Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Post-Structuralist Police-State

It's official. Far removed from its original intention of being a revolutionary project, post-structuralism has been appropriated by the oligarchy as a tool to obscure and simultaneously, to enforce, their own arbitrary police-state powers.

Justice Mark McEwan, perhaps oblivious to the dangerous precedent he was setting, or perhaps fully cognizant of it, has declared that police reports are all unverifiable garbage. They're the random jottings of confused, shell-shocked individuals who cannot be expected to have accurate memories of traumatic, fast-moving events; even when they were the agents behind the so-called "event." (We speak of an "event" as if it is some concrete manifestation, embedded in the past, to be easily retrieved, as if from an old-fashioned filing cabinet, when really all we have left are stories: assemblages of symbols and signifiers produced by the neurons firing in the brain in response to a bewildering array of sense perceptions.)

Even when the individual police reports of all the police officers involved seem to agree with each other (as in; they all recollected the "event" in the same erroneous way), the fact remains that these poor benighted souls were only desperately organizing their own individual thoughts as quickly as possible after the "event" in question, and any similarities in their testimonials must be attributed to the randomness of chance.

But what do we mean by "similarities" anyway? I am "similar" to Shaquille O'Neill in that I'm a male homo-sapiens-sapiens, even though he's 60 centimeters taller, and several orders of magnitude wealthier than I am. And I am "similar" to a male elk in that I am a mammal who can produce sperm to impregnate a female of my species. So, taking the phrase "similarities in their [bullshit] testimonials" really doesn't point to any deliberate collusion.

 Justice McEwan certainly isn't going to privilege technology over humanity, that's for sure. Because there are other witnesses who said that Dziekanski might have waved his arms around at some point in his distress, we can add that to the testimonials of the four officers against the video of the "event" that we can all see and decide that it's anyone's guess what really happened.

We had inklings of this truth when the Canadian Forces field reports were discredited by General Natynczyk when they seemed to portray CF personnel transferring an Afghan prisoner over to agents of our narco-warlord allies who proceeded to beat him. Evidently the CF has the time and the resources to regard official field reports as just the first draft of each day's events. Each day's field reports goes through a rigorous editorial process, and the principals involved are all summoned to give testimonials to attempt to verify or corroborate the initial accounts until, after this lengthy process, we are to imagine

It's all about the uncertainty principle, isn't it? You can't judge george w. bush's policies as failures based on lies; history will be his judge. And, since history itself is a construct, debated over by people who were never there, there cannot be and there will not be a judgment on george w. bush.

Disgraced bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales knew more than he realized when he babbled "there are no rules" when he tried to account for his previous action (as  bush's Whitehouse legal advisor) of trying to get Attorney General John Ashcroft to sign-off on bush II's overreach on domestic spying (or some such thing) when Ashcroft was recovering from surgery and someone else was the acting Attorney General. In his stammering, stuttering testimony, Gonzales unintentionally laid bare the chilling reality that in a random universe, we are all blindly swimming in fast-flowing waters, reaching out for anything and everything, trying to navigate our way to our eventual deaths. "Rules" indeed!

Finally, rotund Rob Ford's crack video scandal represents the ultimate in unknowability. Sure, the New York based gossip website "Gawker" can't be said to have had a vendetta against Ford. They probably hardly knew he existed (at best). But they're part of the "media" (after a fashion), and the Toronto Star is very certainly a part of the media and it does have a vendetta against Ford. Therefore, perhaps neither the Gawker person, nor the two Toronto Star journalists saw the video.

And I'm sure Jean Baudrillard could therefore say something about the rush to condemnation as a result of three people's agenda-driven recollections about some arrangements of pixels on a tiny screen. Just because several members of his staff and his executive committee either resigned or called him to account doesn't mean that Ford actually smoked crack.

In this current neo-liberal, post-structuralist police-state, not even the laws exist with any degree of certainty. They appear to apply to some people and not others. There were no war crimes in Afghanistan. We can't even begin to judge whether propping-up a rapist narco-state like Afghanistan will be a success until a century has passed, and then the moment is past anyway. It's impossible to arrive at any consensus about what happened anywhere that our politicians and their police enforcers are acting. Nothing happened and nothing ever will.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"He's probably a closet-case."

Used to be, us progressive white males were REALLY sexist, homophobic, racist pricks. (Some would argue that we still are, but that's a topic for another day.) Back in the day, everyone I knew was a homophobe. Even my [turned out to be] gay friend in high school would use the word "fag" as an insult. [Probably just to get along and fit in.] The thing is, we'd think nothing of mocking someone for being a "fag" or a "homo" or whatever.

My attitude started to really change in my early-twenties, after I read an anthology of cartoonists opposed to Margaret Thatcher's anti-gay "clause 28." Many of the cartoonists (or the people behind the stories) were gay and their descriptions of how they suffered for being who they were, really affected me.

I think it was around the same time that I thought Brian Mulroney sounded like a complete ass for condemning outright the idea of the NDP in government with: "Can you see it? Svend Robinson as Minister of Defence?? Do you want that?" At the time, I liked Svend Robinson, and was at the point where his being gay was irrelevant.

