#TBT: never-before-seen Hot Nasties pix!

What better way to help everyone forget about the pandemic and barricades and Trump than…publishing ultra-rare Hot Nasties photos!

These were taken in 1978 or so, in Ras Pierre’s basement in Lake Bonavista. That’s him on six strings, Winkie Nuclear Age Smith on four strings, and Just Plain Tom Edwards keeping the beat. Sane Wayne Ahern is over on the other side somewhere.

The bottom photo is one of me being interviewed by a writer for Music Express. Turns out she was also Button Cummings’ girlfriend. Small world, etc.

I laughed when I saw the hands thoughtfully steepled. Not very punk rock, maaaaan.

Anyway. There you go. I helped you forget about how shitty everything is for a minute or two. You’re welcome.

Yours Screwly in a Calgary suburban basement in ’78, and 42 years later at the Bovine Sex Club in Toronto. Some guys never grow up.


#JoeMentum! #SuperTuesday2! @JoeBiden visits @DaisyGrp!

As a public service, I again watched last night’s proceedings on CNN, and reported my impressions on the Twitter machine.  As Joe racked up big win after big win, I started grinning, thinking about how I’m going to name and shame everyone who mocked me for supporting Joe Biden for years.

Herewith and hereupon, however, my assorted Twitter impressions, including my now-standard fun exchange with CNN’s Jake Tapper:


My latest: washing your hands is smart politics

A press conference.

In the Spring of 2003, the coronavirus variant called SARS was raging, killing many Canadians, making them sick. So Ontario’s health minister, Tony Clement, held a press conference.

Standing in front of the assembled media, this is all he did: he washed his hands.

Washing your hands thoroughly, Clement said, was one of the best ways to keep the virus from circulating.

That’s it. A press conference about washing your hands.

Some of us Ontario Liberals, preparing for an election that was just a few months away, snickered. A press conference to show people how to wash their hands? Seriously?

The next day, we weren’t laughing so much. Our campaign manager – a pollster – told us that the Progressive Conservative government’s numbers, which had been lagging for months, surged after Clement’s press conference.

The Tories became more popular, he said. A lot more popular. Because of a press conference about washing one’s hands.

Voters really liked what Tony Clement did in his press conference, the pollster said. They didn’t think a cabinet minister washing his hands was in any way funny.

“They think it’s what government should be doing in a situation like this,” he said.

Seventeen years later, the question is relevant once again. What is the proper role of government as coronavirus’ variant, CORVID-19, sickens and kills thousands around the globe? What should government, and our leaders, do?

Donald Trump, the titular president of the United States, says the virus will be gone when it gets warmer. His designated fake news spokesperson, Kelly-Anne Conway, says that the sickness has been contained. His vice-president says that a vaccine is imminent.

It’s all lies, however. Coronavirus will not dissipate simply because Winter is turning to Spring. Nor is a vaccine at hand – most experts agree it is more than a year away. And nor has the virus been confined. It is, instead, spreading everywhere: across the United States, people are dying, and states are declaring themselves to be states of emergency.

In Canada, it is slightly different. To his credit, Justin Trudeau has not personally made any dubious or reckless claims. Instead, he has left those to his ministers. His Minister of Health, for example, initially said the coronavirus was not something to worry about. That’s what she said.

“The risk to Canadians is low,” Patty Hajdu said at the end of January. “We’re working with provinces and territories to ensure we’re prepared.”

The risk, however, is clearly not “low.” It is significant, experts say. Coronavirus is like the flu, say the experts, except on steroids. It is far more deadly than the flu, too, and the flu kills about 4,000 Canadians every year. Do the math.

In any event, that’s what Patty Hajdu said. A few days later, she said something entirely different.

Go stockpile food and medicine, Hajdu said. Go hoard it, in effect.

“Low risk,” one day. “Hoard food and medicine,” a few day later.

So, people started to do just that. At Costcos and Walmarts, from sea to sea to sea, some frightened Canadians dutifully emptied shelves of toilet paper and disinfectant wipes and food. They heard what Patty Hajdu said, and they took her advice.

Appalling and foolhardy: the bookends to Patty Hajdu’s communications strategy – which is, distilled down to its base elements, “don’t worry at all but worry a lot” – are simply that. The Canadian government’s approach isn’t as bad, perhaps, as America’s. But it’s close.

Here’s the thing: none of us are experts, except the experts. With people dying, with people getting really sick, it is critical that governments and politicians heed the experts. It is important that they carefully weigh what they say and do. It is imperative that they don’t needlessly alarm people, or recklessly dismiss the risks.

Want to help out, Messrs. Trump and Trudeau? Hold a press conference about how to wash our hands properly.

That, at least, you can do, right?


Closure


‪“Just break me into small parts‬
‪Let go in small doses‬
‪But spare some for spare parts‬
‪You might make a dollar.”

Great song on a great day. Ode to freedom.


Failure-ology

Why did Justin Trudeau lose a million votes in the 2019 election? Why did he lose his majority? Why did he lose his standing in the world, and with Canadians?

Because of LavScam.  Because of the Aga Khan, and unbalanced budgets, and no electoral reform, and serial scandals.  Because of things he did personally, too: Aga Khan, LavScam, and Gropegate, and elbowing a female MP, and blackface, and the unrelenting solipsism and conceits.

All that.  But it has been the arrogance of Trudeau and his cabal, too.  Konrad Yakabuski writes up an indictment about that, here.  Highlights below.

One of the great ironies of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is that it has proved so ineffective in the one area where it so emphatically promised to outdo its predecessors.

It was always presumptuous on the part of Mr. Trudeau and his former principal secretary, Gerald Butts, to suggest they would run a more effective government than any of those that came before them. But by dropping the ball so spectacularly on so many key files, Mr. Trudeau’s Prime Minister’s Office set itself up for the failure that has now befallen it.

…The Trudeau PMO has never seemed clear on its own priorities. So how could it expect the senior bureaucracy to be clear on them? At both the micro-policy level (electoral reform, balancing the budget by 2019) and macro-policy level (reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, supporting economic growth while fighting climate change), the Trudeau government has continually sent mixed signals to the bureaucracy about how seriously it takes its own promises.

When it has sprung into action, the Trudeau PMO has typically made a mess of it. The SNC-Lavalin affair, which started out with a straightforward move to bring Canadian law on deferred prosecution agreements in line with that of other developed countries, nearly destroyed Mr. Trudeau’s government all because the PMO failed to abide by its own deliverology credo.

It is perhaps no coincidence that the Trudeau government’s most notable successes – the implementation of the Canada Child Benefit and medical aid in dying, and the negotiation of new health-care funding agreements with the provinces – were overseen by low-key ministers who kept their eyes on the ball rather than their Twitter feeds. Social Development Minister Jean- Yves Duclos and Jane Philpott, Mr. Trudeau’s first health minister, were focused on results, not retweets.

Overall, however, execution has proved to be the Achilles heel of this government. It has proved inept at buying fighter planes or fixing the Phoenix pay system. It promised a bigger role for Canada in global affairs but has earned a reputation abroad for being fickle and stingy. The Canada Infrastructure Bank extends its record for overpromising and underdelivering.

Indeed, the scariest words in Canadian English may have become: “I’m from the Trudeau government, and I’m here to help.”