It may be the Pacific Ocean in California that bothers MAGA Republicans most

Posted: February 20th, 2024 | No Comments »
Michael Seward, Man with Mask, 2024.

COUNTERWEIGHTS EDITORS, GANATSEKWYAGON, ON. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2024. According to a Leger survey of US adults for the Los Angeles Times released last week, “48% of Republicans polled believe California is ‘not really American.’” As broadly summarized by Leger Executive Vice President Christian Bourque, “if you are a more conservative American, you basically do not like California.”

As further explained by a clip on the KTLA TV website : “Two-thirds of Republicans also said the state’s impact on the country has been a net negative, reflecting large-scale criticism of California and liberal policies … by conservative politicians and media.”

“Meet Cindy, a Sociology major, graduating from UC Berkeley class of 2022!”

(It might be worth noting as well that California with some 39 million people is still the most populous State of the Union at the moment, followed by Texas at not quite 31 million, Florida about 23 million, and New York State not quite 20 million.)

On the other hand, even if you are just a more progressive Canadian chances are that in February 2024 you will like California — and especially Northern California, and especially again the almost exotic San Francisco Bay Area, anchored by the legendary City of San Francisco (where so many left their hearts long ago in the 1960s and 1970s).

Circumnavigating the northern region of the seriously beautiful Bay Area geography

Just to begin our brief meditation here, the overarching theme of our visit with our growing tech support staff in the Golden State this year was summarized by our resident tour guide : Grim reports about the 21st century demise of the 1960s flower-child metropolis are just fake news.

Or as The Economist explained in a virtually coterminous February 12, 2024 article : “How San Francisco staged a surprising comeback … Forget the controversy. America’s tech capital is building the future.”

Most recently, we watched the Bay Area future building for a week in early February 2024, just north (and west) of Berkeley, across the water from San Francisco.

We went all the way into the City of San Francisco on a Saturday via the Bay bridge. We paused for a brief visit to the old military base on Treasure Island, halfway across the bridge and now home to increasing numbers of almost-giant condo towers.

We subsequently visited the dramatic new “Transbay Transit Center (officially the Salesforce Transit Center for sponsorship purposes)” in the City of San Francisco itself, just south (and east?) of Mission Street, running all the way from Beale Street to 2nd Street. Then we spent some further intriguing time at the Presidio — “a park and former US [and earlier Spanish and then Mexican] Army post on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula.”

Michael Seward, Coming Home to Roost. 2024. Acrylic. 16” x 20”.

After a quick drive by the gates of the gated community where Nancy Pelosi apparently lives (not so safe after all, alas), and a final visit to Baker Beach, on the Pacific Ocean just west and south of the Golden Gate bridge, we returned to Albany, CA just north (and west) of Berkeley in the East Bay area.

First we drove across the famed Golden Gate bridge for a quick sojourn through Marin County and the North Bay area. And from there we went back across the Richmond–San Rafael Bridge to our ultimate East Bay destination.

In the end we more or less circumnavigated at least the northern region of the seriously beautiful geography of the Bay Area.

America’s tech capital in the 21st century

More or less half of Republicans back east (in one sense or another) just do not get it — and this seems true in spades for Donald Trump. But destiny is in the air in this 21st century Northern California focused on the compelling physical geography of the Bay Area.

The Transbay Transit Center (“officially the Salesforce Transit Center”) in San Francisco today — with garden walkway on fourth/top floor.

The place has a moderate climate (well usually …) — never too cold, never too hot. In early 2024 it is almost literally oozing material wealth and economic success. There were no obvious signs of even as much street poverty and homeless syndrome as in some parts of Greater Toronto, on at least the routes we took or places we got out and walked around, in and out of the old San Francisco downtown.

This kind of America’s-tech-capital California Dreaming is indeed one very serious destiny of the American dream. And, whatever finally happens on November 5, 2024, nothing Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans can do is going to change this in any fundamental way.

So … what is the new America that California does have a handle on — and that the o-so-many MAGA Republicans believe is “not really American”?

Cultural diversity in California’s new America

Aerial shot down Columbus Avenue in North Beach neighbourhood of San Francisco, August 1974.

To start with, it is certainly more culturally diverse or multi-cultural than the old WASP-dominated America of the Atlantic coast and the Midwest.

