IamCraig.com Rotating Header Image

Opinion

Holy crap! I have opinions! Lots and lots of opinions! You want to read my opinions NOW!

The most moronic, nonsensical — and least surprising — war in history; Russia versus Ukraine

Flag of Ukraine

Flag of Ukraine.

It was a month ago today that Russia invaded Ukraine, the first (as I understand it) inter-state invasion in Europe since the end of the Second World War in 1945, 77 years ago … over three quarters of a century! I am speechless. Europe has been united in order to prevent such a catastrophe from ever breaking out again (“Never again!”), and one madman with a personal agenda based on a twisted understanding of history has changed that.

I really don’t have it in me to try and put together some coherent piece to add to the billions of litres of ink already spilled on this topic, much of it written by people far more erudite (and paid far more) than me, so I’m going to make a few little notes.

“Madman”

That term, “madman”, has been top of mind for me since I saw his speech denying the existence of Ukraine over a month ago. In news coverage I saw a comment by one American Republican senator that vladimir putin “didn’t seem right”, or words to that effect. I thought exactly the same, and several people have made similar comments since. On the other hand, I came across this piece by Joanna Williams in “Spiked”: “The war in Ukraine is not about Putin’s mental health“. To be honest it sounds like something written by a contrarian, but that seems to be Spiked’s raison d’être.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Unlike his Afghan counterpart on 15 August 2021, Zelenskyy stayed the course and stayed in his office in Kyiv. He turned down an American offer to evacuate him and his family with the statement, “I need ammunition, not a ride.” The guy is a fucking hero. As a politician and as a human he is probably loaded with flaws, as are all of us, but as the President of Ukraine and the leader of a country invaded by the biggest country in the world, he has and will continue to have my undying respect. I’ve often said that instead of wars, the leaders of countries should get in a ring with each other and fight until there is a TKO; despite his self-manufactured manly image, putin probably wouldn’t last thirty seconds again Zelenskyy.

Peace talks

These have been a joke since day one. I get it; whatever side you are on, you walk into “talks” asking for the world, and you eventually settle for less. But why are there even peace talks? Don’t you talk first in order to avoid a fight, and only then fight? I suppose the Ukrainians have been talking to the Russians since 2014, when the Russians invaded Crimea and, nudge nudge, wink wink, “didn’t” invade the Donbas, but clearly that talking has gone nowhere in eight years. What little it did result in, the Minsk agreements, weren’t worth the paper they were written on in putin’s mind, and he started his “special military operation” (“war”, or “invasion”, to most of us) against Ukraine anyway. Hindsight is great, but if you can’t sort out a problem in eight years, both sides are probably not trying hard enough.

Not even Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, can be taken seriously. His first condition for Ukraine is to surrender and give the Russians everything they want … which, by the way, they are failing to get by military means.

Refugees

When the war is over, the countries that have taken in refugees should sue Russia for their expenses. Why not? Actually, not that I’m starting to draw up a peace treaty, but the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 was too harsh on Germany (it’s generally accepted) and contributed to the start of World War II. I suppose this will all need to be considered in time.

Russia’s words

I understand that all sides in conflict lie, but the lengths to which Russia has taken this stretch credibility. Starting before the war they accused the West of being “alarmist” and “hysterical” in their warning about a war. I mean, it’s just a joke. Now they claim they’re not targeting civilians, as missile after missile blows up residential blocks of flats, schools and hospitals. And “de-nazification”?! Not even in 1940s Germany was everyone a Nazi! How do you “save” the Russian-speaking people in Ukraine by killing them?!

Western aid to Ukraine

I realise how high the stakes are, but the West has let down Ukraine. The analogy I’ve heard — and analogies do have their limits — is one of a big bully on a playground beating a little kid. The little kid calls out to other kids to ask for help, but they demur, claiming the bully has a knife. Of course, the “knife” in this case is far bigger — nuclear weapons — but we are so far down that path already. I don’t want to suggest that talking isn’t worth it, but the reason that putin has decided that the West is weak is precisely because we have not stood up to him. If we don’t stand up to him now, he will keep pushing. Why wouldn’t he? There are Russian speaking minorities in countries all around Russia’s western border — even more now that Russians are abandoning the country while they can — and those countries will likely suffer the same fate as the Donbas in Ukraine.

