Monday, September 16, 2019

The People Who Rule Us


In an earlier post I riffed on the possible psychological afflictions of Doug Ford as well as the general sorts of people who aspire to and reach high levels of power in our societies. In general, these are people who find it a challenge to decide between a health care system that lets people get medical attention without bankrupting themselves, or a system that bankrupts (in the USA) around 300,000 people a year while letting 45,000 people simply die because they lack health insurance, but which richly rewards a small number of parasites in the for-profit health care system. In the case of Doug Ford (who clearly wants to bring the Hell of for-profit, privatized health care to Ontario) I speculated about the possibly abusive nature of his daddy's household  that produced a gaggle of hopeless drug addicts excepting Doug who appears to be a sociopathic bully. Doug Ford wants to subject Ontarians to what millions of US-Americans suffer through (even the US health insurance industry itself admits to the inferior outcomes of their health care system). He does this but he still wants people to like him and seems genuinely put-out when they do not.

Like many conservatives, Doug Ford lacks empathy. Empathy is probably generated from within the brain. (I'm guessing.) Conservatives lack a lot of things that originate with the brain. The overall product of these deficiencies is a monstrosity that is generally referred to as "stupidity." Greedy, selfish, fearful, bigoted, ignorant, callous, hypocritical, etc.

Now, I know that conservatives (or right-wingers) often say the same things about progressives (or left-wingers). I see the sidebar on my YouTube occasionally showing some right-wing online celebrity "destroying" a "SJW" ("social justice warrior") or a "libtard." Just like I'm doing now, people on the right-wing say that they're the adults in the room and that we on the left-wing are the mentally deficient monstrosities. Non-political types would probably look upon this mud-flinging with scorn if not for the fact that they're all busy watching "Temptation Island/Love Island/The Bachelor/The Bachelorette/Are You The One/Survivor or whatever the hell else stupid shit they're watching.

So fuck them.

Let's play this out. In Canada there are two sides to the global warming debate. There is the side that believes that global warming is real and that it is caused by humanity's constant burning of fossil fuels in increasing amounts since the Industrial Revolution. Then there is the side that believes that global warming is not happening but if it is happening it is not caused by human activity but is the result of solar activity or just the natural variations of the Earth's climate. (But it still might be a hoax, perpetrated by shameless liberals lusting after wealth and power, or, if not liberals, perhaps by the inscrutable Chinese.) This former side tends to be populated by progressives/left-wingers while the latter is mainly inhabited by conservatives/right-wingers.

This is a deadly serious subject because if the proponents of human-caused global warming are correct, the continued emissions of greenhouse gases will overload the planet's absorptive capacities (such as the oceans) and this will result in murderous heatwaves, droughts, food shortages and starvation, gigantic refugee crises, mass extinctions; the heating of the oceans will kill coral and other sea-life; sea-levels will rise producing massive flooding of coastal areas and the forced mass migrations of millions more refugees; the arctic permafrost will melt and methane (a more powerful greenhouse gas) will be released, belching into the atmosphere and then it's game-over for humanity.

But, since it's human caused, we humans had the capability to take steps to prevent or mitigate it. We did not and are not doing so. And so we will all die. (I've tried, lord knows I've tried, to steer progressives into taking action on a number of issues, only to be met with bovine incomprehension or some inexplicable mental blocks that prevent people from being able to differentiate between immobility and action. So, for me, I'm just passing the time on my blog and on other things until life on this planet becomes unviable.)

So, for instance, the subject in the title of this post. "The People Who Rule Us." Since 2017 (if not earlier) I've been trying to convey the utter inhumanity of our prevailing political-economic system and the psychopaths who preside over it. This includes so-called "moderates" like Barack Obama (he of the "kill lists," he of the "we tortured some folks" insanity; he who bailed out the Wall Street criminals while allowing their victims to be fleeced and who orchestrated the destruction of the protest movement that arose in response to that) and Hillary Clinton (who really did want to get into a shooting war with Russia and perhaps thereby bring about nuclear Armageddon) and Justin Trudeau (who appears to have an intellectual grasp of the reality of global warming but fails completely when it comes to the morality and the courage to do anything about it).

None of these people are our friends. They are our enemies. Because we live in an oligarchy. A selfish, greedy, incompetent, inhuman, destructive, immoral oligarchy. And, when all is said and done, they serve the oligarchs before they do anything for us. And the longer we pretend that is not the case the more we will be abused and the sooner the nightmare scenario of global heating and mass extinctions will be upon us.

