News

1. COVID-19

No new cases of COVID-19 were announced in Nova Scotia yesterday (Monday, Jan. 18).

There are 25 known active cases in the province. No one is in hospital with the disease.

Nova Scotia Health labs conducted 1,079 tests Sunday.

Here are the new daily cases and seven-day rolling average since the start of the second wave (Oct. 1):

And here is the active caseload for the second wave:

Last night, Public Health issued potential COVID exposure advisories for two locations in the Truro area:

Anyone who worked or visited the following locations on the specified dates and times should immediately self-isolate and visit covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/ to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you.
Anyone present at the below location must self-isolate while waiting for their test result, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Roadside Willies Smokehouse & Bar (27 Jennifer Dr, Truro) on Jan. 8 between 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Jan. 22.
  • Double C Truck Stop (3926 Highway #4, Debert) on Jan. 9 between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Jan. 23.

Here is the possible exposure map:

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2. Police cameras

A body-worn camera on a Durham, Ont. police officer. Photo: Twitter/Durham Police

“The city’s board of police commissioners wants to wait at least a year before putting body-worn cameras on Halifax Regional Police officers,” reports Zane Woodford:

At the board’s meeting on Monday, it voted unanimously in favour of a motion from Coun. Lindell Smith to ask the police to develop policies for the use of the cameras, along with a privacy impact assessment, and come back to the board next year, for implementation in the 2022-2023 budget year.

Click here to read “Halifax police board hits pause on body-worn cameras.”

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3. Compassion fatigue

Acadia University professor and psychologist Tanya Surette’s new research project will follow the development of counsellors over five years to learn more about what helps and what hinders their mental wellness and ability to thrive as counselling professionals. Photo: Submitted

“Public health orders, restrictions, shutdowns, lockdowns. It’s no secret the uncertainty and stress created by the pandemic has upped our anxieties and kept mental health professionals busy,” reports Yvette d’Entremont:

“Right now the waiting lists are exploding because of the stresses of this pandemic on people,” Halifax-based psychologist Lesley Hartman said in an interview.

“I don’t know a counsellor, therapist, or psychologist in the city that doesn’t have a really long waiting list. And we’re also dealing with our own stress related to the pandemic.”

Being immersed in highly emotionally supportive and emotionally draining work over a period of time can be challenging. Hartman said for some, feeling stressed or overwhelmed can lead to a sense of shame. That’s because there’s a sense that because they help others deal with a variety of issues, they should know how to cope themselves — without any outside help.

Click here to read “Compassion fatigue: when the helpers need help.”

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4. Search warrants and the FBI

The media consortium that includes the Halifax Examiner continues its legal efforts to unseal the search warrant documents related to the investigation into the mass murders of last April 18 and 19, and so yesterday I found myself (virtually) attending a court hearing related to scheduling.

It was mundane stuff, and not really worth reporting on. Long story short: our efforts continue, and there are delays.

But there’s one tiny data point that might be of a correspondingly tiny bit of interest. We were expecting that a US FBI agent would testify on Jan. 26. I won’t get into the weeds of why the agent would testify because it’s so convoluted that I’m not sure that I even understand it, but the gist of it is that information provided by the FBI found its way into the affidavits submitted to the court by the RCMP in support of an application for a search warrant, and now there’s some issue as to whether that information can be un-redacted in a release to the media. That’s not what’s interesting, however.

What’s interesting is that the FBI agent cannot be made available for a briefing with the Canadian federal and provincial Crowns in preparation for the Jan. 26 hearing because the agent is pulled away by events in Washington, DC.

I don’t think the FBI is especially interested in the Canadian media’s effort to unseal search warrants, although I’m sure they’ll show reasonable professional courtesy. And of course the FBI has more urgent matters at hand, and we all want tomorrow’s inauguration to go proceed smoothly, so.

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5. Real estate agents gone bad

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the stereotypes about real estate agents. For one, stereotypes can be messy, and they’re generally unfair besides. More personally, I’ve known some truly and amazingly decent people in the profession, people I respect for their character.

