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Devion's Views #218


AUTUMN - AUTOMNE - FALL...like no other (posted Sept. 29, 2020)

Anglophiles call Autumn "Fall" because that's the season in which leaves of many species of trees found in temperate parts of North America and Europe fall.

The time of year when Mother Nature takes out her paint-palette and brush to provide those of us who live in the northern hemisphere with the breathtaking colours of Autumn/Automne leaves.

Think the song "Autumn Leaves", with a small 2020 pandemic twist...

                       The falling leaves

                      Drift by the window

                     The autumn leaves

                        Of red and gold

                      Can't see your lips

                   No more summer kisses

                    The sun-burned hands

                         I cannot hold

                  But I miss you most of all

                          My darling

                    When autumn leaves

                         Start to fall

                                                 WHAT COMES BEFORE THE FALL - "Pride Goeth Before The Fall"

In Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', the protagonist ultimately fails and degenerates into a corrupt, merciless tyrant who chooses to embrace evil.

His flaws determine his fate. Pride, vulnerability, vaulting ambition, and over confidence brings him to change into a sinister evil tyrant.

The saying "pride goes before the fall" means an arrogant person will (eventually) get his comeuppance.

It was so for Shakespeare's Macbeth.

If, when and how Trump gets his, is yet to be determined. Will the latest reveal that their billionaire business 'genius' president is a tax cheat do it? His followers don't care.

                                       WHAT A DIFFERENCE - FALL 2019 VS FALL 2020

The 'pandemic reality' now writ-large and impacting all of humanity is forcing everybody to rethink, reinvent and ultimately relearn everything, as we slowly evolve and adjust to what will (eventually) become a new-normal work-life-health balance.

If we didn't understand that reality at the beginning of the pandemic, we certainly get it now.

                                            A sampling of the pandemic's short and long term impacts

- The price of food rose by 4.6%, while the price of food at work or school fell -3%

- The price of bicycles rose 5.7%

- The price of medical care rose 5.3%

- The price of cable/satellite TV rose 5.2%

- The cost of men's suits/jackets/coats and women's dresses each fell -17%

- Snowbirds stay home this winter

- ZOOM sucks

And in the longer term:

- Flexible work programs

- Working from home online, "office centricity is over"

- Fewer commutes

- Part time classroom/part time online learning

- Leadership matters 

- Fast track additional mental health supports

- Fast track additional 'Gig work' supports (e.g. arts and culture sectors)

- Fast track additional elder and child care supports

- Establish a 'permanent' universal guaranteed basic income (along the lines of CERB)

- Prepare a more realistic/practical plan to deal with growing climate challenges

                                 OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S HOBSON'S CHOICE - MEGA PROJECTS

Most Canadian taxpayers are well aware of the host of pipeline and rail proposals that have failed to gain traction amid legal challenges from environmentalists, politicians and some Indigenous groups that have had a devastating impact, especially on the Alberta and national economy.

Conversely, few taxpayers are aware of another mega-project that has been in the planning stages since 2015.

A massive rail link aimed at allowing a new route to the Pacific, unlocking new markets for Alberta's oil sands-derived crude and other products.

A $22 billion railway between Alaska and Alberta known as A2A to transport oil and other resources which would link south-central Alaska ports with Fort McMurray, Alberta.

A project led by A2A president, the former head of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, J. P. Gladu; whose supporters include Alberta Premier, Jason Kenney, Alaska Senator, Dan Sullivan, Alaska Representative, Don Young and the Trump/Republican administration.

Indigenous communities will be offered an equity stake of up to 49% in the line that would give Alberta's oil sands producers a new  oil export option and service for other freight in either direction on the 2,570 kilometres of track that will extend through Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories and northern Alberta.

The federal government is very close to making a decision on whether to 'green light' a billion dollar high-frequency rail service between Quebec City and Toronto that will certainly benefit Quebec, Ontario and the national economy.

It remains to be seen whether environmentalists, politicians and some Indigenous groups who opposed the pipeline and rail proposals that would have benefited western provinces and the national economy, exercise similar vigour and challenge the high-frequency rail service mega project.

If the 'usual suspects' mount a legal challenge, will Justin & Co. back the billion dollar project that will benefit Western Canada and the national economy with the same enthusiasm they demonstrate for the Quebec/Ontario rail mega project?

Or, will Justin & Co. calculate Quebec/Ontario votes (in the next election) outweigh all western votes and risk exacerbating growing  alienation?

                                                                QUESTION DU JOUR, IN TRUMPLANDIA

"Do you think Crazy Uncle Donald will ever relinquish the presidency?"

"Of course!"

"When?"

"Immediately after the coronation!"

(Warning alert) This bit of black humour could soon morph into a sickening reality.

Monsieur Ronald, surely you josh us, oui?

Non, non et non!

Elucidate, s'il vous plais.

If you insist...

Merci.

Last Saturday, president Trump introduced his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.

NB: The nominee is much 'admired' by staunch Conservatives and millions of Evangelical Christians for her strong ideological positions on abortion rights, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the 2nd amendment (guns).

Immediately following the announcement, Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary (and fawning Trump golf-caddy) Lindsey Graham, assisted by Trump's most influential and crafty Republican enabler, Senate majority leader, Mitch 'McFudgeit' McConnell, promised to ram & rush the approval process of his (third) nominee. 

Trump has continued to repeat that regardless of the serious health risks posed by the virus for Americans who vote in-person and their growing preference to vote by mail, millions of mail-in votes should not be counted...and unless he wins, the election is rigged.

Consequently, it may be left to the Supreme Court to decide whether Uncle Joe or Crazy Uncle Donald will be sworn into office on January 20, 2021.

The last time the Supreme Court intervened to rule on a presidential election was on December 12, 2000. In a 5-4 decision, the Court declared George W. Bush winner over Al Gore. It's difficult to comprehend how, in a democratic republic, a single vote can decide who becomes the most powerful person on the planet while simultaneously ignoring the candidate who gets the most votes.

However, this time America's supreme scales of justice are even more tilted to favour the incumbent.

Unless something totally unprecedented and unexpected occurs to thwart the Republicans diabolical scheme, the result will be viewed by millions of voters as another "win" for the evil Emperor-King-in-waiting and his KGB handler, 'Vlad the Invader'.

And the world will bear witness as all hell breaks loose in the major cities of the Divided States of America.

In three months we celebrate Christmas 2020, in the middle of a pandemic. At a time of year when humans usually pause to search for solace, peace and comfort, it might be helpful to ponder the 1843 novella 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens and the final words of his character 'Tiny Tim' as the young lad gave the Christmas dinner blessing "God bless us, every one!".

Amen to that hopeful thought courtesy of Mr. Dickens! 

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory