking public notice and attention. That will almost always work when the declarations are what most can agree on: equality, human rights, feminism, an end to intolerance and it will work particularly well with those who actually do believe in the good of people, even the very politicos who betray them time and time again. Myself, I’m skeptical. But hindsight informs. The smugness, and you can see it in his carriage in almost every announcement that he believes significant, (they all are — to him), derives from his awareness that, however bold and bombastic the promise, he has them. And if he breaks his promise, and he has and does time-and-again, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of how dishonestly, dishonourably or brutally he breaks the pledge and, at times, their hearts, he only has to smile and, oozing, simply oozing sincerity, dish up another offering just as meaningful to his fans. He is a rock star who can do no wrong no matter how outrageous or callous his betrayal. He treats them as suckers. And they are. They still follow and believe him when he utters, less often now than the early days as prime minister, that he is a feminist, that he believes in human rights, that he will fight for Canada, that his governance will be honest, open, transparent by default. Well, we know none of that was true, don’t we? One can almost hear him snickering: Suckers! He has wormed his way into their hearts with lies and promises that he broke again and again and will do again and again. He is tin sheet with the same depth.  

Oh, he looks good. He looks convincing. But I do not trust him; I cannot believe in him; I certainly cannot like him. I tried, but within months of his taking office, you could see him for what he was. A phony. Jostling female members aside with his elbows as he sprang to the chamber floors of parliament to grab a member and push him back into his seat. Or, most recently, when he, and all the political party leaders, attended and spoke out at a memorial service in London, Ontario after a Muslim family of five, Yumna Afzaal, Madiha Salman, Yumna’s grandmother, and Salman Afzaal, were mowed down by a young man filled with hate using a truck as a weapon. A nine year old boy, Fayez Afzaal, survived to mourn the loss of his sister, mother, father and grandmother. All, three leaders spoke out against terrorism and Islamophobia, Trudeau oozing, simply oozing the most sincerity. Yet, perhaps, we should be reminded if reminders are necessary and they seem to be, that the liberals, conservatives and NDP are on the same page when it comes to words versus action. Addressing Parliament, Jagmeet Singh spoke of his outrage and the need for laws to combat hate, especially Islamophobia. At the London vigil, June 2, he spoke out against the “Heinous act of terrorism” and spoke of the need for Muslims to be proud of who they were, of combating on-line hate, of the need for political parties to stop using “Islam for political games”, a clear reference to the 2015 campaign in which the Harper conservatives announced their intent to create a Barbaric Cultural Practices snitch line targeting, you guessed it, Muslims. But Singh’s words were there, the rage real. Or so it seemed. Erin O’Toole who spoke before Singh and after Trudeau, had been a member of Harper’s regime at the time of the snitch line debacle. On that matter, he had been silent as have been all those conservatives reelected until this devastating event. O’Toole’s London address noted the “rise of Islamophobia is the pandemic of darkness” and the need to “repel evil with goodness.” Fine words. But that night, he did not own up to the role his party and he and his colleagues played in that “rise of Islamophobia”. Since then, conservatives O’Toole, Michelle Rempel and others started falling over themselves to apologize for their failures in not speaking out when colleagues Kellie Leitch and Chris Alexander, departed but unlamented MPs, breathlessly announced the promise of the snitch line. Fine words at the vigil, but too late by far and by close to six years. And then we have Trudeau, self-declared feminist and equal rights supporter with his own history of hypocrisy of groping and blackface partying declaring the murders of the London family, a hate crime and act of terrorism. He was and is right on that. But wait.

So, there we have them, the three party leaders on the same page regarding this murderous May 30th event in London, Ontario. And yet, and yet, turning another page, they, Trudeau, O’Toole, and Singh, also appear in agreement that seems to deny their own fine words and sentiments expressed during the vigil for the Afzaal family. On this page, there is no moral outrage, no denunciations of hatred, of racism and of white supremacy. Not a word or, if a word, barely heard, a whisper perhaps. When offered the opportunity to back their words of the Afzaal vigil with deeds, they are peculiarly dumb.

Quebec’s premier Francois Legault has passed into law, Bill-21. It bans religious symbols being displayed in public buildings and on public servants while at work. Quebec aspires to nationhood and calls itself a nation. It is not. Yet not one Federal political leader is willing to say this. Quebec not only aspires to nationhood but aspires also to secularism. But this aspiration has less to do with religion than it has to do with one particular segment of society. You’ve got it. Bill-21 targets Muslims. Again, not one federal leader has challenged this law. You see, they all want to be elected and to do that they need the Quebec vote and Bill-21 is wildly popular in Quebec and politicians, as you know, are nothing if not cheap, sleazy pandering, opportunistic whores. Quebec has Canada in a stranglehold and our leaders cravenly standby, putting their political fortunes over that of Canada. Their silence on Quebec as a “nation” is divisive and may embolden the malcontent whiney premiers like Jason Kenney, Scott Moe, Brian Pallister, Doug Ford and their supporters to boast the same and act accordingly. On the matter of Islamophobia or any form of hatred and violence, there is even greater, more immediate need for concern.   

Shortly following the vigil for the murdered family where politicians of all stripes said their fine words, a reporter asked Trudeau if he, Trudeau, believed Quebec’s Bill-21 to be racist. Without looking at the reporter or camera, staring fixedly ahead at nothing, Trudeau, his face tight and expressionless, gave his succinct one-word verdict: “No”! It appears that O’Toole and Singh agree.

That’s about all I need to know about these people.

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

TRUDEAU: STARSTRUCK, BAD CHOICES AND CHARACTER

Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke. – Will Rogers

What the country needs is more unemployed politicians. – Angela Davis

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Even as opposition member during Stephen Harper’s reign, Trudeau had about him the air of a youngster eager to please alertly mindful to how the elders were responding to anything he did: Had they noticed what a good boy was he. For many, exhausted by the mean-spirited leadership of the conservative regime, Trudeau’s desire to be liked and noticed, seemed refreshingly innocent particularly when accompanied by loud pronouncements of what he would do during his run as prime minister, a few bold and easy to support: electoral reform; reconciliation with indigenous communities; action on climate change; ending omnibus bills in which were slipped questionable, unannounced legislation; reinstatement of disability pension plans for veterans; and ending the practice of prorogation of Parliament as a tactic to reset an agenda, to avoid questions, to prevent scandals from gaining traction, and to trigger an election. Said Trudeau of the last in 2015, “Stephen Harper has used prorogation to avoid difficult political situations. We will not.” With him and his liberals at the helm, governance would be different, better wherein honesty and transparency “by default” would be the hallmark was the promise. Canadians had heard this before, of course, countless times, but there was something about the young prince that made many willing to suspend incredulity for there was much to like and embrace apart from his earnestness. For the sceptical, perhaps spent by too many disappointments, while there was a desire for change, hope was measured; there was about Trudeau something too calculated for either trust or faith; he could earn their liking, receive their best wishes but not their vote. 