On the other hand, as with banking and finance, the industry seems wide open to be infiltrated and abused by the absolute worst kind of people. And besides, it’s just plain fun to watch the stereotype of the more monstrous of the group.

Buddy Kane: Who’s the king?

The archetypical real estate agent of this sort is Buddy Kane, the “real estate king” in the 1999 film American Beauty, who gave us such memorable lines as “You like getting nailed by the King?” Kane was played by actor Peter Gallagher who, I learned this morning, based the character on none other than Donald Trump. “I thought, who has the hugest opinion of themselves in real estate?” Gallagher told the Independent last year.

Jenna Ryan

And outdoing that fictional portrayal is the real-life example of Texas real estate agent Jenna Ryan, who, along with a riotous mob with murderous intent, stormed the US Capitol. According to NBC News:

In court papers, prosecutors said a Facebook Live video taken by Ryan — which was captured before it was deleted and reposted to YouTube — shows her entering the Capitol through the Rotunda entrance.

“We’re going to f—ing go in here. Life or death,” she says at the start of the video, according to prosecutors. “It doesn’t matter. Here we go.”

When she reached the top of the stairs, Ryan turned on her rear-facing camera and said: “Y’all know who to hire for your realtor. Jenna Ryan for your realtor,” according to prosecutors.

Olympic Champion Klete Keller Appears to Have Been in US Capitol During Insurrection – https://t.co/JiDwxgSPog pic.twitter.com/9b0zwbLXCH

— Swimming World (@SwimmingWorld) January 12, 2021

The Capitol mob was a distinctly well-off group with the financial wherewithal to take time off from their jobs and buy a ticket to Washington. Ryan wasn’t the only real estate agent among the group; she was joined in the attack by Klete Keller, a former Olympic swimmer from Colorado who had, er, floundered after his sports career before finding purpose in right-wing politics and real estate, explains the Guardian:

His marriage collapsed, he was unable to hold down a series of sales jobs and he struggled to afford a place to live while paying child support for his three kids. He felt bitter and angry, losing motivation and gaining weight as he ate and drank to excess. He said his money problems prompted him to live in his Ford Fusion after his divorce in 2014. He would squeeze his 6ft 6in frame into the car and try to grab some sleep in Walmart parking lots.

He grew more interested in right-wing politics in recent years but was not known as especially radical. His reputation among friends was as more of a mild-mannered goofball than a committed extremist, though one told the Washington Post Keller was “infatuated” with guns and he was increasingly supportive of Trump on social media.

Keller appeared on local television news in 2018 (his Olympic status unmentioned) after he became the unwitting victim of a bizarre episode with shirtless men and a dog-sitter. Still, he appeared to have turned his life around: getting engaged, finding work with a commercial real estate firm and launching a personal website, The Olympic Agent. It pledges “Gold Medal Service” to help clients “navigate the waters of real estate”.

Now he has lost his job and potentially faces a long prison sentence.

Closer to home, we have two examples of less-than-exemplary behaviour from real estate agents Sarah Sullivan and Adam Scott, who have received disciplinary licence suspensions by the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission:

Effective January 16, 2021

The Registrar hereby gives notice the real estate salesperson licence for Sarah Sullivan of Century 21 Trident Realty Ltd. is suspended effective January 16, 2021 up to and including February 15, 2021 for violating the following section of the Real Estate Trading Act and the Commission By-law:

  • Real Estate Trading Act, Section 22 (1) (a)
  • Commission By-law 816

The violations resulted from an investigation of a complaint from a member of the public. The complainant, who owned a dog, was a tenant of a property that was listed for sale. Ms. Sullivan viewed the property with a potential buyer.

Sarah Sullivan. Photo: LinkedIn

At a later date, Ms. Sullivan approached the complainant, and asked if they were interested in selling the dog, which they advised they were not. Ms. Sullivan offered to take the dog while they moved out of the property. Ms. Sullivan took the dog and failed to return it. In response to efforts by the complainant to have the dog returned, Ms. Sullivan inappropriately used or threated to use information she acquired only as a result of her access to the property as a real estate licensee. When the matter was investigated, she provided false/misleading information to the investigator on several occasions. Ms. Sullivan had previously been disciplined in 2014 for providing false information to the Commission during the course of an investigation.

