Snyder on Tyranny

Timothy Snyder wrote ON TYRANNY and published it in 2017 – just as Trump took office. That was NOT a coincidence. Trump is a tyrant wannabe and Snyder knew it. His very short treatise on Tyranny (126 half-pages) makes for a quick read and much of it is about resisting what Snyder believes is an inevitable threat to, and an inherent weakness in, all democracies. He believes that elections and such invite aspiring tyrant-types.

But all that withstanding, that is not what he emphasized in the book. He mostly emphasized positive steps to take to thwart such tyrants and, at first glance, they seem a bit simplistic.

#1 is: Do Not obey in advance. Basically that means that many people will anticipate the next level of government stricture and follow those ‘suspected’ demands even BEFORE the jack-boots demand it of them. That seems odd…? Don’t you think? And especially so in the US where logical ‘requests’ of social distancing and mask-wearing in the time of Covid are being so often resisted. Still, Bill Barr, the AG, is a perfect example of following his leader’s wishes without the leader having to state those wishes. Same for the whole White House cabinet, the GOP and, to some extent, same for the police, the Homeland Security and the Border Patrol staff. Those folks are quick to oppress ‘the people’ and they are not being instructed on a day-to-day basis. Trump set the mood and the oppressors are eager to be let loose on the populace! In many ways, the Bubba militas are also warming up to the new regime and we are hearing of conflict within the larger society as well. Everywhere.

#2 is the instruction to defend our institutions. He claims that our institutions are decent and that rejecting them supports tyranny. We should ‘take ownership’ of our favourite institution and we should defend it. Like Sid does on Education and others do on Healthcare. I am guilty of NOT doing that. I believe part of democracy is fair criticism of ‘entrenched’ institutions and that we have to continue to remake them to keep them responsive to changing needs. Having said that, they can’t be responsive if they are gone. Trump is a wrecking ball for institutions. When he can’t attack them directly, he appoints idiots to head them up and, in that way, they will also fail. Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education and Sonny Purdue in Agriculture are classic examples of corrosive and destructive management. Hell, under Trump’s watch the citizenry is seriously considering defunding the police! And so it goes.

#3 is: Beware the one-party state. Duh. That is hardly a revelation, Tim. However, if you don’t take stating the obvious as the real lesson but, rather, variations on it, then there is something to be said for #3. In the US the hoi polloi has often not voted simply because “They are all the same crooks just with different coloured ties.” In other words: the establishment is ONE party. I half-agree with that and find another aspect of one-party tyranny also at play when the Republicans could thwart Obama on Supreme Court nominations and yet push through their own. Even as Trump dispenses with Congress and resorts to government by executive order that same one man/party rule is being exercised. Even though they and we have more than one party it doesn’t look or feel that way.

Snyder went on to write 20 separate ‘observations’ about tyranny and, as the days go by, they are all being manifested before our eyes. He was right.
I won’t bore you with the entire list but there are two more that stand out for me.

#13: practice corporeal politics. “What the Hell does that mean?” Snyder maintains that tyranny requires sloth and complacency to flourish. He advises that we get out, do stuff, volunteer, work, show up, get away from the screens and the Laz-y-boys. He advocates for community action of a physical kind. That kind of advice seems indirect and a waste of energy on the face of it. How can helping your community distribute food stop the likes of Trump? Still, as odd as it may sound, he is right. We do that out here and it it makes us stronger. We will never be strong but being active in the community is definitely empowering everyone in it.

#20 is a bit extreme and gruesome: Be courageous. “If none of us is prepared to die for freedom then all of us will die under tyranny.” I am in no position to agree or disagree with that (being alive) but, so far, he’s been right and I’ll assume he is right on this, too. I am not so sure that I am prepared to be a Patrick Henry (“Give me Liberty or give me Death!”)but I do think having the courage to speak up is a requirement. I’ll hide behind Sal if it gets scary. She has the courage.

Care, caution, paranoia….will it help?

Sal’s mom is in her 90’s.  Our newest grandchild is just closing in on 8 months.  And we were going to visit them this week.  In theory, we are safe.  In fantasy theory.  Even though Sal and I have isolated for months, all those people with whom we include in our very small ‘bubble’ have not.  That means we have not.  We are clearly low-risk but we are not no-risk.  We called yesterday to postpone our trip for yet another pure-isolation period.  We’ll go in 14 days.