But people on the left or on the right would join in to condemn an enemy politician who happened to be a bachelor with certain characteristics a closet-case. "He's probably a fag." Nowadays though, it seems that the new meme for progressive guys is to refer to these sorts of people as "closet-cases" as in: "I can't say he's a fag, because that's politically-incorrect. I'll call him a 'closet-case' because that's almost as good. It still means that he's a fag."

I try to make pretty sure that I'm avoiding that sort of behaviour when I use the term "closet-case." Because I'm past all that bullshit pretty much. But I do use the term where I think it's warranted. I think ordinary closet-cases are tragic. But I think closet-case politicians who pander to homophobes (or who join homophobic political parties), or who promote "homosexuality-cures" or preach homophobic religious delusions are contemptible and dangerous.


"The Gay Agenda"

Supposedly, LGBT people spend much of their time, NOT just trying to be left alone and avoiding being killed for who they are, but, in fact, actively seeking to "convert" straight people (including children) into the "gay lifestyle."

That's what some ridiculous people think anyway.

They obviously don't have any faith in the "heterosexual agenda." They must believe that their own "lifestyles" are inferior to all that LGBT stuff they hear about. If they didn't, then why don't they just go out and "convert" LGBT people?


Monday, July 29, 2013

How Do We Control Our Police?

The needless, cowardly shooting of a young man with a 3-inch knife (he was alone in a stopped streetcar and all the police were outside on the street) by the Toronto Police Service has prompted some to call for bringing our police under control.

The Robert Dziekanski murder.

The abuse of Stacey Bonds.

The Toronto G20.

There are so many other abuses, too many to mention. Often, these actions are performed in the presence of their own surveillance cameras, either in their stations or their squad cars. The perpetrators and their fellow officers are all acting as if their brutality constitutes another day at the office.

So, I ask; How do we bring them back under control? How do we as progressives (who are often the targets of these cowardly brutes at our protests) work to effectively rein-in out-of-control cops? What pressure do we exert? Who do we target with our campaigns? How do we get the public onside?

Once again, as with all things on the leftist wish-list, i ask: How do we obtain the things we're asking for?

(I already know that I won't get an answer here. If thousands of people read my blog I still wouldn't get any definitive answers. We're not very good that way.)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Capitalist Scum-bags

 The tragedy at Lac Megantic was the result of ruthless cost-cutting. Cut costs - increase profits. Increase profits to "invest" in financial flim-flam and conspicuous consumption.

These guys just want to cut everything to the bone and then they rely on government bail-outs whenever anything goes wrong. And, of course, to ensure that things go wrong, get some scum-bag politicians like Dick Cheney or stephen harper (ego-inflated, anti-democratic errand boys) to "de-regulate" everything to save you as many pennies as they can. And so offshore oil-rigs and freight-trains full of toxic, flammable substances explode in flames and devastate and kill.

And the thing is, these imbeciles, like the Koch brothers, are fanatically invested with the idea that they're besieged on all sides by "totalitarians." Any regulation, any sign of worker power, any sign of democracy is a mortal threat to their very existence. Their freedom to exploit, to pollute, to devastate and control is the only worthwhile freedom. And they peddle their asinine political-economy to anyone who will listen or anyone they can bribe.

They are deluded, dangerous fools. They are our enemies.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Adam Giambrone & Justin Trudeau & The Mound of Sound

What benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your only soul? A bit melodramatic perhaps but What The Fuck. I mean, supposedly Adam Giambrone was an up and coming Toronto City Councilor of the progressive stripe. He ran for mayor and had to resign because he was exposed as having an affair.

Personally, i don't care if politicians have sex in their offices. As long as they get the work they're paid to do done. I'm easy that way. I also don't have too much of a problem with people having "affairs." Sometimes shit happens. People get attracted to other people.

But the way Giambrone handled it just struck me as more sleazy than required.

This was all before my time as a Torontonian anyway. Then the golden-boy of the left bounced-back, sort of. He scored some regular writing gig for the NOW weekly that I've never been too interested in.

Then I heard that he wrote to the CRTC to say that the disgraceful SUN TV should get whatever public subsidy it's asking for because they provide a unique perspective or some such shit. (Turns out Giambrone occasionally gets some money from SUN to disgrace himself by appearing as a panelist and commentator.) That's when I got totally uninterested in him.

He was president of the federal NDP at one point.

So, he got himself on the selection committee for a candidate for some provincial by-election in Scarborough and he selected a great candidate. A young woman of South Asian descent and a trade union activist. Then he got the bug himself and the last day it was possible he told her he was going to run against her. The vote that selected him was dodgy (to say the least).

So, the ONDP has shown itself willing to debase itself and its own constitution and democracy within the party for this useless piece-of-shit?

That brings me to Justin Trudeau. If anything speaks to emptiness of Canadian politics, it's the "buzz" around him. Political dynasties can happen. But what are we talking about here? What's Trudeau done or said that makes him more remarkable than any other politician? Nothing. Liberals (and lots of other people) are getting excited because he shares the same last name as his father (imagine that!) and because he's young and good-looking. The same thing happened with Belinda Stronach.

I'd like it for Canada to be a more boring, sober place, where politics is decided by ideas. Not through fraud and beauty contests!