During the 2015 campaign and for some time following as prime minister, Trudeau seemed almost a naïf, earning good-humoured ribbing for his willingness, nay, eagerness, to apologize for almost every real past and present grievance experienced by segments of society. But humour soon turned to scorn when the apologies came too easily and as if by rote and for things over which he had no control ringing even more hollow when offered without reflection or followed by remedial measures. For a period, he was likely the sorriest world leader of our time if not all time. Eventually, ever sensitive to the direction of the public wind, perhaps realizing charm had morphed to smarm in the eyes of some, Trudeau’s apologies waned and then all but ceased. Now, when matters for which he should apologize are raised, and there are a lot of them, there has been a noticeable shift in how he reacts to questions he does not like. The warmth vanishes and, with it, the charm, his body becomes rigid and his gaze wanders coldly off into space for extended periods of time. When he does respond, he does so with frosty politeness offering non-answers, equivocations, deflections, side issues, glib dismissals, and/or excuses meant to be accepted as reasons. Still, the public likes him. Why?

Trudeau’s early forays into his first term, gave a clear vision of the man he would be and is…one of fluid ethics and familiar character failings common among cheap politicos. Even as he took steps to initiate the electoral reform promise, it was clear he meant to rig the outcome to his liking and when that didn’t happen, the committee recommending some form of proportional representation practiced by most democratic nations around the world, he preceded to sabotage it saying Canadians had lost interest. His minister of democratic reform, Maryam Monself denounced the committee for taking a pass on making a decision. The public outrage stemming from that prompted Trudeau to contract a firm to do an online survey on electoral reform that was mocked as unscientific and dishonest, allowing individuals to make unlimited entries and denied opportunities to answer direct questions on electoral reform systems because none were offered. Trudeau was determined. He was going to kill electoral reform and, to that end, Trudeau replaced Monsef with Karina Gould who officially drove the stake into the heart of electoral reform while he, having washed his hands of the affair, walked away the two female MPs bearing the brunt of the fallout. That would not be the last time that happened.

In appointing Jody Wilson-Raybould Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the first indigenous and third female to hold the post, Trudeau had made a prize catch in which he could bask. Unfortunately, politics and business got in the way when he sought to have Wilson-Raybould intervene in a charged court case involving SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec-based construction giant facing charges of bribery, corruption and fraud. If found guilty, the company would have been barred from doing government business for ten years. Worse, such a verdict might have a negative impact on Trudeau’s Quebec political fortunes if he was perceived as having not done enough to protect a major Quebec employer. Trudeau wanted the Minister of Justice to lean on the Director of Public Prosecutions to offer the company a Deferred Prosecution Agreement that would have allowed the company to avoid a trial, a guilty verdict and continue to do government business simply by meeting certain remedial conditions that were mostly window dressing in nature. Jody Wilson-Raybould’s refusal to intervene in the case enraged Trudeau and liberals who then embarked on a smear campaign to discredit her eventually forcing her from office of Governor General and Minister of Justice to that of Veterans Affairs until her resignation from cabinet to sit as an independent. Of the remaining liberals, only one other, Jane Philpott, a very capable minister and recently appointed to the senior position of President of the Treasury Board, stood up in defence of Wilson-Raybould, resigning to sit as an independent in solidarity. For that debacle, Trudeau staunchly refused to apologize “for saving Canadian jobs” nor did he apologize for seeking to pervert the rule of law. The gloves were off. No more mister nice guy. For that. too, he remains one of the worlds sorriest world leaders. Two more women took the hit. Trudeau? Not so much. Bruised but not battered enough.

Feminist? He declared himself so often enough. If so, perhaps adopted when he was about 28 or 29 and after attending a Creston Valley music event where he was accused of groping a local female news reporter. When it made the news at the time, he apologized to the woman, claiming not to recall any inappropriate behaviour even saying the same 20 years later, “Who knows where her mind was and I fully respect her ability to experience something differently” (CTVNews, July 6, 2018). Incredible. After all these years, when questioned on the allegations, he appeared fairly untroubled even seeming to suggest the reporter chose to remember whatever encounter that took place in a way that suited her. How far removed from his zero tolerance days when he booted from caucus two liberal members for unrelated allegations by an NDP member of sexual harassment. Though both denied the allegations, they were informed that they would not be allowed to run under the liberal banner as long as the allegations stood, Trudeau, to all intents destroying the careers of two individuals on untested allegations. It made for a good if bloody show; unfortunately, the zero-tolerance edict ostensibly didn’t apply to him. Feminist? When it is safe for him, evidently. Then we have Trudeau’s response to the release of the Trump tapes during Trump’s 2016 election bid with Trump educating a tv host on how the rich and wealthy treat women boasting of “grabbing them by the p____”. When asked on at least two separate occasions to comment, Trudeau refused to take the opportunity to condemn Trump saying he didn’t comment on American politics! Evidently, Trudeau’s views on feminism and harassment (among others) are not so deeply entrenched as to hobble him. Politicians are rarely ensnared by principle. Feminist? We only have his word. 

Free gifts; access-for-cash secret fundraising events with multi-millionaires; turning a blind eye to human rights by signing off on the Harper initiated LAV deal with murderous human rights abusing Saudi Arabia and then offering lie after lie as reasons for doing so. When not pretending to be a progressive, as he sought to slip legislation into omnibus bills, Trudeau prorogued parliament to avoid answering questions regarding his sole-sourced contract (two more broken promises) to the high profile WE Charity having determined that charity the only organization capable of administering the $912 million government funds for the student summer grants program. This was a highly visible and popular charity, something Trudeau could easily latch himself to and further burnish his image. But there was a hitch apart from the sole-sourcing of the contract: Trudeau and the liberals had a few too cozy ties with the charity. Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau had made several appearances at WE Day events before and after he became prime minister. In fact, Trudeau’s wife, mother and brother received from the charity about $427K for appearances and expenses. WE Charity paid Sophie Grégoire Trudeau’s expenses to the UK so she could meet British superstar Iris Elba. This was arranged by Bill Morneau, then finance minister, whose daughter worked for the organization. When the decision was made to offer the student grant program to WE Charity, both Trudeau and Morneau were in attendance. They should not have been. Morneau had the grace to at least resign. Trudeau? He offered a puerile apology; his days of oozing, simply oozing sincerity over it seemed. The founders, Marc and Craig Kielburger, and the charity, were left battered and bruised, reputations tainted leading to the closure of the Canadian arm. While much of the Kielburger’s difficulties were largely of their own making in the way of bad business decisions and advertising tie-ins, the decision to sole-source was Trudeau’s. He threw the charity and his dazed friends under the bus just as easily as he sabotaged electoral reform once they were no longer utile and posed a threat to his brand. When around Trudeau, it might be well to recall Jeremy Thorpe’s words: Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his political life. Trudeau smiles, but he is as ruthless and as untrustworthy as any political snake. When the WE Charity scandal broke, prorogation was the tool to which he resorted hoping Canadians had a quick forgettery. Clearly, we do; some still consider him Prince Charming.