How could two, senior stay-at-homes on a remote island separated by water from normal traffic and having little or nothing to do with the outside world STILL be a risk?  Simple: my daughter came to visit from Alberta two weeks ago.  Her visit was factored into the schedule to allow for us the required ‘break’ before visiting family this week.  But then a friend came up (sailing), stayed for three days and basically interrupted our isolation period.  Start the clock again.  And our neighbour loaned his cabin to two pleasant people and we picked them up in our boat.  Technically, our isolation was ‘set back’ again at that point.  Then, of course, Sal attends the food distribution program on Fridays and, technically, sets it all back again every time.

And yesterday Sal went to bookclub.

None of the ‘encounters’ were with people showing any kind of symptoms but, on the other hand, there is a lot of pollen in the air and some people sneezed.  Covid?  Or pollen?

And all the social distancing etiquette we practice just can’t hold up when people stay in your home.  We all tried.  No hugs.  Six feet apart.  Socialize outside (and we have a pleasant breeze most of the time to assist)….but then I hand them a glass of wine, we eat dinner together, we ride in the boat together…..it is simply impossible to be ‘good’ for more than a few hours – life and living just gets in the way.

Now bear in mind that Sal and I and most of the locals are more isolated than most people and, being retired, are not as engaged with ‘the larger society’ anyway.  Most of us sport masks if we do rub shoulders with the hoi polloi but none of that makes you ‘pure’, it just makes you less compromised at best and still a carrier at worst.  Two old people living OTG for months still cannot be sure of their health in the age of Covid.

When it comes to infants and grannies, we have to be.

As mentioned before, almost the majority of our community is a senior.  47% are 65 or older.  If you count ‘senior’ as 55+ then it is the majority.  And, if you factor in the average age (likely 55+) then we are getting past senior and into bucket-list.

All this is not particularly interesting information, I know.  But it makes me wonder how they (us) will ever get C-19 fully under control if even folks like us cannot be sure of non-transmission.  I am not the risk that a waiter or a teacher or a bus driver poses.  I am not the risk that presents every day to urban people in the least.  But I am NOT pure.  And, if I am not pure, and Sal is not pure, and our community is not pure….the rest of the world is definitely still very much at risk.

Accidental Residents and the New Stormtroopers

Back in early 2017 Sal and I wrote a somewhat prescient novel regarding Trump(post election but pre-inauguration), HomeLand Security, immigrants, old folks and the US border services. As part of the fiction we employed pertinent background ‘facts’ and one of them was the ‘out-of-control’ police actions being done overtly and covertly against our Accidental Fugitives, Charlie and Nancy Moon. We enjoyed writing it and we tried to make it so that a cheap B, shoot-em up movie might come from it. The book tanked. No one bought it. Bummer.

Still, we had fun. And we even had fun being rejected. “Why would you not carry our book?” “Well, it’s political. It’s fiction. And we don’t want to be part of anyone’s dystopia especially when it is not true.” “Fair enough. Good luck with that.”

In effect, they said we were exaggerating to the point of fantasy and being potentially divisive. Those were American rejections. But sadly, that is now the American reality.

The below article introduction and link was in the Guardian today. By the way, the Guardian allows a reprint so long as they are credited properly…..and there is no profit to be derived therefrom which, as any of my readers know, profit is non-existent on my blog. I should be good.

A remarkable and nightmarish scene playing out in Portland should terrify anyone who cares about the US constitution: unmarked vans full of camouflaged and unidentified federal agents are pulling up next to protesters on street corners, then snatching and arresting them with no explanation.

If this were happening in Venezuela or Iran, the US government would be threatening international sanctions. Since it’s happening in the US, Trump’s acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary is defending the decision and even promising more.

The stories from witnesses and those who have been picked up by the unmarked vans – apparently being operated by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which is under DHS’s control – are downright terrifying. One victim told the New York Times: “One of the officers said, ‘It’s OK, it’s OK,’ and just grabbed me and threw me into the van. Another officer pulled my beanie down, so I couldn’t see.”

The article by Trevor Timm continues…… https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/18/portland-oregon-federal-officers-trump-department-homeland-security?utm_term=LTIwMDcxOA%3D%3D&utm_campaign=GuardianTodayUS&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=GTUS_email

As a friend of mine is so fond of saying, “You can’t make this stuff up!”

Well…….we did, actually. We ‘made that stuff up’ and now it is a reality.

When you write a novel, the inevitable question is ‘what happens to the protagonists AFTER the book is done?’ And so, in my mind, I had kinda naturally conjured up a follow-up story. But it was never written because there was no previous audience to the first book. Previous sales of half-a-dozen does not portend well for a sequel. Little did I know that Trump was working on sequels all on his own.

I am considering, ‘ACCIDENTAL REFUGEES’ – why the citizens of the #1 country in the world all migrated away.

