Category : Uncategorized

A Provisional Glossary of Trump’s Fantastical Misstatements

A while ago I wrote some thoughts on bullshit, available here: http://blog.davidbeattie.ca.s175791.gridserver.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=20&action=edit   But candidate Trump has shown such an extraordinary talent for misstatement, that special consideration is justified.  Surely there is scope for a scholarly paper on the varieties of Trump’s fantastical statements. Just a few examples: # Trump lies, when he knows what

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Trump’s Double-Down Defenses

Two quotes to start: political flacks attempting to minimize Trump’s latest sexual comments “We’re electing a leader of the free world,” Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told CNN. “We’re not electing a Sunday school teacher.” “This doesn’t surprise anyone. This is him,” said one Republican strategist aligned with Trump. “You lose elections when you

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On Referenda

There is some debate whether a referendum is a good or bad instrument for making public policy choices in a democracy. The question came into sharper focus following the Brexit referendum. The debate has direct relevance in Canada as we consider whether a referendum is required on reform of our electoral system. Let us begin

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Rails to Trails: Letter in the Lowdown June 22

The views of those opposing the rails to trails project were expressed most bluntly in the letter from Chandra Gibbs. According to her, rails to trails means “slapping a public path through the private backyards of Chelsea”. Such a characterization is perverse and venal. In the first place, the public path already exists as municipal

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Hot Times in Heaven

I thank Bishop Hector of Buenos Aires for revealing to me a rather engaging mystery of the Christian religion. Hector had determined that certain events in his diocese – apparitions of the Virgin Mary, along with glowing rosaries – were of supernatural origin. Thus Buenos Aires would join Lourdes, Fatima and Guadalupe as places where

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Constitutions: Polished Wood or Living Tree?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? This paper started with readings on the death of US Supreme Court Judge Anton Scalia.  Prior to his death, I had dismissed him as a judicial right-wing extremist, applying a reactionary philosophy of judicial interpretation called ‘originalism’: E.G., “everything was fine in 1776: why change?”  However, I found even centre left

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We need a referendum on electoral reform

The essence of democracy is the right to vote, electing a representative to govern. But that representative does not gain the right to change the rules by which he or she is elected. The right to vote is logically, morally and politically prior to the right to change the system by which we vote for

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Trudeau’s Truthiness

Truthiness shortage: Letter in the Globe and Mail of April 22 Re Ottawa Killed Appeal Of Settlement Ruling (April 21): Seems to me that Canada’s new government has started to be somewhat “economical with the truth,” to put it charitably. First, this government claimed it had no choice but to honour the contract for the

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Are the ‘Laws of Thought’ Merely Theories?

You might wonder about the title of this talk.  I know I did.  Titles are important.  To illustrate that, I’ll start with a story told me by the late Jim Mac Adam, my tutor and mentor as a Trent student.  Jim MacAdam told of a scene from his time as a student at the University

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UBER

The City of Ottawa will make recommendations about taxi licensing and UBER within the next few days.  We have all read of the tensions, unpleasantness and occasional violence between licensed taxi drivers and UBER contractor drivers.  While it would be good to see a peaceful settlement between licensed and contract drivers, if the settlement is

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