Secessionists are Alive and Well

When Bannon and Trump began their rise to power, I thought that it was a bit of a bad joke. After all, what intelligent nation could fall for the alt-right fake news spewing from Breitbart and the ravings of a delusional megalomaniac who wanted to be King.

I was so wrong. It turns out there were enough disenfranchised, and/or ignorant, and/or unemployed, and/or alt-right white Americans and a dysfunctional Electoral College to elect a President who is now starring in the best rated comedy/drama/tragedy show on cable television. As one late night pundit observed, this is the first time in history we don’t have to write anything to get a laugh – we just show the video and play the audio and print out the tweets.

It would be laughable except for one thing. The white nationalist, white supremacist, alt-right agenda of this sad new truly White House is not Union but Secession. The enablers of this agenda included at one time or another Steve Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos, Sebastian Gorka, Alex Jones, Dan Scaravino, Julie Kirchner, and of course Donald  Trump Jr. and Sr.

Milo Yiannopoulos from Breitbart News didn’t last long into Trump’s presidency, his extremism being too difficult to ignore. But Bannon, the true architect of Breitbart’s alt-right agenda continued to contaminate the national agenda until the horror in Charlottesville, Virginia revealed his true intentions: the revival and ascendency of white political supremacy – in other words, a new Civil War.

The mob of well-organized Nazis, KKK clansmen, and alt-right ideologues that marched to defend the glorification of defeated Confederate icons were not marching to support the United States of America. They were marching to advance white nationalism. The White House support for that cause was clarified by the president’s attempt to bring moral equivalency to the Nazis and those opposing the Nazis. Remember World War 2 when the Allies were the good guys?

When it became obvious that the tide of public opinion and political support from business and industry were turning, Steve Bannon was fired as a Trump advisor. Now a wiser man might have bowed out quietly to give thoughtful time to his next moves. But an unchained Bannon proved to be a megalomaniac equal to the president: he declared he was free to use his weapons (fake news hate speech from Breitbart), declared “the Trump presidency over” (actually that is going to take Impeachment and prosecution, or resignation), and promised to “crush the opposition”.  Make America Hate Again.

Now at this point it is hard to tell if Breitbart News, which I have renamed Reichbarf News, is going to attack just the Trump White House, or all those moderates who seek to protect the United States of America, and/or try to incite another secessionist civil war to promote white political supremacy. Or maybe, just maybe, it may just disappear in an ever decreasing spiral of negativity chasing its own hateful tail.

Never forget, the purpose of the secessionists of the Civil War was to preserve slavery, promote the independence of States over Union, and ensure political liberty for whites. When a Confederate statue stands, it celebrates those goals. When a Confederate statue is removed and stored in a history museum, it celebrates freedom, social justice, and political equality for all.

Be very, very careful America. The secessionists are alive and well, and more dangerous than ever now that they are wounded.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

p.s. Breitbart roughly translated from the German means: to spread fake news

On Losing the Moral Authority to Govern

It happened to Britain and Prime Minister David Lloyd George  on April 13, 1919, when Indian troops under the command of Brigadier General Reginald ‘‘Rex’’ Dyer fired on demonstrators in a walled garden in the city of Amritsar in the Punjab. 379 people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded in the Amritsar Massacre.

It happened to the United States of America and President Donald John Trump on August 12, 2017 when Trump failed to name the white supremacists, white nationalists, KKK, Nazis, and Alt-Right racists in his response to the violence that erupted that day in Charlottesville, Virginia. Instead, Trump tried to place the blame “on many sides” rather than offend these deplorables who form the most despicable of his base.

Let’s name them, Donald:

Jason Kessler, American hate speech author who organized this “Unite the Alt-Right Rally”

David Duke, KKK, who said yesterday, “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump.”

Richard Spencer, president of the white nationalist alt-right National Policy Institute, best known for leading followers in Nazi salutes while chanting, “Hail Trump.”

Matthew Heimback, white nationalist and neo-Nazi who started the Youth for Western Civilization and White Student Union while at university in Maryland.