Finally, Mound of Sound; you write so many important posts about the need to deal with global warming. Points taken. I don't write so much about this civilization-threatening crisis because I think it's futile if we can't even rouse ourselves to force politicians to respect the basis of their own supposed authority over us.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Win a Date With thwap!

Sigh. I'm desperate. Any Toronto-area readers who are interested in actually doing something about harper in the 3-d world, ... send me an email to smartzeethwap[at] We'll meet up and talk shit out.

I don't want this initiative to come from "thwap" so that's why I'm not posting about it here.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Where's the Outrage?

Let's see what I can do with this article by Richard Eskow entitled "Where the Hell Is the Outrage?" on Common Dreams.
From the first breaths of life to the last, our lives are being stolen out from under us. From infant care and early education to Social Security and Medicare, the dominant economic ideology is demanding more lifelong sacrifices from the vulnerable to appease the gods of wealth.
Well, harper already kiboshed the long-overdue national daycare program that Paul ("Mr. Dithers") Martin coughed up to try to preserve his government after decades of austerity. Our schools are a provincial matter and in Ontario, the Liberals did start spending money after years of Harrishithead cuts. The Canada Pension Plan has been gambled in the stock market for years and years now. The difference between our foolishness and scum-bag Obama's is that he wants people to be given their own "accounts" so that if they lose (and they will) it won't be the responsibility of the government to make up for it through deficit spending, as is the case here. harper

But Eskow's point is about the lack of US American outrage at these
Middle-class wages are stagnant. Unemployment is stalled at record levels. College education is leading to debt servitude and job insecurity. Millions of unemployed Americans have essentially been abandoned by their government.  Poverty is soaring. Bankers break the law with impunity, are bailed out, and go on breaking the law, richer than they were before.
That's about the size of it. And not too different from here.
And yet, bizarrely, the only Americans who seem to be seething with anger are the beneficiaries of this economic injustice – the wealthiest and most privileged among us.  But those who are suffering seem strangely passive.
You know, given the super-rich's total lack of awareness of how the world works, I'm starting to suspect that their well-documented anger and hysteria and paranoia stems from the dim realization that they're really just incredibly lucky, entitled frauds. As far as the passivity of the suffering goes, ... well, a lot of them are clueless about how the world works, or deluded by their attempts to get a handle on things through the corporate press. In the USA their media is an absolute disgrace. Talk radio charlatans and scum-bag propaganda on television owned and run by self-interested master criminals.
As long as they stay that way, there will be no movement to repair these injustices. And the more these injustices are allowed to persist, the harder it will be to end them.
Too true.
Where the hell is the outrage? And how can we start some?
There's actually plenty of outrage. But awareness of, and taking action in the world is and has always been the preserve of a tiny minority. I'm interested in hearing about how he expects to spread the outrage from their to the mass.

John and Paul
Paul Krugman ruminated about inflation-free unemployment the other day, and he was feeling pretty grim. Krugman is frustrated that clear prescriptions for this kind of economy – prescriptions born in John Maynard Keynes’ day – aren’t being followed. What John proposed then, Paul’s proposing now.
But he’s not optimistic.  “We can probably have high unemployment and stable prices in Europe and America for a very long time,” writes Krugman, “and all the wise heads will insist that it’s all structural, and nothing can be done until the public accepts drastic cuts in the safety net.”
That's what I'm thinking. That as long as the majority of people are "okay" the reality of 10, 20, even 30% unemployment can be weathered. There was 30-40% unemployment in the 1930s Great Depression (official statistics of 25% ignored farmers and bankrupted small businesses which both comprised a greater proportion of the labour market than is the case today) and there was no revolution. The difference between today and the 1930s is that mass democracy is over half a century old now, whereas it was fairly new back then. When it was new, elites were more afraid of it. Public relations and other forms of propaganda were developed at the same time and they're much more pervasive and sophisticated than they were then. Back then, socialism was a genuine political rival to capitalism and there were different ways of achieving this; democratically or through violent revolution. Today, we have two options; blinkered, deluded faith in "liberal" parties or completely meaningless peaceful protests.

The fact that the goddamned BANKSTERS continue to call the shots is testimony to our lack of power and our tactical ineffectiveness. No matter how transparently idiotic it might appear to us, the idea that the economic crisis is a new normal, to be met with further assaults on the spending power of the masses of people in the wealthy countries, is the official received wisdom.

One source for Krugman’s pessimism is the extensive political science research showing that “the level of unemployment matters hardly at all for elections; all that matters is the rate of change in the months leading up to the election.”

Especially since so many people are so fucking smart that they don't vote and don't do anything to improve the democracy that so evidently disgusts them.
Krugman concludes that “high unemployment could become accepted as the new normal,” and worries that we’ll come to accept “a more or less permanent depression” as the norm – adding that “we could suffer endless, gratuitous suffering, yet the political and policy elite would feel no need to change its ways.”

