Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Downward Spiral.

It's hard not to think, based on (many) recent events, that more Americans are more Christian than ever.

Tim Alberta, writing this month in The Atlantic, concludes that the numbers do not support that conclusion:
"...In 1975, more than two-thirds of Americans expressed “a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the church,” according to Gallup, and as of 1985, “organized religion was the most revered institution” in American life. Today, Gallup reports, just 37 percent of Americans have confidence in the Church. This downward spiral owes principally to two phenomena: the constant stench of scandal, with megachurches and prominent leaders imploding on what seems like a weekly basis; and the growing perception that Christians are embracing extremist views. One rarely needs to read to the bottom of a poll to learn that the religious group most opposed to vaccines, most convinced that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, most inclined to subscribe to QAnonconspiracy theories is white evangelicals..."

It's real food for thought that the views of a waning minority are controlling so many important aspects of American life at the moment.

It also leads to an important question...

Who benefits most?

I highly recommend Mr. Alberta's piece which is titled: "How Politics Poisoned The Church" in print...Interestingly, someone at the magazine decided to change that title a little bit online to "How Politics Poisoned The Evangelical Church" which is a pretty darned important distinction (and better reflects the conclusions of the piece).


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Somebody Do This With Hockey.


This is absolutely fantastic - and it is the kind of thing the interweb was built for, in a good way.

Essentially, a knowledgeable hoops fan lets go of his preconceived notions, watches an entire game from each decade since 1950 and does a little research while he describes how the game has changed and evolved over 70 years.


Somebody should take advantage of all that tape on the Tubes and do the same thing for hockey...Heckfire! Just watching the size of goalies and their pads change would be interesting in and of itself.

Tip O' The Toqu
e to our old friend Cathie from Canada for the heads-up.


Friday, June 24, 2022

HST Friday...Before Roe v. Wade.


The following is from an HST Friday post I wrote a long time ago, back when George Bush the Younger was nominating the 'reasonable' conservative to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Of course, it is even more more apropos today....

..."And so much for all that. I have to go upstairs and call the hospital. Sandy is in there again with another miscarriage - a real nightmare version, this time, since it puts me head on with the abortion laws. She's only two months pregnant, but the pain is so bad she can't stand up....and the pigs say they can't do a therapeutic abortion. All they do is keep her drugged up on codeine and wait for God to work His Will. The D&C operation is as simple as pulling a tooth, but they won't do it.....and this is Colorado, which recently passed a "liberalized" abortion law. Man, I'm coming to really hate that word 'liberal'"...
Hunter S. Thompson,Letter to Oscar Z. Acosta (his 'Samoan' Attorney), March 1970
Reprinted in: The Gonzo Letters Vol II, Simon and Schuster, 2000, pp 286-7.

At two months! This is way before quick, with a woman who had a history of life-threatening difficulties and still she and her husband could not make informed decisions of their own just three years before the first of many final decisions on Roe v. Wade.

Which makes it all the more important to forget about sifting through the tea leaves of 50,000 pages of side issues about what he said or did 20 years ago. Instead, during his confirmation hearings Democratic Senators must somehow find the gumption to ask the following direct question of Bush Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts:

"If there was a constitutional challenge to Roe v. Wade how would you respond?"

And if Mr. Roberts does not answer this direct question directly it is the Press' job to keep pressing him until he does answer directly.

It is the only way that the people of the United States will know what they are really getting.

And if Mr. Roberts does say that he would vote to overturn and he is still confirmed without a nuclear option-invoking fight from the Democratic party liberals and progressives in the States who believe in a woman's right to choose will finally come to understand that, in its present day guise at least, the Party has forsaken them.

Normally, I try my best not to say I told you/them so.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Real World Consequences Of Flooding Media Zones With Sh*t.

“The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit.”


As I've mentioned before, while I was born in the 50's I was lucky enough to be born just this side of the polio vaccine roll out.

In contrast, a good friend of mine, who is a few years older, was not so lucky. While the case of polio he contracted was relatively mild he has had to deal with difficulty walking his entire life.