Taking off the blinders

Writing about Trump has almost become boring.  The guy is so insane that I doubt that he, himself, will ever get boring but writing about him is getting close.  Just how many trainwrecks does one have to see before not bothering to look?  I am getting close.

Writing about Trudeau is getting to be much the same, too.  Foot-in-mouthism, whiny drama crap, then a sad-eye, squinchy-faced apology.  ”That’s getting to be more than a bit lame, Justy.”

Hearing of idiot ‘leaders’ trying to ‘re-open the economy’ just to have them fall back five steps a week later is also getting tiresome.  Ron DeSantis (R – governor of Florida) has proven beyond incompetent, he is verging on criminal negligence.  Ditto Greg Abbott of Texas but Doug Ford is not trailing them by much.  Arizona and California not much better.  The clear and simple message is their and our leaders are failing us, they are incapable and incompetent and the proof is in the growth of the pandemic and the shrivelling of the economy not to mention the chaos and division in society as a whole. * (see excerpt-article below)

“So, what else is new?” 

Well, I am glad you asked.  This should surprise you: the best country in dealing with the pandemic is rated POOR in health care, ranks 26th, I think.  It has fewer health professionals and fewer hospitals.  It discovered it’s first case in early January (one guy from Wuhan) and they immediately went into total response mode.  They did it all, they did it quickly and they have had no deaths and only a few dozen cases.  Even more surprising, they have a distant neighbouring country that did almost as well under similar conditions.  Vietnam and Taiwan have managed to deal with C-19 better than everyone else and, South Korea and Japan are much closer to a similar situation than say, we are.  We are ‘poor responders’ by comparison and we have been hundreds of times harder hit.  Canada has NOT done well.

“We have done a lot better than the USA!”

True but that is not enough.  That’s just sad.

But this blog is not about lamenting our poor response, nor even our pathetic leaders.  This blog is about something bigger. This blog is about me.  This blog is all about me and Sally and how we are coping.  In a nutshell, we are doing very well, thank you.  No worries.  All is good.

But it is different.  And, more to the point, it will continue to be and grow even more different as we trudge along over the next few (remaining?) years.  The world will never be the same again and maybe that is OK.  Maybe C-19 will simply be viewed as the catalyst for the change that was so desperately needed, that the Bubbas lashed out and voted for Trump.  That vote, it seems, was really a ‘cry for help’, a desperate ‘Hail Mary’, an ignorant and primal response to ‘felt’ danger.  The over-run-with-rats ship of state was sinking and the rats panicked.

I do not have a crystal ball.  I can’t see five years ahead.  But I suspect that five years is the very least amount of time that will be required to ‘stabilize’ the global economy, manage the disease and calm our collective jitters.  And, if that effort is further stalled by fools-in-charge, the five year clock doesn’t even start.

So, to predictions: Sal and I will not be traveling. Amazon and our garden will only get bigger.  Governments will fall.  Some folks will get stinkin’ rich with various pandemic  ‘responses’ and we’ll see a minor baby boom by this time next year.  The cost of living will increase.  Real estate will shift somewhat….commercial properties fall or go flat, suburbs much the same, but small rural towns will become more desirable and thus more expensive.  Working from home will quadruple (or more) in occurrence.  Electric cars will continue to displace ICE vehicles.  Electric bicycles will explode in urban areas.  Even suburban areas.  Maybe even rural areas.  Out-in-the-air transportation will be more popular.  Immigration will continue – even grow.  A ‘new’ generation of TV based entertainment will come along to keep us home and a lot of small moms-and-pops will cease.  So will the restaurant society.  More home cooking.  There may even be a universal income within a few years.

Russia will push somebody too far and will be engaged in a war.  The horror of that statement is that, currently, we are amongst the most-pushed.  Russia keeps encroaching on us to the North.  The very worst is when some idiot decides to mine or ‘develop’ the north.  And the protests will come then but not if the encroacher is another country.  Then Canada will sit back and just take it.  Biden will be overwhelmed.  He’ll do well but not great.  It may be that they cannot Make America Great Again.  I just hope they don’t try too hard – because when they try to be bigger and better, that usually means more wars.

Crime will increase – partly out of desperation, immigration adjustments and increased competition for fewer and fewer jobs.  Partly out of entrenched police ineptness.  Racism will continue to grow.  Domestic terrorism will continue to grow.  But smaller communities will ‘pull together’.

