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Messages - dubsartur

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The US has doubled its tariff on Canadian softwood lumber to 17.9%.  This tarriff goes back to the 1990s, and every time the US loses in court and just launches another appeal or carries on regardless.  I am bemused by the kind of US person who intones solemnly about the "rules-based international order" when the US does what it likes just like any other hegemon.

The Trudeau government will be fighting a lawsuit against the RCMP for its misogyny and/or racism and/or culture of immunity for bullies.  The RCMP is a paramilitary organization which reinvented itself after the Winnipeg General Strike in 1919 for domestic intelligence (spying on lefties and commies).  It lost most of its intelligence roles in the 1980s after scandals in the 1970s. So it has many cultural issues similar to those of the Canadian Forces, with an additional dose of false pride (RCMP cadets are indoctrinated that they are the best police force in Canada, if not the world).  This, and the continued use of the RCMP to arrest indigenous people blocking corporate incursions into their territory, is another good example of how 2015-Trudeau's feminist and pro-indigenous language did not lead to fundamental shifts in policy.

General Chatter - The Boozer / Re: November Pub tonight!
« on: November 27, 2021, 09:51:05 PM »
I was busy with work unfortunately.  At least I have paid work now!

Discussion and Debate - The Philosopher's Plaza / Re: US Politics 2021
« on: November 24, 2021, 04:45:07 PM »
Just to clarify, my post was a joke.
I was not sure, so first I answered it as if it were a joke, and then I answered it as if it were serious (zen smilie)

Discussion and Debate - The Philosopher's Plaza / Re: US Politics 2021
« on: November 23, 2021, 11:33:27 PM »
Wait I'm confused, if this is meant to be science fiction then where is the fiction?
Cam talks about how the spread of these ideas in science-fiction communities may be related to worldbuilding and the ability to imagine things which are contrary-to-fact. 

And yes, the three actors in Cam's model reflect things which exist in the real world (the twelve US corporations which dominate the Internet like Nazis and don't like boobs; the two US parties are dominated by a few dozen rich people over 70; there is an eerie unspoken coordination between many kinds of thinky talky lefty people in the USA who try to bully anyone with different opinions) but they are followed to deranged conclusions.  Because the USA is so big and most people have such narrow social circles today, storytellers can give you a constant stream of reprehensible things someone in another faction is saying or doing, so you never stop and ask "hold on, what actual policies of president A are different from the previous president's?  not words, but actual actions?" or "what do young people with too much time on their hands and a twitter account have in common with elderly billionaires and senior party officials?"

One of the people Cam examines simultaneously believed that March 2020 was a sensible time to visit Italy because the Italians could just unleash their inner fascist and blockade off Lombardy, and that nothing bad would happen if he pushed through a closed security door onto the tarmac at an international airport in Italy after it became clear that the pandemic was not just in the north.

Discussion and Debate - The Philosopher's Plaza / Re: US Politics 2021
« on: November 22, 2021, 09:15:19 PM »
Blogger Camestros Felapton in Australia has spent years reading the writings of hard and far-right science-fiction fans, and has this summary of one of the ideologies which is deranging large parts of the US right:

In this imagined reality, the world is run by an unnatural alliance. The first part of the alliance we will simply call The Left. These people look and sound just like the left of our reality but instead of a disorganised and contentious spectrum of belief, the majority of The Left is only marginally different from Josef Stalin and the arguments and differences and rivalries are simply deceit designed to confuse observers.

The second part is the Ageing Establishment. This is nearly everybody in entrenched positions of power, authority or expertise, from senior politicians to college professors and scientific bodies.

The third and final part is Corrupted Corporations. This is not what the libertarians and conservatives would believe is capitalism but a strange (and incoherent) version that has become corrupted. That corruption means that while nominally capitalist and supposedly driven by profits, these corporations actually act in ways that will cost them profits. Almost any large commercial body can be somehow involved (e.g. pharmaceutical companies) but most of all the large software companies and the major media organisations are the most implicated.

Together, all three groups act in concert, with one determining the behaviour of the other. The Ageing Establishment directs the actions of The Left, The Left direct the actions of the Corrupted Corporations, and the Corrupted Corporations control The Ageing Establishment or perhaps the reverse of that. The neo-reactionaries call this The Cathedral, the overt anti-semites call it a Jewish conspiracy, while others blame it on “Cultural Marxism” or “political correctness”.

The idea that these groups that in our actual reality have competing interests or are actually ideologically opposed are all working together in this imagined reality provides a comforting explanation for an uncomfortable fact. Reality, actual physical reality but also the social reality of cultural change, keeps misbehaving and not conforming to ideological expectations. Whether this is climate change or the apparent rapid switch in popular opinion to favour marriage equality, the world that asserts itself over our imagined frameworks of it, keeps behaving in ways that run counter to the expectations of right-libertarians, social-conservatives, paleo-conservatives, right-nationalists, neo-fascists and white supremacists.