(If not really of the 10 states back in the old southeast which still have the highest % Black or African American communities : Mississippi – 39.08% “Black Population” ; Louisiana – 34.23% ; Georgia – 31.4% ; Maryland – 31.27% ; Alabama – 26.23% ; South Carolina – 26.04% ; Delaware – 22.44% ; North Carolina – 21.8% ; and Virginia – 20.57%.)

In fact the current Black or African American population of California is only 6.5%, compared to a growing US-wide average of 14.4%. (And in the East Bay small city of Albany, CA, just north and west of Berkeley — named after Albany, NY — the African American population is even below the state-wide average at a mere 3.5%.)

The Black community in the Bay Area today is no less visible for all that — especially in such East Bay places as Richmond and Oakland, but also in and around Albany and Berkeley and in the City of San Francisco that is now America’s tech capital. And the scene has its subtleties.

Michael Seward, Anti-Portrait. 2024. Acrylic. 24”sq.

One of our casual East Bay observations at an outdoor coffee shop near a public school complex was of a middle-aged white mother or other guardian of a not quite teenage black son.

Perhaps his father is black, perhaps he’s adopted, perhaps assorted other possibilities, but a clear enough parental and even maternal relationship seemed evident from politely over-hearing their conversation. It was hard for we mere anglophone Canadians to judge the depths of the talk between mother and son, however, because they were speaking German.

The new Asian side to the American Dream

Albany, CA also has 6.7% “two or more races” and 10.2% “Hispanic or Latino of any race.”

But the real depths of its contemporary diversity (and that of the larger Bay Area) are Asian — a diverse term in its own right, from East Asian to South Asian to Southeast Asian and beyond.

According to what are probably already somewhat dusty numbers, Albany, CA today is only 54.6% “White” and 31.2% “Asian.”

Part of this is of course America’s tech industry which has long had some economic and even cultural symbiosis with growing tech industries in India and China.

Another part is of course just the San Francisco Bay Area’s ultimate location on the Pacific Ocean.

The east coast of America on the Atlantic Ocean naturally looks to Europe (and Africa!). The west coast on the vast Pacific Ocean naturally looks to Asia, in all its diversity and vast demography.

Michael Seward, Fox/Human, 2024.

And to end our truncated ruminations here for an auspicious moment before they grow altogether too long, this Asian element in the new California Dreaming can also be seen with some still stronger force in Hawaii — which remains Barack Obama’s real homeland.

This growing Asian American edge may be what finally bothers the 48% of Republicans who think California today is “not really American” the most.

Yet bluster as much as the MAGA crowd and their leader like, as an upbeat motto (and advertising slogan) of the Los Angeles Times puts it, California remains “the state of what’s next”!

NOTE : For a more brooding view of San Francisco today and its future, from someone with a much longer and deeper understanding of the city than any of us here from Toronto and environs see Rebecca Solnit, “In the Shadow of Silicon Valley,” London Review of Books, Vol. 46 No. 3 · 8 February 2024.

Northern California in February 2024

Posted: February 5th, 2024 | No Comments »
City of Albany, Caklifornia in foreground, with Albany Hill closer to east shore of San Francisco Bay, and City of San Francisco off in the distance on west shore of the Bay.

COUNTERWEIGHTS EDITORS, GANATSEKWYAGON, ON. MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2024. Tomorrow most of us among the editorial staff here will be off on our regular visit with technical support staff, now in Albany, California — “on the east shore of San Francisco Bay in northwestern Alameda County … population … 20,271 at the 2020 census.”

Albany, California has a somewhat intriguing history. The area’s “ first known residents,” were the “Costanoans (coast dwellers) or Ohlone” who “lived at the base of Albany Hill along Cerrito Creek … until the early 19th Century, when the Spanish land barons arrived.”

Michael Seward, Family Grouping. 2024. Acrylic. 32” x 40”.

In 1820 “the King of Spain granted a large portion of the East Bay to Don Luis Maria Peralta, who then divided the land among his three sons. Jose Domingo received the northern portion, which included the area of Berkeley and Albany, and used the land for cattle farming.”

The Mexican-American War (1846–1848) and the California gold rush (1848–1855) led to the establishment of California as 31st state of the anglophone USA on September 9, 1850. For a time the area that is now Albany manufactured dynamite. Then in 1906 “the great San Francisco earthquake and fire” led to a “large migration of families from San Francisco to the East Bay.”

Albany High School Jazz Band in action at Yoshi’s Oakland.