This conduct is dishonourable, unprofessional, harmful to the best interests of the public and to the reputation of the industry at large. The public must have confidence that when they provide access to their property to members of the profession, that their privacy will be respected and information shall be gathered, used and shared, only for reasons related to the trading in real estate. Further, it is a violation to provide false/misleading information to the Commission.

Ms. Sullivan is ordered to pay $2,500 in fines and is subject to a one-month licence suspension.

This notice has been distributed to licensees in accordance with Commission By-law 839.

Effective January 18, 2021

The Registrar hereby gives notice the real estate salesperson licence for Adam Scott of HaliPad Real Estate Inc. is suspended effective January 18, 2021 up to and including February 17, 2021 for violating the following section of the Real Estate Trading Act:

  • Real Estate Trading Act, Section 22 (1) (a)

The violation resulted from an investigation of a complaint from a member of the public. The evidence supported Mr. Scott facilitated a viewing with a client knowing the client arrived from outside of Atlantic Canada the night before and had not completed the province’s COVID-19 pandemic mandatory 14-day self-isolation. The Commission communicated to the industry numerous times via e-mail and posted on our website that licensees are required to follow the COVID-19 health directives from the federal and provincial government. The Commission also provided licensees with the direct link to this information.

Mr. Scott is ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and is subject to a one-month licence suspension.

This notice has been distributed to licensees in accordance with Commission By-law 839.

I don’t know much about real estating, and I’m sure most agents are fine people. It’s just hard to wrap my head around the actions of these proverbial bad apples. Real estate — especially residential real estate — is booming, and the pandemic has only made things better for the industry as people work from home and are upgrading their residences. It’s easy to be generous when the money is flowing in, but I guess for some people, just the opposite happens.

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Noticed

On my podcast playlist is Fall of Civilizations, produced and narrated by Paul Cooper, who explains:

Fall of Civilizations tells the story of what happens when societies collapse.

Each episode, we look at a civilization that rose to glory, and then collapsed into the ashes of history. We ask: Why did it collapse? What happened next? And what did it feel like to be a person alive at the time?

Each episode is a massive affair, and can be as long as three hours. Most recently published is Episode 12, about the Incas, and as usual, I learned a ton.

Easter Island

But for the new listener, I recommend you start with Episode 6, about Easter Island.

If you’re like me, you know the well-told story of Easter Island, most recently recounted by geographer Jared Diamond in his book Collapse, which goes something like this: The people of Easter Island were so committed to their religion of building giant heads, that they didn’t even realize that they had cut down the last tree to use it as a roller to move a head from the quarry to its position on the coastline, and this single-minded devotion without regard to their environment led to their downfall. It’s a story of hubris and collective stupidity.

Well, thanks to Cooper, I now know that story is utterly wrong. The collapse of Easter Island had nothing at all to do with some innate shortcoming, but rather because the island was a victim of imperialism, ravished by disease and predatory traders, and then by slavers — at one point in the late 19th century, the entire indigenous population of the island was enslaved. Even the story of the “stupid Easter Islanders” is itself a product of imperialism, seemingly invented to create a counter-narrative to the truth of the matter.

Cooper tells the story compassionately, and with the aim of giving life to a still-struggling culture.

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Government

City

Tuesday

Audit and Finance Standing Committee (Tuesday, 10am) — virtual meeting with live audio broadcast

Community Design Advisory Committee (Tuesday, 11:30am) — the committee will pass the Regional Centre Secondary Municipal Planning Strategy (Package B) and then there will never again be built a crappy building and we will all marvel at the quality architecture, affordable housing will become abundant, and our streets will welcome pedestrians without endangering their lives at every turn. Or, you know, not.

Halifax and West Community Council (Tuesday, 6pm) — live webcast; live captioning available

Wednesday

Budget Committee (Wednesday, 9:30am) — live webcast, with captioning available on a text-only site.

North West Planning Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 7pm) — virtual meeting; live broadcast not available.

