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covid-19

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.

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.

Whining Jet, popular Pfizer, bad drivers with red and blue lights

Un-sportsmanlike conduct

Not that the Winnipeg Jets had any chance, in my opinion, but they got their just comeuppance by being beaten four games straight in the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens. They didn’t deserve to win anything after that hit on Jake Evans by Mark Scheifele. All things considered in a high-speed part of a high-speed game, if you’re too damn slow to determine that there’s nothing you can do at that point except hit a guy when he has his head down and has already scored a goal, then you’re not NHL-calibre material, and you need to go back to the beer-hockey league from which you came.

Apparently the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is “popular”!

In a recent Global News broadcast, the teleprompter reader excitedly announced that, since the Pfizer COVID-19 has been so “popular” in this country, Pfizer, out of the goodness of their hearts, will be giving us wonderful, deserving Canadians three million more doses. (OK, the reader didn’t say anything about “out of the goodness of their hearts”, but that was the whole tone of the piece.) My chin hit the floor, and I may have drooled a little. What an asinine thing to say! First of all, it’s “popular” because people are desperate to be vaccinated and get on with their lives, not because it tastes great nine out of ten times in taste tests! And since they’re selling us (not giving us for free) so many more vaccines than the other approved manufacturers, of course their product is relatively more “popular”! My god. Don’t these people have brains?!

Tailgating a cop

Red and blue police lights bar

So I was driving along a freeway in the Greater Vancouver area a few days ago. As is pretty typical in this part of the world, our freeways are, for the most part, only two lanes wide. I suppose the government wasn’t too forward looking back in the 1940s, but neither are they today. One of the many issues exacerbated by two-lane freeways is the congestion that happens at on-ramps. In this case, as I approached an on-ramp, there actually wasn’t any congestion caused by cars moving out of the so-called slow lane into the passing lane to allow cars entering the freeway to do so unimpeded.

As I approached the on-ramp I observed three vehicles on the on-ramp entering the freeway. The middle one was a dirty, blue pick-up truck with a canopy. I maintained my speed — which, I admit, was slightly over the speed limit, but not a speed that was out of line with other traffic on freeways — as I intended to pass the slower vehicles entering the freeway. No problem, right? Except, as happens so often, the pick-up truck decides his wishes are far more important (or he didn’t bother to check his side-view mirror), and he (I assume it was a he, for reasons that will become obvious) pulled into the passing lane with little or no obvious attempt to accelerate past the vehicle that had been in front of him on the on-ramp.

I immediately disengaged the cruise control, and allowed myself to coast up behind the pick-up truck. It is not my practice to overreact to the idiotic behaviour of other drivers, so I did not slam on the brakes and immediately establish a two-second following distance behind an asshole who had impeded my progress on a freeway. As my speed bled off, I guess “he” (the driver of the pick-up truck) didn’t like my following distance. Instead of accelerating as he should have, he flicked on his red and blue police lights. OK, so instead of driving like a reasonable person and not impeding the flow of traffic on a freeway, you’re going to fucking turn on your red-and-blues and show me what a big dick you have, and how you own me. Congratulations, you win!

I again did not slam on the brakes; I just continued to let my speed bleed off until I had established the aforementioned two-second following distance, and we both carried on. I wasn’t going to start flashing my headlights at the moron.

I suppose I’m lucky I didn’t get pulled over and ticketed for following too closely or for speeding, but I have encountered this kind of asshole behaviour by cops in unmarked vehicles before. It just reinforces my view that if you’re a cop, you can do whatever the hell you want, and if you’re not, well … you can’t. One rule for the ruled, and no rules for the rulers.

More whingeing about COVID

(The date on this post is 25 May, but it was posted on 24 May in the Pacific time zone.)

Forgive me, but I really can’t get away from it. Perhaps I should just stop watching the news.

There are two groups of people in the news these days who really can’t stop whining about the situation in which they find themselves. Look, I get it. Pandemics are no fun, especially when they have decimated or even destroyed your business or almost destroyed your industry. But unless or until someone produces evidence that some government somewhere intentionally inflicted this disease on us, you can’t pick and choose your targets. In this particular part of the world, it is not the fault of the Canadian or British Columbian governments.

Two groups in particular need to keep that in mind: restaurants, and the cruise ship industry.