The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) had been established in 1868, in the City of Berkeley due south of what is now Albany — “named after the 18th-century Anglo-Irish bishop and philosopher George Berkeley.” In 1908 “area residents” from the San Francisco migrations just north of Berkeley “protested the dumping of Berkeley garbage in their community by incorporating” as “the City of Ocean View.”

Only a year later it became clear that Ocean View was too common a name for other places in the region. In 1909, “the city was renamed in honor of Albany, New York, the birthplace of the city’s first mayor, Frank Roberts.” The City of Albany, California is known today for the quality of its public school system. It is also “the site of Golden Gate Fields, the only horse racing track in the Bay Area” (and apparently now occupying land formerly taken up by dynamite factories).

Michael Seward, Untitled. 2010. Mixed media. 24” x 30”.

The Wikipedia article on “Albany, California” notes that it “has a history of real estate discrimination, which made it difficult for non-white buyers to acquire property and build homes in Albany.” And : “Through the early 1940’s Albany ‘remained closed to African Americans’.” (Something of this earlier history has arguably lingered vaguely in a recent “Instagram controversy” involving Black and White students at Albany High School.)

More recently : “As of 2012 “ the “racial makeup of Albany was” 54.6% White, 31.2% Asian, 3.5% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 3.3% other races, and 6.7% two or more races. Finally, 10.2% were “Hispanic or Latino of any race.”

We’ll be in Albany, California ourselves for Super Bowl 2024. And inevitably we’ll be cheering for the San Francisco Forty Niners. (Even though some of us have actually been to Kansas City — in pursuit of the spirit of the great KC-born-and-raised Charlie Parker, who largely invented bebop jazz and still stands as the world’s greatest and most beautiful saxophone player and a legendary musical intellectual!)

It would seem that most in Albany, California today will not in any case need advice from Ms Taylor Swift and her Kansas City Chiefs boyfriend on who to vote for in the crucial November 2024 US elections. Letting Wikipedia have the last word on the subject for now : “According to the California Secretary of State, as of February 10, 2019, Albany has 11,344 registered voters. Of those, 7,489 (66%) are registered Democrats, 512 (4.5%) are registered Republicans, and 2,917 (25.7%) have declined to state a political party.”

We’ll be back in our Toronto editorial offices on Valentine’s Day 2024 — having been refreshed and reinvigorated by our sojourn in one mainstream part of the liberal and progressive USA today, with all its good and bad sides, whatever happens this coming November 5 …

Re Fani Willis — remember Bill Barr on Trump : “Our country can’t be a therapy session for a troubled man like this”

Posted: January 27th, 2024 | No Comments »
Michael Seward, Conception. 2024. Acrylic. 28”sq.

NORTH AMERICAN NOTEBOOK. RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO . SATURDAY, JANUARY 27, 2024. (UPDATE FEBRUARY 3 : See Below). I recently read “A Reality Check on the Fani Willis Scandal … Is Trump’s Georgia prosecution about to get derailed?” It’s on the POLITICO site, and it’s by “Ankush Khardori, an attorney and former federal prosecutor in the U.S. Justice Department,” and “a POLITICO Magazine contributing writer.”

This inevitably prompted me to re-examine my own enthusiastic discovery of Ms Willis, as commemorated in a counterweights piece late this past August : ”What Fani Willis has done in Georgia means that Donald Trump is finally not going to get away with his un-creative destruction of democracy in America.”

Having now re-read my earlier piece, I think I’m happy enough to report that it does not live up to the hyperbole of its too-long title seriously. It ends on a note of “makes me think I’m going to have to pray a lot harder than usual!” And of course I wouldn’t go along with quite the same hyperbolic title in January 2024 as I did in August 2023.

In January 2024, eg, there is also much on US TV to suggest that this coming November 5 Donald Trump might not just get away with his past un-creative destruction of democracy in America. He could suddenly be in charge of some new plutocratic autocracy still known as the American republic, but built on the gigantic lie that Trump is the strong arm of some traditional American common man (and his female partner).

Ankush Khardori’s Reality Check on the Fani Willis Scandal

”Fani Willis and Nathan Wade, right, allegedly took lavish trips together, his ex-wife alleges. Getty Images” (NY Post).

Ankush Khardori summarizes the so-called Fani Willis scandal as follows :

“The allegations are far from clear-cut, but here are the basic outlines: Earlier this month, a lawyer for Michael Roman, one of Trump’s co-defendants in the case, filed a motion claiming that Willis and lead prosecutor Nathan Wade have been having a romantic relationship. Willis hired Wade, a private sector lawyer who appears to have limited experience working on complex criminal matters, and he has reportedly been paid more than $600,000 for his work on the prosecution.”

