A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘politics

[LINK] “Why this Ukraine ceasefire will stick”

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I hope Anatole Kaletsky’s Reuters article is correct. His suggestions that this could be a catalyst for positive change in both Russia and Ukraine would be nice if they were fulfilled.

The ceasefire no longer relies on good faith or benevolence but on a convergence of interests: Putin has achieved all his key objectives, and Poroshenko recognizes that trying to reverse militarily the Russian gains would be national suicide.

Admittedly, there is still a “party of war” in Kiev, seemingly led by Prime Minister Arsenyi Yatsenyuk, who has called on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to back his country in an all-out war with Russia. But this week’s vote in the Ukrainian Parliament on temporary autonomy for the rebel regions suggests that most of the country’s politicians have abandoned hope of winning a war with Russia. They also understood that Western military assistance is not coming.

[. . . T]his compromise is infinitely better for Ukraine, as well as for Europe, than a protracted war. Though Poroshenko has been forced to make major concessions by offering partial autonomy to the Donbas rebels, this was inevitable.

In fact, the compromise now under discussion seems close to the deal that Putin and Poroshenko were near reaching over the summer, partly in response to the German government’s appeal for a non-military resolution to the crisis. Unfortunately, potential progress was shattered when pro-Russian rebels shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. This outrage forced German Chancellor Angela Merkel to abandon her role as an honest broker and simultaneously emboldened Ukrainian hopes of gaining Western military support.

Second, Putin shows no sign of wanting to extend Russia’s boundaries after absorbing Crimea and destabilizing the Donbas. Putin has proved that he will fight against any further encroachment onto Russia’s boundaries by the European Union and NATO, which he now views as an expansionist empire.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 25, 2014 at 7:30 pm

[LINK] “Justin Trudeau boycotts Sun Media over Ezra Levant rant”

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CBC reports on Justin Trudeau’s decision to boycott Sun Media after one of its television commentators, Ezra Levant, called his parents sluts.

This raises interesting issues about journalism, and the tensions involved. What is too rude? I do wonder why on Earth Levant thought he could say this kind of thing.

In the piece, host and opinion columnist Levant shares his view of a photo taken and tweeted by Trudeau’s official photographer of the Liberal leader kissing a bride on the cheek on her wedding day.

Trudeau’s team capitalized on the moment “to make him look virile and sexy,” the oft-brash Levant said in the clip.

‘The idea of the nobleman of the estate riding through like in Medieval times to deflower whatever maidens he wanted — that’s still there in Trudeau.’- Ezra Levant, The Source with Ezra Levant host

In the nearly five-minute rant, Levant said Trudeau invaded an intimate moment on a day when a bride is only to be kissed by her husband and father.

“The idea of the nobleman of the estate riding through like in Medieval times to deflower whatever maidens he wanted — that’s still there in Trudeau,” he said. “Obviously Trudeau didn’t have sex with her. But he pushed himself into the picture in an intimate way.”

He questions Trudeau’s value of marriage, saying the Liberal leader must believe he’s starring in Wedding Crashers​. But “even they had enough class to give the bride herself a pass,” he said.

Levant draws a comparison in Trudeau’s behaviour to that of his parents, former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Margaret Trudeau, who were “promiscuous and publicized how many conquests they had.”

Of the former prime minister, Levant says, “He banged anyone. He was a slut.” And Margaret “wasn’t much different.”

The sentiments are also expressed in an opinion column for Sun Media published Saturday.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 24, 2014 at 7:54 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Doug Ford and John Tory trade barbs at raucous Toronto mayoral debate”

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CBC reports on last night’s mayoral debate. I will say that, following the debate on Twitter last night, the whole thing seemed more than a bit ridiculous.

Toronto’s political crazy train kept on rolling during Doug Ford’s first mayoral debate Tuesday night as candidates traded barbs in front of a rowdy, and at times abusive, audience.

The debate, billed as the public’s first real look at Doug Ford the mayoral candidate, revolved heavily around candidates’ controversial and vastly different plans for new public transit infrastructure. Both Ford and Olivia Chow presented billboard diagrams to illustrate their respective visions.

The two-hour faceoff was punctuated by several heated exchanges between Ford and front-runner candidate John Tory, who Ford criticized as an “elitist” career politician without any real experience at Toronto City Hall.

“I’ll tell you something, John, you’re a slick-talking politician,” Ford said after Tory answered a question on his plan for reducing poverty throughout the city. “You’re from a whole different world.”

The comment garnered a loud cheer from the largely pro-Ford audience at York Memorial Collegiate Institute, located on the border of Wards 11 and 12 near Eglinton Avenue and Black Creek Drive, an area of the city considered a political stronghold of the Ford family. Before the debate began, many audience members chanted “We want Doug!”

Ford continually pivoted to Tory’s inexperience in Toronto municipal politics throughout the night.

“No mayor has ever been elected without first sitting on council,” Ford claimed (in fact, a handful have). “I know you’re used to having everything handed to you on a silver platter.… It’s always been handed to John Tory.”