In one of the most egregious, odious and disgraceful acts by Trudeau and his liberals, the political meddling in government supply ship contracts favouring Irving Shipbuilding must certainly be topmost. As with Jody Wilson-Raybould, Trudeau’s liberals embarked on a campaign to shred the career of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman who opposed the political interference in the contract made by the previous Harper regime. Even when it became clear that Trudeau and his government had lost the public relations and legal battle, the PMO persisted on a path that was vindictive, cruel and incredibly petty. When the case against Norman for breach of trust collapsed, a motion to issue an apology in the House was made, a motion to which Trudeau agreed. However, before it was adopted, Trudeau left the House for an “appointment” in Hamilton, Ontario. That move was worthy of Stephen Harper. Classy. Oh, yes, Trudeau’s days of apologies are seemingly over while another’s life sits in ruins. That is Trudeau. Gotta love the guy!

And, if anyone thinks this is a man of sound judgement, let’s go back to another time after his groping days of reporters to when he was 29 and appeared in blackface, another thing he neglected to mention from his past. When confronted by this, he admitted to doing some “dumb things”. That’s allowed, we all do dumb things. But, in the age of feminist and racial sensitivity, an individual of 28 and 29, especially one as attuned to the political winds as Trudeau, must surely be aware of what is tolerated and not particularly when contemplating a political life smugly serene of having created an image of the sensitive new age guy appealing to the young, women, grandparents, and those calling themselves progressives. He might have been better served by addressing his own “unconscious” racism long before it became public. As leader of a nation, shouldn’t he be more reflective and receptive to delving into his attitudes then and now? 

Trudeau has manufactured an image of himself that the public was meant to embrace. He could be touchy-feely but was determined to demonstrate he was no soft mark. In 2014, as liberal leader, he informed senators in the Upper Chamber who had always considered themselves liberals that they no longer had ties to the party and were, in fact, no longer liberals, but independents. It was a raw, showy, nervy display of muscle-flexing, arrogance, and cynicism that was and remains meaningless except as an indicator of his hubris and character. In May of 2016, seeking to rush through a bill on assisted dying, Trudeau, now PM, strode on the floor of the House to manhandle the Opposition whip and, in doing so, roughly elbowed a female NDP member telling her to get out of the “f… way”. Mr. Nice Guy…well, seems he’s not so nice after all. Political theatrics. He had a point to make. 

Does it boil down to simply politics, the way of doing business? What does that say about his character? Is it that easy it is to throw away the trust of those who gave you the keys to the House? New. Different. Better.

Some have dismissed many of what I have outlined as just youthful enthusiasm and a sincere if at times over-zealous desire to do good. I am not so sure. Trudeau is too studied in what he does, one always on the lookout for the approving looks, the props he can exploit, and is well aware of the location of the cameras. He is starstruck with his own personae believing, I suspect, Canadians will forgive him almost anything. But he is also starstruck as in celebrity stars, but not in the way of a true fan patiently waiting in line for an autograph or hoping for a photo with the star or sappily mooning when the celebrity speaks to him. For Trudeau, celebrities are only tools to be used in the same fashion they and politicians use citizens. Sure, they all stroke and use each other ensuring they all get their rewards. Even the little people, the grateful seekers and voters, if only often in the way of shiny trinkets and empty promises.  

Yet, even as he reaches for the stars and wins them over, he occasionally misjudges and misfires; the reflected glory that he seeks at times redounds negatively on him as it has recently with the resignation of Julie Payette, his personal choice as Governor General. When it came to replacing the governor general, Trudeau did not trouble himself with using a committee to find and vet candidates. He already had one in mind: female, single mother, famous astronaut, Quebec born, fluently bilingual, a scientist, a professor, a musician. On paper, Julie Payette was an excellent choice, a superstar; Canadians would love her, and he would come out of it a winner. He was golden because she was golden. 

Except, she wasn’t so golden, after all, quickly proving herself a loose cannon racking up massive expenses of close to $400K in renovating Rideau Hall, customary home for GGs, and then refusing to move in preoccupied with privacy and scrutiny. And if she proved a headache for security, often ditching them to do whatever, she also proved lazy in the performance of her duties, failing to visit some provinces, often ignoring many public functions routine to her position. Then came the release of the damning report of how she and her top aide, a personal friend, Assunta Di Lorenzo, had transformed a once “idyllic” workplace, as described by one worker, into a “hellhole” of meetings that involved harassment in the form of screaming, foul language and victimization of individual targets at staff meetings that left workers weeping, bruised and exhausted until some, unable to tolerate the toxic environment created by Payette and her aide, resigned. When the noise became too much, Payette offered her resignation, her annuity of $150K a year and an expense account reputed to range from $150K to $200K a year…for life, still intact. And Trudeau’s response to all this? Pretty tame, platitudes about how everyone is entitled to work in a harassment free environment, but no apology for his role in scrapping the vetting committee and for opting for celebrity and the spectacular rather than the more down-to-earth hardworking, capable talent required of the position. With this debacle, he further entrenched his position as a leader of the sorriest kind. No regrets. Not a hint of shae.

There is very little about Trudeau to admire in my books. He is too willing to resort to legalese rather than what is ethical as whe have seen time and again. One more example.

He has opted to dip into COVAX, a global plan coordinated by the World Health Organization created to pool resources of richer countries to offer funding and equal access to vaccines to poorer nations during this current crisis. Now Canada and any of the G7 nation are entitled to dip into the stock, but most, it appears, have no intention of doing so preferring to let it do what it was created to do. Not so Canada. Because the deals made with Pfizer and Moderna to supply the Covid-19 vaccine will not happen as quickly as believed and hoped, Trudeau has unapologetically (are we surprised?) dipped into the plan saying Canada is entitled to do so. That’s true. That’s also legalese. Because one can doesn’t mean one should. No wonder so many are looking at Canada askance and shaking their heads. Have we no shame.

And yet?

For the public, Trudeau’s handling of the pandemic crisis seems about right. Charm, good looks and oozing sincerity, are apparently sufficient. But there are signs the crown is slipping. 

Oh, yes, he’s a good boy, is he not? 

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

DONALD TRUMP LOSES AND HIS DIAPER BRIGADE GETS TO WORK

In a republic of mediocrity, genius is dangerous. – Robert G. Ingersoll

From the errors of others, a wise man corrects his own. – Publilius Syrus

Frank A. Pelaschuk

God help America. Words likely no more heartfelt than today.

Donald Trump is yesterday’s man in the world of politics. Even so, the stain of his legacy will be difficult to erase. In every conceivable way, as a man, a role model, as a businessman, as a leader, as a president of the United States, he is a contemptible loser. He is not only crude, he is cruel. He is a misogynist yet preys on women and thinks nothing of mocking those with disabilities and better people, real heroes, who have proven themselves in battle. He is a racist. He is stupid; to call him ignorant suggests a capability to learn and grow giving him too much credit. He surrounds himself with sycophants and panders to racist extremists fanning the flames of discontent and uncertainty. He encourages conspiracy theories and violence against perceived enemies which includes everyone who is critical. He possesses nothing of character that is not cartoonish, certainly nothing of dignity and the same goes for those who continue to stand by him, those whom Hillary Clinton had, to my mind, correctly judged as making up the “basket of deplorables.” For this, Clinton was roundly and unfairly criticized. What she had said may not have been to everyone’s liking but, given what has followed and continues to this day, convinces me she was right and right for saying so. 

