Category Archives: Politics

The Atlantic’s Endorsement of Clinton

The Atlantic: Against Donald Trump — For the third time since The Atlantic’s founding, the editors endorse a candidate for president. The case for Hillary Clinton.


The Atlantic is a progressive magazine/website, however the editorial board have only ever endorsed two candidates for US President since its founding in 1857: one Republican and one Democrat.

Founded explicitly as an abolitionist magazine in Boston, it’s probably not surprising that they endorsed Lincoln in the 1860 election. A decade before my birth they would also endorse LBJ in his contest against Barry Goldwater. Goldwater for the uninitiated-non-Americans was an arch-conservative and United States Senator who had a deeply troubling platform and record on civil rights for black Americans, so far as to gain the support of the Ku Klux Klan.

But I won’t steal their thunder, it’s a damning indictment of Trump and it places him in the correct historical context. This is something the media has struggled and failed to accomplish until now.

Clinton is an immensely qualified candidate and would likely be a very effective president, she is also deeply troubling in her own ways and for me at least I find that she has a complex relationship with candour.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has more than earned, through her service to the country as first lady, as a senator from New York, and as secretary of state, the right to be taken seriously as a White House contender. She has flaws (some legitimately troubling, some exaggerated by her opponents), but she is among the most prepared candidates ever to seek the presidency.

Donald J. Trump is catastrophically unqualified regardless of what you might think of his profound moral failings, his countless social views which have no place in the 21st century, or personal financial success.

He is spectacularly unfit for office, and voters—the statesmen and thinkers of the ballot box—should act in defense of American democracy and elect his opponent.

I encourage everybody to read it, regardless of their personal views on this election.

 

Frontline: Policing the Police

I just finished watching this excellent Frontline doc by Jelani Cobb called Policing the Police. I think it’s one of the most interesting and even handed overview of race and policing in the United States that I’ve ever seen.  It’s got a very strong thesis, but I think it provides a very evenhanded view of the situation from all sides.

Cobb goes on the streets in Newark with the police and with activists and you get to see through the camera what the situation looks like for many parties.

It’s one of the best episodes of Frontline I’ve seen in a while and definitely worth watching.  Best of all it’s not geofenced in Canada!

The End of the Arctic

It’s a somewhat breathless title, but I understand why the producers chose it since we are all unwitting witnesses to the end of a lot of cultural practices and the quite sudden destruction of an ecosystem that humans have been living on for thousands of years.

I’m not going to opine on the particulars since this is a set of issues that I’m just learning more about myself.  I think it would be a good thing if a lot more Canadians in the South watched this video.  It’s put together by the guys who run the AsapSCIENCE channel, though they’ve chosen to keep this video separate from their primary content which is a general science education channel and doesn’t usually delve into political issues.

It’s essentially about climate change and how it’s already beginning to seriously impact Inuit people, which most Canadians should already be aware are one of the most marginalized and most poorly served communities in the entire country.  It has been produced in collaboration with Greenpeace, but don’t let that scare you off, if they did have a say in the production it was a very light touch and regardless of the conclusions or the call to action, the video itself helps to build more knowledge on the topic.

The short documentary is a deep background to a video featuring Bill Nye on as part of their normal science topics discussing Arctic ice melting as it relates to climate change and changes in the Arctic Ocean basin.  It’s also a good watch.

If you’re interested in signing the petition mentioned in the documentary it can be found on the Greenpeace website here.

Because it’s 2015

There are a lot of symbolic things that Trudeau and his new government have done today, especially when it comes to telegraphing that they will be serious about issues which have faced aboriginal Canadians.  But the best soundbite of this morning’s ceremonies was his answer to the question of why the cabinet should be comprised of 50% women and 50% men.

“Because it’s 2015.”

I’m fairly realistic, I don’t expect this new government to be that dramatically different from other Liberal governments in the past, but it is pleasant to see them bowing to reality and facts for a change.  The fact that women are underrepresented in leadership positions is something that was within their power to address at the top level so it is refreshing to see some action.

Go Vote on Monday

It’s that time again.  Whatever you do or whoever you support, make sure you get out to vote in this Monday’s federal election.

If you aren’t sure where your closest polling station is or if you have any other questions Elections Canada has a set of helpful tools and an FAQ on their site.

http://www.elections.ca/

Mulcair: C-51

This is an interesting article linking the NDP’s fate to their stance on C-51.  While undoubtedly this is one of the worst pieces of legislation that has been proposed since I have been a qualified elector, I’m a bit surprised that Mulcair appears to be benefiting from taking a strong position here.

I’m going to keep my eyes on it, depending on where things go this could become a single issue election for me.

Postal Service

As I mentioned, I went on a recent camera gear bender and bought a couple of lenses which I’ve had my eye on for a long time.  One of them, a fast telephoto lens, I decided to buy used on eBay from Japan.  It was a stressful decision since I was worried about all kinds of things (am I going to get ripped off, will it be damaged, etc.) but one thing not to worry about is shipping.  The seller shipped it using Japan Post’s Express Mail Service and between them and Canada Post it’s been nothing short of amazing.

The package was dropped off on the 13th at 20:13 local in Tokyo and I came home tonight to a Canada Post slip on my door saying they tried to deliver but needed a signature.  It landed at Pearson this morning at 08:46.

Considering this cost less than $20 shipping that’s pretty much as good as it gets.  Anybody who tells you that we don’t get a great service from Canada Post doesn’t really know what they’re talking about.  In fact over the past few years, something I’ve noticed consistently is that the national postal services in the countries I’ve shipped to and from (Germany, UK, Sweden, US, Canada, and Japan) are near the top every time and their ability to ship between services and across borders is every bit as good as any commercial parcel service.

Dying with Dignity and Judicial Freedom (or Activism)

So Canada will soon have a legal framework for euthanasia despite the fact that Harper fought it tooth and nail.

I’m not 100% certain how I feel about this, but I think that’s normal.  Like many issues relating to life and death it’s complicated so this is a pretty normal feeling I suppose.  In fact, I tend to distrust people who don’t have any ambiguous thought at all when it comes to political-medical issues.

In either case, it’s good to know that even under one of the most right wing governments Canada has had in the past half century, the framework of the Constitution is standing up for fundamental freedoms in a way that evolves with the times.  This has had me thinking a lot about the long term effect of having a modern legal framework which is based on 20th century norms of justice and human rights.  As controversial as some elements are, we have a lot to be thankful here and we should be happy that the court under McLachlin has managed to remain largely free of interference from both Chrétien and Harper.

I know that some on the right have portrayed this as judicial activism (and not in a positive way) but I’m very happy that our legal system at the judicial level at least, still seems to be largely aloof of the government.  I really can’t imagine that the country would be a better place if it weren’t.

Vox: Canada legalizes physician-assisted suicide