Province

Tuesday

Veterans Affairs (Tuesday, ) — video conference, agenda TBA


On campus

Dalhousie

Tuesday

Stone Duality for Topological Convexity spaces (Tuesday, 2:30pm) — Toby Kennedy will explain via Zoom that

A convexity space is a set X with a chosen family of subsets (called convex subsets) that is closed under arbitrary intersections and directed unions. There is a lot of interest in spaces that have both a convexity space and a topological space structure. In this talk, we will study the category of topological convexity spaces and extend the Stone duality between coframes and topological spaces to a duality between topological convexity spaces and sup-lattices. We will also identify some of the important classes of morphisms in the category of topological convexity spaces, and some of their properties, in preparation for identifying Euclidean spaces as object within the category of Topological Convexity Spaces.​​

Studies in MaterialsDriven Innovation (Tuesday, 6pm) — Peter Yeadon from the Rhode Island School of Design, and founder of Yeadon Space Agency will talk. Info and registration here.

It’s Never Too late for University (Tuesday, 8pm) — Mature Student Advisor Jennifer Hann will lead this Zoom webinar.

Wednesday

Tiffany Morris. Photo from her website, tiffmorris.com

Moving Through Trauma: Indigenous Futurism, Survivance, and the Apocalypse in The Marrow Thieves (Wednesday, 7pm) — online talk with writer Tiffany Morris.

Indigenous Futurism is a field of literature, art, and other expressions that roots Indigenous presence in the future, removing the stereotypical historicization of Indigenous Peoples from the present. In The Marrow Thieves, the future is dystopian and apocalyptic, signaling the continuation of colonialist trauma from past to future. This talk explores how the apocalypse can create narratives of survival and survivance that situate The Marrow Thieves and other Indigenous literature in the future.

Saint Mary’s

Tuesday

Winter Photography (Tuesday, 12pm) — webinar info and registration here

The Librarian Is In: Navigating the Library Catalogue (Tuesday, 3pm) — workshop to learn new strategies for navigating resources and digital collections


In the harbour

04:00: Algoma Integrity, bulker, sails from National Gypsum for Baltimore
05:00: MOL Maneuver, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
11:30: Morning Cornelia, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
16:00: Onego Deusto, cargo ship, arrives at Sheet Harbour from Baltimore
19:00: NS Stream, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Port Arthur, Texas


Footnotes

My reporting output has declined lately, and I’m trying to do something about that. Part of the problem is that I’m increasingly busy with mundane managerial stuff. And then there’s the guessing game regarding COVID updates and briefings — it’s hard to set into a bigger project when the daily numbers could come out any unpredictable time between noon and 4pm, and Dr. Strang and Stephen McNeil can keep me sitting doing nothing as they show up as much as 45 minutes late for the bi-weekly briefings. And then there’s the fact that my birth country basically imploded over the last few weeks, and it draws my attention and emotional energy away. On top of all that, I think I’m simply exhausted. Maybe I should read about time management and self-care woo-woo, but come on. But anyway, I’ve kind of shelved a couple of very interesting projects, and somehow I’ll find a way back into them.

Please subscribe, or drop us a donation. Thanks!

Tim Bousquet

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. Re: Search warrants and the FBI

    “It was mundane stuff, and not really worth reporting on.” Hey… you’re spending 10s of thousands of $$$. … report on it. At least you’d be reporting on something to do with the NS mass murder, before public inquiry is finished and Palango’s book is published.

    Q & Q January 14, 2021 Daily Deals: Random House acquires Paul Palango’s Nova Scotia mass-shooting investigation

    https://quillandquire.com/omni-category/deals11/?fbclid=IwAR0Nhv4UgglRnoShf1MJFtc2tpSZJLYYni_Wfc62yLMol_iWEBQC91zubxI

    1. Tim … there are some people, myself included, who are interested in the “mundane stuff” that goes on at these virtual and otherwise court hearings as media consortium efforts continue and faces delays. How long have you folks been at it? July or earlier? Is there really a need for the delays? Or just a stalling tactic? If you get into the weeds of why the FBI agent would testify, perhaps a reader, or someone known to a reader, might understand it. Perhaps someone with connections to FBI. Whatever, the FBI agent excuse seems weak. How sorely missed would this one FBI agent have been in terms of the inauguration proceeding smoothly? How many FBI agents are there? About 40,000 ? Bottom line is that you get to decide what your readers can or cannot know regarding what goes on behind those virtual or otherwise closed door court hearings.