Khardori goes on : “The motion asserts that Wade and Willis have been taking vacations using the fees that Wade has been paid and argues that Willis and Wade have been “profiting significantly from this prosecution at the expense of the taxpayers.” The motion also claims that the two may have committed federal crimes, citing a law known as the honest-services fraud statute.”

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Understanding the Conservative double-digit lead in Canadian opinion polls

Posted: January 16th, 2024 | No Comments »
Michael Seward, In the Woods at Night. 2024. Acrylic. 42”. X 54”.

RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO. TUESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2024. The day before yesterday polling guru Philippe J. Fournier @338Canada urged that in the world of Canadian federal politics : “For those counting, this is the 6th consecutive month the Conservatives have been leading the Liberals by double-digits … That’s a stretch longer than Sheer’s lead post-SNC in 2019 or O’Toole’s brief lead in 2021.”

Like many others, I do want to understand all this. And for starters I also think that the double-digit lead between the first and second place parties in opinion polls (to say nothing of the inevitably speculative seat projections for six federal parties) can be more than a little misleading, in trying to understand the political real world.

The 338Canada numbers most relevant to the real world

L to r : Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, and Green Leader Elizabeth May. Photos Andrew Meade and Sam Garcia.

The Trudeau Liberals and Singh New Democrats, that is to say, are co-operating on a quite flexible but still written agreement, intended to fund and win confidence votes for the Trudeau government, more or less until the next “fixed-date” election in the early fall of 2025.

Similarly, as of M. Fournier’s latest January 14, 2024 update of his 338Canada polling averages, the Liberals and New Democrats together have 45% of the cross-Canada popular vote, compared to the Conservatives 40%. Moreover if you add the Green Party to the LIB-NDP numbers there is a cross-Canada progressive vote of 50%.

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Is the “free and democratic society” riding on the outcome of more than 60 elections around the global village in 2024?

Posted: January 5th, 2024 | No Comments »
Michael Seward, Homage to Tom Thomson. 2024.

NORTH AMERICAN NOTEBOOK. RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO . FRIDAY, JANUARY 5, 2024. The US elections on November 5, 2024 are almost certainly the most interesting and fateful events in the new year now at hand.

As yet another sign of the post-American global village before us, however, no less than Time magazine has explained that : “Globally, more voters than ever in history will head to the polls as at least 64 countries (plus the European Union) — representing a combined population of about 49% of the people in the world” — are also “meant to hold national elections” in 2024 — “the results of which, for many, will prove consequential for years to come.”

US (and other) concerns about the prospects of a second Donald Trump administration (an oxymoron in its own right) have analogues elsewhere as well. As Ishaan Tharoor has recently urged in The Washington Post : “The outcomes of pivotal elections in the United States — the world’s oldest democracy — and India — the world’s largest — may underscore a deepening public appetite for norm-bending strongman rule. In their shadow, elections from Mexico to the European Union to Bangladesh may each offer their own showcase of the growing traction of nationalist, authoritarian politics.”

National elections around the world in 2024!

Peter Loewen has similarly urged in the Toronto Star : “With elections in the US and India, 2024 could be the most important year in the history of democracy … India and the United States represent nearly one fifth of the global population. Elections in both countries will be a fundamental test of democratic resilience and character that will have major consequences for global politics.”

Almost at the very end of 2023 Doug Saunders urged some parallel thoughts in the Toronto-based Globe and Mail : “Half the world is holding elections in 2024. Democracy’s future is riding on the outcome … Billions of adults go to the polls next year, including in nations where democracy is in poor health. Will they slip further into illiberalism, or start climbing to freedom?”

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Liz Cheney’s Memoir and Warning makes you wonder more and more : Just what is going to happen to the USA in 2024?

Posted: December 24th, 2023 | No Comments »
Michael Seward, Fellow Travellers 2023. Acrylic. 24” x

SPECIAL FROM L. FRANK BUNTING, GRAND BEND, ON. 23 DECEMBER 2023. My wife read Cassidy Hutchinson’s book. (In 2023 and 2024 Ms. Hutchinson may be the closest we have to John W. Dean in 1973 and 1974?) And for one wild moment a few days ago I thought I might do the same with Liz Cheney’s Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning — “a scathing account of Donald Trump’s assault on democracy and urgent plea for America to avoid a repeat,” which “debuted at No 1 on the New York Times’s bestseller list.”