Without any evidence to back the claims, despite courts tossing out suits in states where he lags behind, Trump continues to make declarations of widespread voter fraud with his plavlovian following of losers blindly repeating the charges, unwilling or unable, probably the latter, to accept and process what the whole world knows, the fraudster, the huckster, the liar, the cheat is himself seeking to steal the election in the belief that wailing and flailing like some gigantic baby soiling his diapers in a paroxysm of fury over the fact that he is a loser will magically set things aright in the fantasy world in which Trump and his kind live. These are not smart people nor are they good people. They are spoiled, self-absorbed, thoughtless people who believe nothing should get in the way of the fictional world they inhabit; their rights, their wants, their beliefs are all that matters and the hell with the world that doesn’t mesh with theirs. Covid-19 is Chinese made transmitted by telecommunications towers or a gigantic hoax or no worse than a flu. Wearing a mask is the end of their rights. As I say, these are stupid people placing faith in a buffoon who holds them in contempt. These folks are bluffers and hot air with streaks of meanness and pettiness as core to their character. And they are dangerous. Not only to themselves but to others and to the very concept of democracy and the nation they claim to love. Demagoguery and discord are what they thrive on and Trump is all too happy to feed them what they want: the right is victim to a gigantic conspiracy. They are shameless in their dishonesty, their efforts of revisionist history, in their self-deceit and utter lack of moral integrity, not only as citizens but also as adherents of American democracy. These gun-totting, gun-loving, God-fearing, church-going hypocrites, extremely vocal in their professions of love for America believe in none of it but their gun love and Trump love and their love of victimhood. For them, to truly commit to democracy would necessitate a turning of their backs against the church of Trumpism, of opening their eyes and minds to the world that is rather than the lala land of their fervid imaginings and of accepting the fact that their leader is a L-O-S-E-R wanting them to be exactly what he is: losers

For them, in their petty partisan fugue state, that would be no stretch.

Facts do not matter. Truth must be distorted. They wallow in the demagogic ramblings of a lunatic who must be constantly stroked, who cannot accept he can lose, who insists he is the smartest man to have ever been born; luckily for Trump, the likes of Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and Rudy Giuliani, morally corrupt and venal, are always there to give him what he craves. They were born for roles such as this.

Lose, Trump will not go quietly. Win, he will not do graciously. The fact that this loser continues to cast doubt on the integrity of the vote count has led to a crisis that is truly alarming. As one group of Americans, under threat of violence, undertake the duty and honour of ensuring the democracy once much admired around the world remains intact with an accurate, honest and secure count, another group of armed miserable Yahoos threatens to tear it apart. It is these Yahoos who do not believe in the vote. Nor do they believe in democracy and the vision of America. Facts account for little their world of alternate reality. As I write this, Biden has been declared the winner. Trump and his supporters would have you believe the vote stolen, democrats dishonest, that everything that makes Trump a loser is just part of a conspiracy. Regardless of the facts, of the evidence, Trump has won his second term. They are zealots of a faithless cause with whom there can be no reasoning. For them, as for Trump, it will always be: the cheaters won. 

Unfortunately, when all this is over, Trump will have left his stain on American democracy. It may never be removed. He will have triumphed in his own vile way and it bodes no good for America. Even so, Trump can ramble incoherently all he wants; that’s allowed in a democracy. No matter the final outcome, the judgement and verdict of history will be final. Trump and the republican party has disgraced themselves and the offices they held. They have happily played the part of petulant vengeful thugs and losers.

That’s all they had and have going for them.     

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. –  Benjamin Franklin

DONALD TRUMP AND THE AMERICAN WAY TO CRAZY

The pompous son of a bitch knows everything—too bad he doesn’t know anything else. – Philip Roth, The Plot Against America

We have met the enemy and he is us.– Walt Kelly

Frank A. Pelaschuk

It’s enough to drive one crazy.

There’s a madman out there leading a nation of distracted, angry folk. They seem unable to articulate exactly what it is that so riles them but are certain they know it when they see it and they see it, the vast conspiracy, a cabal of radical left-wing socialist terrorists united in effort to take the little they have and Black Lives Matter, an anti-police movement and threat to the white supremacist view of life that should never have been.

Restless and angry, frightened too, most of them uncertain of the future or even if there will be one and their role in it, they just know someone is to blame and trust their leaders to tell them who. And the leaders are there, religious, social and free-market, all experts at fingerpointing and alternative facts. Unfortunately, the rabble do not often pause long enough to reflect and question their choices in whom to trust; they just want easy answers and assurances there is nothing wrong in them and that those responsible will pay. Republicans to the south and Conservatives here, are all too willing to join the game. 

So, they listen to the babble of others expressing the same fears and hear above the noise political and social leaders pointing fingers at Muslim immigrants, Hispanic migrant workers, radical socialist educators and students bent on corrupting the great American and Canadian way of life with impositions of exotic beliefs, faithless religion, and terroristic ideologies. The roiling rabble of discontented see in the BLM movement a threat necessitating the alt-right response, “All Lives Matter”, a response connoting not only recognition but also fear of chickens finally coming home to roost. Racists, such as Trump, the Proud Boys, the Sons of Odin, seize on that fear, likely unaware that in doing so, in seeking to counter the BLM movement, they are acknowledging their brutal historical contribution to the racial and religious divide where the colour of one’s skin and the strength of one’s belief can lead to death. White supremacist racist thugs see a reckoning heading their way; perhaps not in the immediate future but it’s coming and they are afraid. So, they spread the message, “All Lives Matter”, as if a new awakening when, in truth, that was the reality they refused, refused, to acknowledge from time immemorial with their anti-Semitic, anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-Asian sprees of mayhem and death. It is only now, when the victims of the intolerance and violence are speaking up and fighting back, that victimizers, including those who, while not actively engaged, supported with their silence and inaction, have suddenly discovered the value of all lives. That is something the BLM supporters and all victims of intolerance have always known. Yet the bigots and the cowardly silent refused to listen. Yes, all lives matter, but why today? What about my life then, when the lynching, burnings and bombings were happening, where was the All Lives Matter Movement then for the countless victims of religious and racial intolerance? If those in the BLM are angry, who can blame them? The victims have had enough. There is no threat from BLM, just a declaration of notice: They will not, they cannot, they shall not take it any longer. That is not too much to demand of a free society.

But Trump and far too many like-minded political, religious, media, and societal leaders, mostly conservative, relying on support from white supremacist conspiracists with their grievances of victimhood would have you believe otherwise, would have you believe that victims standing up for themselves pose a threat not just to the victimizers but to all of society. The bigots, the stupid, and the cruel lap it up preferring to listen to the loudest lies by the loudest liars, and wink away the bromides and simplistic solutions contrived to further divide and harm claiming of those politicos engaged in such, “They tell it like it is.” Yet, when challenged to explain what they mean, the adherents often cannot only certain they like what they hear because it conforms to what they want to hear. The merits of what they hear don’t enter the picture because the followers of demagogues never question. And, why should they? It’s easier and more comforting to gorge on the poison you like. Chaos is the menu of the day and fear the dessert. 