I said something along those lines myself:

Back to Eskow:
Quiet in the streets
He’s right. A number of studies have linked political participation with economic conditions, typically with results like those Krugman describes.  But that doesn’t explain why Brazilians took to the streets in such large numbers recently.
A majority of Brazilians believe that their economy’s improving, according to a recent Pew survey. 59 percent of Brazilians rate their economy positively and 74 percent say their personal financial situation is good.  By contrast, the same organization’s most recent US polling showed that only 46 percent of Americans said they believe the economy’s getting better, while 50 percent think it’s getting worse.
The polling says that Brazilian political unrest is driven by a divergence in goals and priorities between political leaders and the population, triggered by poor public services, bus fare increases, and the cost of hosting the World Cup.
A similar divergence of priorities exists in this country.  Washington’s been focused on deficit reduction, while the public wants more job creation and economic growth.  But Americans are quiescent.

Canadians too. Some are assholes who love this shit. Others are turned-off. And others are revolted but incapable of organizing themselves to, you know, "revolt."
US voter turnout is extremely low when compared to other developed nations, even though we rank among the highest in terms of income inequality. And other forms of political expression are also under-used. The Occupy movement was originally very popular, for example, but most people were easily persuaded to abandon it and return to a state of quiet desperation.
Wealth inequity and other economic injustices are the product of deliberate policy choices – in taxation, Social Security, health care, financial regulation, education, and a number of other policy areas.  So why aren’t Americans taking action?
The “change” theories Krugman mentioned don’t tell the whole story. For one thing, it’s not true that the lives of the majority are frozen in an ugly stasis. Conditions continue to become objectively worse for the great majority of Americans. But these ongoing changes – in actual wages, in employment, in social mobility and wealth equity – have received very little media attention or meaningful political debate.
It’s not that things aren’t changing. It’s that people don’t know they’re changing. And without that knowledge the public becomes a canary in a coalmine, only aware of its declining oxygen supply when it keels over and dies.
It's true. The corporate media writes about Royal Births, celebrity bitch-fights, lifestyles of the rich and famous, the latest threat from some tin-pot dictator somewhere, and very, very little about their own malfeasance. And why should they? Just because nobody's buying their crap anymore? The owners are still fabulously wealthy. They're diversified. Corporate propaganda media is a "loss-leader" for them.
It’s an almost classic state of alienation, in which people may be acutely aware of their own increasing difficulties (although sometimes they can be numb to that as well) but experience them in a state of isolation. That turns the anger inward, leading to crippling reactions like guilt and despair. And repeated individual failures – failures made increasingly likely in a skewed system – lead to a sense of learned helplessness.
Too true. Eskow goes on to describe things pretty much as i see them. Read the article if you haven't already. But, now, what is to be done?

Action Plan
So what do we do?
1. Expand our avenues of political expression: First, we need to remind ourselves that electoral politics is not the only productive avenue for political activism –that we need strong and independent voices and movements.
2. Refuse to let politicians use social issues to exploit us economically: We also need to reject the exploitation and manipulation of progressive values by corporatist politicians who use social issues like gay marriage and reproductive rights exactly the way Republicans do – to manipulate their own base into ignoring their own economic interests. Politicians who don’t take a stand on economic issues should be rejected, up and down the ticket.
3. Explain what is changing – and contrast what is with what should be:  We need to do a better job of explaining what’s happening, so that we can make people aware of the harmful changes taking place all around them.
And it’s not just about “change”: It’s also about contrast – between economic conditions as they are, and conditions as they should be and could be, if we can find the political will.
4. Expand the vocabulary of the possible: The “learned helplessness” outlook says “the rich and powerful always win; we don’t stand a chance.” History tells us otherwise.  From the American Revolution to the breaking up of the railroads, from Teddy Roosevelt’s trust-busting to FDR’s New Deal, from Ike’s Social Security and labor union expansion to LBJ’s Great Society victories, we need to remind ourselves of what we’ve accomplished under similar conditions.
5. Tell stories: And we need to tell stories – human stories. That’s why Tuesday night’s Bill Moyers special on PBS is so important. “Two American Families” tells the story of a white family and an African-American family in Milwaukee over two decades. Their stories bring home, in a personal way, the agony that has accompanied the destruction of middle-class jobs – a destruction that only happened because politicians made conscious policy decisions.
To explain, to provoke, to inspire, to tell stories is to begin the process of political change. As Paolo Friere said, “To speak a true word is to transform the world.”
Notice what's missing is any word about how and why FDR built the New Deal. (I should add that financial products and public deficit spending (for bankster bail-outs) have become much more sophisticated. The elites today probably believe they can weather this and upcoming storms and there'll always be exciting investment opportunities, risk-free (thanks to endless government bail-outs). Also, there's no communist threat or Hitlerian militarism to promote a genuine level of war-spending.

Beyond this vague "expand the limits of the possible" what is there? I've tried to expand the vocabulary blah, blah, blah. I either get ignored or they stare at me like cows. Our parliamentary system of party representative politics is beyond corrupt. It feels almost completely useless.

The long and the short of it is that we're great at describing reality but incapable of changing it.

Don Martin Agrees With Me

Don Martin agrees with me about the rumours of stephen harper's political death:

The reality is this:
1. Stephen Harper has a firm grip on the Conservative leadership and will, without any self-doubt or hesitation, fight the next election, supremely confident in securing another victory.

Harper has dedicated his political life to defeating Liberals and smearing the party leaders with attack ads.
To meekly run away from ominous polling which, for the moment anyway, favors a Trudeau reincarnation would humiliate Harper personally and taint his fearless-leader legacy politically.

