Cutting through the headlines. Demystifying the future. Creating sensible policy.

Officers died, police chief feigns ignorance

Capitol police confront Trump supporters. (Tyler Merbler/Wikipedia)

We all knew there was something fishy about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. How did the insurrectionists know where to go? Why did some police officers allow them entry? And why were the attackers, who were filmed committing all kinds of crimes including murder, allowed to walk out calmly? As reporter Greg Palast said in an interview with the Law and Crime Trial Network, the Capitol was a murder scene and everyone there was a witness or a suspect.

But one of the most troubling comments came from former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund. In the early days after the attack, he stated that there was no warning of potential violence. …

Our political history undermines Canadian smugness on race

Photo by Naveen Kumar on Unsplash

On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama was inaugurated as the first U.S. President of African American ancestry. Twelve years later to the day, Kamala Harris was the first woman, first African American and first Asian American inaugurated as U.S. Vice-President.

Meanwhile, north of the border …

Though Canada has had one woman serve as its Prime Minister (Conservative Kim Campbell in 1993, who took up the role in June after Brian Mulroney resigned, then was promptly annihilated by the Jean Chrétien Liberals in the subsequent federal election in October), we have never had a person of colour serve as the leader of the government. …

Individuals have had a range of reactions to the pandemic: terror, apathy, and denial chief among them. Why do we react so differently?

Covid denial has been occupying my thoughts for a while. You can tell from my stories over the past few months: ‘Why Covid-19 Is Much Worse Than The Flu’, ‘Everything We Get Wrong About COVID-19’, and ‘Why Is Screening Asymptomatic People For COVID-19 So Difficult?’

Driven though I may have been to dispel myths about the pandemic and clear things up, I’ve struggled to really think about why we get so much misinformation, disinformation, and denial in our public discourse. The vehicles for the spread of this misinformation are fairly obvious: social media is the chief culprit, but the media world is far more diverse generally than it was thirty or forty years ago, with new talk radio stations, internet forums, and news networks. …

Capitol attack shows danger of right-wing propaganda networks

Photo by Ajay Suresh/Flickr

Donald Trump, the worse president in history, is gone, but he’s littered the political landscape with several landmines. He’s fractured the GOP, damaged faith in the government and nurtured a toxic media environment filled with far-right outlets that lie for profit.

Deadly misinformation

And the Trump-led Capitol attack on Jan. 6 was proof of the danger of misinformation. Many of the domestic terrorists participated in the assault because they believed the lies told on right-wing media. Now six people are dead. Also, thousands of Americans are dead and will continue to die because they refuse to take the coronavirus seriously.

Trump played a large role in spreading that lie, but it also came from FOX News, who repeated many of his falsehoods. I recently reviewed a VICE News report of a Trump watch party in Arizona where few people wore masks. This week a friend told me about a Trump-loving Republican associate who came down with COVID-19 and was now battling for his life. He was a rabid anti-masker. …

The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) promoted by the European Union and China poses new challenges but opens the door to a different international economic relations approach.

Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

The end of 2020 brought some unexpected news, as the European Union and China announced they reached an investment deal. With all the noise about covid, US election, and the usual slowdown during the season, it seems the agreement is going a bit more under the radar than one would expect according to its (apparent) importance. But is it just one more political move, or it will really move the needle in the international geopolitics and economic context?

At least for the European Union, this looks like a very relevant move promoted and published at the highest political level as a significant achievement. Europe said that “the EU has traditionally been much more open than China to foreign investment. This is true as regards foreign investment in general. China now commits to open up to the EU in a number of key sectors.” Is that true, of just the final bombshell that Chancellor Angela Merkel wanted to throw before the end of the German rotating presidency of the EU? As she’s also leaving the government at the end of 2021, this could have also been the cherry on the cake for more than fifteen years in power. …

White Supremacist Domestic Terrorists (WSDTs) stormed the US Capitol on January 6th. As the hostages, embedded media, and WSDTs themselves have time to process the events of that day, a narrative is beginning to cement itself in the minds of most rational Americans. Within the Capitol Police force, which has the primary jurisdiction over and responsibility for the security of the Capitol and its workforce, there have emerged (to borrow an incredibly old and incredibly corny line from DJTJ) some heroes and some zeroes.

The zeroes are — obviously — the officers who slid barricades aside, took selfies with insurrectionists, wore MAGA hats, stepped aside to provide unfettered access to the House floor and other acts of cowardice. …

Trump will pardon wealthy donors; let insurrectionists rot in jail

President Donald Trump riling up his cultists before the Capitol attack. (Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia)

Several aspects of the ‘Idiot Insurrection’ that tried to overthrow the U.S. government on Jan. 6 don’t make sense. There was a notable lack of leadership or organizational structure. The insurrectionists followed a wild-eyed lunatic such as “Q Shaman” Jake Angeli (real name Jacob A. Chansley.) They also thought they could get away with executing high-profile politicians such as Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Even if they had managed to kill or capture any of them, the U.S. government would have come down on them with an iron fist, and they’d be looking at kidnapping and murder charges. …

But more authoritarianism is not the way to go.

Photo: Tyler Merbler | CC-BY-2.0

This is, understandably, a touchy subject. However, it is also one that recent events have shown should have been addressed more widely some time ago. Donald Trump may have brought the situation to a head, but our problem with white supremacy and the conditions that lead to fascism has a much longer history. If you think about this in strictly binary terms, the USA is not a fascist state. On the other hand, to think more broadly about it, where can we mark the point that fascism starts? …

There was a stealth effort to slant media in wannabe dictator’s favor

President Trump lying his way through a press conference. (The White House)

Donald Trump, the worst president in history, was supported by about $2 billion of free media in 2016, according to The New York Times. Media executives, many who were friends with Trump, gave him tons of free media because he was good for ratings. According to Eric Boehlert, founder of PressRun.Media. Many executives also harbored a deep animosity towards Hillary Clinton and delighted in giving her as much negative media as possible.

“There is a hostility towards Hillary among the news media that goes back to the 1990s,” said Boehlert in a 2019 Salon interview. “There was an attempt to normalize Trump because the mainstream, inside-the-Beltway corporate media types did not like her. Of course, almost everyone was convinced Hillary was going to win. In the fall of 2016, I believe that the American news media saw its job as to make sure her win was as unsatisfying as possible, that it wouldn’t be historic and she would limp across the finish line.” …

Navy SEALs in Iraq (

I had this horrifying thought a couple of days ago. We’ve trained men and women to go around the world and kill People of Color (POC.) Now, some of those same people want to use those skills to kill POC in our government. Make no mistake, Black and Brown legislators were specifically targeted during the Capitol attack.

Several servicemen and women participated in the insurrection. But there were also some people with special forces training on the ground. These guys are highly skilled, and they know what they are doing. …

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