By all accounts, the health restrictions that have kept restaurants closed over the last couple of months will be relaxed tomorrow, Tuesday 25 May. (See date note above.) But that’s not good enough for the restaurant owners! No! They want advance notice! These idiots need to realise that advance notice isn’t the issue; it’s everyone getting the same amount of notice. So if the government of BC states tomorrow that restaurants can open again, what more could you possibly want? Were you thinking that there’d be a queue of diners at your place on Tuesday for breakfast? Give your fucking head a shake! If it’s going to take you a week to order food and schedule staff, then it means that you and your competitors won’t open for a week. Or, if your competitors are better than you and therefore more deserving of being patronised, they’ll beat you, and you’ll earn a day or a few day’s less revenue than them. That’s your fault, not the fault of the BC government.

On today’s Global News, the President and CEO of the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association, Ian Tostenson, stated that “the most important” consideration is predictability for the industry! It almost sounds like he’s catering to the likes of the owner of Corduroy, the idiot anti-masker who flouted health rules and was closed down. Tostenson has, admittedly, done a fairly decent job of being more moderate, but placing “predictability” for restaurant owners above the health of the population is completely idiotic. As I’ve said before, COVID isn’t taking calls right now, so without the disease’s cooperation, there won’t be any predictability. The government doesn’t control COVID; COVID controls the government.

Cruise ship, Canada Place, Vancouver

Cruise ship, Canada Place, Vancouver. (Picture courtesy of PxHere.)

And then there’s the cruise ship industry. The Canadian government has barred cruise ships from Canadian ports until sometime after this summer, or perhaps early next year. (The notice seems to be missing from the Government of Canada travel advisories website, or it’s buried, so I don’t know the exact date off the top of my head.) In the meantime, the United States has passed a government bill that no longer requires cruise ships leaving US ports (e.g., Seattle) to stop in a foreign port (i.e., one in Canada) before sailing onto Alaska. To be frank, although I’ve known about this law for some time, I don’t know the details of it, including why it came into existence. However, I suspect that it was a requirement of these ships being allowed to transit through Canadian national waters.

But guess what folks? There’s a pandemic!

The US government has stated that the authorisation to bypass Canadian ports is temporary. I don’t have any contacts in the US government, but if they say that, why can’t we accept them at their word? If the American population is largely fully vaccinated, and they want to open up domestic travel, then why the fuck would we stop them?! Why would we get in their way?! And why would Americans want to stop in a country that now has a higher infection rate than they, at one time, did? It’s the Canadian government that is stopping those cruise ships from stopping in Victoria, Vancouver and (possibly) Prince Rupert, not the American government! The American’s are completely within their rights to attempt to get their economy back on the rails, without any interference from a foreign authority. If the American government won’t repeal this law at some point in the future, then Canada can always bar cruise ships from Canadian waters entirely, forcing them to sail 200 nautical miles to international waters before heading to Alaska, or pass a law requiring them to stop if they want to use Canada’s waters — despite what idiot politicians may or may not utter.

End of rant. Get a grip people. History will not look too kindly on you morons.

Statistics Canada census website won’t load

Front of Census reminder notice, 2021-05-14

Front of Census reminder notice, 2021-05-14.

Back of Census reminder notice, 2021-05-14

Back of Census reminder notice, 2021-05-14.

In today’s mail I received a “2021 Census: reminder” notice. On the outside of the notice it states, “Complete your questionnaire now — it’s the law.” (Emphasis mine.)

However, I can’t load the Census website. I suspect they’re blocking my connection, because I can access all other websites I visit, and can download my email. If they are indeed blocking a Canadian IP address then they can’t expect 100% compliance.

So I have returned their notice to sender. See my scans of the notice, which I returned unopened.

Screenshot of failed loading of Census website on laptop, 2021-05-05

Screenshot of failed loading of Census website on laptop, 2021-05-05.

Screenshot of failed loading of Census website on phone, 2021-05-05

Screenshot of failed loading of Census website on phone, 2021-05-05.

(Among other things, the point of this post — which I meant to make last week actually, but didn’t get around to — is to create what I hope will be a legal record of my failed attempt to comply with “the law”.)

Got my COVID shot

Craig gets his first shot

Craig gets his first shot.

Also in the ancient past, I got the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine just over three weeks ago. My first of two shots. Yay me! Whoever has issues with getting a vaccine because of potential side effects is obviously very bad at maths.

This month’s news … so far

Like all the TV news broadcasts these days, I’ll start with the latest COVID-19 stupidity.