This man has defecated on our democracy and all we do is whine about it. He's got nothing to fear from anybody.

Monday, July 22, 2013

All harper Needs

Apparently 38% of Canadians think harper is doing a good job; down from 43%. A 5% drop.

38% is enough to win, or convincingly steal another majority.

All harper needs to do is hunker-down and wait for these scandals to blow over (as they eventually will since "accountability" isn't for governments in 21st Century Canada) and then call his election in 2015.

And if that happens, we progressives will do absolutely nothing about it.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Obviously ...

EI worker suspended for disclosing that her and her fellow workers are given quotas of people to throw off of EI.

Cue the right-wing imbeciles who can't grasp that this is about inventing fraud just to save a spendthrift, wastrel government some money.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I Should Have Told Him To Shut Up

Some people say that my "thwap" persona is too abrasive. You know: "Internet + anonymity = SHIT-COCK!!!!"

It's also the case that when you work with people, you have to expect different points of view and different reactions to your ideas other than awestruck applause.

But when I think about how this pompous old blowhard took my presentation of my ideas about how to redeem Canadian democracy to yammer on about his own ideas (we make politics fun for the young people by firing toy cannons somewhere and we elect a slate of MPs from out of non-entities by saying they'll only vote "Yes" to electoral reform), I really think I should have told him to shut-up.

Simply because he was being rude; his ideas were infantile and, in the end, by being polite, I lost control of the gathering.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Summarizing Declining Participation in Democracy

Owen at Northern Reflections beat me to it. Yesterday I read this excellent summary by Alex Himmelfarb of a Samara study on declining political participation in Canada and thought I'd blog about today.

Himmelfarb mentions "social trust" the "degrees of inequality in society, and public policy as being vital to increased participation in, and trust in democracy.

I'll spin it my way: Seems to me that in the 1940s and 1950s, an expanding economy and a shared culture made white people less angry at each other. (In the 1920s and 1930s, lots of people voted because mass democracy was still relatively new and the political choices were vast. The capitalists would do anything to ensure that communists didn't come to power and communist supporters would do what they could to try to get their party in power.)

In the 1945-73 "golden age, capitalists weren't crazy about social democracy, but they tolerated it. Everyone was winning. Then, when the welfare state and anti-colonialism were well established and starting to make a big impact, ... well, it was game over wasn't it.

Also, by the end of the 1960s, too many radical feminists and uppity coloured people starting demanding things. Now, with the 1980s, even the faggots started getting a hearing.

Canada is a much more polite (thought not friendly and definitely hypocritical) country than is the USA. There, as you can easily see, people really hate each other. Progressives belief that Regressives are regressive. That they're bigoted, war-mongering, religious nutbars who will destroy everything they touch.

That's cause it's fucking true. If you're a right-winger and you want to mewl and whine about how unfair and/or hypocritical I am, show me the left-wing Ted Nugent.

And, of course, regressives believe the same thing about progressives because, well, what are you going to do?

But how did this polarization develop? Well, the cultural wars of the 1960s to the present split apart the monolithic mass culture. And, the economy has been stagnating and corporate capitalism has everyone on the ropes. And, corporate capitalism deliberately funds the propagation of idiotic conspiracy theories (see FOX News and Rush Limbaugh).

Inequality is also a factor. If you're poor, you don't matter. If you're rich, you're most likely an entitled prick who doesn't give a shit about anyone else. Politicians serve the wealthy, not the poor, so the poor don't vote. The middle-class doesn't get anything for their tax dollars that they're aware of, and so they resign into cynical apathy.

In this climate, the worst sorts of people go into politics and are further corrupted by their wealthy, greedy paymasters.

This leads into public policy. Public policy in the golden age was about delivering services to help people in their everyday lives. Now, thanks mainly to dishonest propaganda and neo-liberal hackery, people believe that public programs can't do anything to help ordinary people (the reality of 30-40 years ago notwithstanding). So, what's the point of voting. There's no reason to vote for politicians who can't promise anything more than "this tax-cut will bring prosperity. Plus free-trade!" or some other sort of empty nonsense.

Finally, as our political culture declines, it farts out people like Thomas Friedman at the NYT or Margaret Wente at the Glib n' Stale or Ezra Levant licking the scum from behind the toilet bowl, in a self-perpetuating cycle of insanity and decline.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Birth of Calculus

I could hardly follow this:

... I put it on to fall asleep to, but i was still awake when i lost the argument ...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Crossed Lines, Apathy and Delusion

Sometimes lines are crossed and someone is discredited and they're not very consequential and so you forget about them. Or I have anyway, in the case of, say, Margaret Wente. I mean, it's long been known that she's an idiot and a liar; but she was exposed about a year ago as a total fraud as well. But Maggie's friends know how hard it is in the labour market for an unemployed older woman with nothing but an English degree, so they rallied behind her and she's still plagiarizing and lying and stupefying to this day.

