Note to readers

Reduced activity here will continue since I am awaiting heart valve repair. The process was slightly disrupted when machinery broke down as VGH technicians tried to complete a CT scan needed before Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI). Machine problems occurred again two weeks later but the scan was done with a minor delay. Now comes the anxiety inducing wait. I am hoping it will be weeks, not months.

Despicable bedfellows

Professor Robert Reich is a public affairs commentator published in a broad range of forums. His Substack platform is always worth reading. A recent entry argues that that under Elon Musk, Twitter has fully embraced the political right. As evidence, Reich offers the robber baron’s lovefest with book-banning culture warrior Ron DeSantis.

Marginalized citizens gain protection

On May 19, Canada’s Supreme Court resolved an important defamation case with six of seven judges finding against former Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld. Doing so, the court further defined boundaries of fair public comment and strengthened provincial laws discouraging Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation or “SLAPP” suits.

Climate disasters may be unstoppable

A disaster strikes. The news reaches every home for a few days, perhaps a week. A debate erupts over whether climate change is to blame. Victims are profiled. There’s a tally of lives lost and property destroyed, and then the disaster is forgotten… But the story is quite different for those of us who are directly affected. We won’t just move on. Instead, we’ll likely be caught in what we might call a disaster’s long tail, a slow-moving series of effects both immaterial and material.

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Under fascism, universal freedom is doomed

The targeting of enemies—minorities, liberals, secularists, leftists, urban naxals, intellectuals, assorted protestors—is not driven by a calculus of ordinary politics….When you legitimize yourself entirely by inventing enemies, the truth ceases to matter, normal restraints of civilization and decency cease to matter, the checks and balances of normal politics cease to matter.

Thin blue line bleeds red

Eight years after Myles Gray was beaten to death by a police gang, almost nothing has changed in the process of holding officers accountable for violent misdeeds. Those Vancouver police should count themselves lucky the Memphis chief and prosecutors weren’t in charge here.

Defending democracy through public engagement

In my years of political observation, I have come to realize that elected officials individually have little opportunity to influence public policy. At senior levels of government, power has concentrated in the offices of the first minister. In local governments and school boards, In local governments and school boards, power is held largely by professional administrators. Public input is tolerated by the power holders, but not welcomed…

Economics of biodiversity

The UK commissioned a study published in 2021 that was to help the government establish environmental policies for 25-years. Project leader Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge University was assisted by a long list of expert contributors, advisors, and reviewers…

A special day

Some folks think social media is a toxic cesspool and avoid it. Other search for valuable content and find it. Many have found Zachery Dereniowski, creator of this video, which had had about 10 million views when embedded here.

Trans Mountain: A $35+ billion fossil fuel subsidy

“There is a genuine possibility that within the coming century, we will hit temperatures that are deeply incompatible with the continued existence of human life.”

Canadian industrialists, the Trudeau government, and western provinces collectively respond to the warnings of climate scientists, “Forget about it. We’re not limiting fossil fuel production. We’re doing the opposite.”