Book reviewer Robin Abcarian wishing the world a happy new year.

In pursuit of this thought I read Robin Abcarian’s recent review in The Los Angeles Times. Ms Abcarian certainly found the book well worth reading : “You don’t read a book like former Wyoming U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s tell-all looking for literary pearls … You read it to find out what was going on behind the scenes in Congress after the 2020 election, as Donald Trump’s Republican sycophants and enablers schemed with him to overturn the results of a legitimate U.S. election.”

Robin Abcarian also aptly notes that “Liz Cheney is one of the few heroic, high-profile Republicans who were willing to do the right thing after the 2020 election, even if it meant sacrificing her job and her political prospects.”

She is no doubt, an altogether serious conservative politician, whose father Dick Cheney worked long and hard to push the George W. Bush administration in directions that are certainly anathema to me. But to see someone like her stand up against Donald Trump’s Republican sycophants and enablers who schemed to overturn the results of a legitimate U.S. election is an inspiring and even reassuring thing to a (more or less) “North American liberal” such as myself.

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Top 10 counterweights news articles in poignant year of 2023 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, USA, and around the global village

Posted: December 18th, 2023 | No Comments »
Michael Seward, Makes Me Think of …. 2023.

COUNTERWEIGHTS EDITORS, GANATSEKWYAGON, ON. MONDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2023. Without a shred of doubt the single biggest event of the new year just ahead for those of us living north of the Great Lakes (and the 49th Parallel and various points east and so on) will be the US federal elections on Tuesday, November 5, 2024.

We broadly share the view as well that much of what is good and even seriously great (not to say practically sensible) about the theory and practice of democracy in America is at stake in the USA today this coming November 5. And as we know so well in Canada what happens in and to democracy in America has an impact on democracy around the world.

Meanwhile, 2023 has been a remarkable year in its own right — from Gerald Kutney’s “The summer of 2023 … the season that Canada burned … and burned … and burned.” to the Israel-Hamas War that began with Hamas’s appalling October 7 attack on Israel and continues with Israel’s unclear quest for a military solution in Gaza, appalling physical destruction, and tragic numbers of civilian casualties among Palestinians.

Michael Seward, Autumn Dance. 2023. Acrylic. 20” x 30”.

Some of this wider environmental and military struggle inevitably spilled into our ongoing counterweights reaction as the year 2023 unfolded.

Yet in our editors’ year-end review we’ve been struck by how much attention the site has paid to such ordinary and essentially local parts of public life as municipal elections, provincial politics, and Canadian public policy, broadly construed. (These are things in which the wise seek refuge from the wilder storms abroad in the wider world?)

To arrive at a single Top 10 list for counterweights articles in 2023 the managing editor convened an extraordinary committee, which worked into the small hours of the early morning. For better or worse, the “most notable” pieces finally selected by the committee are :

(1) JAN 30 : Serious reform of the RCMP (in its 150th year) should begin by dropping “Royal” from the name (or just restoring the original “North West Mounted Police”)? … 2023 has marked the 150th anniversary of Canada’s once legendary Mounties.

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Crombie and polls : 2026 voter turnout in Ontario should at least crack 50% again

Posted: December 8th, 2023 | No Comments »

Michael Seward, ‘Period of Transition. 2023. Acrylic. 24”sq.’.

NORTH AMERICAN NOTEBOOK. RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO . FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2023. This is about polls in general, and one poll in particular.

The particular case is a Mainstreet Research Ontario politics poll taken immediately after Bonnie Crombie became the new leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. And the good news here is good for Ontario Liberals under their new leader, and bad for pretty much everyone else (with a half-exception for Mike Schreiner’s Green Party of Ontario).

As reported by Polling Canada the results of the December 3-4, 2023 poll are : PCPO (ie the Ford Nation Conservatives) : 36% (-5) ; OLP (Bonnie Crombie’s Liberals) : 34% (+10) ; ONDP (New Democrats) : 19% (-5) ; GPO (Mike Schreiner’s Green Party — which thanks to the recent Kitchener Centre by-election now has two seats in the legislature) : 6% (-) ; and Others: 5%.