And I don't care. I mean, Media Culpa kicked Wente's ugly ass all over the place and the Glib n' Stale actively refused to hold their privileged incompetent self-entitled disgrace accountable. What more can you do? So, sure, to the extent that anyone reads her for purposes other than mockery, scorn or whatever; to the extent that someone actually reads her for an honest opinion or for those who even think this shit-head is an intelligent woman, she pollutes our intellectual culture, but what can be done about it? Especially since the numbers of people who could possibly read her and think "Wow! This person is really smart!" must be infinitesimally small.

Then there are people who are more important than Wente, because their actions have a greater impact on my life. stephen harper for instance. But I'm still not particularly interested in chronicling his latest crimes and fuck-ups to any great degree. Because he crossed a line a long time ago. He's crossed several lines, each of which on their own would discredit him as any sort of DEMOCRATIC politician. And the bulk of our corporate media endorsed him politically and report on him today as if he's still some sort of legitimate democratic figure. (To be fair, many media figures have trashed him and continue to do so.)

But we, as a collective, as Canadians haven't done anything about this. The proper thing to do is to forcibly remove him from power and put him up on charges. That's the bare minimum that should have been done. (Whatever the hypocritical howls and screams from his detestable, hypocritical fan base.) But the majority of Canadians don't care about the fundamentals of Canadian democracy. Either that or they're so disconnected from the reality of the democracy in which they live that they're clueless as to the mortal wounds that harper has inflicted upon it.

And then there's the deluded. The people who imagine that a petition, or a rally, or an internet site is sufficient to bring harper down. There's "The Campaign For One Big Campaign" which has degenerated into a Facebook group posting other people's articles about harper like any other anti-harper individual could do. Ostensibly they're supposed to be rallying Canadians to demand that the not-anti-democratic opposition parties present harper with a united front, but posting links on Facebook is so much easier and instantly gratifying. They've got a retired journalist among them who writes great stuff on his own account. Some of it was very heartening. He trashed the supposedly big trade union/NGO media alliance who were going to create a united voice for workers' issues AND put people in the streets in support of it, for becoming just another milquetoast, small-scale, one-off rally after a modest media campaign sort of thing. I contacted him about building a citizen's movement to topple harper and he replied that he wasn't much for doing anything these days but gave me someone else's email, the owner of which never got back to me.

This is, essentially, all that the Canadian Left is good for. Bloviating on the internet or holding one day rallies with the magical thinking that they're going to achieve something. Complaining about the structures that bind us and limit our power and doing pratically ZERO to change those structures.

We're basically reduced to hoping that harper somehow implodes by 2015 so that, supposedly the business-as-usual Liberals or the "We're trying to be business-as-usual" NDP can glide into the place that the self-defeated harper has vacated. Our political parties are all too deluded and too full of sleazy hacks to really be much of a change, but at least the boogey-man harper will be gone, no thanks to us.

Look people; to change the world requires thought and effort. To change other people's minds requires getting off the internet, away from your friends and the loathsome trolls, and engaging with other people. Power concedes nothing without a fight. Fighting means fighting. Fighting means FIGHTING.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

More on the Imaginary Torture-Murder Scandal ...

Two posts back I started a meme about how the rulers of an imaginary desert island society are trying to torture and kill one of the island's inhabitants for the sheer blood-lust of it all. It's an allegory about how we on the Left are stupid chumps for our inability to stand up to naked aggression and "evil" (for want of a better word). In the first entry, the rulers were going to force a vote on the subject which they would win, but the less revolting elected leaders were going to employ legitimate parliamentary tactics to delay and stall the vote. The majority party was simply going to run roughshod over these rules and, instead of this front-on assault on the legitimacy of their own power hurting them, the people of the island vow to fight-on using the same methods and tactics that the majority party can nullify at will.

Yesterday, I had the decent, sane people of the island arrange a peaceful demonstration against the random torture and murder of one of their fellow islanders. Of course, the demonstration was attacked by the island's police force and in retaliation, someone threw a rock, which, in the topsy-turvy mindset of this island society, somehow "justified" an even more brutal crackdown on the protesters. (I know! Crazy ain't it???)

I've decided to continue with my little allegory today. Let's find out what happens, shall we?

TOM: "Hey. You know that guy the leaders want to torture to death?"

DICK: "Yes. It's terrible. What about him?"

TOM: "Says here in the 'Island Gazette' that he's been sabotaging our smoke-signals and molesting our children!"

DICK: "What?"

TOM: "Here."

DICK: "B-b-but this is preposterous! We've never heard reports about the smoke signal being tampered with. Nobody's children have been molested!"

TOM: "That's what it says."

DICK: "I know that's what it says. I can read. But doesn't it seem a little bit convenient to you, that they pick one of us at random to torture and kill and when we have the audacity to complain about it, all of a sudden they print a bunch of terrible crimes he's supposedly done?"

TOM: "That sounds like conspiracy theory to me."

DICK: "Look, the publisher of the 'Gazette' is tight with the ruling party ..."

TOM: "Now I know you're a conspiracy nut."

DICK: "Hey now wait a minute!"

TOM: "Say, for a second, that these things are true. Do you want to be seen as having defended someone who was destroying our hopes for getting off the island just so he could continue diddling our kids??"

DICK: "No. Of course not. But if they're going to raise these allegations, they should do it at the judgment circle and show us the evidence."

TOM: "Say's here he's gay."