Nonetheless, it seems to be the case that the most vile examples of our ruling classes come from the "right" or "conservative" side of the political spectrum. As I said in this lengthy post, self-identified conservatives are statistically more likely to be fearful and paranoid. They tend to fixate more upon negatives (threats) than non-conservatives do. They lack empathy. And, on top of those handicaps, they tend to be less intelligent than the rest of the population. (Which is why they exhibit fear and paranoia.)

A normal person (think of the apolitical types I also described at the last link) will grow up in society and recognize the rules of the game and apply those rules to their own circumstances, recognize incongruities between the way society is alleged to work with how they see it actually operating (as well as where these alleged rules conflict with their own self-interest) and make their life choices accordingly.

A self-described conservative will (in general) labour mightily to try to understand the world they've been dropped into. This will be tend to be more difficult for them than for normal people because (as I said) conservatives tend to be less intelligent, have less ability to empathize (and thereby read the signals for proper behaviour) and (for whatever reasons) will be more fearful and defensive towards the outside world. Once they have achieved a grasp of the rules of the game they will hold fast to these rules with all their might. Capitalism is the dominant paradigm? Then capitalism it is. No matter what. And everyone who questions or rejects it is an enemy. They've been brought up in a particular religion? Then that religion is the truth and that's the end of the story. (Such devotion can provide a lot of comfort to such people.) And on it goes; they adhere to traditional gender stereotypes and sexual mores. With cultural pursuits, they'll tend to flock in large numbers to things that represent this most crude understanding of the society they live in. Things such as professional wrestling wherein cartoonish representations of gender ideals, the conflict between "good" and "evil," and etc., portray conventional values but with an acknowledgement of the overall stupidity of its fan base.

One particularly newsworthy example of this enthusiasm for shit-head culture is their love and devotion for the current President of the United States, Donald Trump. He's male. He's white. He's tall. He's famous. He's rich. He used to be sort of good-looking. He fucked hot women. He's racist. He "tells it like it is." In short, all the things they've convinced themselves is the way the world is or ought to be.

I'll say one thing for Democratic Party shill "Driftglass": While he's lamentably blind or indifferent to the noxious nature of his own political party, he is nonetheless right in stating that the leadership of the Republican Party (and corporate hegemons generally) have worked very hard at making their grassroots come to be a festering shit-pile of the dregs of the population. You couldn't see Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover or Dwight Eisenhower pandering to these idiots. Even Richard Nixon (with his "Southern Strategy") was only trying to obtain a solid geographical voting bloc that used to belong to the Democratic Party and which was now in play because of the Civil Rights Act. Nixon founded the Environmental Protection Agency, had a sophisticated (if immoral) grasp of geo-politics, and surrounded himself with intelligent lieutenants. The true decline of the mental and moral fibre of the Republican Party starts with the rise of the vacuous Ronald Reagan and the elevation of proud ignorance and empty symbolism over substance. It fell several notches more with the installation of the contemptible George W. Bush to serve as a figurehead while corrupt psychopaths Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld implemented wholesale looting and mayhem as policy.

Culturally, the Republican Party was assisted by right-wing propagandists (and degenerates) like Rush Limbaugh and FOX News. The former is a right-wing Talk Radio host (with a face that was simply made for the job) who espouses the sort of crude worldview that conservatives cling to, while throwing in his own personal attributes of prurient obsessions, total individual hypocrisy, and titanic selfishness. The latter is a news network founded and run by men cut from the same cloth as Limbaugh in every way and which features such shameless lying ignoramuses as Sean Hannity (and a whole slew of lesser entities who act as show hosts and regular commentators) and whose biggest "star" used to be the lazy, stupid bully Bill O'Reilly, until his serial sexual depredations became too well known and expensive to cover up. (The same thing happened to the network's manager Roger Ailes.)

Concomitantly, the female hosts and announcers at FOX News tend to be young, shapely (usually blond and white) who are almost always dressed in tight mini-dresses and high heels. Since this is a patriarchal society and since FOX News represents the most crude ideas of patriarchy, these women endured (and probably still endure) an environment of the most blatant sexism. Being "conservatives" these women also condemned feminism for being the creation of tiresome, ugly, unpatriotic lesbians. That is until other female celebrities elsewhere began to rise-up against some of the worst sexist behaviour of male bosses and colleagues in the "MeToo" movement. Then the FOX News ladies began to speak out against its extremely sexist environment and were able to obtain some justice while compartmentalizing this instance of the uses of feminism from the rest of that worldview and carrying on celebrating the culture of racism and pro-rich class warfare and US imperialism that the network espouses.