So what do we do? Do we implement the no-fly zone that Ukraine has asked for? NATO says they will not, but do they really think that they can stay out of this fight forever? If the Baltic states suffer in the same way the Donbas has, will NATO really turn a blind eye? They can’t. It will be blatantly obvious that Russia will have launched a proxy attack on one or more of those NATO countries, and NATO will be treaty-bound to step in. And then what? You guessed it, we’re a shaky trigger finger away from nukes. I hope you’re practising to kiss your arse goodbye.

Poland has offered their old MiG-29s to the Ukrainian Air Force. Predictably, Russia claims they will consider this a provocation on the part of NATO, completely ignoring the fact that they have used Belarusian territory to launce their invasion. If they can use Belarus, why can the Ukrainians not use Poland? Sadly, the U.S. [rejected] Poland’s offer of fighter jets for Ukraine, calling it “untenable”. It’s at this point that you look at NATO and wonder if the alliance has somehow managed to paint themselves into a corner. It brings to mind the not-so-old adage, “Too big to fail.” Well, maybe NATO is too big to be useful if their own founding documents tie their own hands behind their back. But what’s the solution, or a better situation? I don’t really know, but the status quo is not working. As Zelenskyy himself asks, “How many civilians have to be killed before NATO will take the situation seriously?” (to paraphrase). He’s not wrong to ask the question, and it points out what I asked above: “Does NATO really think that they can stay out of this fight forever?”

Plain speaking from two former Irish presidents

Both Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson, former Irish presidents, has some rather undiplomatic and non-neutral words for putin. (“Former presidents united in condemnation of Ukrainian invasion.“) McAleese:

She described the Russian President as “demagogic”, “moronic” and an “appalling anti-human man” who she hoped the Russian people would one day find it “within their power to neutralise”.

On whether the Russian people could rebel and prove their own President’s downfall, Ms McAleese said she thought this was “the best hope”.

“It wouldn’t be the first time the Russians have done this… they have the courage, now they have to find it” she said.

“I’ve never been a person who ever had contempt for another human being, I’ve never been contemptuous. But I certainly am now.”
— The Late Late Show (@RTELateLateShow) March 11, 2022

Ms Robinson said: “There is no doubt that Putin is very well protected, until suddenly maybe he is not.”

Robinson puts it well: It may only be someone within his circle that will set putin straight, but according to other reports he has “coup proofed” himself over the last twenty years. This is to the disadvantage of Russia, and it may well result in the downfall of human civilisation. All because he doesn’t want to hear any truth spoken to him.

The BBC is geographically challenged

Several times (not just once) in the early days of the war … sorry, “special military operation” … the BBC stated that Poland was “directly east of Ukraine”. (See screenshot.) I have no words for that level of stupidity. Ironically, though, that’s where I go for most of my international news.

BBC says Poland is east of Ukraine (crop)

BBC says Poland is east of Ukraine.

Slava Ukraini!

A note about the “mainstream media”

What does “mainstream” mean? Here’s the definition according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary:

mainstream
n. (the mainstream) normal or conventional ideas, attitudes, or activities.
adj. belonging to or characteristic of the mainstream.

Here’s an example: Bob and Sue have a disagreement over something. They have 20 mutual friends, and 15 of them agree with Sue and 5 agree with Bob. The “mainstream” of their mutual friends agree with Sue, but under the logic of the anti-vaxxers Bob is right because the “mainstream” can’t be trusted!

This is the logic under which the anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers and anti-mandates people operate, when they call for everything from the de-funding of the “mainstream media” (MSM) to their execution.

