Thursday, July 9, 2020

CP24 & Canadian Taxpayers Federation Call For Austerity


Well, yesterday I was back at work after a two-month pandemic layoff. I was in the breakroom where the right-wing gossip, gab-fest and "news you can use" station CP24 was having an extensive interview with some dumbfuck from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Essentially Finance Minister Bill Morneau has no idea what the deficit is going to be by the time the year is over. CTF asshole says this is unacceptable. The deficit is already the largest we've had since World War Two. What's Canada going to do? The news lady spends a lot of time relaying what lame-duck/embezzler Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is saying. (The usual bullshit.) CTF dude eventually says that spending cuts are inevitable. There's no other way.

News lady then says NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is calling for a wealth tax. CTF arrogant asswipe smirks and says; Sure, rich people are always a nice target, but there aren't very many of them. (No shit! Still and all, they own 1/4 of the country! It's called "inequality" you stupid shit!) And, besides, it would "only" bring in $5 billion annually.

Right. So, instead of taking $5 billion from the super-rich (who don't know what to do with it) let's slash $5 billion from federal spending programs that have been underfunded for years by Conservative and Liberal austerity.

As I said previously, the Liberals have tried to fight a health crisis (that would likely have killed tens of thousands more than it already has, if it hadn't been for the steps taken to temporarily shutdown the economy) as if it could be business as usual for the plutocracy. The government raised taxes big-time in WW2. It should have done so in this crisis (which was never going to last 5 years like the war did) and it should have borrowed from the Bank of Canada instead of the private banks. There should have been a moratorium on mortgages, rents and debts until the shutdown was over. And there should still be a wealth tax.

The system was already failing on its own terms before this crisis hit. Four decades of neoliberalism have failed. We cannot go back to "normal." We certainly aren't going to embrace an even deadlier austerity than what that shit-head from the CTF is calling for and which Liberal incompetence, laziness and cowardice are leading us to. 

Monday, July 6, 2020

The Evil of Mainstream Politics


I'm going to talk about mainstream United States policies today because there is a greater amount of progressive journalism that covers it, plus, the almost total hegemony of capitalist insanity in the USA means that the evil of it is so egregious that it's impossible to deny it.

The point of this little post is to try to convey to my more "centrist" or "moderate" readers that the system they support (while maintaining that it definitely needs "reforms") is irredeemably evil and antithetical to their self-interest.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

It's Always Russia! Russia! Russia! Russia!


So, the latest shit-for-brains conspiracy theory that many of you have swallowed is that Vladimir Putin was paying bounties to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan to kill US troops. And, supposedly, Putin's gay butt-boy lover (in the homophobic parlance of our times) Donald Trump knew all about it but didn't do anything about it because, ... I don't know, ... maybe he hates America or he likes the taste of Putin's jism or something.


Let's break this idiocy down: Vladimir Putin, dealing with US sanctions, plummeting oil revenues, a costly war in Syria, and all sorts of other enormous pressures on his inarguably weak position, thought it a good use of his time and resources to get involved with having the Taliban kill low-level US troops in Afghanistan.

!

I mean, sure, the Taliban has been shooting at their US-American occupiers for almost twenty years now, but supposedly they needed Moscow's money to get them to continue? Or is it kind of like how people like me THINK that Black US-Americans are angry about racist police brutality all on their own, but "Resistance" (tm.) fighters like Hillary Clinton and James Carville know that all this "Black Lives Matter" activism is really just the result of Vladimir Putin's sociopathic, evil desire to create divisions in US-American society (divisions that wouldn't otherwise exist) through Facebook ads and online memes and giphies. So, the only reason that the Taliban is shooting at US occupiers of their country is because Putin is getting them to do so.

Vlad did a cost-benefit analysis you see and decided that the likely catastrophic diplomatic fall-out from being implicated in the deaths of US-troops in Afghanistan was totally worth it, because, ... because, ... um, .... because .... Let me get back to you on that one.


Anyhooo, so, supposedly Donald Trump was informed about this totally not-fake program of bounties for US soldiers' scalps in Afghanistan and he did nothing about it.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that if Donald Trump was genuinely told anything that it was a bullshit story with zero evidence (which is where we all are now) that he rightly disregarded; or that it was put into a briefing package that he didn't read (because he's got a lazy brain and doesn't like to read) and that nobody referred to it explicitly and out-loud.

Anti-Russian hysteria is so easy to sell to all of you gullible saps. Even after you've been had you continue to cling to the lies that you were told. Even after "Russiagate" was PROVEN to be nothing but lies and stupidity, you insanely believe that Putin installed Trump in the White House, with the able assistance of Julian Assange, and that Trump has been selling out the interests of the United States of America to Russia ever since.