This compartmentalization of values is another way to describe the hypocrisy of conservatives. To be a  true hypocrite one has to fully realize and acknowledge the disconnect between what you preach and what you're practicing. For many conservatives though, there is often an inability to fully grasp the extent of these discrepancies. Mostly because they're stupid. The women at FOX News are at least getting to have well-paying careers that give them a fair degree of fame and some degree of power. Still, they remain essentially oblivious to how sexist abuse is part-and-parcel of the worldview they embrace and how their own selfish use of the tools provided by leftist pinko traitors (such as man-hating lesbian feminist bitches) only invalidates their other beliefs (minorities should stop complaining, poor people should work harder, refugees should go back to where they came from, etcetera).

While these FOX News women at least have the monetary and status compensations for subjecting themselves to Roger Ailes trying to seduce them. What does some right-wing working-class shlub who claims to be a "Christian" get for ignoring that their hero, Donald Trump, is a multi-millionaire conman, who stiffs working people, hires undocumented aliens, openly lusts after his daughter, admits to groping women, commits adultery, is a multiple divorcĂ©, is credibly accused of rape, is demonstrably anti-Christian (look up "Mammon"), and several other things that violate a conservative's supposed morality? They get nothing other than a validation of the other values they cling to (patriarchy, capitalism, sexism, racism). As I said, they struggle through their mental limitations to learn the rules of their society. They absorb only the most laughably crude stereotypes (probably because they appeal to them on a visceral level) and they either ignore or don't notice the inconsistencies between within their sets of values (or between their professed values and their own behaviour) because they're stupid.

Trump and the orphan. uncle. Melania's "I don't care" jacket.

Jeffrey Epstein. Belgian scandal. British Tory's pedophiles. Mass murderers.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Earth 4 Degrees Hotter

I am finding this article by Robert Hunziker to be terrifying reading. Much of the life on this planet is going to be wiped out as a result of our specie's ignorance, delusion and stupidity. We are enslaved by a system of oligarchy and corruption and insanity and it doesn't look like we're going to be able to free ourselves from it to avoid this cataclysm.
According to the scientific forum 4 Degrees Hotter: “Less than a billion people will survive.” Expect, on average, more than a million human global warming deaths every week. As such, mass graveyards stacked with bodies would become a new normal.
Prominent climate scientists were quoted in the 4 Degrees Hotter article:
According to Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, one of Europe’s most eminent climate scientists, director of the Potsdam Institute: “At 4C Earth’s … carrying capacity estimates are below 1 billion people.”
Echoing that opinion, professor Kevin Anderson of the prestigious Tyndall Centre for Climate Change stated: “Only about 10% of the planet’s population would survive at 4C.”
A global average of 4C means land temperatures would be 5.5C-6C hotter, especially inland from coasts. The tropics would be too hot for people to live and most of the temperate regions would be desertified.
As a result, half of the planet would be uninhabitable. Populations would be driven towards the poles. Over 136 port cities each with populations of one-half to one million would require sea walls or translocation of nearly one-half billion people.
In Europe, new deserts would spread to Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey as the Sahara figuratively leaps across the Straits of Gibraltar. In Switzerland, summer would be as hot as Baghdad today. Europe’s population would be forced into a “Great Trek North” in order to survive.
Even as recently as this century, the European heat wave of 2003 killed 35,000, but it was only a sampler of what too much heat does to the human body. (Source: The 2003 European Heatwave Caused 35,000 Deaths, New Scientist, October 10, 2003)
At the time, and according to the New Scientist, in 2003: “The EPI says it is confident that the August heat wave has broken all records for heat-related deaths and says the world must cut the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.”
But, today, that’s a bad joke with CO2 in 2003 at 378 ppm. Today it’s 410. Therefore, “must cut the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming” has been a total bust!
Read the whole thing and figure out what you can actually do to stop it. Even if it means forgoing eating meat every damned day and renouncing your alleged birthright to fly in airplanes.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Latest Books

So a quick word about the latest books I'm reading.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

What the Hell is Wrong With Doug Ford?