I get it. I don’t ever want to be in a situation where I have a mob of reporters banging on my door for one reason or another, but the media does have a job to do. Part of that job, sadly, is to bang on certain peoples’ doors! Do they make mistakes? Sure they do, and one would hope that they would own up to those mistakes when they make them. There are ways to (at least) try and hold the media responsible for their mistakes.

I know that the media is biased. Everyone on this planet is biased, and it’s nigh on impossible to create an organisation that is one hundred percent neutral. As long as you’re aware of the biases of where you’re getting your news, you can read that news through that filter, and get the story from other sources as well and then decided for yourself where the truth likely lies. I’ve read stories from different sources that describe the same event in very different terms. But it’s up to me (and you) to seek out other reliable news sources and collate that information to determine what you believe to be the most likely version of the truth. However, those sources need to be reliable, and the Twitter feed of some left- or right-wing nut — or even my blog! — is not a reliable news source.

With respect to the so-called Freedom/Trucker Convoy, the fact that they bash the media, don’t invite them to their so-called press conferences, and walk out of said press conferences without answering any of the questions they would find difficult, is clear evidence to me that they don’t have the courage of their convictions.

A summary of where I stand

I unintentionally did a series of posts last weekend, prompted by the idiots occupying Ottawa, so I suppose I should come clean on why I think they are idiots.

I’m all for disagreement, but all sides must be willing to take in all of the facts and then make the clear choice on the correct course of action. Now, this is easier said than done, I get it, especially on issues where choices are made and positions are set based on different guiding principles. (The abortion debate is a very clear example.) But under the pandemic there seems to be this undercurrent of denialism of science prevalent among a certain segment of the population. I’ve never seen any information from these people that stands up to scrutiny, whereas the information I’ve seen espoused by health and disease professionals — i.e., trained professionals, people who have studied the science for decades — is very persuasive to me. Combine misinformation with fatigue and you have a recipe for disaster, as people latch onto examples of misinformation that appeal to their biases and personal experiences, not to mention their wanting to get rid of the cause of their fatigue.

Further combine this with information siloing and you have a fatal combination. It’s the bane of our time. The likes of Facebook, Instagram (both owned by the same company) and Twitter won’t make money if you move off of their platforms — i.e., go to work, go to bed, have dinner, leave the computer or put down your phone — and while you’re on their platforms they make more money if they can keep you clicking. As has been made abundantly clear recently, as if it was hard to figure out intuitively, negative news results in more clicking and more sharing, and bigger profits for the likes of Facebook. And all of the Internet giants want you to feel good — it’s ironic that feeling angry apparently makes people feel good, but that’s a psychological debate for another day — and so if you show them that you love conspiracy theories, guess what? They’re going to feed you more conspiracy theories! Before you know it, you’re down the rabbit hole, getting all of your biases and prejudices confirmed, and the next thing you know you’re claiming that vaccines (which have been around for centuries) actually kill people. I have received a dozen or a couple of dozen vaccines against various diseases in my life, and none of them have killed me!

So that’s why, I believe, many people have succumbed to the false beliefs they now hold. These beliefs are complete and utter bullshit:

  • Vaccines will kill you.
  • All of us “sheep” — i.e., those of us who believe science and scientists — are all part of a huge conspiracy.
  • Cooperating with others in society to attempt to reduce the spread of disease is an abridgement of my “freedom”.
  • Trump won the 2020 US election.

I know the names of some of these idiots, and you might too: Jason Kenney, Scott Moe, Pierre Poilievre, Candice Bergen and Andrew Scheer … among others. I don’t actually know if these five believe the four points above specifically — I actually don’t believe they would — but they have sided with people who believe these things. Kenney in particular looked recently like he couldn’t comply with the truckers’ demands fast enough, falling all over himself to ignore the scientists advising him, to straddle the fence in a way that would hurt if he had any balls; Moe looked like a frightened or cowed child with his deer-in-the-headlights look as he started rolling back “mandates” as quickly as he could! As for Poilievre, Bergen and Scheer, well, the Conservative Party is so desperate right now to look relevant that they’d try anything, and that included (before they reversed course) supporting the occupation of Ottawa by anti-vaxxers and -maskers who do believe the above lies.