More on future-casting to come……………suggestions welcome…………………………

—————————–(this excerpt/article by H. Adelman)—————————————-

Where does Canada stand in its handling of the pandemic crisis? The situation clearly is not as bad as America’s. Just past mid-May, Canada had 77,000 cases of COVID-19 with 5,782 deaths. Two months later, on 11 July, the country had almost 108,000 cases and 8,783 deaths compared to America with 3,236,000 cases and 134,572 deaths, up from 1,520,000 cases and 89,932 deaths on 15 May. The U.S. doubled its cases over the last two months and increased the number of deaths by 50%. The Canadian case load increased 40% and the number of deaths by 52%. Thus, while a great deal of attention has been paid to the horrendous situation in the U.S and Canada has seemed in good shape comparatively, a close look at the figures indicate that Canada is increasing its number of cases at half the American rate but its death toll at roughly the same rate.

The U.S. has a population of 328.2 million people while Canada’s has only 37.6 million. That means that in absolute numbers relative to population, Canada has suffered about half as much from the pandemic as the U.S.

U.S. Canada
Population 328,200,000 37,600,000
COVID-19 cases 3,236,000 108,000
Cases per 1,000 1 .28
COVID-19 deaths 134,572 8,783
Deaths per 100,000 35.6 23.4
Thus, although our rate of increase in cases is half the American rate, in absolute terms we have less than 30% of the number of American cases though one-third fewer deaths on the basis of population. However, if the American record was not such a complete disaster, Canada’s record would look like a horror show.

This becomes clear if we compare the Canadian rate to that of South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Country Cases Deaths Cases/1000 Deaths/100,000
Canada 107,590 8,783 3.3 23.4
South Korea 13,479 299 .27 3
Taiwan 451 7 .04 .04
Vietnam 371 0 .004 0

In my accounts on Taiwan (more than half of Canada’s population), South Korea (1.5 times Canada’s population), and Vietnam (2.5 times our population), the number of cases over almost the same period, was 451 and 371 from Taiwan and Vietnam respectively and 13,479 in South Korea (versus 107,600 in Canada), while the number of deaths respectively were 7 and 0 with 299 in South Korea (versus 8,783 in Canada). There is no comparison between Taiwan and Vietnam compared to Canada. Even South Korea has been far more successful in handling the pandemic. It is only when Canada is compared to the United States that the Canadian record looks reasonably good.

 

‘May you live in interesting times’

…..seems China is doing boffo at the box-office (translation: they are exporting 75% more through their usual shipments, Ali Express and Alibaba than before C-19). It is an ill wind that blows no-one any good and that illness is very much doing China some good these past few months.

It also seems that some companies in North America are also going ‘full-tilt’ while others have virtually shut down altogether. The pandemic closed a lot of businesses but it also put a lot more customers on to those businesses more suited to deliveries. Delivery is going to get even bigger.

To some extent, the ill wind blew us some good out here, too. By us, I mean the whole of the community. We got a couple of small grants to assist our seniors during this time of isolation.

Truth is, the old folks out here are isolated anyway. Truth is, most of their lives weren’t altered by the disease much at all….only made better by the small grants. They can now get groceries delivered for a small fee rather than a large one (the delivery fee is temporarily and partially subsidized). That has been enough of an incentive to build a small one-day-a-week bulk grocery delivery operation which saves town trips and whatever cost is still imposed is less than that of taking a ferry and burning gasoline.

Covid made our shopping easier and, as a bonus, more frequent (so fresher dairy, etc). When the grant runs out (this month) there should be enough orders every week from NOW on to support any ongoing effort with our own money. It really just needed a hand-up in starting-up and, once going, is probably working well enough to stand on it’s own.

We also got funds to continue our one-day-a-week home support worker. She does a circuit of the islands and visits and assists those who are in need. THAT is a real bonus since this year no one could host W’fers and thus a lot of scheduled physical work was falling behind for the senior seniors. I am pretty sure only Sal and I are totally ‘all-in’ for our wood-burning season thus far but that was primarily because my daughter and her husband came to visit last week and helped us. We kinda had our W’fers in them. This home support program will be a real help for many.

Since the food delivery program was a hit, we also added a monthly Costco delivery schedule using another ‘dedicated’ service. We pay for that one and it ain’t cheap (she does the actual shopping as well as the delivery) but it is a lot easier on the community and still less expensive than doing it ourselves.

One of the things many people have also mentioned but not emphasized was a drop in living expenses overall – especially gasoline. No one is going anywhere. We’ll travel a bit next week but I doubt that I have filled the tank of the car but once or twice in the last three months. And, even tho we restaurant a lot less than when living in the city, we are simply NOT utilizing the few open restaurants at all because we are not traveling anywhere – not even to the other island.  Costs are down.