I've said it before but I'll say it again; For a financially secure, suburban family with both parents in the house, the Ford children sure turned out to be a bunch of human wrecks. I sincerely believe it must have been an abusive household. We know that Rob Ford's own marriage had its explosions. And we know that everyone pretended things were fine. I'm just making these painful speculations because it's obvious that Doug Ford is one twisted human being.

What sorts of people try to profit off of health care? What sorts of people want to gouge the sick and outright exclude the poor from life-saving medical care? What sorts of people hike the prices of pharmaceuticals needed by tens of thousands of people for the soul reason of profit maximization? We call these people "greedy psychopaths."

And what do we call the politicians who serve these greedy psychopaths? Craven, boot-licking asswipe psychopaths. Like all the Repugnicans and coporate Democrats who think to themselves: "Sure it'd be nice if my constituents could get health care without going bankrupt. It'd be better for the majority of my fellow US-Americans if we had systems like they have in Canada or Europe. But if we did go that way, a few very wealthy people who pay my bills and promise myself and my family lovely things for my services, will be discomfited. So I guess that hundreds of thousands of my fellow citizens will continue to be gouged, bankrupted, and die."

It's an open question whether politics attracts people who are that much more debased than the average person, or whether very average people get debased by the processes they're inserted into. (It's probably a combination. Sick people becoming further debased by a sick system.)

Here in Canada, the Liberals under Paul Martin did a lot of the heavy-lifting to privatize our national health system. With a lot of help from "conservative" provincial governments. In so doing they engaged in a lot of the usual Liberal self-delusion about destroying things in order to save them and outright self-deception about how they were actually "building a country where everyone had a fair shot and fairness and justice and aren't we all as awesome as it's humanly possible to be?"

It's really been the Conservatives; first under Preston Manning and then under stephen harper, who dedicated themselves outright to the destruction of public health care in Canada. And though they do this with the usual ideologically-based twaddle about the "efficiencies" of the private sector and "choice" and other garbage, they're still quite well aware of the fact that the policies they're pushing are going to bring the nightmare of profiteering and gouging and denial of care and death that plays out south of the border.

These people are mentally diseased. But I'm sure they come to their state of affliction by numerous ways. Abusive households; sexually molested, religious insanity, abandonment and other traumas. Plus plain-old stupidity. Not a lot going on upstairs. Too moronic to grasp the extent of their debasement. Zero empathy.

Which brings me back to Doug Ford. He's brazen in his corruption and in his service to oligarchic scum. But the thing is, he seems to be genuinely mystified when people don't like him. He's rich. White. Male. He's a pretty big guy. He probably got to have his way a lot in high school. He's not very academically inclined so he dropped-out of college and went to work in the family business. There his achievements have been middling. But he's "the boss." He dominated his younger brother. Rob was genuinely trying to help individual constituents while holding himself together during the day to get to his next drunken stupor. When Doug became a councilor he used his position more for personal enrichment than Rob did. But as a councilor, Doug Ford found himself as an equal amidst people who didn't have to kiss his ass. And he didn't like it. He didn't like not being able to fire people who disagreed with him. He didn't like his behaviour being held up to scrutiny and accountability.

And now he's premier of Ontario. He actually forces his MPPs to give him standing ovations or they'll be punished. And he's probably convinced himself that their enthusiasm is genuine. Because he's fucked in the head. He's a real piece of shit-work. He's fucking-over Ontario on numerous levels for reasons of his stupid ideology and because of his overall corruption. But he still wants people to like him.

What sort of person would kill someone while driving drunk and then go that person's hospital room with the family and friends of the victim standing beside the death bed, and try to tell them the victim should have been more careful and ask everybody there to be his friend? A truly sick, fucked-up, monumentally stupid person. Like Doug Ford.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Vote For Whatever Party You Like

I mean, first of all, it's not going to matter anyway. Big Oil owns the Liberals and the Conservatives. And, I found out the other day, that one of the NDP's genius managers (the unelected "professionals" who have produced failure after failure) makes some extra cash on the side as a lobbyist for Big Oil as well. Who knows what corporate scum from Big Oil has been talking to the Green Party about whatever?

The main contest (as always) will be between the lying pretty-boy Justin Trudeau, and the creepy Christo-fascist Andrew Scheer. What a dismal state of affairs! Neither side will do anything about the crisis of global warming. We're a few years away from Armageddon and we expect to lower our carbon output by sometime around the year 2555. But, as I said, none of the other parties can be expected to do much different.