And then we have the pandemics: Covid-19 and the age of aggressive stupidity, maskless folks, loudly proud of their rugged individualism, eagerly banding together in huge mobs apparently to prove—what?—endangering themselves, their loved ones and others in society with an irresponsible idiot int the White House encouraging such antics. With all the modern devices around us that makes it even easier to learn and know more, it is astounding that we so wilfully embrace a new dark age of ignorance, of superstition, of conspiracies, of magic thinking, preferring to dance to the tune of lunatic Pied Pipers: What we don’t see, hear or know, cannot hurt us.

So, folks drink from the poison chalice offered by that monstrous orange-headed narcissist without any awareness, it seems, that he is their enemy, that, even as he uses them, he holds them in contempt as mere toilers, dirt grubbers, hardworking scrabblers eking an existence far removed from his. Trump is right, they do not know their enemy; they refuse to see, hear and accept what is before them. Trump is a clown but he is theirs in the la la land of present-day America.

What do they see in him that they would surrender everything? Not just themselves and their future, but also possible generations to come. He is the man who will save them. That it is self-evident that he does not care one scintilla for them matters not a whit: he will lead them from the wilderness. They have surrendered completely to this “Grab them by the pussy” predator (his own words), this tax-avoiding business failure, this congenital morally bankrupt liar, this total incompetent who fails miserably as a feeling, empathetic life form in a shell resembling something human. His “leadership” during the pandemic has doubtless resulted in needless deaths. Yet they flock to him, hands outstretched as to a god figure, those millions who love America, quote the bible, go to church and engorge themselves like greedy pigs on every filthy, poisonous deed and sere word he extrudes. They applaud his perspicacity not only in defrauding them, taxpayers, into gifting him millions, but also in avoiding taxes because, as he put it, he is “smart”, ignoring the inference naturally flowing from that. 

These are the men and women who hate and mistrust government. Yet, when Trump was asked during the Presidential debates if he would condemn extremists such as the Proud Boys, he responded, “Stand back and stand by.” Right wing extremists heard that and were elated no doubt recalling Trump’s tweets of April 7, “Liberate Michigan” and “Liberate Virginia”. On October 8, the FBI arrested thirteen extremists for plotting to kidnap the governors of both those states. Yet, when prodded, Trump’s supporters deny any correlation between the three events. Fake news. If Trump loses the election, the presidency will have been stolen. They see conspiracy everywhere. Scientists are conspiring to take away their God given freedoms by recommendations they wear masks and social distance; Covid-19 is a gigantic Chinese hoax which, if real, is spread, by China, through cellphone towers; flu shots cause autism, and the Democrats are pedophilic Satanists plotting to overthrow, with violence, a legitimate government if Trump wins. For them, Trump, predator and misogynist, is as close to a god as any human could ever be. 

These are not just foolish die-hard-from-the-cradle-folk, they are stupid folk and dangerous to themselves and society. Oh, I know that’s not nice, but I have lost whatever tolerance I have had for stupidity and simply wish the idiots would collect their Darwin Awards and slip away unmissed by me, at least. 

Cold? You bet. But the streak of perversity pushing folks to willingly and consciously engage in reckless behaviour and vote for a moral imbecile, a narcissistic weakling, and an inarticulate blowhard liar while professing faith in a God and America when, apparently, they have lost faith in both, begs for retribution. That’s unlikely so I’ll vent. Common sense eludes them, they disbelieve what they see and hear even as it happens before them because they allow nothing to penetrate that wall of ignorance and denial shutting out the world that is from the world they live. Trump will save them. But from whom and what? Themselves? Stupidity? The socialist hordes? It is impossible to reach them even when the dangers posed by the choices they make are real and imminent. In a way, they are protected, living as they do in a world as real to them as the notion they are special and loved and will be protected by the very man who detests them even as he exploits and feeds into their fears. They know, just know, they are protected by a cloak of invincibility and the lasso of truth will help them to make us see they were right. 

Special? Yes indeed.

***

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

HUBRIS AND STUPIDITY: TRUDEAU DOES IT AGAIN

Public office is the last refuge of the incompetent. – Boies Penrose

They are proud in humility, proud in that they are not proud. – Robert Burton 

Frank A. Pelaschuk

Justin Trudeau had it made. He became prime minister largely on his good looks, youth, charm, and oozing, simply oozing, sincerity. He was going to make a change with huge, loudly declared glorious promises, one of which, if followed through, might have changed Canada, parliament and the political landscape for the better forever. For those who wanted to believe in fairy tales, he was Prince Charming, the real deal, the man of vision, the man one could trust to accomplish great things. 

Not surprisingly, that was will-o’-the-wisp wishful thinking, the chimerical promise of the snake oil salesman. The big promises, one in particular, Electoral Reform, did not materialize, being lure to the braggadocio’s strut, the blowhard’s false promise of a hope so many yearned for believing it a remote possibility only to be left with the bitter aftertaste of betrayal upon having it proved true yet again. The pain of disappointment must surely have been acute for those who trusted him perhaps because they really believed in him and in the promise, believed in his claims of feminism and support of human rights, of finally healing the rift between First Nations peoples and Canada. He would help make Canada a better home for all. If so, how much sharper the ache when, put to the test, he walked away from promise after promise again and again beginning with his triumphant declaration that 2015 would be the last first past-the-post election ever and then, upon realizing the keeping of that promise would not allow him the outcome he so desperately wanted, he himself set about to undermine and kill the dream none had called for but fervently wanted saying of its death, “the public had lost interest”. It wasn’t true but we all knew then, or should have, what kind of man he was. 

He’s a feminist. He’s told us that often enough so why didn’t I believe him? Perhaps it’s because of the revelation of his groping a female reporter at a music festival when he was twenty-eight. Or it could be his failure to respond on two separate occasions when asked by reporters to comment on the taped recording of Trump trumpeting his misogyny saying only, “Everyone knows I’m a feminist”. Well, I don’t know that. Saying so doesn’t make it so. We know he is tolerant, anti-racist, and yet has attended events on more than one occasion in black face. No, I don’t believe Trudeau is a racist, but I do believe him very, very foolish. 

Too, his stand on human rights is of great concern. He believes in them as sincerely as Stephen Harper when Harper initiated the Saudi Arabia LAV (light armoured vehicle) deal. Just as did Harper, Trudeau ignored such concerns in spite of UN sanctions and Canada’s own laws regarding international trade with errant nations abusing human rights and Saudi Arabia is one such abuser and in a major way. When taking the moral high road is perceived as imperiling Canadian business interests and Canadian jobs, the moral high-road rarely merits more than lip service by such as Harper and Trudeau. With Harper, there was no surprise in this; he made no pretense of interest or concern in human rights while Trudeau campaigned on the promise of human rights being in the forefront. And then he got elected. If hypocrisy and shamelessness are requisites for a successful career in politics, Trudeau appears particularly adept in the practice of both. 

While no liberal and certainly contemptuous of conservatives, particularly those from the Harper era still infecting the political pool, I nevertheless had hoped for the best from Trudeau without believing we would get it. I could understand his draw and why so many fell for it; I just could not trust what I heard and saw. Sadly, upon taking office as Prime Minister, Trudeau very quickly confirmed my suspicions of him. Straw and empty charm. He believes his own press: he is loved by all and can do anything. Even so, the trail of broken promises in the wake of his first term did have a negative impact on his re-election bid allowing him a narrow victory with with a minority government.   

