February 2nd

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

Having crafted a constitution and shifted from a dictatorship to a semblance of  democracy, the military in Myanmar participated in the recent election and lost big time. They don’t like it. So they have arrested all in leadership positions in Aung San Suu Kyi NLD party and have staged a coup (now cynically described as a “cabinet shuffle”). Taking a page out of Trump’s playbook, they are claiming the election was stolen. They have imposed a year-long emergency and invoked martial law. The My Pillow CEO is being asked to be their advisor along with Michael Flynn.

The GOP doesn’t know what to do with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene – a firm believer in anything that vaguely sounds bat-shit crazy. She doesn’t like evidence, truth or data linked to science. So bizarre are her views, the leadership of the GOP (showing irony and a degree of cynicism) have named her to serve on the house education committee. She is a subversive Q-Anon conspiracy wonk and needs to be denied a role on any decision making committee or task force. Except one. She should be put in charge of the strategy for the future of the GOP. That should kill it off.

In Alberta, the Kakistocracy of Premier Jason Kenney hired a forensic accountant to look at claims that foreign money led a campaign to challenge and disrupt the development of the oil sands and pipelines. Steve Allan was given $2.5 million and a deadline. He missed it, got more money ($1 million) and a new deadline. He missed it, and now has a new deadline – May 31st. He used some of the ill-gotten gains of this mad-cap enterprise to commission some reports from the equivalent of anti-vaxxers, fake news purveyors and conspiracy theory vendors focused on an anti-climate change narrative.  They key reason the report is delayed till May is that it is based on nonsensical thinking and alternative facts.  We can expect a bucketful of magical thinking by the end of May (perhaps). Meantime, the Kenney War Room continues to disrupt truth and promote magical thinking at all of our expense.

People seem upset with PM Trudeau. His government has negotiated arrangements to secure vaccines for five times the population of Canada. Vaccine supply challenges are everywhere, but some blame him personally for the problems encountered by massive supply logistics. The vaccine production facilities Canada used to have were closed by the Harper government and a new facility was commissioned  last August by the National Research Council which will begin functioning shortly. Global supply chains are always problematic, especially when everyone wants what only a few companies have.

Meantime a forensic inquiry commissioned by the Stillman Foundation (US) into the WE Charity and the Government of Canada’s granting of funds to support specific aspects of its work has concluded that the whole episode was theatre. John Auger, writing about this, says “the whole ‘scandal’ was all a theatrical waste time and money concocted by Pierre Poilievre et al to draw attention away from the fact that the Official Opposition Conservative Party was bereft of any ideas whatsoever of how to guide Canada forward through the economic crash of oil markets. And young people paid the price while Poilievre got to play a cheap detective on TV”.

Jeff Bezos is stepping down as CEO of Amazon – he will be executive chair of the Board. He will devote more time to other passions, such as the Washington Post, the Day 1 Fund and his Bezos Earth company. Amazon launched in 1994 in the same week that we launched the world’s first fully online MBA at Athabasca University.

Captain Sir Thomas Moore (100) died in hospital in Bedford from both pneumonia and COVID-19. He was on a ventilator. Sad to see him pass – such a fun guy! The singer and wonderful artist Tony Bennet (94) was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016, but has continued to paint and perform “it keeps me young”, he says. Thoughts and prayers.

February 18th

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

As Trump’s former lawyers face challenges – Giuliani looks like he could be thrown out of the NY Bar Association and is facing a multibillion law suit and Lin Woods does not appear to have voted legally in the last election which he continues to claim was stolen – Trump may get a State holiday named after him in Ohio. Trump Day (presumably when everyone re-enacts the insurrection attempt) is being suggested by two State Senators. Go figure.

Trump made nasty comments about how many chins Mitch McConnel has. He can’t face competition.

Trump Casino was blown up using 300 sticks of dynamite bought from the Four Seasons Landscape and Garden Centre in Philadelphia. The owners commented “we’re always happy to lend a helping hand”. “It fell like a sack of s**t”, said one observer. Many thought he was talking about the former owner of the casino.

Dissident Russian Alexei Navalny faces a significant prison term for breaching the terms of his probation from a made-up fraud case from 2014 and for defaming a war veteran. Next he will be charged with loitering in the prison grounds and for having ideas. Aung San Suu Kyi looks like being charged with possession of walkie talkies imported illegally and used without permission, which carries a two year prison term in Myanmar – good job she didn’t have a subscription to Fox News. Thousands have protested over the suspension of a democratically elected parliament. The junta call it an insurrection. Sounds familiar.

Meghan Markle is to talk to Oprah about her concerns over privacy. We can help by not watching. Meanwhile, Prince Phillip (99 and a bit) has been admitted to hospital in London saying he was “feeling poorly”. He’d probably been watching past episodes of The Crown. He is reported to have passed a pleasant few nights engaged in “argy- bargy” with the nursing team, many of them too young to remember who Argy was – some trying to remember the songs on the Squeeze album.

NASA has managed to land the Perseverance Rover on Mars – it is now on the hunt for a McDonald’s and some vaccines. Many in Texas wish they could be there (or in Cancun with their Senator, Ted Cruz).

Serena Williams (39) lost her tennis match to Naomi Osaka in straight sets. In doing so, Serena lost her chance for a record 24th grand slam title. Osaka will now face Jennifer Brady in the final in Melbourne. Djokovic will play either Medvedev or Tsitsipas in men’s final (we’ll know who on Friday).

February 20th

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, busy expanding their family and developing their roles as leaders of the new woke culture, have decided never to return to royal duties and have left the elite group of working royals. No one will notice or be especially bothered about this, but we can expect endless podcasts and news items about the pain this has caused the couple.