The oligarchy, the Military-Industrial-Complex, the bullshit foreign-policy "think-tanks," ... they all dine-out on selling anti-Russian xenophobia to you gullible fools.
In its ongoing slow-motion third world war against nations which refuse to be absorbed into the blob of the US power alliance, this tight empire-like cluster of allies stands everything to gain by doing whatever it takes to undermine and sabotage Russia in an attempt to shove it off the world stage and eliminate the role it plays in opposing that war. Advancing as many narratives as possible about Russia doing nefarious things on the world stage manufactures consent for international collaboration toward that end in the form of economic warfare, proxy conflicts, NATO expansionism and other measures, as well as facilitating a new arms race by killing the last of the US-Russia nuclear treaties and ensuring a continued imperial military presence in Afghanistan.
Okay?


Even though Trump has actually been very bellicose to Russia, and has torn-up arms-control treaties and has sanctioned them and they work at cross-purposes in Syria, in Venezuela, in the Ukraine, in Poland, etc., ... Trump is the "bottom" to Putin's "top" and he just can't help offering himself up to that semi-Asiatic stud.

Don't you ever get a twinge of embarrassment whenever the obvious insanity of your delusions occasionally bursts into your consciousness? As it inevitably must since most of you aren't genuinely mentally ill. You just have allowed yourselves to be manipulated and deceived.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Canada Day 2020


North America is referred to by some of its original inhabitants as "Turtle Island." In the late-15th Century the Italian explorer, rapist, slave-trader Christopher Columbus arrived in the Western Hemisphere and claimed it for the Spanish Crown.

The Dutch, French, and English soon got in on the game and established fishing outposts, fur-trading outposts and colonies in the northern parts of the continent. The English defeated the Dutch, turning "New Amsterdam" into "New York." Eventually, with their defeat in the Seven Years War the French Crown surrendered its territory of New France to the English and it became "Canada."

Then, for a number of reasons, tensions between the British Crown and its Thirteen Colonies led to the American Revolution. Those inhabitants of the colonies who had stayed loyal to the Crown were forced to flee to Canada when the Thirteen Colonies won their independence.

The new United States of America was an oligarchic republic with the majority of its wealth being based on slavery. Canada was comprised of "Canada East" which was majority populated by the former French-speaking Roman Catholic inhabitants of New France and "Canada West" which is where the bulk of the English-speaking Loyalists settled.

Pretty much none of the things that animated and inspired the French and English inhabitants of what is now Canada motivate us today. Very few of us care about the British Crown. Even fewer want to go back to the monarchical system of government that prevailed in the year 1800. We don't (thank god) care much about the differences between Catholics and Protestants anymore.

One constant is that our country was built on stolen lands. And this is inconvenient for us. Aboriginal Title to lands that Canada wants to claim introduce confusion and delay into the capitalist-imperialist project. So it's been one long line of abuse for over two-hundred years. Treaties that were violated (and which stephen harper attempted to unilaterally abrogate), deliberate starvation, residential schools and other forms of cultural genocide, stealing of Aboriginal children, Canadian Apartheid.

This country was founded on values that we no longer embrace. It was founded on theft and genocide. It is a pseudo-democracy that we don't understand or care about. I find it hard to muster suitable enthusiasm for fireworks. 