Written by Randy McDonald

September 24, 2014 at 7:39 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • BCer in Toronto’s Jeff Jedras comments on Justin Trudeau’s boycotting of Sun News after that organization’s Ezra Levant insulted his parents.
  • blogTO comments on last night’s wild mayoral debate. I will note that on Twitter the whole thing seemed like a mess.
  • Crooked Timber considers the endurance of myths like that surrounding the murder of Kitty Genovese.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper on stellar winds suggesting that habitable planets in orbit of orange dwarfs may be best of all, and links to another casting doubt on the existence of Gliese 667Cd.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that F-22as were used in combat for the first time against the Islamic State.
  • Joe. My. God. observes that one participant in a publicized gay-bashing in Philadelphia was the daughter of a local police chief.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money mocks Bill O’Reilly’s suggestion to raise a mercenary army to fight against the Islamic State.
  • pollotenchegg notes that the Ukrainian region of Donetsk was in a demographic free-fall even before the recent war.
  • Peter Rukavina notes how, in a low-key way, women got the vote on Prince Edward Island in 1922.
  • Tall Penguin celebrates her birthday.
  • Torontoist raves about the new Fort York visitor centre.
  • Towleroad features a Chinese gay man speaking out against gay conversion therapy.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little examines a mass survey of Chinese on what they think an ideal world should be like.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Russian ignorance of Kazakh history and is skeptical of the idea of increasing religious content in public schools.

[URBAN NOTE] “The Toronto Eighteen”

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Torontoist’s Kevin Plummer describes how eighteen Toronto businessmen helped decide the outcome of the 1911 Canadian election due to their common opposition to free trade with the United States.

Torontonians flocked to the streets in jubilation on September 21, gathering outside newspaper headquarters and crowding the streets from Front to Queen between Church and York. Cheers arose as returns were announced for the day’s federal election: Robert Laird Borden had led the Conservative Party to a landslide victory over Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier’s incumbent Liberals.

The Conservatives won overwhelming majorities in all four Toronto ridings, and two of the three York County ridings—the third being won by William Findlay Maclean as an independent Conservative. The national drubbing was so thorough that some observers predicted the extinction of the Liberal Party.

The deciding issue of the campaign was the new Reciprocity Agreement, which secured free trade with the United States. Representing a huge shift in economic policy, the Agreement was anathema to central business interests. The prospect of free trade prompted the Toronto Eighteen, a group of prominent businessmen and entrepreneurs who’d supported the Liberal Party through the boom years at the turn of the century, to publicly chastise the prime minister and abandon the party. Throwing their weight behind the Conservatives, they helped determine the course of the election.

[. . .]

One of the city’s leading citizens, Walker had always kept aloof from active politics at any level. Now, he systematically outlined his objections to the agreement. He worried about lower-quality American goods flooding Canadian markets, and wheat making its way south through Duluth or Minneapolis rather carried by Canadian railways via Winnipeg or Thunder Bay. Moreover, the ardent imperialist worried about American immigrants settling the west and whether the Agreement might re-ignite American ambitions to annex Canada.

“Although I am a Liberal,” Walker concluded, “I am a Canadian first of all and I can see that this is much more than a trade question. Our alliance with the Mother Country must not be threatened. We must assimilate our immigrants and make out of them good Canadians. And this Reciprocity Agreement is the most deadly danger as tending to make this problem more difficult and fill it with doubt and difficulty. The question is between British connection and what has been well called Continentalism.”

Written by Randy McDonald

September 23, 2014 at 11:03 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO selects the top twenty music videos filmed in Toronto.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that Catalonian separatists have not been put off by the failure of Scotland to separate.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the false stereotypes behind the child migrant crisis.
  • Geocurrents notes the advance of the Islamic State against Kurds in Syria.
  • Joe. My. God. quotes an anti-gay American conservative unhappy some people are suspicious of her just because she and hers are attending a conference in Putin’s Moscow.
  • Marginal Revolution quotes a Japan pessimist who thinks demographics mean the Japanese economy will do well not to shrink.
  • Bruce Sterling shares a map of present and future natural gas pipelines in Europe.
  • Towleroad notes Nicolas Sarkozy’s criticism of same-sex marriage for humiliating French families.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Kaliningrad separatism is a major issue, or at least seen to be a major issue.

[LINK] “Scotland vote just the start of a rough ride for U.K.”

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CBC’s Don Murray points out that a Québécois trajectory for Scottish separatism is quite possible if promised constitutional change doesn’t occur.

For those with long memories, the morning after in Scotland — indeed the final days of the heated campaign — seemed an eerie replay of Quebec’s first referendum in 1980.

There are differences, of course, some of them major, but consider: the loser, in conceding, hints at another referendum.

Alex Salmond, the Scottish National Party First Minister, said the people had not chosen independence “at this stage.” Thirty-four years ago PQ Quebec premier René Lévesque conceded, saying, “If I’ve understood you, ‘till the next time!”

Meanwhile, the winners wait until the last minute to promise huge constitutional change.

In 1980 the man with the promise was Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In Scotland it was another native son, this time former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He thundered into the campaign and galvanized the “No” camp with passionate speeches and a sweeping promise of “devo max” – maximum devolution, or in other words a major transfer of powers from London to the Scottish Assembly.

Brown had the green light from British Prime Minister David Cameron, who followed it up Friday morning with a speech in front of 10 Downing Street promising fast-track reform, with an outline constitutional bill ready by January.

But Britain, unlike Canada, has a misshapen federal structure which appears to have been worked out on the back of an envelope — or rather, two.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 22, 2014 at 8:17 pm


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