With all his baggage, I do believe Trudeau wishes to be the man we want him to be: caring, empathetic, sincere, decent, decisive, competent, and successful both as individual and as PM, one who actually will make meaningful contributions to Canada. But, for him, I believe, such traits, which he appears to confidently possess, are merely intellectual adornments, masks to be donned for whatever the occasion accompanied, as always, by the indicators of sincerity, furrowed brows and pursed lips; caring, empathy, and even sincerity cannot be learned but are characteristics bred to the bone. I don’t believe they are intrinsic to Trudeau. There is about him a coldness and calculation that should make those around him wary. He will throw them to the wolves as ruthlessly and as easily as he discarded liberal senators within weeks of taking office when he declared them no longer liberals. It was the loud, grand, even bold, gesture but meaningless and offensive in the publicness of the dismissals. Of his character, it was revealing; not only did it appear to me a particularly cruel way to do what he did, but the exultation he displayed following that was unseemly, his declaration to the world: I can be tough and ruthless as any man! He must have been thinking of Harper. But the move was blind achieving nothing. As easy to have a stranger declaring one cannot love whom one does.     

For Trudeau, there is more interest in the public perception of his image than the fact of it. He is not a bad man, I believe, at least not wholly, but he is too absorbed in the imagining and the work of convincing the pubic of himself as a good person than in the practicing of it. He will pander to all the touchstones that he perceives the public supports as good. If it catches the public’s attention as worthwhile and supportable, Trudeau is certain to be there. He is a politician, after all, with the unerring instincts of the predator honing in on the prey.

So, all the more puzzling his behaviour and involvement in the three breaches of conflict of interests that we know of. How could a man so smart be so stupid? Or am I giving him too much credit?

There was his acceptance of the free helicopter ride for family and friends from the Aga Khan while on a Christmas vacation. For years the Aga Khan’s charitable foundation has received millions from Canada and, following that trip, was promised even more.

Then we have the SNC-Lavalin scandal when Trudeau, a true believer in the “rule of law”, sought to subvert it to save SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec-based company, from a possible conviction for various criminal acts including bribery and obstruction of justice. Because of that interference, the Attorney-General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, the first indigenous woman to achieve this post, was forced to step down because she would not help the company avoid prosecution. This led to the resignation of another extremely competent MP, Jane Philpott, in solidarity of her colleague. So much for his support of First Nations individuals, of feminism, and of the “rule of law”. For that imbroglio, he “refused to apologize for fighting to save Canadian jobs” because that was his job. Yes, it is, but, more importantly, his job is also to ensure the integrity of the courts and uphold “the rule of law” which he clearly sought to undermine and yet always references when it suits his needs.

But the liberal government’s decision to sole source $900K to the WE charity to which Trudeau, his wife, mother and brother have close ties, may be the one straw too many as the Ethics Commissioner launches yet another investigation into Trudeau’s shaky ethical world. Worse, for the liberals, the scandal has ensnared yet another high-profile candidate, the finance minister, Bill Morneau, whose two daughters have worked for the same organization. For both men, issues of ethics seem to be particularly irksome. When questioned whether he or any member of his family had financially benefitted from the ties, Trudeau, as did the charity, founded by Marc and Craig Kielburger, initially denied any such benefit only to recant that a day later claiming there had been an accounting error. Margaret Trudeau and Alexandre, Justin’s mother and brother received close to $300K from the charity. 

That there was no public bid for the contract, Trudeau claiming the WE organization was the only charity capable of distributing the money to student volunteer workers for up to $5K beggars belief. The United Way, for one, has been around for a lot longer than the organization founded by Trudeau friends. That Trudeau did not recuse himself from the selection process by civil servants also forces one to ask: What was Trudeau thinking? Did he really believe no one would question this? Said Alex Wellstead, spokesperson for the PMO, “What is important to remember is that this is about a charity supporting students.” No. What is important to remember is that Trudeau and Morneau did not recuse themselves from that selection decision which liberals claim was the recommendation of public servants. What is important to remember is that Trudeau, Morneau and members of their family have close, at times paid, ties to the charity. What is important to remember is that the selection process was neither open to public bidding nor transparent. And, while it is true that the WE charity refused to accept the funds, that decision was made only following the loud public outcry of disbelief and fury.

I cannot say I believe Trudeau to be a man of integrity. He may wish to be and he may wish us to believe he is but I have witnessed little evidence that convinces. From the first as Prime Minister, he and his colleagues have been plagued by issues of integrity often ignoring and skirting around questions regarding their many numerous and secretive fundraising endeavours at private homes or suggestive of conflicts of interest. Trudeau is flawed but not in the way that induces sympathy or even understanding. He seems to have been made drunk by the adoration of others who have fallen under a spell without understanding there appears to be no real there there. A straw man, he appears to need to be loved and yet would have, as he has demonstrated, little difficulty in throwing those very people who adore him, to the wolves if need be. In that way, he has much in common with Stephen Harper. But I believe Harper understands and accepts exactly who and what he is. Trudeau’s halo has long been tarnished and bent, yet he carries on convinced he is the one who has the attention of the public. He does. Covid-19 has allowed him to shine simply by throwing out billions of taxpayer dollars to the public, to businesses and to charities. Too, with the public preoccupied by the pandemic and all the attendant problems, he might have believed no one was paying attention. He tossed the coin and took his chance. This may be his undoing. 

Maybe the career choice of politician requires risk-taking. That’s a good thing when not foolhardy. Maybe the career choice also requires fluidity in matters of integrity, decency, and the ability to experience shame. If not the case, why have so few in recent years possessed so little of any of these traits? Is it truly all about the main chance?

While I do not share Anne Frank’s generous view of mankind (“In spite of everything, I still believe people are good at heart”), I don’t accept that entry into politics requires a propensity for dishonesty and/or self-enrichment. No one can be perfect but they can strive for it in the choices they make. One can talk of being ethical and of possessing integrity; that is Trudeau. Or one can be ethical and act with integrity. I prefer this camp. Unfortunately, those folks are long gone or no longer hold office. Deeds matter more than words. Ethics and integrity, honesty and decency, pride and humility are not cards to be called up or discarded to suit one’s time or needs. They should flow in the character of the individual as smoothly, as easily and as comfortably as blood through the veins. That is an ideal but that is what we should all strive for and demand of our politicians. 

There is too much venality in politics. Trudeau is just another example of the poor choices we make again and again. Politicians and voters do make mistakes. But when they repeat the mistake again and again, it is a habit and cannot be tolerated. Instead, we must take stock, look more closely at ourselves and our motives as well as at those running for office; we must vote with our minds questioning all the promises and challenging all the appeals to our biases keeping in mind those who, at the very least, have done their best not for themselves but for those who have placed trust in them.

