Top 12 late news extras as midsummer madness 2017 sets in : Oz Labor party will hold republic referendum etc, etc

Jul 31st, 2017 | By Counterweights Editors | Category: In Brief

Brownman Ali — one of the few serious “jazz” artists this or any year at the Beaches Jazz Festival in the east end of Toronto, where most who come to watch and listen seem to have a pretty good time anyway.

[UPDATED AUGUST 1]. The final “Streetfest” phase of the 29th annual Beaches International Jazz Festival is now over, and we’ve asked our wayward staff  to submit their favourite key current late news extras for post-festival tabulation. Without further ado :

(1) “Bill Shorten renews push for Australian republic, vows to hold referendum within first term of Labor government.” By Allyson Horn & Henry Belot : “Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has promised a national vote on Australia becoming a republic during the first term of a Labor Government … ‘One question — do you support an Australian republic with an Australian head of state? Yes or No?’ … Mr Shorten said if the result of the referendum was yes, it could mean a secondary vote to decide what form of republic Australia should become … The staunch republican previously said he had no plans to push for the republic until the Queen’s reign ends.”

(2) “Make Payette head of state” in Canada. In a letter published by the Toronto Star Ashok Charles, “executive director, Republic Now, Toronto,” writes : “The naming of Julie Payette as Canada’s next Governor General raises an important and timely question: Rather than being appointed as the representative of our head of state, shouldn’t she take over the top position? … let’s compare Payette’s credentials with those of Charles Windsor, the current front-runner set to become our next head of state if we don’t do anything about it … A clear-headed assessment, unskewed by habitual deference, makes Payette the winner of this contest, hands down.”

(And in the same place on the same day see also : “Happy 482nd birthday, Canada! … ‘Until the Quebec nation sees its recognition enshrined in the Constitution, federalist nationalists in Quebec will not forget that Canada, their Canada, also involves the history of Aboriginal people, French Canadians and Quebecers.’”)

(3) “The world according to Marshall McLuhan.” The Globe and Mail’s Mark Medley speaks with biographer Douglas Coupland “on why the culture and communications guru’s theories continue to resonate in 2017 — perhaps more than ever.”

We’d be happier hearing more about McLuhan’s “hick Baptist” inspiration Harold Innis (first Canadian president of the American Economic Association). But McLuhan can at least be a helpful entry drug.

(4) Kudos to the cw staff who tweeted “Midsummer madness has set in : ‘Conservatives say Trudeau’s Rolling Stone cover jeopardizes NAFTA talks’” this past week. For more on the August cover of Rolling Stone (whatever else, bound to win sneaking admiration or more from many we know) see : “Justin Trudeau lands on the cover of Rolling Stone” (Toronto Star — yes, again) ; and (as a kind of counterweight) “Justin Trudeau Rolling Stone Cover Is Brought To You By Desperate Times In America” (Huffington Post) —  “At a Canadian press conference, Rolling Stone witnessed Trudeau thanking reporters for the ‘essential’ role they play in a democracy … ‘Where are we? Narnia? Coachella recovery tent? 2009?’ Rodrick wrote. ‘We are in Ottawa, Ontario, a mere 560 miles from Washington, DC.’”

* * * *

(5) “What the man who introduced Canada’s income tax 100 years ago actually intended …  On July 25, 1917, Conservative Finance Minister Sir Thomas White introduced a plan for Canada’s very first income tax … .” Does the National Post (which hosts this article) still think we got off on a wrong foot with the federal income tax that is now 100 years old? More importantly, why are we still calling people like the Toronto businessman who found he did not really like politics, William Thomas White, “Sir Thomas White,” as if someone in Canada today still took such titles seriously? Isn’t that, eg, both against the 1919 Nickle Resolution and unfair to conservative Post founder Conrad Black?

Bob Brough and the Seagull All Stars — another of the few serious “jazz” artists on tap at the 29th Beaches Festival.

(Still more importantly, this coming December 17, 2017 actually will mark the intriguing 100th anniversary of the Canadian federal election of 1917.  Randall White is telling us the fourth chapter of Part III of his Children of the Global Village book project — on “Our Lady of the Snows, 1911–1921” —  is almost ready for its initial appearance on this website. And he has  been stressing just how intriguing the 1917 “Khaki Election” really was. It is apparently also a case where the online Canadian Encyclopedia article rises to the immediate challenge. See : “In 1917, Canadians went to the polls on an issue that was literally one of life and death.”)

(6) “South Africa’s ‘Unlawful’ Proposal to Freeze Mining Rights Hits Gold Stocks … A lobby group that supports mining companies in the country is calling for the proposal to be withdrawn … Last month, the South African government attempted to introduce new regulations to increase the minimum black ownership percentage for mines to 30 percent from 26 percent previously. The move was meant to ensure that more proceeds from the country’s natural resources flow to the black majority … the country’s Chamber of Mines applied for an urgent high court injunction to prevent the implementation of the new rules …”

(7) “A Top Republican Wants You To Believe Russia Was Behind That Famous Trump Dossier … But Sen. Chuck Grassley’s insinuations don’t add up.”  For the controversial “35-page dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, the former intelligence officer” itself see “Company Intelligence Report 2016/080 — US Presidential Election : Republican Candidate Donald Trump’s Activities in Russia and Compromising Relationship with the Kremlin.”

(8) “Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon … He started by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff. It escalated from there.”  If you haven’t yet explored Ryan Lizza’s remarkable July 27, 2017 New Yorker piece in all its naked flesh, here’s your chance!

