"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Today's Must-Read: Antidote: Look North

Rolling Stone profiles Justin Trudeau:

It's strange to witness: He speaks in a modulated, indoor voice. His dark hair is a color found in nature. At home, there is a glamorous wife and three photogenic children, still not old enough to warm his seat at next week's G-20 summit or be involved in an espionage scandal.

He's such a contrast to that asshole in the White House -- but then, Trump makes Malcolm Turnbull look good.

One is tempted to think that Trudeau embodies the virtues of Canadians in general, and perhaps that's true, although he's not perfect, from an ideological purity standpoint: he's a realist.

His country has some problems. Canada's immense size makes it as much of a slave to fossil fuel as the U.S. in both usage and trade. No North Dakota oil field can compare with the Alberta oil sands, where the countryside is pockmarked like a B-52 bombing range. I ask him how he squares that with his evangelical support of the Paris environmental accord.

"It's a great question," Trudeau tells me while giving the distinct impression it's not a question he is psyched to answer. "One of the things that we have to realize is we cannot get off gas, we cannot get off oil, fossil fuels tomorrow – it's going to take a few decades." He shrugs a little bit. "Maybe we can shorten it, but there's going to have to be a transition time."

But on the whole, the contrast between Trudeau and Trump couldn't be sharper:

In 2015, Trudeau met Syrian refugees at the airport and handed out winter coats. One of the refugees thanked him a year later in person on Canadian radio. Trudeau wept. Another named his son after the PM. Meanwhile, Trump is pushing Muslim bans, and Mike Pence went to court to prevent any Syrian refugees from coming to his state.

"If we take in 40,000 Syrian refugees, it wasn't because the government sent a couple of planes and signed a decree," Trudeau tells me. "It was because communities opened up their homes, their churches, their community centers. Everyone said, 'Let's do our part to give some people in a terrible situation a better future.' We understand that bringing people here to build a better life for themselves makes the world a better place and makes our communities better as well. But I've only been able to do this because Canadians are open, generous and dream big for the country."

Shame on us. We used to be like that, more or less -- at least, we like to think we have been, and still are. For some of us -- most of us, I think -- it's still true. (This is from me, who lives in a "sanctuary city" in one of the most diverse neighborhoods anywhere in the country. You know what? We all get along just fine.)

And on top of everything else, he's gorgeous.

Read the whole thing, and try to figure out how the U.S. got where it is today.

Via Joe.My.God.

Oh, and if you're wondering about the motivation, Politico has a report:

House Republicans were planning to pass a spending bill stacked with his campaign promises, including money to build his border wall with Mexico.

But an internal House Republican fight over transgender troops was threatening to blow up the bill. And House GOP insiders feared they might not have the votes to pass the legislation because defense hawks wanted a ban on Pentagon-funded sex reassignment operations — something GOP leaders wouldn’t give them.

They turned to Trump, who didn’t hesitate. In the flash of a tweet, he announced that transgender troops would be banned altogether.

Trump’s sudden decision was, in part, a last-ditch attempt to save a House proposal full of his campaign promises that was on the verge of defeat, numerous congressional and White House sources said.

Gotta have that wall.

Via Towleroad.

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