Categories for Musings

This tweet about a ridiculous Scheer tweet struck a chord

72,000 impressions and counting.

This isn’t the first time the Conservative leader’s social media has misfired. He needs to take a look at that.

Doug Ford makes a smart pick

Our friend Jenni Byrne is heading to Premier Ford’s office, in a big role. Smart pick.

Ontario Premier-designate Doug Ford has tapped a senior staffer from Stephen Harper’s government to be one of his top advisors, say sources closely linked to the Progressive Conservatives.

Jenni Byrne will be Ford’s principal secretary, according to four sources who spoke with iPolitics on condition of anonymity.Byrne did not reply to a request for comment and neither did the party.

The job of principal secretary was dragged out of obscurity by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he appointed his advisor Gerald Butts to the job in 2015. One source said Byrne’s principal secretary role will be “substantive,” with staff reporting to her at the premier’s office.

Of the staff appointments that iPolitics has been told about, Byrne has the most extensive experience working in government. Her year’s on the federal scene are viewed by several sources as having a steadying force on the mostly rookie government. Ford’s chief of staff Dean French is a close ally to the premier-designate but hasn’t played a prominent role in political circles since the 1990s.

My advice: kick Trump in the nuts

That’s my considered diplomatic advice. From next week’s Hill Times column:

At a press conference held to mark the end of the Parliamentary sitting, Trudeau gave the sort of verbal shrug for which his father became well-known. 

“We continue to make sure that our folks are in regular contact, we continue to work on NAFTA negotiations,” Trudeau said. “I think the next time that I’ll see [Trump] will be at the NATO summit in Brussels and I look forward to continuing to have a constructive relationship with him in which I will continue to stand up for Canadian interests.”

“I believe it’s clear the way we have engaged with the president has been the right one.”

Well, actually, no.  It hasn’t been, at all.

If he is anything at all, Donald Trump is a thug.  Being a thug, he admires thuggery.  Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: those are the men whom Trump most admires.  The ones who are decent, and civil, and play by the rules – like Justin Trudeau, like Angela Merkel, like Emmanuel Macron – are door mats, on which Trump routinely wipes his feet.  He holds them in contempt.

When Trump “won” the U.S. Electoral College with three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, frantic bureaucrats and diplomats around the world scrambled to type up memoranda about what lay ahead.  The peered into the dark, dank recesses of the space where Trump’s brain is supposed to be, and they came up with a strategy that can be summarized in one word: flattery.

Suck up to Trump, they advised.  Kiss his flabby posterior, they said.  It will work.

It didn’t.

Others, like this writer, always had a different view: strongmen admire strength. Aggressors respond to aggression. Having cut his teeth in the take-no-prisoners world of New York City real estate – having literally become a star on a TV show whose principal purpose was humiliating people in prime time – Donald Trump was never going to abruptly change course, and adopt the Marquess of Queensberry rules. 

Having achieved the presidency by being an angry, racist, pussy-grabbing creep, Donald Trump was never going to stop being angry, racist, pussy-grabbing creep.

Justice, conscience, law

This clip from The Ox Bow Incident is why I became a lawyer.  I watched it when I was a kid, and this part – the part with Henry Fonda reading a wrongly-executed man’s letter to his wife – stayed with me.  It changed me.  Take a couple minutes and watch it.

The time in which we are all living is not a movie, of course. Terrible, terrible things are happening now, right now, in real life. Powerful people are committing unspeakable crimes against those without power.  It is not a movie; it is not a debate on Facebook.

All of us are being judged, right now.  In the years to come, people will be judged for what they did do, and what they didn’t do.  All of us.

What have I done, to express my conscience – to give effect to the law and to justice?  Well, not much; not nearly enough. I have written a book, one that directly addresses this new dark age, and it describes what I increasingly believe is the only way out.  Lisa and I and some of our kids are going the States in a few weeks, to again be unpaid volunteers for Democrats in mid-term election races.  And, this Summer, we plan to hold a rally against racism and hate that is growing right here where we live.

Is any of that enough?  Probably not.  But it’s something.

What isn’t enough is a tweet, or a hashtag, or a Facebook link.  You have to do more than that.  As I said at the Merv Leitch Memorial Lecture in Alberta this year:

In the Internet era, where trolls sit in their in their Mom’s basement and spew hate at women and Jews and Muslims and anyone who isn’t like them, you need to do one thing above all: show up. A tweet isn’t enough. A Facebook link isn’t enough. In Canada, with those who are pushing the Trump and Brexit plan, that means peacefully confronting them on the stump or at their offices, and doing all that you can to put their election or re-election in peril. That’s what keeps them up at night. Show up, and make them worry. As Tip O’Neill said: all politics is local. So give the other side a problem that is local and that isn’t going away.

Laws don’t give us a civil society. Our conscience, and our sense of justice, does that.

Act on your conscience, now. You – all of us – are being measured by history.

Why won’t Canada denounce this? Why? (UPDATED!)

It’s the story that made Maddow cry on air.

Read it, here.

And – now – we are also being told that these children are orphans now – they will never be reunited with their parents again.

Trump administration officials have been sending babies and other young children forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border to at least three “tender age” shelters in South Texas, The Associated Press has learned.

Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the Rio Grande Valley shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis. The government also plans to open a fourth shelter to house hundreds of young migrant children in Houston, where city leaders denounced the move Tuesday.

In recent days, some have taken me to task for likening this American regime to Nazis. For saying I hate them. I don’t care: they are like Nazis. And I do hate them.

But what I think doesn’t matter. I’m just a guy with a web site.

What matters is what people with power do and say.

And, so: when will my government – the Canadian government – will finally speak out on this?


UPDATE: And Trudeau condemned it! That is such, such good news.  Proud Canadian, here.