The people he studies are of little importance to anyone but their friends, but they do write a lot.

Since 2016, there has also been a burst of right-wing rhetoric in the USA that sinister leftist forces are going to force them to use guns and engage in violent resistance despite their best wishes.  If conservative presidents like Obama and Biden could not tone that down (shrugs).

Discussion and Debate - The Philosopher's Plaza / Re: US Politics 2021
« on: November 22, 2021, 03:49:59 AM »
It also seems pretty clear that this congress does not feel that since a faction aligned with part of the opposition party tried to extort and murder them they should take prompt and decisive action in response.  For example, they are keeping their very generous schedule of holidays ("constituency days" when they don't have to be in Washington in the Capitol), and they have trouble passing legislation but no trouble offering the latest giant whack of money to the military.  If the previous president is alive and out of jail in November 2024, he will probably be his party's candidate for president, so  ::)  IIRC, the house or the Senate has less than 10 days of meetings scheduled for the rest of the year.

According to Maciej Ceglowski, regressive tax cuts are the second biggest line-item in the version of the "Build Back Better" act which passed one part of congress.

I agree, I don't like compulsory vaccinations and I think the European/Western hogging of doses overall is appalling. It's tricky to know how one does solve the anti-vaxx problem, that said: if we don't get very high vaccination rates then it continues imposing the cost (financial but also social and psychological) of repeated lockdowns, deaths, etc on everyone.
The other issue is that Austria eliminated the virus outside of Vienna in summer 2020.  We came so close!  But with the more infectious variants we seem stuck in this cycle of half measures other than vaccination.  And with the more infectious variants the vaccination rate would have to be very high to stop the disease from circulating.

How have public health advice in Austria been?  In BC the public health authorities have been very slow to withdraw advice to do burdensome things which don't seem to help (like cleaning your hands before you enter shops, or quarantining books returned to libraries, or wearing transparent face shields).

The other big issue is that in BC, the provincial government took advantage of the floods and the mudslides to charter a plane and fly in RCMP officers to arrest journalists and land defenders blocking the route of the pipeline to Vancouver Kitimat.  The pipeline crosses territory which has never had roads cut across it, and which the government never even claimed to acquire rights to by treaty.  Since the minister who gave the order was the one who should be in charge of dealing with floods and mudslides ::)

Interesting. Was he ousted for having the charge of sexual assault or for not disclosing it? It seems weird that a criminal charge which is dropped before even going to court should be punished in this way, I wonder if there was something else going on or if it's just the more political choice to appear to be taking a hard stance on sexual assault.
For not disclosing it (as an officer in the Navy Reserve he was also obliged to notify his commanding officer of the charge).  And I think it became public less than ten days before the election, so many people had already voted or did not know that he had been rejected by the party.

In the case of the Liberals, a big issue is that 2015-Trudeau campaigned on his credentials as a feminist, then governed in a way which called them in to question (if you appoint a gender-balanced cabinet, but the male PM and his male staffers try to command the female Minister of Justice and Attourney General to do things which favour their party and don't accept her "no", is that really girl power?  Especially if when she resigns you launch a gendered whisper campaign against her?)  So the 2021-Liberals are concerned not to be associated with any kind of inappropriate behaviour towards women.

One of the many advantages of electoral reform would be that it reduced the incentive to release dirt on candidates shortly before the election and dare the party to support them, and let people faced with a candidate no longer supported by a party vote for "a Liberal" rather than "either this newly independent candidate or another party's candidate"

Oh so it's a legal requirement that such places check vaccine passports? I can see why people would get excited about that.
yes, since mid-2021.  But nothing essential like grocery shopping.

Kevin Vuong, the independent MP and former Liberal candidate in Ontario, is facing a loud campaign to resign figureheaded by some of his constituents  Whether its sincere or directed from the Prime Minister's Office I can't say.  And a typical firearms smuggling operation into Canada (56 semiautimatic handguns and 56 magazines in boxes in the trunk of a car entering from the United States) was interrupted in Central Canada.  This time the driver was Florida woman.

Getting pepper sprayed at fairy creek sounds like a euphemism. Or like the plot of a horror film for children.

Is Canada mandating vaccination or is this just about businesses requiring proof f vaccination and suchlike?
Its even better because police try not to say pepper spray any more, they have some acronym.