But here is an especially odd thing……..everything is generally down.  Fewer whales.  No whale-watching boats.  Fewer prawns.  One prawn boat.  Fewer kayakers.  No tourists.  Way fewer visitors.  Hell, we are all doing less work around the homestead, too.  It’s weird.  It is as if the whole world went from 45 rpms to 33.  Even my readership is down….or you are reading slower, anyway.

Maybe this is the start of a generally slower-paced lifestyle…..?  I mean: really, who wants to go back to the pace of the old rat-race?

Perverse reversal

WE charity is a right scandal. Appalling. It really should topple Trudeau. Probably won’t. Should. Won’t.

Why?

I don’t really know but it is likely because outrageous incompetence, criminal corruption, disgusting behaviour everywhere so prevalent, blatant bigotry and violence from our police and the general level of mayhem existing in all walks of everyone’s life, Trudeau’s ridiculous levels of elitism and corruption will seem par for the course. “What else is new?”

There are more ‘things rotten in the state of Denmark'(Shakespeare) of course but that above list should be enough to ‘bury’ yet another multiple foot-in-mouth action by Trudeau. He also has the benefit of Trump everyday out-clowning everyone on the planet – even Justin.

There are few attractions to being a politician today but one is that, no matter how bad you are, you will not achieve the level of disaster and mismanagement that so many have already achieved in the last decade. I.e., the governors of Florida and Texas will go down in history as amongst the top ten with Trump, of course, a hall-of-famer in sowing chaos and destruction.

Hmmmm……now might be a good time to run….?

Anyway…back to Trudeau: Trudeau was at his best when he isolated. I strongly urge him to continue that. He shouldn’t even go outside the cottage. Send Sophie instead. Hey, Justin! Why not hire your mother to represent you like Trump hired Kayleigh McEnany?

When I was young and traveling around, I spent a lot of time in Mexico. I was with Sal. We were living in a VW bus. On the beach. It was all fun when we were young. The only problem I had at the time were the Mariachi bands. I hate Mariachi bands. I hate clowns, too, but I hate Mariachi bands even more. So, when I was sitting at a romantic restaurant under a palapa making moon-eyes with Sal and a Mariachi band showed up, it was very disturbing and so I would quickly get out a five dollar bill, wave the lead annoyer over and give it to him on the condition they go as far away as they could get – preferably at another restaurant ($5.00 was a good tip in the 70’s). If trapped in any situation wherein Margaret Trudeau started to speak, I would pay $100.00 in an instant to get her to shut up. Maybe more.

Paying Margaret Trudeau to speak is like paying a Pitt bull to bite your leg. Totally illogical and very painful to endure. If known that would happen, they would sensibly put the Pitt Bull down in advance. And WE knew Margaret was going to happen.

This blog was going to be about the letter from the ‘respected writers’ that suggested that polite debate, even disagreement was OK and that ‘Cancel Culture’ was extending too far – to the point that people could no longer safely speak their minds to any degree. Too much flack from saying anything that some other person doesn’t like. And I agree with them. Free speech and all that.

But a perverse reverse of that principal is that I do NOT want to pay to hear idiots speaking. My tax dollars should not go to hire Margaret for anything except maybe biting legs (yes, I know that WE claims that they have different divisions so that tax payer dollars were not directly funneled to Margy. Not the point.)

The point is that we should have free speech for just about everyone but, if a Trudeau is speaking, we should get paid for listening to it.

Simple math and the second coming

Trump and his stooges maintain that 99% of Covid-19 cases prove harmless. They repeat that. They defend that. They want us to believe that. But there are 3,000,000 active C-19 cases in the US and it is still growing like a California wildfire. There have been over 130,000 deaths to date and the numbers are expected to increase due to a recent surge in infection rates. Simple math suggests that the number of patients left ‘harmless’ is much different than Trump’s preposterous claim. It seems the death rate alone is closer to 4%.

Subtract 4 from 100 and you get 96%. NOT 99%.

The guy can’t read. The guy can’t do simple math. No wonder he went bankrupt 6 times!

And – just as bad – many people who are NOT dead are still lingering with major health issues resulting from their encounter with C-19. Let us take a wild guess-estimate and say that 6% more are going to continue to suffer from the virus with respiratory issues or maybe worse. That’s 4% dead, 6% still left ill and Trump – once again – 100% wrong, wrong, wrong.

Trump also wants Bubba Wallace(a black NASCAR driver) to apologize to the ‘Merican people because a noose was found in Bubba’s garage but, after a thorough FBI investigation, it was proven NOT to be intended as a hate crime. But why should he apologize? The ‘Merican people sided with Bubba and that included the NASCAR audience! Further, Bubba didn’t do a thing. His crew chief found the noose and reported it to the NASCAR administration and they all ran with it. And, in the end, it was all good. Is Bubba supposed to apologize for bringing people together?