Mike “Enoch” Peinovich, alt-right, anti-Semitic podcaster and blogger.

Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet, rapper – maybe only half-baked … enough said.

All should be charged with treason and as accomplices to murder, not have their hateful actions dismissed with a morally indefensible “on many sides” Presidential Pardon of their well-orchestrated violent march in Virginia. Your true colours are on display now for all to see, Donald. If you defend the bullies, you are the bully.

My father was a Hurricane fighter pilot in WW2. While defending our freedom over the skies of Europe he got shot down and spent nearly 4 years under the heel of the Nazi jackboot in Stalug Luft III prisoner of war camp, digging tunnels for the Great Escape.

You don’t get a pass on this one. So, Donald, either get out and push for our freedoms, or get out!

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Skid Crease, Caledon

 

 

Jon Snow, You Know Everything

This was the summer of our great cross-Canada camping trip through the National Parks for Canada’s 150th (Travelogue coming in the next posting). The only drawback was … missing the opening of Season 7 of Game of Thrones. So, as soon as we got home at the beginning of August and cleaned up our gear, I caught up on the first two episodes, and then got the third as it was released – the long awaited meeting of Fire and Ice.

Now, for those who are not followers, I apologize, but for a storyteller this series is superb. The lessons for those watching today’s real  and fake news stories unfolding daily on the Trump Show are cautionary tales indeed. But, as a practicing environmental science educator, the lessons from the last episode were particularly pertinent. Jon Snow is trying to explain the deadly dangers coming from the North now that Winter is Here, and the chaos that will ensue if we are not ready. He asks the same question that every scientist studying accelerating climate change around the world has been asking since 1988: “How do I convince people who don’t know me that an enemy they don’t believe in is coming to kill them all?

We are going to need a lot of dragonglass, Jon Snow.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

 

p.s. On a more humorous note, when I returned I heard that the Twit Who Cannot Be Named had fabricated a story about getting supportive calls from the Mexican Boy Scouts. I have the Mexican Boys Scouts response here as verified by Truthful Hyperbole International: “Presidente Trump, ¡Eres un loco!

Canada Goes Low, Low Carbon Economy that is …

We should not just consume hydrocarbon fuel but use it to develop nuclear energy, hydro power and renewable energy sources.”  Vladimir Putin

Without passion you don’t have energy, without energy you have nothing.” Donald Trump

History makes strange bedfellows. If these two could only get together, we wouldn’t be trying to reopen the coal mines in Virginia. Putin, of course, is absolutely right. It makes no sense to pump fossil fuel effluent up the chimneys of poorly insulated dwellings, or out the tailpipes of fuel inefficient vehicles. That last gasp of the oil industry should be used to power the engines of research and development into a renewable energy economy so that we can safely make the transition.

Then, with a hybrid mix of nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydrogen and as yet undiscovered energy sources, we keep the energy flowing. We certainly don’t want to be caught looking at the last lump of coal as the lights flicker off. Leave the rest of the oil in the ground, the gas unfracked, and the coal reserved. Future generations may need it someday … like after a nuclear winter. When all the power goes out and the all the computers shut down, it’s nice to have a pencil to write by candlelight.

And that is exactly what Minister of Foreign Affairs, Christia Freeland, and Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna announced last week in two separate events. Their combined quotes would sound like this:

“We will set our own clear and sovereign course … all provinces and territories agreed in the Vancouver declaration with the Prime Minister that we needed to have a credible plan with serious actions that would meet our international obligations in the Paris Climate Accord. The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change represents that plan and we will be supporting provinces and territories that have signed up for the plan.”

In other words, Oh Canada, we are charting our own course, and Manitoba and Saskatchewan had better get on board.

So, what exactly does this Low Carbon Economy plan mean to the average Canadian, and to the mitigation of accelerating climate change concerns? It means that if you want to pollute you are going to pay more for energy. If you are energy efficient, you are going to pay less. It means that our two holdout provinces in the Prairies will be burning coal, gas and oil while the rest of the country glows in renewable energy development. Manitoba and Saskatchewan have one year to see the solar light and sign-on. Otherwise their monies are doled out to the other provinces.

