Andrew is unhappy.
In Britain, Theresa May is trying to get the House of Commons to pass a Brexit agreement within the next three weeks, having been given a short extension by the EU. She had a draft agreement – it was so bad that the Brexit Secretary, the man in charge of negotiating the agreement with the EU, resigned from cabinet because he “could not in good conscience” support the agreement he himself had just negotiated. The withdrawal agreement has been overwhelmingly rejected by the House twice. But, May’s only option is to keep re-tabling the same agreement, hoping that the House will change its mind. Remember that definition of insanity? Continue reading “That’s it? Yet Another Take on a Canadian “Crisis””
Conservative symposium on climate change
To argue against the scientific conclusion that human activity is fueling climate change and that it will likely result in catastrophic consequences, is to put oneself in the same bracket of scientific credibility as flat earthers, young earth creationists, and Gwyneth Paltrow. The overwhelming majority of the world’s climate scientists have determined that the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere will lead to more severe weather events, unprecedented droughts and floods, a rise in sea level, and record high temperatures. It’s already happening, and it’s projected to get worse. So how are conservative leaders dealing with the issue? By hiding from it. Continue reading “Risky business: How conservatives are rolling the dice on climate change”
The Trump economic “miracle” is just a big house of cards.
“The Economy is soooo good, perhaps the best in our country’s history (remember, it’s the economy stupid!)” Donald Trump via Twitter September 10, 2018
As Donald Trump lurches from one lie to another, one national embarrassment to another, and one moral failing to another, Republicans forgive his behaviour and deficiencies by focusing on the economy. A common refrain heard from likely Republican voters is, “He’s not perfect but he’s really turned our economy around.” A Republican ad running just before the midterms warns that [the strong economy] “could all go away if we don’t remember where we came from.” Where they came from, according to the Republicans, is an economic nightmare of high unemployment and slow growth, apparently just “a few years ago.” Continue reading ““But the economy….” If that’s what’s keeping Trump and the Republicans afloat, they’re in trouble.”
Justin Trudeau explains economics and international relations to Donald Trump
We’ll accept this agreement, but we should now seek to diversify our economy away from the US. Our neighbour claimed to be our friend, but tried to shake us down for lunch money. Now that he’s settled for just some pocket change, the relationship doesn’t go back to where it was. With friends like that, we need new friends. Continue reading “The Art of the Deal – How to Lose Friends and Respect”
Doug Ford is poised to become Premier of Ontario, Canada’s largest province. And it’s not funny.
Back in 2014, Rob Ford was nearing the end of his term as Mayor of Toronto – a term that was, shall we say, chaotic, tumultuous, ridiculous. Mayor Ford had become an international laughing stock, as a result of his erratic, bizarre behaviour both in and out of office, fueled by a not-so-secret fondness for alcohol and crack cocaine. And Doug Ford was at his brother’s side during the whole sordid mess – as designated apologist, denier, cheerleader, co-sponsor of hare-brained ideas, and aggressive challenger to anyone questioning Rob’s ability to oversee North America’s fourth largest city while under the influence. Continue reading ““If you liked my brother………” The ridiculous notion of Doug Ford as Premier”
“I’m shocked, shocked to find that tech companies are selling users’ data.”
“Your sales proceeds, sir.”
“Oh, thank you very much.”
As I’m writing this, Mark Zuckerberg is making some interesting stops on his apology tour. Zuckerberg, the beleaguered head of Facebook, has been invited to explain to legislators in the US, Britain, and other jurisdictions, just what exactly Facebook has been doing with its users’ personal data. My expectation is that the current congressional hearings will achieve little more than providing an opportunity for representatives to do a little grandstanding, and getting Zuckerberg to wear a suit and tie. Those representatives are not prepared to take the steps necessary to guard individuals’ privacy when dealing with not just Facebook, but thousands of companies. Continue reading “Nice suit, Mark. Now, let’s take this privacy matter out of your hands.”
Diet courtesy of Amazon
In a recent Globe and Mail column, Sylvain Charlebois, dean of the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie University, wrote about how technology is revolutionising food distribution and consumption. He suggests that online ordering and home delivery is making consumers more rational, more informed, and even healthier. A dubious claim, but let’s go with it for a minute. The professor wrote excitedly about the prospect of automatic ordering of groceries and delivery to a consumer’s fridge. He imagined companies delivering to our kitchens the food we need to better our health, based on data downloaded from people’s portable devices. He calls this sort of diet management the “fitbitization” of food, after the ubiquitous wrist-worn reminder of people’s inactivity.
Picture a scenario whereby Amazon analyzes personal data from our wrist-worn devices, determines our nutritional requirements, and has Alexa order us to eat more broccoli. It’s technology run amok – the result of technophilia. Continue reading “When Technophilia Rules: From Coffee-pot Cameras to Smart Appliances and Beyond”
“I can handle things – I’m smart. Unlike everybody says, like dumb. I’m smart, and I want respect!”
Donald J. Trump or Fredo Corleone?
2017: a year of “Trumpery”
Donald Trump has been president of the US for a full year. He finishes his first year in office with a historically low approval rating within his own country, historically low confidence in the US being able to fulfill its traditional role of global leadership, a criminal investigation closing in on his advisors and family, unprecedented divisions within the country, a foreign policy running madly off in all directions, and now, a very public discussion as to whether the president really is an incompetent fool. Continue reading “Moving Beyond Trumpery. How to Survive 2018”
Tax policy by Leona?
A long, long time ago, I learned in business school the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance. Simply, one is legal, one is not. I learned more about the distinction from my first employer, when the company deferred indefinitely the payment of a full year of income tax by essentially forming a partnership with itself. That was avoidance. And it was entirely legal at the time. So was Donald Trump’s claiming of $916 million in business losses to shield his income from taxes for subsequent years, even though the majority of the losses had been absorbed by his bankers, not by him or his companies. So was Apple Inc.’s parking of the bulk of its income in low-tax Ireland, by claiming a corporate residency of…nowhere. So is the wholesale reduction of corporate tax by tech giants Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. by housing their IP assets (and hence reported income from those assets) in tax havens. It’s not a stretch to suggest that the most creative, innovative people within these companies are not involved in product design and development – they’re in the tax department. Continue reading “Tax reform, the hard way. How Morneau and Trump screwed it up”
Donald Trump gets a new hat?
The editors of both the New York Times and Scientific American recently expressed their concerns about the fact that the US president can decide unilaterally to launch a nuclear attack against an enemy. Since the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, the president can order a nuclear strike – alone. That is, Donald Trump can exert sole control over a decision to unleash a nuclear arsenal against North Korea, Iran, or any other enemy state. That should frighten everyone, for as Hillary Clinton pointed out during the 2016 campaign, “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.” Unfortunately, as Alex Wellerstein said in the Washington Post last year, the one sure way to keep President Trump from launching a nuclear attack would have been to elect someone else. Continue reading “Still unanswered: how to keep the nuclear reins from the hands of an unbalanced president.”