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But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

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They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

COVID-19, THE DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD AND RACISM

Racism is a grown-up disease and we should stop using our kids to spread it. – Ruby Bridges

We have two evils to fight, capitalism and racism. We must destroy both racism and capitalism. – Huey Newton

Frank A. Pelaschuk

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the world in almost all ways. Millions have become infected, and, as I write this, close to four hundred thousand have died. For Trump, this child in a man’s body, Covid-19 is reducible to a racist election blip, a “China” made disease that took American lives. 

It has made us aware of our own strengths and weaknesses and offered insight into the weaknesses and strengths of our varied health care systems. It has highlighted the virtues and hypocrisies of our politicians who, in daily briefings, express outrage and dismay accompanied by loud promises of swift corrective measures to fix the problems, many seemly insurmountable, while claiming to be as surprised as the public by the state of conditions of long-term care homes in which the elderly are shuttered away and who account for the largest number of dead, dying frightened and without family, neglected in filthy cockroach infested rooms, infected by bedsores exacerbated by the piss and shit they lay in as they wait for assist from harried, over-worked, undertrained and too, far too few, underpaid personal support workers. How can you trust the faux outrage expressed by the likes of Jason Kenney when he likens the pandemic to the flu and the deaths of seniors as a natural progression of the life cycle? You can’t. And how about Doug Ford, winning all kinds of accolades for his sombre, level-headed displays during his briefings. You hear it everywhere: Ford is doing a good job. Yes, he is: a snow job. It’s easy to be outraged when there are reasons, and there are: not just the death of seniors but the deplorable conditions endured by them. 

But Ford raising the finger and pointing to health officials, to their failings, gets to be a bit much when accompanied by a rage that never quite rings true. If he were totally honest, he would accept that a large share of the problems in Ontario’s healthcare is largely of his own making. It is also true that the problems are an accumulation of abuse and neglect by politicians who, for decades, have used education and healthcare as political footballs. The two most important institutions that should and must be supported, enhanced, and maintained have, with each successive regime, both been booted about as if unessential, incidental services. One gets the impression, especially regarding health, that all governments, particularly those of liberal and conservative stripes, are bound and determined to kill it by a million cuts in favour of privatization of health care hoping its slow death will inconvenience the public to the extent that it cries, Enough! and surrenders to the American style of care they neither want nor need. 

Almost from the very first, Ford and his government has gone after healthcare, health programs and health workers as if he and his crew held a personal vendetta. No apology for that. No admission over his role in the current state of affairs. Mournful expressions, faux rage ring hollow as do utterances of surprise when, for years, decades, there have been cries from frontline workers that they were being left behind, the system underfunded, over-burdened, under-staffed, and workers under-paid, and under-appreciated. It was this crisis that made governments take notice and that only when doctors spoke out publicly begging for protective equipment so that they and the healthcare community could be protected without risk to themselves and community. 

What followed should have surprised no one. Shock, cries of anger, loud voices raised in high dudgeon, disgust, promises, more promises, fingerpointing, promises. Cheap politicos doing what they do best: perform, outshouting others and promising money, money, money, in trying to save their asses and convince us they, and only they, can make the fix. 

So, who is responsible? Naturally, those cheap politicians, the Jason Kenneys, the Doug Fords, the Scott Moes and the rest of their ilk. But, bad as they are, the greatest portion of the blame must go to the voter who, with very few exceptions, is always eager to suspend his and her incredulity to buy from sleazy charlatans the cheap, shiny promises of tax cuts, more money in their pockets, less government, without ever, ever, questioning where the cuts will come from or what services will be lost. Well, we have a hint now, don’t we, the roosters, as they say, finally coming home. 

And, while it’s true Covid-19 has highlighted the very worst, it has allowed us to showcase the very, very best among us as well. We have suddenly discovered who the truly important folks are. They are not the founders of Apple or Amazon or Facebook. No, the truly important people are those who actually make this globe function as well and as smoothly as it does. They are the workers who are there when you really need them. That includes all frontline workers in health care systems, naturally, but also, the personal support workers, janitors, maintenance workers and cooking staff who keep the institutions operational. That includes municipal workers, grocery clerks, taxi drivers, pharmacists, personal support workers, police and fire men and women. The debt is immeasurable and the list is endless, but the point is, too many men and women work largely unseen, unrecognized, unappreciated and underpaid while living lives of quiet desperation trying to make ends meet keeping families and sanity functioning often working two or more jobs. We love, love, love them today. But, when it’s over, what then? Back to being forgotten, unappreciated, underpaid, still living lives of quiet desperation. 

With Covid-19, lives have been lost; routines in how we shop, communicate, socialize, work, play, and cope with social distancing have been disrupted. Some, doubtless, will have adjusted to and welcomed the opportunity for introspection while others, perhaps, have squandered the opportunity turning towards anger and resentment taking it out on their families and friends. Anxiety and self-doubt may lead some to succumb to fear, to doubt their own common sense and turn away from mainstream media and fact-based science to embrace something more comforting, that aligns with their own biases and superstitions, junk science and conspiracy hokum by those with agendas that thrive on fanning fear, misinformation, hate, and intolerance with a message that we are all victims of others: Big Governments, Jews, Muslims, blacks, Hispanics, and Papists, communists, etc. Name the thing you don’t understand and fear; it’s easier to play the victim, to blame others; you’re not responsible they are.

Of course, the pandemic is a fake event or, at any event, overblown. That’s the message we get from some. For Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president and denier of global warming and climate change, despoiler of the so-called “lungs of the world”, the Amazon Rainforest, the coronavirus is a minor blip that people should ignore as they carry on business as usual. His cavalier public appearances, unmasked and surrounded by supporters, is apparently an attempt (successful, if that’s possible) to outdo Donald Trump in the area of stupidity in leadership around the world. For Trump, very slow to respond to Covid-19 initially denying it was a real threat, no doubt concentrating on whether he should take insulin, the pandemic is a major irritant affecting the US economy easily solved with a couple of minor fixes: injections of hydroxychloroquine or Lysol. The first, an anti-malarial drug has not been tested for Covid-19 and is deemed unsafe, possibly deadly. In fact, immediately following his first public recommendation of the drug, a couple took up the challenge and died as a result. True believers of Trump, no doubt, and certainly Darwin Award winners. Trump’s recommendation of the disinfectant led to an outcry of ridicule followed by claims from Trump supporters that this was “fake” news disseminated by mainstream media which claim Trump himself inadvertently discredited by saying it was a question asked “sarcastically” to see how the media would respond. Yeah, right. Between Bolsonaro and Trump, narcissistic blowhards who imagine themselves geniuses and god’s invincible gifts to humankind, it’s difficult to imagine any other world leader more dangerous to their own or to the world. In the area of absurdity, neither need fear losing the race. But their words and deeds have consequences that will add to the burden of overstrained systems not only in health, but also in society generally threatening policing, justice, civil behaviour, our vision of democracy, governance and race relations.

Now Trump did not create racism. But he does add elements to it and there are far too many willing to take his lead. He thinks nothing of throwing out muck to see where it lands and what the reaction will be. In 2017, during the Unite the Right rally on Charlottesville, Virginia, when a white supremacist supporter drove a vehicle into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, injuring several and killing a woman, Trump’s response was not of condemnation of the racists and the killing but of soft-peddling what happened claiming the act an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides”. In other words, the racist white supremacist movement was as much a victim as those injured and killed! With that, you knew where Trump stood and from whom he sought support.  