Ted Cruz, well known Canadian-American Senator from Texas, abandoned his state in the midst of a power crisis and deep freeze to go to Cancun. He said he was looking for his Alberta UCP friends who he thought would be there too, given how cold it had been in Alberta recently. He was reconnecting to his Snowbird roots in Canada and seeking to have an excellent adventure.

Cruz’s State of Texas, where some State Senators were recently considering separation from the US federation, is broken. A massive snow storm and deep freeze has crippled many households, leading the US Government to declare a major disaster. 14.9 million are challenged to secure clean water and 85,000 remain without power. Because power providers won total deregulation and are not connected to the national grid (the GOP has been in power for 20 years), many will lose their homes and livelihoods as the power companies seek to profit from disaster. Normally, power costs a typical family around $150 a month, but last Friday it rose to close to  $10,000  a month for a three bedroom house. Governor claims it’s a black swan event – one that seems to occur around every eight years. Very healthy swan.

Florida Governor Ron de Santa Claus lowered flags in all state buildings to commemorate the racist bigot Rush Limbaugh (70), who died following a long battle with cancer. He also battled truth, integrity, equity, inclusion, diversity, democracy and common-sense – none of which he felt had a place in the Republican party. Donald J Trump (the J is for jailtime coming) went on Hannity (Fox Not News) to celebrate his own achievements, while mentioning Limbaugh.

Over 16 million people have been vaccinated against C-19 in the UK. Both people who have been vaccinated in Canada expressed their delight in Britain’s progress. Though Canada has ordered 338 million doses, it is lagging behind other G7 countries in getting the vaccines into people’s arms. The Prime Minister, Justintime Trudeau, said “I hadn’t realized we have to inject the vaccines as well”.

Borish Johnson, looking refreshingly like a char lady in his full PPE kit, has promised to send surplus vaccines to developing nations in need. Germany has offered over 1 billion euros for this cause too. Canada promises to send surplus vaccines to hard hit countries, especially those in sub Saharan Africa. President Macaroon of France will also send vaccines to poorer nations together with some croissants.

Kim Kardashian has reportedly filed for divorce from Presidential candidate and songster Kayne West on the grounds that he has been getting more attention than she has recently. He is also having trouble staying stable, given his bi-polar disorder and choice of music. They have been married for seven years and have four children – North, Chicago, Saint and Psalm (whatever were they thinking?). This will be Kim’s third divorce. The big issue is how they will split the $300 million in livestock they jointly own.

February 22nd

Let’s take a walk around the world and see what is happening…

In Myanmar, things are going from  bad to terrible quickly. The military junta shot two more protestors dead this last week and, despite continuing massive protests, insist that they are there to protect the country – Proud Boys and Oath Keeper style. Despite an election in which the military lost ground and the democratic people’s party gained significant ground, the coup is now enforced through death and destruction. The world shouts out, but the junta are deaf to world opinion, concerned only with their own corrupt wellbeing. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest on trumped up charges. The people of Burma deserve better.

So do the peoples of Russia. Putin’s lackeys have imprisoned an opponent to the regime on trumped up charges, yet in sending Alexey Navalny to a labour camp until 2023 the regime has helped to unite forces of opposition against Putin (aka as Voldemort). Another corrupt, power hungry and vicious regime governed by self-interest rather than the interests of the people. Putin, it is said, is one of the richest men in the world.

China has reneged on a 2018 deal with the Vatican over the appointment of Bishops and Archbishops. Under of the original deal the Vatican had a role in the selection of Bishops, which Beijing would formally appoint. Under a new draft law (Order Number 15, 2021), the Vatican has no role and all appointed must commit to full and unquestioning support of the regime. There are over 12 million Catholics in China and it is a religion which the regime sees as “a belief system imported from the West”. It is seeking to co-opt the church and mute or repress opposition. President Joe Biden, a catholic, is watching with interest – he is already deeply distrustful of China. This move won’t endear the regime to anyone.

Flight UA238 left Denver for Honolulu on Saturday, but quickly returned to the airport having lost not only power in one engine but bits of the engine fell off over Bloomfield, a suburb of Denver. Some residents now have lawn sculptures and others have personalized SUV’s and trucks, with Boeing parts replacing Ford and GM parts. 241 people were on board, but all landed back safely. No reports of injuries on the ground, other than damage to the artistic sensibilities of some. Boeing, just starting to climb back after other disasters, has recommended that the Boeing 777 not be flown.

Donald J Trump (the J is for jumped-up-jackass) will speak this coming week-end at the annual CPAC event – a meeting of likeminded, increasingly desperate people who are out to line their pockets at the expense of others. It is said he will announce his candidacy for the US Presidency in 2024 – he will be 78 when the race for the top begins (the same age as Biden is now) and will be using a CPAP machine, which you can pick up at discounted prices at CPAC. His main policy will be to “fill up the swamp in Washington” and Make America Weak Again, as he did last time. He hopes to have Michael Flynn as his running mate and a new First Lady by then. Stormy Daniels has made it clear that she is not available.

Initially invited to speak at CPAC, Mike Pence (who, some claim, was a former Vice President of the US) has turned down the invitation, now that he knows that the man who nearly got him killed during the insurrection on January 6th will speak at the event. Pence is to be a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a well-known pipeline for Ayn Rand inspired policies and a conduit for nonsense and the views of the Koch Family Foundation. He will fit right in.

In tennis news, Djokovic beat Medvedev in straight sets to win the Australian open and cement his position at the top of the men’s game. It is his 18th career Grand Slam title. In the women’s finals, Osaka (23) beat Brady (25) and secured her 4th Grand Slam – she is young, smart and very fit and has a great future in the sport, having never yet lost a Grand Slam final she has reached and is unbeaten in her last twenty-one matches.