DICK: "What the fuck does that have to do with anything????"

TOM: "You know, social misfit, pervert."

DICK: "Why you fucking asshole!"

TOM: "You're starting to sound suspicious to me yourself pal!"

A member of the island police force walks up to a nearby palm tree. He nails a sign to the tree. It reads:

We have heard that several members of our community are disgusted and enraged with you due to your numerous crimes against them.
They are threatening to rend you limb from limb.
For your own safety, we are offering you protective custody, until you can be tried under the new 
Which have replaced standard Judgment Circle hearings.
For your own well-being, give yourself up.
You will be treated fairly.

TOM: "Well! Isn't that nice of them! More than he deserves I'd say."

DICK: "Are you kidding me? These are the people who wanted to torture him to death!"

TOM: "If they really wanted to do that, why are they offering him protective custody now? It doesn't make any sense!"

DICK: "They've created the conditions where he's no longer safe among the community, and now, if he gives himself up of his own free will, then it doesn't look so bad."

TOM: "Um, you're talking crazy."

HARRY: "We've always been on the island. I'm having deja-vu right now."

TOM & DICK (together): "Huh?"

HARRY: "We've always been on this island. The same people have always been in charge. For millennia. They keep distracting us with the false hope that we'll get off the island, in order to divert us from making our fight here."

DICK: "That's crazy. I remember being shipwrecked!"

HARRY: "Sometimes they plant false memories in us when we're asleep. Sometimes they let us sail away for a bit before shipwrecking us. But we always return to the island."

TOM: "Whatever guys! I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun talking together. I'm outta here! Bye!"

DICK: "No! Wait! It's not like that at all!"


Monday, July 15, 2013

I Know! Let's Have a Rally!

The pseudo-elected scuzzballs who rule over our desert island society are trying to torture one of us to death ...

"Who? Me?"

No. I read about it in yesterday's post. It's not you. It's some other guy.

"Oh. Okay. Well, see ya!"

Huh. Well, who needs you anyway? The rest of you; Do you think this is okay?


Are we going to let this happen??


Come on! Let's go to the meeting place and demonstrate our solidarity with that guy!


But we're going to keep it peaceful!

"Of course!"

But then, sadly, when some of the government's guardians started to break up the peaceful protest, one of the protesters got the STUPID idea of throwing a rock at the thugs. The thugs went apeshit, beat many of the protesters up and locked everyone up for 48 hours, with their hands behind their backs in plastic handcuffs. Some of the protesters suffered grievous nerve damage from being confined for so long.

But they made their point!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hey! We're Going to Have a Vote on Torturing You and Killing You!

Imagine that for a second. There's a bunch of dickwads who are in control of your desert island society. Through a lot of electoral jiggery-pokery, the most ruthless and power-mad folks have seized control of the government, but there are some other people involved in the decision-making process. They're comprised of a lot of slightly less obnoxious ruthless types and a few milquetoasts who you don't really mind but don't care about too much either.

Remember, taking charge in this process is NOT democratic and fair.

Anyways, out of the blue, the ruthless, power-mad guys have announced they're putting the idea of brutally torturing you to death to a vote (which they will win). There's some procedural tricks that the not as scuzzy leaders can employ to stop the vote from taking place, but the ruthless power-mad guys can be depended upon to trample over procedures and rules and get their vote. It's a foregone conclusion.

Would you meekly acquiesce to this entire process? Would you decide to play by the rules even if your enemies don't and show everyone who the better person is? Would you strive to not get angry in order to avoid alienating those who might think your torture and death is nothing to get excessive about?

This little thought experiment goes out to the women of Texas, AND us weak-minded, cowardly Canadian progressives who continue to tolerate harper's contempt of Parliament, his election stealing and his massive, anti-democratic omnibus legislation. We are fools to tolerate this and we are fools to play by the rules when the people promising to destroy our lives do not follow the rules.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

G20 Police Riot Explained

The reason they couldn't stop the window smashers along the parade route, even with tens of thousands of cops and over one-billion dollars was because they didn't want to. They needed an "excuse" (however idiotic) to justify the random harassment and beatings of genuine protesters the day after.

That was the intention all along. To brutalize protesters and intimidate them from participating in future protests.

As pathetic and ineffective as our protests are, they're apparently still too terrifying for the powers that be.

Friday, July 12, 2013

harper's cabinet shuffle

Oh for fuck's sake:
Seriously harper, nobody cares.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"The Point"

If I haven't posted this before, I'm posting it now ...

Something else is in the works but I'm busy.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Is it really as bad as all that?

If he's really doing that, it's one of the most pathetic things in the world.

Monday, July 8, 2013

What Do Canadians Stand For?

Democracy? Not so much. For the most part, Canadians hold their democracy in contempt and have no desire to fight to improve it. It's a-okay for most Canadians (or at least an indifferent matter) if the government of the day lies to them about the costs of the multi-billion dollar policies and outright refuses to show the people's representatives the facts about their true costs.

So, you can throw fiscal responsibility out the window as well.

Canadians might pretend to care about fiscal responsibility and transparency and what-not, for partisan reasons, but they don't really care about these things.

