Facts, and Opinions, this week


The Death of a Businessman and the Philippines’ Drug War, by Karen Lema and Martin Petty

When Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte summoned his security chiefs to an urgent meeting one Sunday night last month, his mind was already made up. His military and law enforcement heads had no idea what was coming: a suspension of the police force’s leading role in his signature campaign, a merciless war on illegal drugs.

Adele Sweeps Grammy Awards, by By Jill Serjeant and Piya Sinha-Roy

Adele won the top three Grammy awards on Sunday, taking home the statuettes for album, record and song of the year in a shock victory over Beyonce.


Media literacy in a post-fact age, by Penney Kome  Column

Fake news is as old as the Internet. From the 1990s, I remember spam, scams, and ghost ship “rolling” petitions that sailed the white-font-on-black-background PINE and LYNX seas – almost as soon as the first E-list was compiled.

Canada needs ranked, not proportional, voting, by Tom Regan   Column

Like many Canadians who had hoped that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would follow through on his campaign promise to reform the voting system in Canada, I found myself deeply disappointed by his sudden announcement, that he had abandoned plans for reform and was sticking with the first-past-the-post system. He was not wrong, however, in saying that proportional representation was the wrong system for Canada.

The terrifying mathematics of the Anthropocene, by Owen Gaffney and Will Steffen  Expert Witness

Powerful rhetoric is used to describe the Anthropocene and current human impact. As The Economist stated in 2011, humanity has “become a force of nature reshaping the planet on a geological scale”. We are like an asteroid strike. We have the impact of an ice age. But what does this really mean?

In Case You Missed Them:

Is Donald Trump a “Black Swan”? by Tom Regan   Column

China’s Waterways Reveal Our Superbug Future, by Michael Gillings.   Expert Witness

Russia’s Military Buildup Focuses on Arctic, by Andrew Osborn   Report

Canada’s Trudeau Avoids Poking U.S. “Grizzly Bear,” by  David Ljunggren and Rod Nickel


F&O aims to provide “boutique” journalism — explanatory, contextual, thoughtful — and a break from the frenzy of the internet. But the speed and complexity of breaking news globally has become overwhelming — even as informed citizenship has never been more critical. Here’s a suggestion for coping: avoid obsessing over distressing news, but do devote at least half an hour daily to a diverse range of quality sites that cover breaking news stories.  Support those sites by subscribing or donating, so they’ll be around when we need them. Some suggestions:

American politics remain the world’s biggest, most important issue. Here are some of the many  good outlets that provide  ethical, professional reporting of breaking news out of Washington: ProPublica; New York TimesWashington PostPolitico. For a broader perspective leave Washington — and the angry bubbles of America — for a daily scan of the global wire services: Reuters,  Associated Press and Agence France-Presse. A healthy media diet includes global outlets. Some examples are the South China Morning PostBBCDer Spiegel International; Al Jazeera and the Financial Times.

Findings from the Internet:

Paul Kennedy of the CBC interviews Wolfgang Streeck, director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany, and author of a new book about the end of capitalism.   Go to CBC Radio’s Ideas program, here, or listen below:

From Streeck’s North American publisher, Penguin Random House:

How Will Capitalism End? The provocative political thinker asks if it will be with a bang or a whimper

After years of ill health, capitalism is now in a critical condition. Growth has given way to stagnation; inequality is leading to instability; and confidence in the money economy has all but evaporated.

In How Will Capitalism End?, the acclaimed analyst of contemporary politics and economics Wolfgang Streeck argues that the world is about to change. The marriage between democracy and capitalism, ill-suited partners brought together in the shadow of World War Two, is coming to an end. The regulatory institutions that once restrained the financial sector’s excesses have collapsed and, after the final victory of capitalism at the end of the Cold War, there is no political agency capable of rolling back the liberalization of the markets.

Ours has become a world defined by declining growth, oligarchic rule, a shrinking public sphere, institutional corruption and international anarchy, and no cure to these ills is at hand.

Last but not least, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau travels to Washington early Monday morning to meet American President Donald Trump. The relationship between the two countries remains one of the world’s most important in terms of trade and security, and is currently one of the most world’s fraught. You may be interested in this documentary, by Canada’s National Film Board, on the relationship between the two country’s leaders.
In Bed with an Elephant (59 minutes, 1986):

In Bed with an Elephant, Kent Martin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

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