But, for gawd's sake; Don't listen to the hypocritical screechings of Trudeau-groupies about the dangers of vote-splitting and how that might give the Conservatives a majority. I say again, I will always say, that if a Conservative majority is such a horrible thought, then abolishing our First-Past-The-Post electoral system should have been job one. But this fear-mongering and voter-shaming that the Libs practice is part of their DNA.  They simply can't help themselves. But I'll never vote Liberal again. I might never vote again.

The methane farts that will erupt as the permafrost CONTINUES to melt will doom us all regardless of what party you hold your nose to vote for.

Artist's depiction of the surface of the planet Venus. I wonder if life first formed on Venus and developed into a technological civilization that started the feedback loops that produced the nightmare world that exists today.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

No Referendum on Electoral Reform!

Our first-past-the-post electoral system sucks. It only works properly with a two-party system. It routinely gives massive power to the most dangerously deluded, repulsive party of shit-heads and greed-monsters. It nullifies the votes of at least a quarter of the electorate. It has to go.

But people keep talking about putting the question to the people. But around about 40% of the population will oppose change because they're either die-hard Liberals or die-hard Conservatives who like things the way they are. They are not thinking of the national good but of their own partisan interest.

Another ten to twenty percent won't understand the question. These are the people who, if you stopped them on the street, wouldn't be able to name the prime minister or find Canada on a map.

The fact of the matter is that proportional representation will more effectively reflect the mood of the country, which is what Parliament is all about. It will not take anyone's vote away. It will give a vote (FINALLY!) to those whose votes have been wasted under FPTP.

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Mueller Hearings: Russiagate's Last Fart?

So it turned out that people weren't turned-on by the Mueller Report. Probably because a lot of US-Americans simply don't care and because Mueller couldn't find any evidence of collusion. As a matter of fact, Mueller found that the charges were baseless. Carter Page wasn't a Russian agent. He was a non-entity. Paul Manafort wasn't trading vital election information with the Russians. He was sharing polling data (much of publicly available) to a Ukrainian State Department asset. The Internet Research Agency really is just a troll farm and its spending on Facebuck ads during the 2016 election amounted to $50,000 (with some of those ads being anti-Trump). The Steele Dossier was based on hearsay from foreign sources. Manafort didn't visit Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

All of it, the whole fucking things, was crap. From start-to-finish. So of course, people worrying about their healthcare bills, their jobs, climate change, etc., etc., really can't be expected to care about such piffle.

But the Democratic Party establishment and the Military-Industrial Complex are too invested in "Russiagate" to give up easily. Both of them need to build up Russia as an enemy of the USA in order to justify spending on the military and the Democratic Party itself needs to direct conversation about Hillary Clinton's loss to Trump to anything else besides the widespread unpopularity of neoliberalism. And, sadly, a lot of people (generally the types who would vote enthusiastically for the Democrats or the Liberal Party of Canada) have bought-in to this ridiculousness.

And now the narrative is that Trump obstructed the Mueller Investigation and THAT is why Mueller couldn't find evidence of collusion. But that's absolute nonsense. Here is a list of the 10 instances where Mueller says Trump's behaviour could be characterized as "obstruction" and NONE OF THEM have anything to do with blocking Mueller from investigating things.

Apparently the Democrats in Congress wanted Mueller to testify and Mueller didn't want to. But the Democrats insisted and got their public Mueller testimony. And it was a disaster. Now, Robert Mueller is 74 years old. It's possible he's going senile. It's also possible that acting like a tired, doddering old man makes it easier to refuse to answer questions or feign ignorance on matters of substance. It's also possible that Mueller is well aware that he's part of a cynical political game of distraction and scapegoating and he has little enthusiasm for a live public performance.

Either way, he did not breath life into the Report. And so now, liberal pundits and every other "Russiagate" pusher are saying: "Mueller's job wasn't to ENTERTAIN you! He was talking about IMPORTANT FACTS and if you'd rather be staring at porn or monster trucks then you're the reason this country has turned to shit!" Except that Mueller didn't really provide any facts. He refused to answer 198 of the questions he was asked and often told his questioners to read the Report (which he appeared to have a hazy grasp of himself).

Perhaps with this pathetic little squeaking fart, the whole "Russiagate" obsession is well and truly over. Pelosi isn't going to impeach Trump over "obstruction" or anything else. This whole farce was a waste of time and with this dismal pair of hearings it might well and truly be dead.