The numbers in brackets indicate “% Change with 2022 Election.” The main point in this Mainstreet poll, taken December 3-4, with Bonnie Crombie just elected new Liberal leader on December 2, can be quickly summarized. The traditional Grits under Ms Crombie’s leadership have almost instantly gained 5 points from the Conservatives at the last election, and 5 points from the New Democrats. Already the new Crombie Liberals are within striking distance of the Ford nation.

The General Case : Molly Jong-Fast on “Let’s Stop Treating Polls as Actual News Events”

Molly Jong-Fast (seated right with dog) stops by to visit her mother Erica Jong (standing left) in New York apartment, summer 2022.

If this has happened in the first few days of a dynamic new leadership, it could be urged, what are the prospects for the next two and a half years, leading to the next fixed-date election on June 4, 2026? And I think there is something to this.

Yet this particular poll, like many others lately, in Canada and beyond, also reminds me of a recent more general Vanity Fair article by Molly Jong-Fast in the USA : “Let’s Stop Treating Polls as Actual News Events … The stakes of 2024 are too important for the media to obsess over every ‘snapshot’ of the electorate.” Here is a representative sample of four numbered quotations :

(1) Polls in effect about future elections taken some time before the election in question are “more creations of a media industrial complex that longs for easy data points, for things that feel like facts but are actually imprecise measuring mechanisms.”

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Looking for “a political discourse that could stand to get a whole lot smarter” in Canada (and Charlie Peters’ USA)

Posted: November 29th, 2023 | No Comments »
Michael Seward, ‘ Looking Inward. 2023. Acrylic. 24”sq.’.

SPECIAL FROM CITIZEN X, BUCKHORN, ON. 28/29 NOVEMBER 2023 — 441ST ANNIVERSARY OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S MARRIAGE TO ANNE HATHAWAY. [UPDATED 2 DECEMBER : SEE BELOW]. In my last appearance on this sideroad of the vast electronic highway I ended by alluding to Bonnie Crombie, whose initial fate as possible Ontario Liberal Party leader will be revealed this coming Saturday, December 2, 2023. [SEE UPDATE BELOW].

With the night moving in on a late November temperature of “–4C feels like –11” when I first start here, I feel drawn to deeper worlds than the seldom noted adventures of democracy in Canada’s most populous province. And then the darkness envelops the small forest next door, and I can’t quite see the bench at the top of the slight hill at the edge of the forest.

Now inside, just looking out the window at the dark, on the suddenly enhanced brightness of my PC screen I seem drawn to this headline : “That ship has sailed: Tugboats free large freighter stuck in the Detroit River … The Barbro G had been stuck since Monday morning.”

Part of the attraction is just that I long ago spent a summer working in an engine plant at “Ford’s” in Windsor, Ontario. And I still remember sitting on a bench by the Detroit River in downtown Windsor, looking out at the wild and crazy depths of downtown Detroit, just across a narrow stretch of water (and somewhat ironically, to the north!).

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Do 2019 and 2020 tell us anything about 2023 and 2024 .. especially in northern North America??

Posted: November 20th, 2023 | No Comments »
Michael Seward, ‘Emerging Figure. 2023. Acrylic. 30” x 42”’.

COUNTERWEIGHTS EDITORS, GANATSEKWYAGON, ON. MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2023. We are inspired on this blue-Monday adventure by the creative use of recycled website articles as adroitly practised by the London Review of Books. Eg, “Fortress Conservation … Writing about conservation and land ownership in the LRB archive.”

On some accounts our thoughts were pushed in this direction when someone accidentally stumbled across a counterweights piece from more than four years ago : “Does murder in Alice Munro country say something larger on troubled times?” (Jan 22nd, 2019).

Others point to recent parallels between local November 11 Remembrance Day commemorations in 2019 and 2023 (aka Veterans Day in USA). Both cases finally raise similarities between 2019 as a prelude to the crucial year of 2020 in American politics, and 2023 as some comparable precursor of a perhaps still more crucial 2024 ahead.

In our case all this also necessarily views planet earth through a Canadian lens and mostly Canadian examples — as signaled by the lead article on “murder in Alice Munro country” in Southwestern Ontario (in Canada’s most populous province — which would be the fifth most populous US state, if Canadian provinces actually were states of the Union).

Five other 2019 counterweights articles that have some echoes in 2023 ????

Moon over the Canadian Yukon … just after sunset, 2019.

Here are five other 2019 pieces from our own counterweights past that suggest struggles in Canada and beyond, with 2019 threads that do seem to lead into 2020 in ways which may somehow relate to 2023 and the fateful year of 2024 that lies just ahead :

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