Health care is a provincial responsibility in Canada, and in BC right now you only have to provide proof of vaccination to eat at restaraunts, go to movie theatres, use gymnasia, and so on, and to work in some jobs like "nurse" or "MLA."  I did not have to provide proof of vaccination when I got my retail job which involves some dealing with customers.  But just the possibility that they might have to get vaccinated gets the anti-vaxxers excited.

The RCMP have caught systematically lying about an incident where they indiscrimately pepper-sprayed protesters at Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island.  This incident took place close to settlements, not in the backwoods where the RCMP can keep out or distract independent observers.

And the freemen on the land, a type of crank which is vocal on the prairies, have been glomming on to the anti-vaccine movement just like the white supremacists.

This is, if true, actually quite an unusual way for parties to behave: most sizeable parties anywhere that might actually get elected tend to follow through on a big chunk of manifesto promises, if only because often nobody's got time to radically redevelop ideas once they get into government so working through manifesto detail as a To Do list is a path of least resistance.
Yes, the transition of Canada from a parliamentary democracy to a dictatorship of the Prime Minister created many problems where the ministers can't make everyday decisions without authorization from the Prime Minister's Office, and the PMO has its full headspace committed to tracking polls (sigh) so can't observe orient decide and act on some estoeric issue of labour policy or procurement or whatever the issue is.  The whole strength of a parlimentary democracy is that the work of becoming a domain expert and implementing policy is spread out across a team of ministers and MPs, you don't need to wait for a Julius Caesar who can reform the calendar and restructure the legislature and write learned treatises and hobnob with foreign princes.

When the Prime Minister is so far from a serious thinker or details person as the current PM, its even worse.  Trudeau made a good figurehead in 2015 (his credentials as a feminist, anti-racist, and honest person have tarnished a bit since then), but he was never the person for working out exactly how the things in speeches were going to be achieved from day to day and bill to bill.

Yet another Conservative leadership candidate is disputing the result of an internal party election.  This time it was for head of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba and the challenger does not seem to have many non-partisan supporters

Pundit and consultant Alex Usher had a post a few weeks ago which might help understand why I am so doubtful whether Liberal promises will be fulfilled:

The thing you need to understand about Liberal Party of Canada promises is this: they aren’t meant to be taken literally.  Seriously, don’t do it.  They put almost no serious into crafting them – hell, the drafting of this one seems not to have started until the writ dropped, which is why we had the hilarious spectacle of Trudeau insisting this was the most important election of a generation/in the history of Canada/since the early Cretaceous period and yet have no idea what he was campaigning on until about halfway through.  This is a rather unhinged way for a governing party to behave, when you think about it, but there it is.

The best way to think of a Liberal manifesto is as a kind of semaphore to the electorate (Editor’s note: I had to look that one up too).  The breadth of issues covered by the promises and the wonkiness of the language used to describe them signals to the electorate that Liberals are smart and have a plan.  The specifics of that plan are irrelevant – they’ll change them as they go along and gather better ideas.  At best, the plan tells you “these are the issues Liberals will pay attention to once elected.”  So, you need to pay attention to the headlines under which Liberal promises are rolled out, but not the actual specific wording of the promises.

I don't trust the author but he does have a sense of how politics works in Ontario.

Meanwhile the federal and provincial governments are still forcing roads and gas pipelines through unceded indigenous territory which has never had a road cut through it at gunpoint.

I only read the first two ASoI&F books (grimmdark or unreliable narrators are too much like work), but I get the impression that Winter and whatever is beyond the Wall follow that pattern.  In the end, they are challenges which protagonists can overcome, not fundamental changes in the world.

Are you familiar with Ken Hite and Robin D. Laws' model of iconic characters?  Their iconic character (in post-1880 fiction) has to return the world to its initial state so they can keep having the same kind of adventure.  Captain Picard can't make starships obsolete or be thrown out of Starfleet, the continental op can't be sidelined by legal reforms which make it hard to solve problems by having everyone shoot everyone else.

Yeah, I think Tolkien's Sauron is one of the things that's template-providing here more than it's necessarily the first thing of its kind. I should read some Conan stuff though, I never really have done.
Unexpurgated texts of the 36 stories and novels are available in most bookstores and on Project Gutenberg Australia.  Of course, because they are complete you have to know to skip "Shadows in Zamboula."  The Cult of St. Robert does not want to admit that their hero wrote some great and some so-so stories, or that some of them are so cartoonishly racist that they are hard to enjoy.

An apocalpyse is already averted in The Hour of the Dragon.  I forget what the villain was planning in The Silver Chair, maybe just a more conventional invasion.

The idea of apocalypse as revelation seems to be under-used in postwar fiction.  It gets used more in conspiracy theoriues presented as fact.

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