All that sh*t that people like Mr. Bannon, quoted above, have been using to flood zone for the politically expedient purposes helped fuel irrational Covid 19 vaccine 'hesitancy' that led to up to 300,000 needless deaths in the United States alone.

And as you can see from Justin Ling's tweet, above, there are many pushing the same politically expedient fecal matter into Canadian parliament right here and right now.

Here's hoping that same sh*t does not prevent a single young person anywhere who still needs it from getting fully vaccinated for polio, pronto:
Low polio vaccination coverage among teenagers risks the re-emergence of virulent polio infection in the UK, experts have warned.

Fewer than half of 13 to 14-year-olds received their teenage booster against polio in some parts of England last year, data shows, after public health officials declared a national incident over evidence the virus is spreading in the community.

The form of virus that was detected through routine surveillance of wastewater in north and east London – vaccine-derived poliovirus – poses a low risk to health but there is a concern that a significant drop in vaccination uptake during the pandemic could offer the virus a foothold, allowing it to keep circulating...


...Prof Paul Hunter, of the University of East Anglia, said: “Teenagers are not necessarily that well-protected against infection, particularly if they’ve not had the booster. We’re not expecting it to give rise to paralytic cases over the coming days, but the longer it circulates the more opportunity there is for it to turn into a fully virulent polio virus again, which would be a disaster. Those places with low uptake need to urgently address it.”


...The agency typically picks up a handful of unrelated positive results for poliovirus each year, linked to people given the oral polio vaccine in other countries. The oral vaccine contains live virus – unlike the inactivated vaccine given in the UK – and people can shed this in their faeces for several weeks and also infect others.

The London samples raised the alarm because they were related to one another and contained mutations that suggested the virus was evolving as it spreads from person to person. If it continues to spread, vaccine-associated virus can mutate to become fully virulent, to the point where it can cause paralysis in unvaccinated people...


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Mussolini Overdrive.


"In the wake of World War I, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini began his slow and inexorable rise to power. He created Italy's Fascist Party, became prime minister and eventually took full control of the country's day-to-day decision making. Those decisions, of course, had consequences, and Mussolini liked to take credit for everything that went right in Italy, even when it didn't go that well at all. He was particularly fond of saying he was responsible for successful, large-scale public works projects, such as the railroad system.

In fact, there's an old saying about Mussolini that goes something like this: "Mussolini made the trains run on time." In other words, even dictators have their good points. Sure, fascism is an often brutal model of efficient government, full of poverty and corruption, but hey, at least the trains were newly punctual"...


When Richard Nixon finally resigned it was only after Republicans made it clear to him, in the face of overwhelming evidence, that he had to go:
...On Aug. 7, 1974, U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., U.S. House Minority Leader John Rhodes, R-Ariz., and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott, R-Pa., made it clear to the embattled Nixon that he faced all-but-certain impeachment, conviction and removal from office in connection with the Watergate scandal.

Nixon announced his resignation the next evening, effective at noon on Aug 9, 1974...

Given all that, the January 6th Committee's strategy of having Republicans give testimony demonstrating Donald Trump's culpability in a long-planned coup designed to subvert the will of the American people and prevent the peaceful transfer of power looked to be a stroke of genius that culminated with the testimony of Russell Bowers yesterday:
...No doubt anticipating the damage (the testimony) would do to his case, Trump attacked Arizona House Speaker Russell “Rusty” Bowers (R) before Tuesday’s hearing, claiming that Bowers had previously told him that the election was “rigged.” Bowers, perhaps the most compelling and effective witness the committee has questioned to date, stated clearly that Trump’s claim was false. He had not made such a statement, Bowers said, and Trump’s claim that Bowers said Trump won the state was “also false.”

Bowers, who supported Trump in the 2020 election, testified in unequivocal terms about the former president’s pressure campaign. He recalled asking Trump and Giuliani at least twice during a call after the election for proof of noncitizens or dead people voting. Bowers said he “never” received such information...

Game, set, match and good-bye to the aspiring dictator forever, from Democrats and Republicans alike, including Mr. Bowers, right?

Well, perhaps not.