There will, of course, be the standard incentives of rebates for energy efficient retrofits for home and business, and for pursuing clean energy options for industry. As a consumer, as always, we have the choice of buying a Prius or a Hummer. We have the choice of landscaping our homes with water efficient plantings and native species, or turf grass and tulips. We have the choice of supporting a government that is committed to a clean energy future, or a fossil fuel nightmare. If the price on carbon (that should go into the Low Carbon Economy Fund) is the stick, then these incentives are the carrots.

The first carrot is a $600-million Low Carbon Economy Challenge for industry and public sector projects, to be launched this fall and doled out on a merit-based, project-by-project basis. From there, the Fund provides about $1.5 billion per participating Province to make the transition to a sustainable energy, low carbon economy. This should translate into jobs, new industry, and a cleaner local environment. But remember, there is no filter up the Ohio Valley if Trump goes Virginia coal crazy. When those winds of sulphuric acid change blow into Ontario and Quebec, there is little that our Low Carbon Economy can do to stop the acid rain.

Overall, for the health of the planet, our policies mean very little. But there is a moral victory in our declaration of independence, and the recognition of our global interdependence. The justifiable pride we can take provincially, nationally and internationally is invaluable.  It is our Canadian symbolic gesture of intelligent leadership to say to our fellow True North citizens and generations to come that we tried to do something wise. On the contrary, the Trump administration seems consumed with the Easter Island Syndrome: use it all up until it’s all gone and let the 1% die rich.

When the chaos down south became apparent, Justin Trudeau wisely met with some of the world’s top business leaders. The message was clear: we have a stable banking system, we have respect for diversity, and we are open for business that is sustainable, forward thinking, and energy efficient.

With this Low Carbon Economy announcement, Trudeau has said to the world, not only are we honouring our global commitments, but we are leading the way. An international community that is rapidly turning away from the uncertainty of U.S. policies is now looking to Canada as the stable North American leader. In Green We Trust.

As a footnote, for those who don’t normally watch his show, I would suggest that readers find this week’s broadcast of John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” on HBO. In it, he gave a scathing exposé of the spin that has been spread by the Trump administration around the myths of coal cleanliness, increase in miner’s jobs and safety, and the integrity of coal mine owners. The outright lies, fudging of figures, and deceit of the President, the Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the coal industry CEOs is almost beyond belief.

Murray Energy Corporation sent a letter to John Oliver threatening to sue and demanding that he “cease and desist” from any defamation of the coal industry. Oliver’s response, and ours, “We will not cease and desist.” Ever.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closer to the Sacred Spaces

I was driven to write this post after seeing a commercial showing children and adults sitting on a dock  surrounded by spectacular lake views, all looking at their black mirror phones and tablets. I think that borders on obscenity. For certain sacrilege.

Last weekend, my family and I went camping at Point Farms Provincial Park in Goderich. The drive to Southern Ontario’s “West Coast” was absolutely idyllic as we crossed through the Bruce, But it was the shores of Lake Huron that were truly balm for the soul.  After weeks of political analysis for my news articles, I needed this break.

While my youngest son camped with his graduating class at the far end of the Park, and my wife slept in our Teardrop, the dog and I made the 200 step trek down the staircase from the top of the bluff to the beach. We walked for hours on the clean sand and wave washed rocks, and felt the wash of the Great Lakes winds take all our cares away.

Later joined by my wife from time to time, I made that trip up and down seven times over the next two days. We watched sunsets and sunrises, we watched the beach change from a calm waters family playground on Saturday to a wave-pounded, windswept coast line on Sunday morning.

The thought of sitting at a picnic table looking at a cell phone movie just doesn’t fit. We all need to unplug, to unplug our children if just for a while and listen once again, as Father Thomas Berry said, “to the grand liturgy of the universe.” We need to watch the sunrises and sunsets and feel the power of the wind and water.

Now, more than ever, we need to be closer to the sacred spaces.

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Skid Crease, Caledon