I’d suggest that the Ottawa Police Service better get their shit together by Friday.

It’s past time for electoral reform in Canada

I don’t want to draw too long a bow here, but the current protests in Canada highlight the fact that our electoral system is broken. The current government is in power despite not winning a majority of the votes in the last (2021) election. The Liberal Party won only 32.62% of the vote, while the Conservative Party won 34.34% of the vote. (And while the New Democratic Party won 15.98% of the vote, they won only 25 seats, while the Bloc Québécois [who only run for seats in one province!] won 32 seats with only 7.63% of the vote, less than half as many votes!) Anyone with a brain would tell you that a system which produces these numbers is flat out broken!

So while the majority of Canadians have been vaccinated, and understand short-term pain for long-term gain, it’s not rocket science to figure out how the noisy band of malcontents that have descended on Ottawa, Coutts, Emerson and Windsor (among a number of provincial capitals) have managed to attract such a following. I still believe that the majority of Canadians do not support them, and I also still believe that these protests are being driven by right-wing extremists from both Canada and the United States, but this doesn’t change the fact that the vast majority of Canadians, 67.38%, did not vote for the party currently in power.

Much ink has been spilled on the assertion that the only ones to gain from a change in the electoral system to one that includes some form of proportional representation would be the NDP and the Greens. There’s no doubt about that, but (a) opposing electoral reform for that reason is short-sighted (and mean), and (b) that doesn’t imply that the two major parties (Liberals and Conservatives) can’t benefit themselves.

I also believe that Justin Trudeau and the Liberals don’t want to enact electoral reform, not because it would help the NDP and the Greens, but because they see how fractured the Conservative Party is, and that allowing proportional representation would allow the Conservative Party to split (the People’s Party of Canada already did), yet ultimately form government because two or more conservative-leaning parties could easily win a majority (or at least the biggest bloc of seats) and form a coalition government. So ironically, if the Conservative Party would just take their collective heads out of their ass and stop parroting the Liberal line that they can’t do electoral reform, they might actually gain from it … and significantly!

The beginning of civil war in Canada?

I’m not trying to be alarmist with this title, but the actions of a minority of Canadians are having very negative effects on their fellow Canadians. Some have gone as far as to refer to it as “terrorism”, and if you’re in Ottawa in the middle of it and you can’t sleep at night because of the blaring of horns, that adjective is all too real to you. It’s a classic torture technique to deprive your captive of sleep, and the residents of Ottawa in the vicinity of the occupiers of the city are indeed captives, as are the people being laid off because their employers can’t receive the deliveries they’re expecting across our borders.

So if your actions go beyond simple “peaceful” protest and start very negatively affecting the lives of your follow citizens — whether that effect is death or something slightly less drastic, like depriving them of sleep and income — how is that fundamentally different from an actual shooting civil war? The protestors make the point that if they don’t have this great an effect their point will be ignored. Well, they may be right. However, if you’re such a small minority and your demands are so great — as seems to be the case here — then your point, your demands, should be ignored! Every single one of us in a civilised society has to live within the confines of behaviour accepted by the majority. Anyone who has ever read Lord of the Flies learnt the alternative in high school!

How did we get here? As I said in my last post, this ostensibly started out as a trucker protest by people who opposed “vaccine mandates”. However, it has clearly morphed. The thousands of participants are clearly not the 10-15% of truckers who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Others have glommed onto their protest. Who are the others? That seems to be the biggest unanswered question here, and I sure don’t have the answer. The current federal government is a minority government, which means that most Canadians didn’t vote for them, Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party. Personally speaking I am one of them, but as much as Justin Trudeau irks me, and as much as I have written against him and his leadership on my blog, I support his stance against this array of yobbos, and I think their calls for him to be jailed are abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous.

