(Not so fast, hoser!)
What a difference a week makes. Last Monday I was ready to write all about bad news: Canada had gone fascist; Russia had maybe kicked off the Next World War by grabbing the Ukraine. Now there’s bad news, good news, and maybe even better news.
BAD NEWS: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked a State of Emergency, turned police on the very peaceful demonstrators, lied about ‘swastika wavers’ to justify the crackdown, and gotten the Canadian Parliament to vote to extend the Emergency Powers. He then had the Canadian banks seize the bank accounts of the protesters and anybody donating money to the protests. Clever little unnamed hackers publicized the names and addresses of the contributors, and they were harassed. Looks like Canada quickly fell to an authoritarian regime.
GOOD NEWS: The Canadian Senate (who knew Canada had a Senate?) refused to go along with the permanent Emergency Powers. The sticking point: freezing people’s money.
“Trudeau appointed Senator Pierre Dalphond, an independent senator affiliated with the Progressive Senate Group, said he would vote against the Emergencies Act:
“I have decided to vote against the motion to authorize the continuation of the state of emergency, out of concern about the lack of judicial oversight in the freezing of assets.”
So, the State of emergency had been rescinded, frozen accounts have been freed, Canada steps back from the brink.
BETTER NEWS: It’s not so easy to coup a country. We’ve been reminded that multiple checks and balances do indeed and are needed to protect the people’s liberty. And banks in Canada—and hopefully here as well—learn that they only exist on the trust of their depositors. If we can’t trust them not to steal our money, we won’t bank with them. A good lesson all around.
BAD NEWS: Vladimir Putin’s Russia just up and invaded the Ukraine—unprovoked, unjustified aggression and greed. The weak, whiny Biden Administration was revealed as impotent to deter. This is how WW1 and WW2 began. After Ukraine, what’s next? Putin gobbling up the Baltic States? And the People’s Republic of China lunging for Taiwan? Is this the kickoff for—what do we call it? WW3? (I believe the Cold War was WW#, so this would be World War 4.)
GOOD NEWS: All isn’t going well for Russia. The Ukraine is bogging down the Russkis. There have been unexpected losses. Ukraine has proven to be no roll-over, walk in the park.
“Ukrainian military officials have said the country has shot down several Russian planes as it continues to defend itself against the Russian invasion.
“Ukraine’s defense forces are holding back the Russian aggressor’s offensive,” he wrote.” Ukraine Shoots Down Several Russian Aircraft, Country’s Military Claims (newsweek.com)
Now let’s not trust too much in wartime reporting from one of the combatants. But clearly Ukraine is no 1956 Hungary, 1968 Czechoslovakia—some small nation stomped on by Nazis and Soviets for 20 years. It seems clear that the whole point was to blitz and seize the Ukraine quickly. That’s not happening. Helicopters and tanks are being destroyed, Russian boys are coming home in body bags. The Motherland is a hated, untrustworthy predator. Sanctions are biting the Russian oligarchs. How long until the old spy becomes a liability?
BETTER NEWS: Just grabbing a neighbor nation may not be as as easy as it seems. Russia may learn a sharp lesson, Vladdie a sharper one. And President-for-Life Xi of The People’s Republic of China may see Taiwan as no pushover, a better trade partner than victim of naked aggression. And the PRC better as a rich player in the world system than a would-be warmongering Celestial Empire.
ALTERNATIVE THEORY: the Russkies just seized Chernobyl. Their threat: “surrender now or we’ll give it back.”
AND NOW FOR SOME COMPLETELY DIFFERENT GOOD NEWS:
Short bit: few pay attention to the legal doctrine of Sovereign Immunity. It means that governments can’t be sued for acting like governments, and individual officials can’t be sued unless they steal money. A Michigan Court of Appeals case Fox v Saginaw County just trimmed the government’s claims of immunity. Briefly: taxpayer owed $3,000 to Saginaw County. The County foreclosed on the property, whose fair market value was $50,400. The County paid itself for the $3K owed and kept the rest of the surplus equity. Homeowner sued, County government said “too bad. We proceeded lawfully, therefore can’t be sued.
The Court disagreed, saying governments don’t have to be criminal to be held accountable. “Being from the government never means having to say you’re sorry” doesn’t apply here. It’s a crack in the wall of Governmental Immunity, and that’s a good thing.