BC starts three-week lockdown, Big White parties

Big White party

Big White party.

So at the end of March 2021 the Province of British Columbia ordered a three-week (now extended) “lockdown” … although the definition of “lockdown” does seem to vary wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. To “celebrate” this — and, apparently, to sell off liquor stock, and deal with the fact that the ski season and the jobs of many had ended abruptly and unexpectedly as a result — an establishment at Big White Ski Resort apparently hosted an impromptu party. Here’s a video.

Apparently Big White has terminated the lease of the establishment, Charlie Victoria’s. The owner also apparently apologised, for which he deserves kudos, but it just goes to show you that too many people don’t take this disease seriously.

Other restaurants flagrantly defying health orders

Corduroy owner smirks as she sees inspectors out. The inspectors had the last laugh though; she's shut down.

Corduroy owner smirks as she sees inspectors out. The inspectors had the last laugh though; she’s shut down.

Also after the three-week lockdown started, Corduroy and Gusto restaurants in Vancouver openly defied the health orders. There have been noises by them and others about not being able to survive another lockdown. I sympathise with this, I really do. However, unless you belong to the anti-mask and/or conspiracy theory crowds, this pandemic isn’t designed to drive everyone out of business. So if you’re defying health orders, you’re barking up the wrong tree. You should be complaining to COVID-19, but since COVID-19 isn’t taking calls right now, just fucking follow the health orders and complain to or ask the government for more money to help you through. Get with the programme.

It was particularly amusing to see the owner/manager of Gusto being interviewed the day after he was shut down. All of his Italian bravado from the day before — his “gusto” — had disappeared with his tail between his legs!

As for the owner/manager of Corduroy, she apparently made some comment to the health inspectors about being immune from the order because she is a woman, only subject to “common law” and was holding her child. Huh? She clearly doesn’t know what “common law” is. However, there were known anti-maskers at her restaurant (according to the video, they all congregated there after an anti-mask demonstration), so who the hell knows what kind of kooky view she and they have of the law. Maybe they’re “sovereign citizens“. Whatever the case, they certainly demonstrated the well-known mob mentality here in Vancouver, the same stupidity that has led to two Stanley Cup riots here. They have it in Calgary too though, where a crowd was calling health inspectors there “Nazis”, and people there are calling for the arrest and jailing of the Province’s health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. Such incredible fucking ignorance.

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary gets some air time!

Shorter Oxford English Dictionary

Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

On the opposite end of the scale, we have the various doctors, specialists and scientists who have been providing commentary to the media. One of the most prolific standouts has been Dr. Lynora Saxinger. I check in on her Twitter feed occasionally, and am amazed at how well she handles her detractors.

But what stands out most to me is her set of Shorter Oxford English Dictionaries on her bookshelf in what appears to be her home office. I give her two thumbs up for those!

I’m not exactly Room Rater, but I do contrast that with the doctor whose room decorations are two, seemingly strategically placed guitar cases, either side of and behind him. Maybe there are guitars in them — who knows? — but, they’re very puzzling decorations to have in his camera’s field of vision for someone who is on TV for non-musical reasons.

The trump of Canada

Staying in Alberta, Jason Kenney (the premier of Alberta) made reference in an appearance to “abstract political principles” recently when he was criticising people who were being critical of his government’s public health orders rolling back premature openings. This is the guy who criticised the Federal government for violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms early in and several times during the pandemic. How is that not the pot calling the kettle black?!

Vaccines

Shantanu Kuveskar, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Shantanu Kuveskar, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

I heard today that vaccine hesitancy and anti-vaxers are so prevalent in the United States that the whole country may never actually achieve herd immunity. What is wrong with Americans?! They’re supposedly the smartest, richest people on the planet, but they behave like monkeys … except many monkeys may be smarter.

Then again, this week Canada overtook America in our number of infections per hundred people. Go Team Canada! We can be as stupid as Americans!

As for me, I’ll take the first damn vaccine I can get as soon as I can get it, even if it’s the OxfordAstraZeneca vaccine. Or give me the one-shot-and-you’re-done Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Absolutely no vaccine hesitancy here, I can guarantee you. I am reasonably adept at maths and am willing to take the chance with blood clots.