But why do these people honestly think that they can make this demand? Because they’re extremists who all talk to each other in their own little social-media bubbles. People on both sides of the political spectrum make this mistake and come to different extremist conclusions. In addition to coming to the conclusion that they can call for the overthrow of a duly elected government before the next scheduled election, they advocate for the jailing and execution of the politicians, and the “lying media”, the “fake news”. It’s just bizarre. No matter what beliefs you hold, you cannot reasonably come to the conclusion that you can effectively segregate the population and eliminate every last person who disagrees with you. That guy standing next to you on the protest line likely has a slightly different position to you on any number of issues, so should he/she be executed too? If you answer “yes”, who will be left standing next to you?! Nobody, that’s who.

I used to think that America was on the verge of civil war, and we reasonable people in Canada would be watching the refugees streaming across the border into our civilised country. However, it’s becoming clear that many Americans, mainstream politicians (e.g., Trump, Cruz) and underground right-wing extremists, are treating Canada as the fifty-first state. And we may actually be! The people behind the protests are the sheep of the American right-wing movement (and they even carry their flags!), and they are blindly (and very rapidly!) importing American civil-war politics into a country that simply doesn’t need that garbage!

The supply chain is falling, the supply chain is falling!

With apologies to Chicken Little.

If I hear another news story about the failing supply chain I’m going to scream. It seems that the term “supply chain” is the latest buzzword. I suppose the pandemic, global weather events and/or inflation have not helped things, but society seems to be coming to grips with the fact that we can’t have everything we want at our fingertips all of the time. The attitude that we should is what has lead us into overusing and abusing the planet’s resources, which leads to destruction of the environment, which leads to the aforementioned global weather events … and so the vicious circle goes.

But really, I didn’t have a reason to write about this until the 10% of Canadian truckers who are not vaccinated against COVID got bees in their bonnets, and decided to drive from Vancouver to Ottawa.

It’s clear that this protest is no longer really led by the truckers, and has been co-opted by right-wing extremists who want another “January 6th” (a reference to the lame insurrection attempt in Washington DC in the United States), but this time in Canada. I haven’t personally seen the rhetoric apparently calling for the overthrow of the Canadian government (but it doesn’t take a huge leap of faith to know it exists), but I did see an idiot who claimed that they want every single member of parliament to resign and for all COVID-related mandates to be immediately rescinded.

*sigh*

News flash buddy: the federal government has no jurisdiction over COVID mandates, which are a health-care issue; those are mandated by the provincial and territorial governments! Secondly, I don’t know who you want governing the country after all of the MPs resign, but I sure don’t want it to be you and your “F🍁CK TRUDEAU” flag wavers! If you become prime minister that will surely get me off my couch!

The truckers got bees in their bonnets over the fact that the Canadian government now requires all cross-border truckers to be vaccinated. They seem to be too dense to understand that the Americans have the same requirement, and so even if the Canadian government folds tomorrow and rescinds the requirement, it won’t make one iota of difference!

If this isn’t an example of a minority (10%) holding a majority (90%) hostage, I don’t know what is. As for all of the flag wavers coming out along the route (and swelling occupations on weekends), it’s not a surprise that a population of about 40 million people has more than its fair share of idiots. Sadly, there is no IQ test required to vote but, if you believe the 10%, that voting requirement is surely in the works.

As a former trans-border trucker myself, I know that many of these guys have been supping with their American counterparts, guys (mostly) who are gun-rights champions and various other wackos. Enough said about that, except that the last thing we need in Canada is the left-right, my-way-or-the-highway, extremist divide that they suffer from down there. Not all trucking needs to cross the international border with the United States, so if you don’t want to take a vaccine that has a very high chance of preventing you from dying of a very transmissible airborne disease, then work a domestic route. It’s not rocket science dude.