Monday, June 29, 2020

A Serious Discussion With The Mound of Sound


In this post, "The Mound of Sound" (AKA: "MOS", AKA "The Disaffected Lib," AKA: "Justin Trudeau-hating OLD MAN" ;)  .... ) adds another page to his catalogue of legitimate doom-and-gloom of most larger life-forms on Earth fryin-up because of global heating:
I've started to think of them as "prescription pieces" and there are plenty of them. These are the articles that pop up daily to repeat warnings of what we must absolutely do right now to avert unspeakably dire consequences in the not too distant future.
I can't criticize those articles. I agree with them. They're usually backed up by reams of scientific research and analysis, a mountain of knowledge that grows every day. Most of those who write these essays are well-credentialed individuals, top drawer men and women. They write with sincerity and passion. They want to even our keel, steer us away from the shoals that lie just ahead.
It would be amazing if we listened to these people, heeded their warnings, embraced their prescriptions and demanded that our leaders stopped skirting these building crises and finally dealt with them. Only that never quite happens.
Imagine if these articles and studies and papers ever got traction, if they ever lasted more than a few days before being flushed down the Memory Hole.  Imagine if our lawmakers strolled into the House of Commons, their minds seized with the awareness that they are, today, passing judgment on our young people and the generations to follow them. Imagine if they knew that the decisions they're taking now will translate into lives and deaths of Canadians in a decade or two. Imagine if they realized there are some options that are still available to us that will be foreclosed in just a few years. Imagine if they knew that we, today's voting public, would hold them accountable for their indifference and neglect.
None of that is happening. No, there is no epiphany among those to whom we entrust the power to safeguard us and  secure this nation's  endangered future. Imagine the dark farce of a Parliament proclaiming a climate state of emergency and then, less than 24 hours later, greenlighting a massive new pipeline to deliver high-carbon, low-value bitumen to world markets.
I still read those prescription pieces as they come in.  My habit is to start right at the end where there'll be listed the authors and their credentials. Then I wade into their essays, top to bottom. I dwell on them for a while but then I hear that Memory Hole beginning to slowly creak open, followed by the thudding sound of heads banging into walls.
I responded with a good faith question:
You are well informed on the danger of global heating.
You have identified the problems of political corruption and/or inertia.
What do you think is needed to change things?
MOS and I had a little back-and-forth .... aw hell, just in case something happens I'll copy and paste the whole thing here! So MOS replied:
If I could wish for one thing, Thwap, it would be a powerful sea change in public attitude on climate breakdown. There are many things that can be done but almost none of them that don't require sacrifice and cutting back what we perceive to be our standard of living. Many Canadians are concerned about climate change and want something done but they're not willing to pay/lose/sacrifice much to achieve it. Without strong public demand there's little political will for taking bold action.
We know what must be done before this decade is out and there's no plan to get there. Now I fear he social and economic impacts of the pandemic will undermine our already weak chance of change in the limited amount of time remaining to us.
My view is that future generations are screwed. Yet that very belief is what keeps me advocating for change, not throwing in the towel. It's really quite helpful to be able to be able to liberate the fight from perceived outcomes. All that's necessary is to accept that we may not be able to spare the next generation or two from a dangerous and less viable future, we still have a role to play in making it less hellish than, at this point, necessary or we can go along as we are and make life harsher for those generations which seems to be the course we're on.
I've been trying to do my part. I've downsized from a large house to a comfortable but modest bungalow. I've made that about as energy efficient as I can manage. I last flew about 10 years ago to attend my father's funeral. I still have to drive but I've gotten my mileage down to just under 4,000 km. per year which means my current little car should outlast me. I haven't been off the island in years. The best part is that I don't feel deprived in any way.
To which I replied:
I'd say we have to construct a positive vision of a political-economic system that reflects ecological reality.
Show people how things can be better. (Especially since it's life-or-death necessary anyway.)
Show how it's possible.
Force politicians to accept that it's all-or-nothing. Show them as well that powerful people aren't powerful anymore if they come up against a democratic state.
So MOS replied, but it seems that (through no fault of his own) he missed my point. And I'd like to use this blog-post to reply to him because I can think of no better use of my time than to seriously discuss what's necessary to radically transform human civilization to try to make it compatible with the ecology (even if it isn't all too late).



And so, like he said the following (to which I shall post my responses within the body of the text):

I don't mean to discourage you, thwap, but I think that horse has already left the barn.
How many electoral cycles do you think it would take to achieve such a tide change in Canadian politics? And, once that had been achieved, how long would it take to implement change of such magnitude across the federal/provincial structure of our confederation?

You're preaching to the converted MOS. I said recently: THERE IS NO LONG GAME. We have to move YESTERDAY. So when I talk about forcing politicians to do things, I mean, whatever politicians happen to be in office. Does everybody understand? Like I said, whether it's Trump or Biden; BOTH of them are a death sentence for humanity. Here in Canada, both the Liberals and the Conservatives have shown themselves to be slaves of the oil industry. (And the BC NDP routinely betrays the environment when in power. I don't know enough about the Manitoba NDP except that they're neo-liberals. And the Notley NDP government in Alberta showed itself incapable of original thinking there.)