  2. Where is the evidence “The Capitol mob was a distinctly well-off group with the financial wherewithal to take time off from their jobs and buy a ticket to Washington.”? Just a bit later the Guardian article talks Klete Kelter “he struggled to afford a place to live while paying child support for his three kids. … He would squeeze his 6ft 6in frame into the car and try to grab some sleep in Walmart parking lots.” Doesn’t seem he was well-off. A lot of the people I see in the videos don’t seem particularly well off.

    1. A description of the rioting in 2016 :
      “As the FBI continues to arrest dozens of people allegedly involved in the Capitol Building riot earlier this month ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, it was just four years ago when similar rioting took place throughout Washington, D.C., as newly-inaugurated President Donald Trump began his term.

      Only then, instead of right-wing protesters, it was a riot dominated by supporters of anarchist groups like Antifa and left-wing organizations including Black Lives Matter.

      Video footage that was taken the morning of Trump’s inaugural shows black-clad mobs occupying streets, smashing storefront windows, attacking police officers, overturning trash cans, and generally causing mayhem in protest of what they perceived as a stolen election.

      Reports at the time noted that more than 214 people were indicted on felony rioting charges.
      “On the morning of January 20, protests over Donald Trump’s inauguration turned violent when black-clad ‘anti-fascist’ protesters smashed storefronts and bus stops, hammered out the windows of a limousine, and eventually launched rocks at a phalanx of police,” CNN reported Feb. 22, 2017.”
      https://www.bizpacreview.com/2021/01/15/hundreds-of-rioters-destroyed-property-set-fires-during-trumps-2017-inauguration-and-all-charges-were-dropped-1016798/

      In Canada people just call a phone-in radio show.

      1. False equivalency. No one tried to derail an election or murder the vice-president in 2016.

        1. Riots have been a significant part of American political history. And the USA incites,encourages,funds and supports coups and violent uprisings all over the world.
          Goose and gander come to mind.

          1. 2016 rioting may have received more coverage in the “liberal” MSM if Trump had not created a better story by fabricating the size of the inaugural crowd

          2. Riots have been a significant part of Canadian political history.

            And what about Canada’s role in funding, supporting coups, participating in over-throwing democratically elected leaders… ?

            How ‘bout Haiti? “A Very Canadian Coup”

            The top 10 ways that Canada aided the 2004 coup in Haiti and helped subject Haitians to a brutal reign of terror.

            1. Creating the coup’s ideological pretext

            2. Initiating the planning process

            3. Providing troops and equipment

            4. Funding, training and commanding the police

            5. Every trick in the diplomatic book

            Canada used every conceivable diplomatic trick to bring down Aristide’s elected government and then legitimize the coup-installed regime.

            6. Supporting destructive neoliberal economic policies

            Canada helped devise, finance, implement, and legitimize a destructive neoliberal economic restructuring program called the Interim Cooperation Framework (ICF). Within weeks of the coup, the ICF was drafted by “lead donors,” including Canada, at the World Bank’s Washington headquarters.

            7. Using aid as a weapon

            8. Imposing an illegal “justice” system

            After helping oust Aristide’s elected government, Canada dramatically increased “aid” to Haiti. Most Canadian financing went into police, prisons, and courts. These institutions tightened the illegal dictatorship’s grasp on power by persecuting its opponents. CIDA funded and helped administer Haiti’s “Ministry of Justice,” which coordinated the arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, without charge, of hundreds of supporters, activists, and leaders from Aristide’s Lavalas Party.

            9. Funding and whitewashing unfair elections

            In 2005, CIDA, Foreign Affairs, and Elections Canada created the International Mission for Monitoring Haitian Elections (IMMHE). Chaired by Jean-Pierre Kingsley, Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer, the IMMHE ignored scandals surrounding the Canadian-funded and supervised 2007 elections.