But at the rate things are going — with public health policy apparently rewarding bad behaviour by giving early vaccines to populations who and areas (Whistler, Surrey) that have been getting sick — I might be the last person in the country who is vaccinated, simply because I have followed all the rules and have not caught the disease. Yay me. That said, I do realise that many of those getting the disease these days are essential workers, so I’m torn between wanting to get my vaccine yesterday, and wanting all of the people who don’t have a choice of where and when they work to get protected.

Last word to the restaurant owners

I came upon this letter to the editor from Kathony Jerauld in Amador City (which appears to be in central California, USA) on Twitter recently. Apologies for not noting the URL at the time, but here it is:

"Freedom Café", by Kathony Jerauld

“Freedom Café”, by Kathony Jerauld.

Turns out there is actually at least one relatively intelligent American!

Non-fungible tokens, and other news

So Jack Dorsey’s selling of his first tweet came to my attention recently. Huh. I’ve just loaded it in my browser (you can too, by clicking the link), without paying anyone $2.5 million, or whatever it’s up to today. I can take a screenshot of it, print it on paper or to PDF, put a laurel of gold leaves around it, save it to my hard drive … and never look at it again.

On the other hand, if I had a few hundred million dollars I might buy the Mona Lisa, hang it on my wall, and impress my friends.

Maybe I’m an old fuddy-duddy already, but I get the latter, but not the former. I do own art in various forms — paintings (originals, not prints), sculptures, books, photographs, etc. — but just because you can (theoretically) make something digital “artificially scarce” doesn’t mean a damned thing to me. If you buy Jack’s tweet, how is that better than the screenshot I just took? How does it make you better than me, or perhaps how does it just make you better? Or ultimately, how does it make the world better? That last question is a question that more people should ask themselves more often.

Bizarre organisational names

The domain humana.org came to my attention today. No particular reason. But the organisation’s full name on their extended validation certificate caught my eye. “The Fed. for Ass. conn. to the I…”. See for yourself.

Humana SSL certificate

Humana SSL certificate.

This is apparently short for “The Federation for Associations connected to the International Humana People to People Movement”. (There’s probably a single German word for that, which would make sense seeing as they’re in Switzerland.) The abbreviation “ass” for the long word “association” (or “assemblies” in the case of “Assemblies of God”, or “Ass. of God” as you see on signs all over parts of Africa) always gets my puerile mind’s attention!

Anyway, my point is more about the long and involved name rather than the connection I make to someone’s buttocks.

Vaccines in Canada

Justin Trudeau is still, laughably, sticking to his “every Canadian will be vaccinated by the end of September” dog-and-pony routine, while others involved have finally admitted that they “hope” to have all of us vaccinated by Canada Day, July 1st. (Hey, three days before the Americans!) I’ll believe it when I see it, as at this point both the Americans and the Canadians seem to be tossing numbers in the air like crazed jugglers, for the amusement of the crazed public watching them on TV.

Royal wankers

Seemingly everyone and their donkey are talking about Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey recently. To me that’s a very good reason not to talk about it, but here we go anyway.

First, if one was actually able to talk to the couple as real people, they’re probably decent human beings, don’t get me wrong.

However, they are two of the most privileged people in the entire fucking world. I don’t care that Markle is female and half black — two of the traits that apparently make you less privileged — but she is more privileged than I will ever be in my life. And yet she married into the British Royal Family and is … surprised (?!) … that her life is not turning out like the Disney version of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid”?! Give me a fucking break!

I have endless sympathy for Harry and what he lost when his mother was, essentially, murdered by the press, who are an extension of everyone who has ever bought a copy of a rag with lurid headlines. And I sure wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of their headlines and despicable behaviour, as Markle has been. However, she chose to be in that position. Yes, she did it for love, but some things aren’t worth love … or some love isn’t worth some things, however you want to regard it.

I don’t care if “The Firm” folds tomorrow and disappears. However, Harry and Markle are world class whiners who used up their fifteen minutes of fame long ago, and don’t deserve another second. I don’t care who apparently speculated on the hue of their first kid’s skin and their motivation; it is something to wonder about in a mixed-race union that produces children! It’s something that more than one cheating wife or girlfriend has had to be concerned about in the history of humanity! But their going on TV and complaining about how terrible their lives are — to the point of contemplating suicide — is an absolute joke. Other people have had to suffer far worse lives than those two, and someone should apprise them of that fact.