The following is from an AP story by Bob Christie published the day before yesterday:
...Bowers spoke to The Associated Press after he arrived in Washington on Monday afternoon. He will be questioned about a phone call he got from Trump and attorney Rudy Giuliani in the weeks after the November 2020 election where Giuliani floated a proposal to replace Arizona’s Biden electors by having the state’s Legislature instead choose those committed to voting for Trump.

Bowers refused, saying the scheme was illegal and unconstitutional. In an interview last year, he said he told the president he would not break the law to help him gain the presidency...


...Bowers said efforts by Trump’s backers have harmed the nation, undercut trust in elections and the right of people to vote their conscience.

“I just think it is horrendous. It’s terrible,” Bowers said. “The result of throwing the pebble in the pond, the reverberations across the pond, have, I think, been very destructive.”...


...But while Bowers said the efforts by Giuliani and other Trump backers have been hurtful, he does not levy any criticism on Trump directly and would support him if he were on the ballot.

“If he is the nominee, if he was up against Biden, I’d vote for him again,” Bowers said. “Simply because what he did the first time, before COVID, was so good for the country. In my view it was great.”...


One can only wonder if the good Mr. Bowers knows that Mr. Mussolini's trains never actually ran on time.

Subheader got your ear worm rising?...Once again....This!


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

A Kinder, Gentler Gilead?


'The Stream' is a website that describes itself thusly:

The Stream is a rich and reliable source for breaking news, analysis, and inspiration. A champion for life, freedom, and unity in the Body of Christ, The Stream was launched to equip Christians to think clearly about the moral, political, and economic issues of the day...


The Executive Editor of 'The Stream' is a fine fellow named Jay W. Richards:

Jay W. Richards, Ph.D., is the Executive Editor of The Stream. He is also the William E. Simon senior research fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society...


Many of the other very fine folks who write for 'The Stream' also have close ties to the Heritage Foundation.

The point being that the 'The Stream' is well ensconced within the mainstream of what has become contemporary American conservative thought.


With that said, the following is from a recent piece in 'The Stream' written by two finest of the fine fellows with exemplary contemporary American conservative bonafides named Jason Jones and John Zmirak titled "Once The Law Protects Unborn Kids, Should We Seek Legal Penalties For Women Who Abort Them?":

...We don’t want to criminally prosecute women who illegally abort. Nor do we want to shrug and wink, as if women were all hapless victims, or abortion weren’t really a monstrous crime, as it is....


...Women won’t go to prison. But they will face the real deterrent of a short but mandatory psychiatric custody, and mandated counseling. God willing that will prove helpful to women after the devastating destruction that is abortion...


Mandatory psychiatric custody...

What is that, exactly, if not prison?


Monday, June 20, 2022

Rabbit Holes As Far As The Eye Can See...


The following is from NDP MP Charlie Angus writing in Policy Magazine:
...I remember the moment I got dragged down the rabbit hole of the WEF conspiracy theory. During the blockades, I was suddenly inundated with messages from retired teachers, young mothers and angry dads about how Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum (WEF) controlled the Trudeau government. The speed with which this theory moved from the margins of Reddit chat forums to becoming an apparent obsession will all manner of ordinary Canadians was staggering. And then it was being validated in Parliament.

On February 19, MP Colin Carrie used his time during a debate to make claims about Klaus Schwab and his “subversive” organization “infiltrating” the Liberal government. I called out Carrie for using Parliament as a place to promote disinformation. That intervention touched off a barrage of backlash. Within the hour, my office was overwhelmed with calls, threats and abuse, accusing me of being an agent of the WEF trying to shut down the truth. We still get calls every day...

Mr. Angus is clearly not shy when it comes to the hurly-burly of normal political discourse. 

However, in reading his piece you can clearly see that political normality is rapidly disappearing down algorithmically-drilled and political expediency back-filled rabbit holes everywhere.


Sunday, June 19, 2022

For My Dad...


Those of you who have been stopping by here for awhile now may be asking....

Why this post again?

Because, as Bigger E. reminded me by text from Montreal this morning, it's a tradition - that's why!

As for the photo...It's Grandpops out riding on the Goose Trail with littler e. yesterday afternoon...

My old man was a Union man.