Thursday, June 25, 2020

How Justin's Cowardice Fucks Us All Over


Duncan Cameron at rabble.ca has a good summation of how Justin Trudeau's Liberals are failing Canadians. Wisely, he first gets the obligatory dismissal of Canada's most electorally viable alternative out of the way:
Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government have an insurance policy. As the Conservative Party of Canada leadership race demonstrates, the official Opposition is many miles away from establishing itself as a government-in-waiting.
The leadership contestants have been appealing to the CPC right-wing base, recruited from former Reform party members. The CPC candidates failed to express themselves fluently in a French language debate. 
But following that his focus remains on the Justin Trudeau Liberals and their deliberate refusal to make any major policy decisions that would upset the coddled, entrenched oligarchy that really runs this country.
The Liberals have failed to demonstrate an ability to go beyond image management, and implement policies that help Canadians secure a better future. 
Intent on forging a poor new NAFTA, Canada under Trudeau has tied its foreign policy directly to U.S. policy: on Russia, by introducing and maintaining sanctions; on China, by contributing an arrest to the U.S. trade war against Huawei; on Iran, by breaking off diplomatic relations; on Latin America, by supporting the overthrow of the Venezuelan government; on Palestine, by refusing to condemn human rights violations by Israel; and by committing to new military options such as drones, instead of renewing peacekeeping operations with the UN. 
The world community was not impressed, rejecting Canada's bid to occupy a rotating seat on the UN Security Council. 
Major U.S. digital monopolies are replacing the brick and mortar retail trade, killing off print media, radio and television advertising (Facebook and Twitter); and Canada has not even figured out how to tax them. 
The parliamentary budget office just justified its existence by revealing that wealth inequality in Canada has increased exponentially -- the top one per cent have 25.6 per cent of all wealth, not 13.7 per cent as previously believed. How much longer can taxing wealth, inheritance, corporate capital, financial transactions and luxury good be ignored?
Now, as we all know, there are blogs, twitter accounts, pundits, etc., who are partisan hacks. Who shriek with indignation at the very thought of criticizing the precious Liberals. "The Conservatives are worse!" only works for so long as an excuse. After a while you have to give up on people who behave that was as the useless, brain-dead, stupid assholes that they are.

Let's face facts; Liberal cowardice KILLS. Our foreign policy kills people. It's so wrong-headed that you simply have to conclude that only that the people behind it are hopeless. They (and the Conservatives to their right) need to be extirpated. There are real-world costs (beyond the $15 billion in the latest round of bail-outs to Bay Street and the foreign-dominated Alberta oil industry) for continued inaction on global warming. When's the last time you heard any news about the suicide epidemic on First Nations' reserves? What stirring words and deep-seated reforms have we heard from Ottawa about reforming the RCMP? (You remember that violently misogynist, racist, institution that allowed that mass-murderer to rampage across Nova Scotia? And will there even be an Inquiry into that tragedy?)

We have to put pressure on the Liberals to do better. And when partisan hacks immediately start to cry about "haters" and "old men" when this obvious reality is brought up, it means that the party and its shills are going to resist. In a way, they're as much "resistors" as the corporate Democrats in the USA are: They're "resisting" YOU, not the oligarchy and the right-wing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Talentless Margaret Wente Resigns From Wingnut Welfare Position


My faith in this country has been minimally restored from hearing that talentless, plagiarizing, racist, lazy-assed fuckface Margaret Wente has resigned from Massey College's Quadrangle Society. I first heard a couple of days ago how University of Toronto professor Alissa Trotz resigned from the nomination board in protest over the opaque process that allowed this blight on humanity to corrupt the academic community with her stupidity and arrogance:

Trotz's actions inspired fellow professor George J. Sefa Dei to resign as well. Around the same time students concerned about the reputation of their place of learning launched a petition to have this shameful decision reversed.

I'm willing to be charitable to Wente and assume that she's capable of feeling wounded at the realization of how toxic her reputation is to decent people. Still and all I'm pretty sure that her decision to resign arose mainly out of laziness. She probably thought this position would provide her with an opportunity to gab with educated people on topics informed by her ancient BA in English and her decades long career of pulling arguments and facts from other people's writings as well as from out of her own stinky ass. But that bit of pleasant distraction from her retirement was now going to be more trouble than it was worth as her "Fellows" of the Quadrangle Society were now probably going to either shun her or make hers establish herself as worthy of her position. (And she most assuredly was NOT worthy of this appointment. This position was provided to her by the same Canadian establishment elites who subsidized her entire career of brazen lying and plagiarism. The same people who endorsed stephen harper for prime minister after he had repeatedly defecated on all the foundational principles of parliamentary democracy. )

Wente managed some laughable hissing and snarling as she exited from the scene:

"The College has now received a letter from Ms. Wente stating that she does not wish to be a member of the Quadrangle Society, that the accusations against her are false and outrageous and that her record speaks for itself," the governing board said in the message.

Yeah, whatever Wente. Your record DOES speak for itself. You had no right to be associated with a prestigious institution of higher learning. Congratulations to Trotz, Sefa Dei, and the fine students and other petitioners at U of T for mobilizing to send that entitled, arrogant piece of garbage packing. It's a small victory but one that has eliminated the cumulative rot and pollution that Wente's presence would have had on that institution.