Response from my MP about slow roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine in Canada

So two weeks after I wrote to my MP and MLA about the glacial roll-out and extraordinarily pathetic vaccination goal of the Canadian government, I heard back from my MP, Kenny Chiu. He is in Opposition, so really, his reply was just an agreement with my position. His assistant included a statement from Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner; except for the hyperbole about “overflowing morgues” and “lies”, it may be the only time she and I will ever be in agreement!

We’re still in a state of stasis in Canada, with vaccine delivery numbers abysmally low. Again, don’t get me wrong; I don’t think we all will or should be vaccinated by next week. But gimme a break, the goal of vaccinating all of us by a month after the summer ends, while the variants gather steam and India vaccinates eight Canadas, is just crazy talk. Unbelievably, Trudeau keeps harping on about that goal, as if it’s the best goal in the world! I keep coming back to the crux of the matter: What could possibly be more important, right now, today?!

No reply yet from my MLA, Kelly Greene (or, of course, Trudeau or Horgan), and at this late stage I’m not holding out much hope for one.


From: “Chiu, Kenny – M.P.” <Kenny.Chiu_AT_parl.gc.ca>
To: Craig Hartnett
Subject: RE: Reasoning for slow roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine in Canada
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 2021 19:58:33 +0000

Good afternoon, Mr. Hartnett,

Thank you for writing the office of Kenny Chiu, member of Parliament for Steveston-Richmond East.

As Canada did not receive any of the Pfizer vaccine this week, it has lead to significant delays and stoppages in Canada’s vaccine distribution.

A recent statement from vaccine manufacturer Pfizer indicated that some European countries may not be as hard hit by the delivery delays as Canada has experienced and will continue to experience.

Canada sits at just 1.44% of its population vaccinated, well behind the pace of other nations.

Our nation cannot secure jobs, we cannot secure our economic recovery, we cannot secure the future without vaccines. Conservatives are deeply frustrated by the government’s on-going failure to procure and deliver vaccines for Canadians.

As such, Canada’s Conservatives are calling on the Liberal government to:

1. Tell Canadians what specific steps they are taking to make up this shortfall;
2. Tell Canadians honestly when they can reasonably expect to be vaccinated;
3. Disclose Canada’s precedence against other countries in the vaccine delivery schedules for the contracts they’ve signed; and
4. Deliver an emergency plan that gets vaccines to Canadians.

Please know MP Chiu is working with his colleagues to support Canadians and hold the government to account for their ongoing mismanagement of priorities during this pandemic.

I wish you and your family good health, please stay safe and continue follow all necessary guidelines to help restrict the spread of COVID-19. We can make it through this together.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Daviau
Parliamentary Assistant
Office of Kenny Chiu M.P.
Steveston—Richmond East
Shadow Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Youth

177 Confederation Bldg., House of Commons
Office | 613-992-1385
E-mail | Jennifer.jennekens-daviau.831@parl.gc.ca

P.S. I have included for your reference a recent statement delivered by our MP Michelle Rempel Garner on this topic. See below.

************************************

Canadians Need a Vaccine. Now.

CALGARY, AB – The Hon. Michelle Rempel Garner, Shadow Minister for Health, issued the following statement regarding the Liberal government’s failure to get vaccines for Canadians:

“Before Christmas, Justin Trudeau said Canadians would be at the front of the global line for a vaccine. This was clearly a lie.

“Canadian provinces are running out of vaccines and are pleading for the federal government to get more. Meanwhile, people in Israel are getting their vaccines ten times faster than Canadians. The United States is on track to vaccinate the equivalent of our population before most Canadians will get the chance. But Canada only has a federal Liberal government finger-pointing on who is responsible for a slow vaccine delivery roll-out and a severe lack of widespread rapid or at-home testing options.

“It doesn’t matter how many doses the federal Liberals supposedly ordered; the reality is that they’re not here now.

“Morgues are overflowing. People are under curfew. Outbreaks in long-term care homes continue. Small businesses are permanently shuttering. Suicides and domestic violence levels are skyrocketing. The pandemic has reached levels we’ve never seen before. It didn’t have to be this way.

“Canadians deserve better than sitting in lockdown, under curfew, civil liberties removed with COVID-19 case numbers skyrocketing, while refrigerator trucks are brought to morgues and provinces are waiting for more vaccines. The federal Liberals have had months to take the leadership role Canadians are counting on to get these things done.

“We are calling on Justin Trudeau to get provinces vaccines to deliver. Every day that we delay getting vaccines to vulnerable Canadians puts more Canadian lives at risk.”