His image has not improved since Charlottesville. With the riots following the May 26 arrest and public and painful asphyxiation death of George Floyd, black, compliant and in distress, pleading, “I can’t breathe,” his last words, Trump tweeted an infamous phrase dating to the time of the race riots of the 60s by a notorious Miami lawman, Walter E. Headley, during the race wars of the 60s, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Headley also boasted, “we don’t mind being accused of police brutality”. That was in 1967. That’s the thug for you and certainly Trump’s kind of man. Fifty-three years. So, what’s changed? 

The riots that followed Floyd’s death are disturbing, often beginning peacefully in many instances but by nightfall transformed into full-fledged acts of violence, rocks and bottles thrown at police and canisters of tear gas and rubber bullets turned on the protesters. It cannot be stated with certainty but, as with past experiences during peace marchers that degraded into violence, the cause of the turn to violence can be guessed. Outsiders, provocateurs from the alt-right with their own vile agenda of racial and religious intolerance, or just plain lowlife opportunistic thieves, thugs and jerks eager to disrupt and destroy, setting fires to cars and businesses that they loot. For those with an agenda, usually that of whipping up anti-black, anti-left, sentiment to more deeply entrench the impression too many are all too willing to embrace: this is what blacks and the left do, exploit a death as excuse to riot, loot, destroy and kill. It doesn’t help when videos appear lending credence to the stereotype showing thugs, many of them black, destroying property and running from burning buildings loaded with stolen goods. But what does, we hope, are those images captured of protesters, black and white, coming to the aid of two cops attacked by thugs and forming a protective circle around them. Racists will remain unmoved by this, consider such images of co-operative action as blacks currying favour from a liberal society and whites having sold out. 

In some quarters, there is justifiable anger over the silence from the White House following Trump comments that summon up more memories of the race riots of the 60s, threatening to set vicious dogs on the protesters whom he labels as anarchists and thugs; some are, but the majority are just decent folks who have had enough of police brutality, of white supremacists crying victimhood, of Donald Trump appealing to the very worst in voters while dismissing the history and pain of blacks, First Nations peoples and every other marginalized member that makes up America. With Trump, there is no attempt to reach out, to understand, to even appreciate what is happening. When he did reach out to the Floyd family, he apparently thought it a good call calling the Floyds “a terrific family”. But how could he know that when victim George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, stated “It was so fast, he didn’t even give me the opportunity to speak”? 

This is a man with so little in the way of intelligence, insight, ability or desire for self-examination and reflection, he pours gasoline on flames rather than considering the pause button. The rioting following the death of George Floyd, likely exacerbated by the heat, by all the anxiety surrounding Covid-19, the loss of jobs, the forced social distancing, the deaths which seems to target the poorest, including blacks, is likely good news for Trump allowing him to feed the fires of hate and intolerance which seems to be the makeup of a large segment of the Republican base. They are all victims. Lest there be any doubts, he avowed he will declare the ANTIFA (anti-facists), a leaderless movement of anti-fascist activists, a terrorist organization. Evidently the extreme-right, made up of thugs, racists, gun loving, government hating morons have a lot to fear and need protection. With Trump at the helm, Neo-Nazis and fascists need not worry. Even when they practice racial and religious hatred with thuggery, evidently, they’re not all that bad.

The rise of racism is extremely troubling, not because it’s a new phenomenon, it’s not, but because folks like Donald Trump and his sycophantic followers have unleashed the dogs giving permission to others to play the role of victim, to lay the blame of one’s own failure at another’s door often accompanied by disclaimers: “But I’m not a racist”. Of course, they’re not. The fat slob who dragged a befuddled senior in his nineties from a Vancouver corner store while hurling racial slurs was not a racist when he threw him on to the sidewalk. Nor was that punk, Vancouver again, when he punched an unsuspecting woman, another elder, in the head. Nor were Stephen Harper, Kellie Leitch, Chris Alexander, Andrew Scheer, and the rest of the Conservative gang when they promised to pass the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act in 2015 if re-elected. With that act, Harper and Conservative party targeted Muslims fomenting the flames of ignorance, fear, and intolerance. Harper and gang lost that election. Even so, that didn’t prevent Quebec’s François Legault, from pushing for and passing his own law in 2019 targeting Muslims, banning the wearing of religious symbols by public servants. I am confident he would say he is not a racist, as well. They just play to the victim sentiment who want to see the folks that screwed them punished. Naturally racism doesn’t enter into the picture. For the self-pitying victim, little persuasion is needed but affirmation of his suffering pleases. It’s nice to know one’s victimhood is acknowledged: You’re right, foreigners are taking your jobs, getting special treatment as your debts mount and your pain increases. It doesn’t matter that you don’t want to scrub piss from filthy washrooms, don’t want to clean up granny wallowing in feces as she whines and dies, don’t want to work fifteen hours doing farm work, that’s for others; we’ve got your back and just can’t have those swarthy, brown-skinned, foreign-speaking, turban-wearing, barbaric, blood-drinking pagans taking your God-given rights to a job, a decent wage, and our white, righteous way of life! And let’s not talk about our pure, white women which you and I know they all want! 

And, of course, we have another set of losers, the so-called members of the in-cel movement, those self-pitying sad-sack whiners who likely spend their days playing video games and their nights looking at their faces in the mirror and whining about not getting laid. But that’s understandable, it’s not their fault, boo-hoo-hoo. The women today are too picky; they don’t like polite young men who love their mothers (dog, cat, take your pick); they don’t like their own kind, they prefer the exotic, you know, blacks, foreigners, not good-looking white boys like you with your pimply face, whiney lips and snot of self-pity dripping down your shirt. It probably doesn’t occur to these losers that women may, just may, want more than boring, nice, stupid, uninteresting, excuse-making, shy, meek, unambitious, video-playing, self-pitying nerdish victims.   

There is too much time wasted on hate and blame. It’s time we all look at each other, look past the colours of our skins, look towards understanding our roles in this life. Why must we be enemies when friendship can offer so much more including security? What makes you so different from me? Or me you? Of what are we afraid when we look at each other? Why can’t I talk to you or you me without that tightness in the throat telling me I am afraid? And why do you fear me? What holds us back? What can we learn? 

Why should it be so difficult for one of us to say, “Tell me your story and, if you wish, I’ll tell you mine.” 

Who knows, we may have more in common than we believe. But, tell me how others have screwed you all your life? Not interested.

Update: Hours after posting this, Trump appeared on the White House lawn to finally address the interaction between protesters and police. He did not play the role of conciliator seeking a solution or co-operation. Instead, he labelled the protesters as largely ANTIFA, thugs, criminals in the brief statement in which he declared himself the “law and order” president, and that every state would call in the National Guards to impose curfews. Those states refusing to do so would be secured by the military. While this was happening, protesters nearby were forcefully cleared by guardsmen so that Trump could triumphantly walk from the White House to a nearby church where he could engage in a photo-op holding a bible. Not too subtle nor surprising but extraordinary nonetheless. If the black community and supporters hoped for something better, they must surely have been disappointed.

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But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

***

They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

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