UPDATE : Jokes On Twitter About ‘The Mooch’ Getting Fired In 10 Days … On Monday, Anthony Scaramucci was forced out of his position as White House communications director, just 10 days after he was hired … Scaramucci’s removal happened one freakin’ business day after The New Yorker published a damaging interview …”. And see also : “In First Move as White House Chief of Staff, Kelly Fires Scaramucci.”

(9) “Conservative Move … Helping families move Right … Our mission is to help Conservative families move to Conservative areas of America.” As yet another sign of the crazy times in which we live (except in Canada, of course), this site has been started by a defeated California Republican. See : “Company offers to help California conservatives ‘move Right’ to Texas … While Gov. Greg Abbott wants to make sure Austin does not ‘Californiaize’ Texas, some Californians are looking to the Lone Star State for a respite from liberal politics.”

(Which makes a related statistic even more intriguing : although California has the largest “Hispanic population” of any state in the union in absolute numbers, California and Texas have virtually identical “Hispanic Shares of State Populations” — an estimated 38.4% in 2015.)

(10) “Jonathan Ames: ‘Like many artists, I looked in the mirror to find the world … The US writer on his TV series Bored to Death, replacing alcohol with marijuana, and how Wodehouse’s Jeeves saved him from ‘dark places’.”  Interview by Andrew Anthony on theguardian site, 24 May 2015.

Jason Schwartzman and Zoe Kazan in Jonathan Ames’s Bored to Death.

At times like these it helps to remember that great things still happen in the USA today. Some staff here, eg, have taken up re-watching all three eight-episode seasons of Jonathan Ames’s altogether excellent 2009-2011 HBO TV series Bored to Death.

It “stars Jason Schwartzman as a fictional Jonathan Ames — a writer based in Brooklyn, New York City, who moonlights as an unlicensed private detective. The show also stars Ted Danson as George, and Zach Galifianakis as Ray, both friends of Jonathan.” And then there is a rotating cadre of such quality female attractions as Olivia Thirlby, Zoe Kazan, Kristen Wiig, and Isla Fisher. For some Ted Danson as George Christopher (“based … partly on [the late] Christopher Hitchens”) gives his best performance in any medium.

As for the real Jonathan Ames the writer himself (who appears briefly on TV in season two), he responds to Andrew Anthony’s question about why Bored to Death was cancelled with : “I don’t know —  they must have had their business reasons. But they gave me a good run. Three seasons. Better than one season or no season. I say that complaining about having one’s TV show cancelled, especially on HBO, is like complaining about having caviar between your teeth.”

(11) “Scandinavia: First For Public Sector Employment” — but Canada not far behind! The top four OECD countries for “Employment in general government as a percentage of total employment”in 2015 are Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. Then comes France. And then comes Canada — ahead of both the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as Italy, Germany, South Korea, and Japan.

And then there’s a “new Ipsos MORI poll of 18,000 respondents across 25 nations.” It asks which countries “have a strongly/somewhat positive influence on world affairs.” And : “Canada is seen as setting the best example with 81% of respondents saying it has a positive influence on world affairs. Australia and Germany complete the top three.” The “US ‘approval’ rating has dropped by 24 percentage points since last year’s survey” — and now stands at 40%.

(12) “Peaceful protest held outside Regina Canadian Tire … Could there be a more Canadian headline? The article goes on : “Dozens of protesters played drums and performed a smudging ceremony outside a Regina Canadian Tire store Friday after an Indigenous man was accused of stealing, pushed against a shelf and kicked out of the store earlier this week … About 40 protesters, many of them Indigenous, met at the edge of the property to perform a drum circle and pray … They later marched across the parking lot to the front of the store, where they expressed outrage over [the earlier] incident at the store on Wednesday, when 53-year-old Kamao Cappo was confronted by a Canadian Tire employee.”

It’s all about “respect,” someone said the other day over lunch, during a conversation about the current indigenous “reconciliation” issue in Canada. And on what is now a very hot midsummer day in this part of Marshall McLuhan’s global village, that at least does seem right.

Lawren Harris, “Lake Simcoe”, c 1918.

Meanwhile, just what “nation to nation” really means — and just who supports it among what Statistics Canada has called the “Aboriginal identity population” — remain much more puzzling questions for most of us. And at some point the public debate will have to take them up, no doubt, and there will be more peaceful protests outside Canadian Tire stores, across the country.

And then a little further down the road something relevant will find its way into the Constitution (gasp). Some “Quebec [Quebecois/ French Canadian?] nation” will also see “its recognition enshrined in the Constitution.” The Senate will be seriously reformed (or abolished?). And we will politely say goodbye to the British monarchy, and confirm we are in theory as well as fact a “free and democratic” Canadian republic with our own Canadian head of state — just like most of our few remaining fellow “Commonwealth realms” in Australia, Barbados, Jamaica, New Zealand, etc, etc. [And for more on all this, go back to (1) above ... meanwhile check out what has been called the “Most sold summer song in the world” — Mungo Jerry’s original 1970 “In The Summertime ... when the weather is hot” (much beloved, a cheeky young lady of our ancient acquaintance used to say, by the working-class Skinheads in London).]

UPDATE : Canadian Tire Employee Who Pushed Indigenous Customer Loses His Job … A video of the incident went viral and sparked outrage across the world.

It has also been pointed out to us that the actual lyric to the smash hit Mungo Jerry tune of 1970 goes “In the summertime when the weather is high,/you can stretch right up and touch the sky,” etc. Our apologies for mistakenly alluding to the summertime as a place where “the weather is hot” (which is true enough, but not what Mungo Jerry said). It seems that even for Canadian versions of English-speaking North Americans, Brit accents can be tricky even if the British monarch is still for some obscure reason Canada’s official head of state, for the time being at least.

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