Or apologize for being black?

Trump doesn’t want the name of the Washington Redskins football team to change. Native Americans do. Some activist groups do. The Washington redskins football club does. A number of fans may wish to keep the name but, in these divisive times, maybe a bit of a concession is over due? Maybe a bit of inclusiveness would be a nice change for most ‘Mericans?

“Dave!! What is the point of ALL THAT?”

The point is: Trump appeals to a ‘group’, a segment of the ‘Merican population. And now we know why.

It seems that Trump is no longer being fully embraced by the majority of the ‘Merican populace, however. It now seems as if those who hate him, hate him more than ever. Those who were ambivalent now dislike him intensely. Those who liked him, now do not. But those who loved him still do. Those who loved him (his base) are STILL THERE!

How is that possible?

Apparently, there is an answer to that. People who love Trump suffer (and inflict) several measurable psychological ‘syndromes’. They have one or several or all of the following ‘thinking patterns’.

1. Authoritarian Personality Syndrome

Authoritarianism refers to the advocacy or enforcement of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom, and is commonly associated with a lack of concern for the opinions or needs of others. Authoritarian personality syndrome—a well-studied and globally-prevalent condition—is a state of mind that is characterized by belief in total and complete obedience to one’s chosen authority. Those with the syndrome often display aggression toward out-of-their-group members, submissiveness to authority, resistance to new experiences, and a rigid hierarchical view of society. The syndrome is often triggered by fear, making it easy for leaders who exaggerate threat or fear monger to gain their allegiance. President Trump’s speeches, which are laced with absolutist terms like “losers” and “complete disasters,” are naturally appealing to those with the syndrome.

2. Social Dominance Orientation

Social dominance orientation (SDO)—which is distinct but related to authoritarian personality syndrome—refers to people who have a preference for the societal hierarchy of groups, specifically with a structure in which the high-status groups have dominance over the low-status ones. Those with SDO are typically dominant, tough-minded, and driven by self-interest.

In Trump’s speeches, he appeals to those with SDO by repeatedly making a clear distinction between groups that have a generally higher status in society (White), and those groups that are typically thought of as belonging to a lower status (immigrants and minorities). Obviously many devout religious groups lean that way.

3. Prejudice

It would be grossly unfair and inaccurate to say that every one of Trump’s supporters have prejudice against ethnic and religious minorities, but it would be equally inaccurate to say that many do not.

While the dog whistles of the past were more subtle, Trump’s are sometimes shockingly direct. There’s no denying that he routinely appeals to bigoted supporters when he calls Muslims “dangerous” and Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “murderers,” often in a blanketed fashion. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a new study has shown that support for Trump is correlated with a standard scale of modern racism.

4. Intergroup contact

Intergroup contact refers to contact with members of groups that are outside one’s own, which has been experimentally shown to reduce prejudice. As such, it’s important to note that there is growing evidence that Trump’s white supporters have experienced significantly less contact with minorities than other white Americans. Think: Utah.

5. Relative deprivation

Relative deprivation refers to the experience of being deprived of something to which one believes they are entitled. It is the discontent felt when one compares their position in life to others who they feel are equal or inferior but have unfairly had more success than them. Think: Colin Kapernick or Bubba Watson or even George Floyd.

These Trump supporters are experiencing relative deprivation, and that is a common feeling amongst the swing states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. This kind of deprivation is specifically referred to as “relative,” as opposed to “absolute,” because the feeling is often based on a skewed and subjective perception of what one is entitled to.

All that brought to you by an article in Psychology Today

So….?

We now have an understanding of the ‘dumb Bubbas’ that does NOT include ‘Merican mind-numbing ignorance, does not include wilful blindness (boosterism, nationalism, brand worship, cults, celebrities and the like), does not include ‘basic evil’ and does not include natural rebellion. Add all those odd factors in with the ‘official’ mental syndromes listed above and you have a perfect storm of stupidity.

Add ALL of that into a cauldron of nationalistic aggression (China and Russia and, of course, the USA) and throw in climate change and the corrupt capitalist model we all adhere to and the future looks kinda bleak.

And, so far, we have no second coming of Jesus to look forward to.

Firewood and bears

Yesterday, with the help of our visiting family members, we got pretty much done on the firewood front. We’re ready for winter. And Emily made a bear!

