It’s Official

Canada has removed its vaccine mandates. Even Canada! Of course, it looks like there will always be people who will bug out their eyes and whisper hoarsely, “The pandemic isn’t over, you know!” But I’m glad we are officially past it.

School Shooting

It’s a terrible tragedy. And it isn’t lessened by the fact that Russian media have slobbered triumphantly over every school shooting in the US. I experienced intense vicarious shame after the joyous, celebratory coverage of the Uvalde shooting on Russian news and social media. It was beyond gloating. Absolutely despicable. Of course, normal people don’t behave that way, and all one can feel in the face of this tragedy is great sadness.

Two Options for Russia

Apparently, Turkey, India and China expressed displeasure with Russia’s incapacity to conclude the war in Ukraine and told Putin to make it end before winter comes.

In the Kremlin, there were 2 opposing ideas on how to handle things. One, championed by the radicals and voiced by the leader of the Communist Party Zyuganov, was to declare a mobilization and go all out in a full-scale war. The other, proposed by more moderate people, was in favor of Putin going to China on a long health-related trip while the rest of the leadership looked for a way to persuade the West that everything was fine now and Russia was “committed to peace.”

As usual, the radical option won.

Far-right in Italy

She talks of free kindergartens that are open for longer, of maternity leave paid for by the state rather than the employer, and of reducing the tax burden on people with children… She promises to cut, not raise taxes. On foreign affairs, she is fervently on the side of Ukraine (there is a striking ambivalence in Italy about sending arms), declaring herself ‘on the side of a proud nation that is teaching the world what it is to fight for freedom’.

This surely sounds terrifying. How can the people of Italy support such scary, unhinged beliefs? What is the world coming to if people who are for kindergartens and child tax credits can just go and get themselves elected?

But hey, we can’t complain. For years, our side has called the ultra-neoliberal Obama a socialist and even a communist. Now we are at the receiving end of this rhetorical flamboyancy, and every mildly conservative politician becomes a new Hitler.

The adult thing to do is to start by assessing your own contribution to any problem, and ours is quite large. And it’s not in the past. We continue engaging in rhetorical flourishes about groomers, pedophiles, and “cultural Marxists.” There was, for instance, a recent and very pathetic eruption of silliness over the statements of a Spanish minister who supposedly “justifies sex with children.” The minister in question is a complete idiot. But she never justified sex with children and, in fact, said the exact opposite.

These exaggerations are fun in the process but there is always a price to pay for them, and it’s pretty high.