I’ve had this piece sitting on my computer for the last week or two, and things have evolved since then. I’m just going to publish this as is — because none of it is no longer correct — and I’m going to write something more cogent and current.

Bizarre British “news” website: Eminetra

2-year-ol woman ... died in circumcision failure

2-year-old woman … died in circumcision failure.

We all know that the World Wide Web is not a bastion of excellence in spelling and grammar. John Walker (of Autodesk and AutoCAD fame) has a very interesting essay on his website entitled, “Strike Out: Reading Unedited Text“, where he gives examples of texts that are a complete waste of time to read because of spelling and grammatical errors.

But I think even he would be gobsmacked by the atrocious quality of the writing at a news website I recently discovered: Eminetra (https://eminetra.co.uk/about-us/). I’ve linked only to their “About Us” page where you can read one of their better-written pieces of text, but my god, just look at the screenshot of a link to just one article on their website! I did actually read the article, and contrary to the headline it’s not about the circumcision of a “2-year-old woman” (yes, a “2-year-old woman“, not girl), it’s about the circumcision of young boys. However, I’m not going into the topic of circumcision, male or female.

In the first article I read the author continually referred to the female subject of the article as “he”, and parts were written in the first person as if it was the subject of the article who was writing the article! In another article they couldn’t even get a quotation right (I could tell, as there was a picture of a handwritten journal from which they had quoted) and they misspelled a three-letter word in an organisation’s name! Several articles used words that seemed so out of context that I thought the text must have been machine-translated into another language, and then machine-translated back into English. (Try it sometime.) On top of that there are technical/HTML errors everywhere, likely caused by automated import of articles from the news feeds of other websites.

As if I was a rubber-necker at a train wreck, I read a few more articles. The website seems to be somehow connected to the British tabloid the “Daily Mail“. The major difference is that Eminetra seems to have been written by a child whose first language is not English. Whoever is writing the articles clearly has no command of any kind of thought process that would communicate to the reader the gist of a story, as each “article” (if you can even call them that) seems to be nothing more than a series of disjointed sentences.

Conclusion: These guys obviously have more money than sense. One of the articles even ended just like this!

411 directory assistance is questionable at best, a scam at worst

Phone scams

Phone scams.

A couple of months ago I was temporarily in a bit of a desperate situation. I had just been dropped off at a ferry terminal by friends, and I had left something important in their car. I was sure they had a cell phone, but I didn’t know their number. But if anyone had their cell number it would be their son, so I dialled 411 to get his home number. I do realise these days that the phone book isn’t what it once was, and my own number isn’t even in it, but it was worth a shot to save my friends from driving all the way home and then having to turn around and do the drive again. So I gave directory assistance the name and town I required. Efficient as ever, they immediately came back (within seconds) with a number for, I guess, the right name but in a different town. This was no use to me, so I called back. I explained what had happened, and restated the name and town.

This time I got the opposite result: a different person in the right town. So I gave up and left a message on my friends’ land line. In retrospect, I don’t even think what I was given was anything even close to what I asked for; if I want the number for Bob Smith in Town A, why give me the number for a random Bob Smith in Town B? That’s not what I asked for! And in the second case, what’s the point in giving me the number for Barb Smith in Town A?!

I eventually got a hold of my friends and got my stuff back. I felt bad for making them drive back to the ferry terminal, but all ended well, and I was only one ferry behind schedule.

Fast forward a few weeks and, of course, I’m billed for the two pointless directory assistance calls by Troublesome Mobile (aka Freedom Mobile). I expected this, of course, and as planned I phoned them and asked for those charges to be cancelled. (If my second 411 attempt had been successful I’d have eaten the first charge, but both times directory assistance just shovelled a random number in my direction and washed their hands of me.) I was told flat out by Troublesome Mobile that, as they were billed to Troublesome by a third party, they could not refund the charges for the calls. Supposedly I would have to phone the third party to get a refund. What?! I obviously don’t even have an account with this third party, so how the fuck would I or they even do that?! They couldn’t give me a phone number to call, so said I should just phone 411.