Our woodshed requires approximately 600 lineal feet of logs (say, 20 full lengths or 60 x 10-footers).  We collect that amount in the form of ‘renegade floaters’ over the Spring and gather them in ‘clumps’ of six or seven at our back-beach.  Then I cut ’em into ‘hauling up’ lengths (ideally 7 footers) and we then pull ’em up the hill (125 feet on a 35 degree slope) on a highline sometime around late June, July.  At the top, I cut the seven-footers into rounds (6 pcs x 14″) and wheelbarrow them to the splitter and there they are split into usually four quarters (sometimes the bigger rounds make five pieces).  Approximately 2200-2400 pieces.  At the rate we work, that’s usually about ten 4-hour days each complete with tea and lunch breaks. Our woodshed holds five cords.

I am half a cord short from a full shed (yes, I know what that could also mean).  After gathering all the logs and hauling all the lengths and wheeling all the rounds and splitting all of them and stacking them, we are half a cord from full.  That might be two full length logs….we go for 8-10-inches in diameter.  Easier to lift and work.  Maybe three skinny logs.  The real question is: ‘Will we go get ’em and do it for half a cord?’

I dunno . . . prob’ly.  We’ll see.  A couple of logs will float by, we’ll go get ’em and, somewhere along the line (before winter) we’ll finish up.  OR not.  We never get through the whole of the woodshed anyway so that half cord shouldn’t matter but there is some kind of weird code from the Forest of Dreams out here: ‘Fill the woodshed and they will come’ or something like that.  There is an expectation that one fills one’s woodshed and anything short of a full woodshed reflects poorly on one.  

The thing is, doing wood is no fun.  (Making bears is fun, tho).  Furthermore, you don’t just ‘do’ wood.  You also have to ‘do’ the chainsaw and ‘do the winch’ and ‘do’ the log-finding and wrangling.  There is a lot to do all ’round the place before a single ‘quarter’ is stacked in place.  This year, I had to strip and clean and fiddle with the chainsaw.  And, of course, sharpen, sharpen, sharpen.

And my old winch on the haul-out line always needs fiddling.  So does the old, worn, low-compression Honda that powers it.  Doesn’t seem to matter how they are put away for next season, they do not start up and run quite right until they have been ‘fiddled’ with — a lot.  Fiddling is a huge part of everything when it comes to my usual chore-doing but it seems to play the largest role when I am getting in the winter’s wood.

Still, one thing is always true: there is a great deal of satisfaction achieved when one’s woodshed is full.  And when one has acquired a new bear!  It’s like money-in-the-bank…….now:……have I got enough or do I add the half-cord?

This blog comes in on confused little chickens feet

I.e., I write today confused with fear and trepidation.

First I am fearful because of the fall-out from the last blog. Two great guys get off on a misstep and all hell breaks loose. Normally, that is kinda fun but only if the two, like Sandburg’s fog, make up and move along. And that means ‘we move along together’. And this time that is not it. One has temporarily taken his leave. Ticked. We are moving on separated and divided.

Oh, well. Old guys get grumpy. Sometimes they ‘get over it’ and other times it is heavily invested in and they are stuck there. Such is life. Such are old guys. I get it. I am one. Sometimes I am mature. Sometimes I am not.

So, let us (the collective we) move on. By the way, the door is always open especially to those who sign in with ‘anonymous’ because, well, no one knows who you are anyway!

But, moving on…..

As my few remaining readers know, I am a pinko, lefty, Greenie, liberal, bleeding heart by self-description and a conservative-minded fellow who believes in fiscal responsibility and our general right to be here on the planet. Despite my small ‘L’ liberalism, I am not an ardent apologist for much. Bad things happen. When we learn of it, we should just fix it and move on. Life.

But yesterday, listening to the God-awful CBC, I heard a woman-of-colour being interviewed and it ‘put me off’. In the interview, I was told of systemic racism, discrimination and the scourge of prejudice in Canada. And I get that. Not good. Very bad. But that kind of inhumanity is clearly improving and, when it comes right down to it, what else can one do except behave better? You cannot re-write history and especially since the attempts at re-writing make no accommodation for the perspectives of the times.

Anyway, it seems she was saying Canadians have had their hand in slavery, too. BIG TIME!! I was shocked at that and suspended my being ‘off-put’ and listened. It seems that some Americans, French and English living in ‘Canada’ either had actual slaves in their employ or else they treated their ‘people-of-colour’ so badly that they were the equivalent status of slaves. Bad, bad, very bad.

And then she added: “This was all before Canada was created by Confederation!”

So, here I am being asked NOW to be responsible for the acts of long-dead foreign people (none of who are related to me) for actions taken BEFORE the country was even a country and to NOW make it up to current poor souls by what….? Paying gobs of money to other people-of-colour (also not related) to make amends?