            10. Helping corporations profit from Haitian poverty

            After the coup, Canada worked hand-in-glove with Haiti’s unelected regime to help companies turn handsome profits. The Canadian government bolstered Haiti’s élitist regime on business-friendly policies, including “reconstruction” contracts, privatization, and in promoting sweatshops.

            https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/monitor/very-canadian-coup

      2. not exactly an unbiased website:
        “BizPac Review is a top-rated political news website that provides breaking news and analysis unfiltered by the liberal bias that has eroded the media’s credibility. ”

        sigh… I love it how these new news organizations try to say they’re not “fake news” or “telling the truth”. Well prove you’re not “fake news” or that your “telling the truth”! Saying so does not make it so.

      3. Just a heads up, Colin, you have a neighbour who is Antifa – it’s me! That’s right, I am against fascism which makes me Antifa. Just FYI, as an organization, Antifa does not exist, which just goes to prove that Trump’s actual fake news didn’t stop at our border with America.

    2. Keep reading: “Still, he appeared to have turned his life around: getting engaged, finding work with a commercial real estate firm and launching a personal website…” And ipso facto, he was at the coup attempt, and so had the financial wherewithal to take time off from his jobs and travel to Washington.

      1. Well I guess… it just doesn’t look to me like the majority of those protesting are well off. The Q-Anon Shaman doesn’t look well off. The guy can’t even afford a shirt.

        1. The Q-Anon Shaman’s videos have been purged from the respectable internet, but he clearly needed mental help.

          Just for fun, I’ll make a worst-case prediction for tomorrow:

          One of the 25000 or so National Guard soldiers shoots Biden, triggering the creation of a new internal secret police service in the United States, as well as massive purges of the armed forces, veterans and government. I don’t think this will happen, to be clear, and yet I am terrified that something like it will.

        2. Were they supposed to wear their Armani suits? If the Q-Anon Shaman (Jacob Anthony Chansley, known as Jake Angeli) had worn a shirt, seems to me it wouldn’t have had the same effect, would have kinda looked out of place with his horns. If he couldn’t afford a shirt, how could he afford the horns, fur, tattoos, organic food? His mother, Martha Chansley, told ABC 15 that her son “literally will get physically sick,” if he eats anything but organic food.

          1. The real estate broker and conservative radio show host Jenna Ryan, who flew from her upscale Dallas exurb digs to Washington DC, might be an extreme example of the affluence of attendees. Also hailing from an upscale Dallas suburb is the guy in a combat helmet, tactical gear, and holding zip-tie handcuffs. I.e., Larry Randall Brock Jr. who, as reported by Philadelphia Inquirer, has a 1989 degree in international relations from the Air Force Academy.

            Georgia criminal defense lawyer McCall Calhoun was among the first to surge past a line of cops into the US Capitol, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I don’t know which one he was; so I can’t say if he looked well off, but suspect he is.

            As reported on the ABA Journal website (a monthly legal trade magazine and the flagship publication of the American Bar Association), criminal defense lawyer Calhoun told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “The people who went in there, what they did was heroic. It was very patriotic,” he said. “I’m not saying it was the ideal thing to do. I am saying at that time and place those people felt like that was their only hope. They don’t want to lose their democratic republic.” IOW, they don’t want to lose their white democratic republic. Put another way, white supremacy.

      2. DC is a day trip away for 20 million people, and an overnight trip for tens of millions more. Going to the Trump rally / subsequent attack on the capitol would be an expense on par with going to a concert in Montreal. Expensive, but something many people can afford to do on occasion.

        In any case, a healthy double-digit percentage of the American population believes the election was stolen and will never believe anything the media says to them again. Television is reality and reality is less than television. Although this will change in the 2020s as big tech and the US federal government merge, the Internet and social media let people choose which channel they watch. Most people watch the channel that feels best. One consequence of this was a man in furs and Viking helmet sitting in the big chair in the democracy dome or whatever it’s called.