Six from the 6ix in early snow as 2019 winds down : Impeachment, Throne Speech, 1st Quarter, Birdhop at last

Dec 8th, 2019 | By | Category: In Brief
Jill Lepore, in her office in Robinson Hall at Harvard, keeping warm with a certain sternness for the political winter ahead.

At night, or very early in the morning, you feel the early December snow outside your window, and you contemplate half a dozen souvenirs of the strange year that’s winding down :

(1) Jill Lepore on “The Impeachment Hearings and the Coming Storm.” The Harvard historian who writes for the New Yorker (and has recently published an impressive fresh one-volume history of the USA today) has just revealed her honest understanding of the journey the US House of Representatives has now embarked on :

American historians have been asked for so long … Is this President really that bad? Is this unprecedented? Almost always, I bite my tongue. But, yes, he is that bad, and this is unprecedented … the abuses of office of which the President now stands accused are the very definition of impeachable … The madness lies in … how many people had to give up on the idea of democracy for things to come to this. The sadness lies in …. the unlikelihood of anything getting much better anytime soon … A farmer walks across a field, bracing against the wind. Hardness is what’s required to get through a political winter: determination, forbearance, sacrifice, not bitterness but a certain sternness.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General Julie Payette (who he appointed in 2017), just before December 5, 2019 Throne Speech in Senate Chamber at Ottawa. In background in red dress is prime minister’s wife, Sophie Gregoire.

It sounds like good advice to us.

(2) Meanwhile what about the Trudeau Liberal 2019 Throne Speech in Canada? To start with, the BBC back in one of the old-world “mother countries” doesn’t seem to have had much trouble figuring it out. See “Throne Speech: Six things on Trudeau’s to-do list.”

And the CBC here at home has summarized the only serious political reality right now (despite much other attention elsewhere) : “Tories, NDP won’t support throne speech but Bloc will back Liberals’ agenda if it comes to vote.” So the new federal minority government is certainly not going to fall right away (in case anyone really thought there was any chance of that).

(3) Looking back at our favourite counterweights article for January of the year about to end (soon enough) : “Starting 2019 with jazz at the Bluebird … It may well be that 2019 proves a difficult year on any number of fronts. But I was lucky enough to spend its first Thursday evening at one of the ‘top 21 new bars in Toronto’ … 2072 Dundas St W, at Howard Park.”

George-Etienne Cartier (left) and John A Macdonald (right) had taken money from railway interests in the Pacific Scandal, which prompted their Liberal Conservative government to give way to the Liberal Reformers in 1873 — inaugurating a political tradition in the Canadian confederation of 1867 that is at least still trying to persist to this day!

(4) Our favourite counterweights article for February 2019 : “Pacific Scandal is great grandma of SNC-Lavalin : but all ‘systematic organization of hatreds’ is obsolete today.” (Even if even we far northern North American political junkies had to spend far too much time entangled in these hatreds in 2019 — with scant relief in site for 2020?)

(5) Our favourite counterweights article for March 2019 : “‘While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him’”. And our favourite passage from this piece is still : “Mr. De Leon’s March 25 tweet is in the tradition of the Great American Laughing-To-Keep-From-Crying Songbook : ‘Dear good white folks … I know that the the Mueller Report has been underwhelming. Do not despair. If necessary, please report immediately to a person of color near you. We are well versed in “Crazy Shit America Does” and have tons of “fucked by the system” experience. We can help.’”

Andrea Motis attends to an alto saxophone in Barcelona, as our Birdhop site in Toronto pays homage to jazz in Catalonia today.

(6) Finally, our companion arts and music site “Birdhop” has managed to pull its latest international jazz enthusiasms together (as too long promised) in “Remembering ‘Petite Fleur’ : Sidney Bechet, Andrea Motis, and the remarkable Municipal School of Music in Barcelona.” We quote from the vaguely anonymous author’s conclusion :

“With Europe and America at the 70th NATO summit clouding my mind, I find it o-so-warmly reassuring to see how some of the seriously great things the USA has given the universe are being cultivated in 2019 in Catalonia …

“Today Catalonia may or may not really want to be a part of Spain. Not altogether unlike Quebec in Canada, Canadians are bound to think. As the early snow rises around us in this year of climate change, crazy politics, and the 2-faced nice guy … still much admired on the street where I live.”

And we here “@counterweights … Canadian Political Magazine … Democracy in North America … Peace (and free trade) in the Global Village” will return soon enough, with at least our favourite counterweights articles for the last nine months of 2019!

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