Well, halfway through the interview, I was disinclined to listen much further. It was sounding like apologia gone too far. Of course I acknowledge that the sins of the great, great, great grandfathers are visited on their future progeny but other than today’s people striving to ‘do better’, there is little that can be done about what was done two hundred plus years ago.

And she went on……..and I listened. And, by the time she was through, I was less off-put and more sympathetic. Not completely, though. She had definitely shifted me off my position. But I did not shift as far as she was. I was now wondering ‘how we could all do better quicker and more effectively’. I had been moved.

And that is the point of this chicken-blog: so many things are changing. So many things are not true. So much is confusing and so much obviously still needs a lot of work. And now there is no faith in the system by which we are informed. So much is now fake news!

Yeah….I know who that sounds like.

Also yesterday some woman described as a Gold Star mother was being interviewed about Trump’s position on the alleged Russian bounties placed on American soldiers in Afghanistan. If you did not listen carefully, you would be outraged at Trump, admire the woman and wonder what the hell is wrong with that man (I still wonder) but the facts were this: Her son was killed in Afghanistan in 2011 by FRIENDLY fire! He was shot by his own guys! Doesn’t matter how you cut it, her story is irrelevant to the current allegation against Trump. It was fake news!

I guess what I am saying is this: we cannot right past wrongs. But we can do better. We will likely do MORE new wrongs but that will only be evident in retrospect and so we may NOT be better right away. Furthermore, the information we are given is so often wrong and misleading, self-serving and delivered with an agenda that the sins of today’s fathers will inevitably be visited on their sons, too.

It seems that being righteous is getting even more elusive but outrageous righteousness is an epidemic. No wonder I am sometimes confused.

Ghost Busters!

J. Murray was a young bride in 1929.  She and her husband arrived on Read Island in the Discovery Group to homestead through the Depression.  They left in 1939 for the US.  Forty years later she wrote a book about it.  The Flip of a Coin.  It was published by a now-defunct American firm and not executed very well.  Poor editing.  Bad pictures.  Ugly cover.  Left unregistered.  The book itself is not particularly well-written either and the story is somewhat predictable (to Sally and me) in that a previously rich young woman from the city comes to love the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest and living the simple life.  Sal said her story was very similar to our own and, though set almost a hundred years ago, reveals experiences and lessons like ours.

Bookclub found it to be a fascinating book.  “Why?”  Because the book reflects so much of what life is still like out here, because the author and the book club women have such similar stories, and because she wrote about THEIR actual neighbourhood, the same logging roads, the same beaches.  Even the old store and school.  They have all walked in each other’s shoes and on the same pathways.  And not a great deal has changed in 100 years.

Anyway, one of the book club women found a copy or two and shared the story around the club and all the members wanted to read it.  But the books themselves were in rough shape.  Pages missing.  Poor binding.  So another member volunteered to re-type it all and Sal volunteered to format it, edit it and get it ‘print ready’.  Digitally ready.

Of course, reprinting someone else’s book is NOT kosher.  Even tho it was an American publisher and the author was a Canadian, there is no trace of either and all the book club’s efforts in finding any living link to the book were to no avail.  So, then they checked with a copyright lawyer and that turned out to be inconclusive with vague assurances qualified by mild but ominous warnings.

‘What to do?’

They finished re-writing it but they will not publish it.  Of course, they will print a few copies for the book club members to read but there will be no money involved, no costs, no exploitation.  All credit still attributed to the author and the publisher.  Complete and full disclosure.  They should be OK.  In effect, the book club has done something for posterity with their intent only a noble and an unselfish one.

We’ll see.  But no good deed goes unpunished.

“Why tell us?” 

Well……if it is all deemed eventually safe legally speaking, we may ‘loan’ a copy or two to readers.  Maybe.  But mostly because it illustrates so well that all sorts of things get done out here on a not-for-profit or even non-monetary model by ‘volunteers’ .  That is an important part of the OTG story and it is well represented by their work on this little old book.  They also do Quilts.  Food.  Garden produce.  Fish.  Home care.  Books.  Garbage dumping.  Wood-getting.  Neighbours helping neighbours.  Construction.  Ride-sharing.  The community even raised enough money to buy a piece of land – for the good of the community in the future.  The list never ends, the work never ends, the contributions never dry up and the work all gets done.  Even an old book restoration!

Imagine all that same work needed doing in the city………who ya gonna call?

PS: a reader pointed out that the book is listed on Amazon but listed as out of print and with no price.  Odd. We all looked on Amazon more than a few times but it WAS there…kinda…up on the site but NOT available.