And the folks in the Union fought like bastards...and they fought constantly, usually for the tiniest of things in each successive contract...things like an extra quarter percent on a COLA clause, or one little add-on like an extra free filling per year on the dental plan.

And when I was a kid, especially during that time when I was a barely no-longer-a-teenager-aged kid, I thought the folks from the Union were just a little bit off their nut....all that energy going into what, exactly?

After all, it was the 80's, and Dave Barrett and the Socialist Hordes were long gone, and the Wild Kelowna boys were rolling along, and Unions were bad, and Expo was coming, and Trudeau was going, and John Turner was hiccupping, and Mulroney was lurking, somewhere off in the distance....

....And if you were a half-bright, apolitical science-geek kind of kid like me, breezing your way through college and thinking about graduate school, you laughed when you saw the boy wonder from Burnaby, Michael J. Fox, shirk his Family Ties and ape the young Republicans while making fun of his willfully neutered Leftie of a Dad on the TV screen...

....And if you were that kid, you thought that you were living in a golden age that was tied, not to the social democratic reforms of the past, but to the coming of Free Trade and the promises of the Reaganites from the South...

...And from that perspective you sure as heck didn't always get the irony of Bruce Springsteen singing about the plight of the working class in 'Born in the USA'.

But now that I have spent a good chunk of time in USA where I started a family of my own before coming home, I do get it.

I understand that my Dad spent his entire adult life hauling logs up and down the West Coast, working his guts out to help keep the robber baron families rich because he had to make a living to support his own family....

....And I get the fact that, because of the Unions, my family's standard of living gradually improved, bit by bit, over the years so that by the time I had grown up to be that callow young man described above my parents had saved enough to help me go to University....

....And I get the fact that I was the first one in my family who got to go to University....Ever.....And it wasn't because I was so damned smart....

....And I get the fact that, while my parents' limited financial help and support was important, it would never have been enough to get me into the same good schools if I had arrived on the scene a single generation earlier or, perhaps, later....

....And I get the fact that those Wild Kelowna Boys, and all the other neo-cons that have come since, have been doing their damndest to destroy the dream of a University education for all, and instead have instituted an elitist education for some and one-trick-pony Technical training for everybody else.....

....And I get the fact that, if it wasn't for folks like my Dad and the other lefties of his time, my current world, one in which I make a living with my eyes and my mind wide open, would not be what it is today.....

....And most of all, I now get the fact that my Dad was, and is, my hero.


Friday, June 17, 2022

HST Fridays...Will The Real Grendel Please Stand Up?


"Richard Nixon is gone now, and I am poorer for it. He was the real thing -- a political monster straight out of Grendel and a very dangerous enemy. He could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time. He lied to his friends and betrayed the trust of his family...


...He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning...

Thompson wrote the words above almost 28 years ago to the day, in the wake of the death of Richard Nixon. It was a time when Rush Limbaugh's and Newt Gingrich's comets were just starting to rise high over US Republican Land, their tails of depravity and destruction paving the way for the coronation of an authoritarian despot bent on destroying American democracy two decades hence.

How much did things change between the death of Nixon and the coronation of Trump?


Not even Mr. Nixon and his  bagmen at their CREEPiest could have envisaged how the great un-uniting of the American citizenry would ultimately make it possible for Donald Trump to raise $250 million dollars on the back of the biggest lie ever told for a 'fund' that does not even exist:
The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack appeared to make the case at its second hearing that Donald Trump and his campaign engaged in potential fundraising fraud, raising $250m for a Trump “election defense fund” that did not actually exist....


....(T)he “Official Election Defense Fund”, as it was billed on fundraising emails that were repeatedly sent up until 30 minutes before the (January 6th, 2021 U.S.) Capitol attack, did not formally exist, according to Trump campaign aides Hannah Allred and Gary Coby, who testified to the (January 6th Congressional) panel...

Imagine that!


The Singer.

So, we've got this kid, Bigger E., who can really sing.

Here she is a couple days ago, with her partner A., in old Montreal..

Our thanks to a fellow named Cedric Mainella who shot the video and posted it to his book of faces page.