I explained to Troublesome Mobile — I have a long list of alternative names for them, but “Troublesome Mobile” is probably the only polite one and the closest to “Freedom Mobile” — that they provided the opportunity for me to use the service and they billed me for the service, so they were the only party it made sense for me to call! To make a long story short, after much hemming and hawing and obfuscation and making sure that I understood the obvious, that the service wasn’t free, they finally agreed — “just this one time” — to refund my $3.50 ($1.75 per call).

In the “old days” 411 was a useful service. But, like all mass services these days, the people in the call centres are being timed like rats in a maze, and there’s no time allowed to actually confirm with the caller exactly what they want and that the information the call taker has is what the caller wants (I remember they used to do that) and there’s no opportunity to tell the system that the number you’ve been given is of no use to you or wasn’t even what you asked for in the first place. Nope, it’s just hit a couple of buttons and get the caller off the line as quickly as possible so that you can move onto the next call.

For this reason I will go out of my way to try anything except calling 411 in the future. A dollar fifty isn’t a life-changing amount of money, but as usual — especially with Troublesome Mobile (aka Freedom Mobile) and Canadian cell phone companies in general — it’s the principle of the matter. I will not allow them to take my money without at least providing the service for which I’m supposedly paying — and which they are advertising on the outside of the box; either they give me the number I’m actually looking for, or they be honest and tell me that they don’t have it and therefore are not going to charge me for their inability to provide it. Anything else is theft, and failing to provide the service you’re advertising and still charging for it is a scam. If more consumers actually acted on being scammed out of a dollar fifty once in a while the phone companies might actually go back to providing the service they’re claiming to offer.

NEWS FLASH! Justin Trudeau is a hypocrite!

Justin Trudeau on a beach with surfboards.

Justin Trudeau on a beach with surfboards.

The same prime minister who gaslighted his female minister of justice and attorney general has once again shown his stupendous level of hypocrisy on this, Canada’s first Truth and Reconciliation Day (aka Orange Shirt Day), to jet off to the west coast of Canada, Tofino, to holiday during this “non-holiday”. This is after he was apparently invited by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc to participate in ceremonies today in Kamloops, BC, but neither he nor his office even gave the courtesy of a reply!

China releases two Canadian hostages

Protest sign calling for the release of Kovrig and Spavor.

Protest sign calling for the release of Kovrig and Spavor

After 1020 days — 2.8 years, 34 1/2 months — the Chinese have finally released the two Canadian hostages (the “two Michaels”, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor) they took after the lawful arrest of Meng Wanzhou in Canada at the behest of the Americans.

This, mind you, was after almost consistent but vehement denials by China of any connection between the two cases! The two Michaels just happened to have been caught “spying” mere days after Meng was arrested!

The prisoner swap was almost completely in line with my suggested method, except that it was over in a matter of hours via aircraft rather than days via ship. But it was completely in line, as noted in other media, with any prisoner swap done during the Cold War! The Chinese didn’t even make any kind of an effort to make it look like there was due process in the trumped-up spying cases of the two Michaels whereby, months or years after the release of Meng, they discovered new “evidence” that their charges were incorrect and the Michaels were exonerated by the courts. Nope, just, “Get in the van, we’re taking you to the airport.”

Unbelievable!


Updated, later 2021-09-26: I get caught up in the blatant injustice of it all — three years each stolen from the lives of two innocent humans, while the reason for it all enjoyed damn nearly 100% freedom in one of her Vancouver mansions and availing herself of the near paradise that is Vancouver and Canada, all while showing off her ankle bracelet as a fashion accessory and waving at supporters like she’s a celebrity — and lash out against the Chinese government, but the fact of the matter is that I was personally elated to hear the news on Friday our time. I am immeasurably happy for the Spavor and Kovrig families, and of course the two Michaels themselves. Welcome home guys!

Collage: Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor (the Two Michaels).

Collage: Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor (the Two Michaels)