Happy Canadian Thanksgiving 2018 … Kavanaugh confirmation in USA, NAFTA Mark II, & Doug Ford’s Ontario

Oct 8th, 2018 | By | Category: In Brief

C. Wright Mills, the Columbia University pragmatist professor from Texas who some say invented the New Left in 1960. Maybe its time has come at last in 2018 ??

MONDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2018. GANATSEKWYAGON, ON. We came back from coffee Saturday just as our local TV news station was tweeting : “BREAKING: US Senate votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court.”

Sometimes, C. Wright Mills from Waco, Texas is alleged to have said, just describing what’s happening can be a radical act (or words to that effect). Revived by our Saturday coffee, I had some vaguely similar thought about just citing tweets on the new US Supreme Court justice.

1. Howard Dean & David Frum

My observations started chronologically with a Howard Dean retweet-with-comment, on an earlier query from David Frum, not long before 8 in the evening (ET), Thursday, October 4.

Former George W. Bush speechwriter Frum had asked  : “if Supreme Court rules 5-4 in favor of Trump self-pardon for tax fraud … with Kavanaugh providing the margin of victory to a majority that includes Gorsuch in seat GOP held open for a year … will that command legitimacy?”

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean added to his retweet of Frum’s question :  “The Court lost their legitimacy in 2000 over bush vs gore. They have never really recovered …  Kavanaugh and Gorsuch won’t help. GOP can ram stuff down our throats but we will never respect them or call them legitimate …”

2. Steve Schmidt

Nicolle Wallace, l, and Steve Schmidt, r : Once they worked to elect Republican John McCain president. Now they’re conservative critics of Donald Trump on what is sometimes a progressive TV channel.

Chronologically my next tweet was from Steve Schmidt, former senior strategist for the 2008 Republican presidential campaign of John McCain (at 3:10 PM ET, 5 Oct 2018) :

“The price of Brett Kavanaugh’s ascension to the the SC is incalculably high. It will shatter the institutional integrity of the Court and eviscerate standards and expectations for both honesty and non partisanship in Judicial nominees for many years.”

3. Ezra Klein & Matthew Yglesias

Then on the late afternoon of Friday, October 5 I was struck by two tweets from the estimable Ezra Klein, founder and editor of the news and opinion website Vox.

The first (4:43 PM ET) urged : “Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation will delegitimize the Supreme Court – and that’s a good thing, argues @mattyglesias.” Klein,  good editor that he is, was just promoting Matthew Yglesias’s article on the Vox site : “It’s time America woke up to the radical right that’s run the Court for years.”

Pop singing legend Taylor Swift has recently announced that like many others she will be voting Democrat on November 6, 2018.

Yglesias’s article itself is of course well worth reading. It concludes : “Starting with … the procedural weirdness of Bush v. Gore, judicial conservatives have been undermining electoral democracy to entrench their power on the bench and then wielded that power to undermine democratic governance.” Whatever happens, “the cloud of illegitimacy hanging over Kavanaugh’s head will be helpful in waking the public from its slumber.”

Ezra Klein’s second October 5 tweet to catch my attention (6:29 PM ) went : “I’ve thought for weeks the cynical play would be for Republicans to hold the nomination open through the midterm for base mobilization– as they did in ’16 … But now, the right gets their guy and the left is enraged. If I were a vulnerable Republican, I’d be  worried …”

(And my very own editors have reminded me that counterweights itself retweeted this last message, with the comment “Hopefully Mr. Klein is onto something …”)

[For still more on Adam Schiff, Michael Moore, Max Boot, NAFTA Mark II (aka USMCA) , and Canadian Sunset in Doug Ford’s Ontario,  click on “Read the rest of this page” and/or scroll below].

4. Adam Schiff & Michael Moore (& Max Boot)

I initially concluded my own latest studies on the Kavanaugh confirmation in the USA today with two final tweets from the afternoon of Saturday, October 6.

“Protestors rally against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, October 4, 2018 in Washington, DC.”

The first is from Democrat Adam Schiff – the US Representative for California’s 28th congressional district (and “US House candidate, CA-28” this November 6) : “Decision by GOP to push through a dishonest nominee who may have committed sexual assault is tragic … But we have the power to do something about it. We can take their gavels away. We can take their jobs away. Because we can vote … On November 6, don’t get mad – get to the polls.”

The second October 6 tweet is from movie maker Michael Moore, who needs no further introduction : “The fury now commences. An electoral rampage is underway. November 6th is the day of reckoning. I’m in” (3:36 PM ET).

As a final key current note on this front I’d just flag one more tweet, from early this morning, Monday, October 8, 2018 : “Conservative commentator Max Boot: ‘Vote straight-ticket Democratic Party – the GOP needs to be razed to the ground’. Calls for the total destruction of the Republican Party to undo the damage by President Trump.”

5. Meanwhile, back at NAFTA Mark II, aka USMCA

Here I’ll just quickly note two tweets from October 4, 2018 :

From the Toronto Star, tweeted at 12:35 PM ET : “Trump repeatedly complained of Canada’s dairy tariffs of up to 300%. Well, guess what: almost all of those tariffs are unchanged in the USMCA.” (So much of what the current US president claims to do is like this.)

At 1:45 PM counterweights itself retweeted a tweet from Bloomberg News editor Stephen Wicary, itself retweeting a tweet from The Economist : “The renegotiation of Nafta is a relief. But it is not a success, @TheEconomist writes …”

The counterweights retweet included the concluding thrust of The Economist piece : “About all that can be said in favour of the USMCA [Trump’s cumbersome new name for NAFTA] is that the uncertainty cast by Mr Trump over North American trade has eased. However, America would be better off had he never raised any doubts in the first place.”

6. Canadian Sunset : in case we think we’re somehow (a little) better, now there’s Doug Ford in Ontario …

Alas, north of the Great Lakes we can no longer smugly make fun of the Crazytown president of the USA today, since the Ontario electoral system selected a counterpart of sorts in Premier Doug Ford this past June 7, 2018.

My first revealing sample tweet on this subject comes from TV Ontario politics guru Steve Paikin, 5:44 PM on October 4 : “Former senator and we’ll known red tory Hugh Segal: ‘if you’re a red tory, you don’t have to bow your head to any establishment because no establishment will have you. Certainly not at Queen’s Park these days.’”

And then, bright and early at 6AM on Saturday, October 6 CBC News posted a useful summary of the initial wonders the Ford Nation premiership has wrought by Lisa Xing : “The 10 biggest things Doug Ford has done in his first 100 days in office … The PC government has made some sweeping – and controversial – changes since June 7.”

Meanwhile as relief from all the political absurdity in the North American air today, try this classic 1960 rendition of “Canadian Sunset” by Chicago tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons, son of the boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons. (And remember, this too is part of the America we the north have always admired, in our own North American way – as in what sensible people will still call the North American Free Trade Agreement, which continues to make quite a lot of sense … well, probably… for now? How long will Donald Trump be US president anyway?)

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