You can see this in the mass media, where 90-something percent of our newpapers endorsed stephen harper after his blatant display of contempt for Parliament, all except for the Liberal rag the Toronto Star, where hacks like Martin Regg Cohen defend Ontario Liberal Dalton McGuinty's wasting of three-quarters of a billion dollars of Ontario taxpayers' money, deleting the emails where this criminal waste of our money was decided, and refusing to provide the evidence for their criminal waste when the legislature demanded it.

Given the fact that Canadians (politicians and citizens) have so much contempt for their own democracy, it's actually quite sickening to listen when the more stupid among them claim that we're trying to protect it or export it to places like Haiti, Afghanistan or Libya.

Human rights? Officially, we don't care. For all intents and purposes we don't care. Most Canadians were and are fairly indifferent to the issue of torture and arrest without evidence or trial. Again, the more stupid among us actually celebrated the idea that our prisoners in Afghanistan were turned over to torturers. It was repeatedly told to these fuck-heads that we arrested innocent people, at random, and that the Afghan torture services began to complain that they were torturing people who knew nothing about anything.

What do we care about? What do our leaders care about? Our Liberals care about the financial sector and our Conservatives care about the financial sector and the oil sector. Below all of that, the foundations of their value system is corporate profit. And our capitalists care about profit above all else. And they profit from citizens who consume. As individuals, we're trained to be consumers. To be stupid, docile consumers. That's our highest value and that's what we're about as a people.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Remember the Cataclysmic Economic Failure of 2008?

It seems like only yesterday to me that the Wall Street fraud campaign almost brought down the entire world economy. Were it not for the trillions and trillions of dollars from US taxpayers that was taken to bail-out the banksters, the world economy would have melted down.

Now where are we? The banks are as predatory as ever. The political-capitalist class is doubling down on the immiseration of the majority policies that have hollowed out the world economy to the point where financial sector alchemy and parasitism is the biggest game in town. The perpetrators of the crisis are still the ones calling the shots.

To this day, know-nothing fuckwits on media comments sections blather on about how the lefties would ruin the economy. (I recall recently reading two repugnican imbeciles pronouncing Senator Elizabeth Warren as an "economic illiterate"!)

How is it possible that we, with all the numbers of people sympathetic to our worldview (witness the mass flight of so many average voters to the NDP in 2011)* are completely incapable of FORCING a change in the discussion. You know, with a subscribers' revolt, or some sort of action that gets in people's faces and covers the propagators of this pro-corporate drivel in the scorn they deserve?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

What Might Have Been

Commenting on my last post, PLG wrote thusly:
Well, I don't have much to say about your "unpopular essays" so I haven't. I don't disagree, but I'm damned if I see a plausible way of fixing it.
A new party? There are new parties. They get nowhere. And if they got somewhere, they'd just split the vote anyway.
A new Waffle? Maybe. But to get anywhere, and present a real alternative, it would need to be connected to a strong grassroots progressive movement of some sort.

. . . Um, yeah. Grassroots progressive movements in Canada (well, outside Quebec) are about as marginal as in the States, which is to say completely.

So it's a problem. If the people start moving maybe us wannabe-vanguards might have a chance to jump out in front. ;)

A new party?  - T'would be Quixotic vote-splitting.

A new Waffle? - A progressive thrust within the NDP is really our best chance.

A strong grassroots progressive movement? - I think we've got the ingredients for that; if only everyone wasn't being led around in circles doing the same damned useless things..

If the people start moving - I think radicals have to accept that large-scale change requires the support of a majority of the population. The trick is knowing what issues that have widespread support can be pushed to their radical logical conclusions. I thought that harper gave us the opportunity to rally the majority behind respect for democracy and the rule-of-law. Sadly, as a people, we Canadians were not capable of meeting that task.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Unpopular Essays

That was the title of a collection of essays by Bertrand Russell. (The archives of whom are for some lucky reason, stored at McMaster University in my home town of Hamilton, Ontario.)

I think it's also a good title for my blog posts about leftist failure and irrelevance. I used to get lots of applause for my fire and brimstone and damnation jeremiads but not so much for my constant harping about how our tactics on the left are brain-dead and useless.

That having been said, I think there's more value in trying to change my team with my essays, rather than the enemies' attitudes.


I'm not commenting as often as I do on other people's blogs. But rest assured, your work is being appreciated. I often post links to posts I like on my Facebook page.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Why We Fail

A big reason why leftists and progressives fail and lose is because the odds are stacked against us. This is a capitalist democracy and capitalists control the media and the political parties. In a system that worships profit maximization above everything else (right Milton Friedman?) human rights and democracy will always be compromised. Those who believe in higher ideals will find themselves frustrated, attacked or besieged.

Another reason is fear. Being weak, we are vulnerable. As individuals we fear police brutality, the loss of livelihoods or attacks upon our loved ones. As institutional leaders, such as the labour movement and the bigger NGOs, there's a fear of having our institutions legally eviscerated or completely shut-down should we step out of line. That's a big reason why the labour movement has endured, and continues to endure a slow death by a hundred cuts rather than take a physically militant stand.

But another important reason we fail is incompetence. We have a marked inability to understand how things really work. People create mental structures as they grow and experience the world, in order to help them to navigate new experiences. New experiences are measured according to the mental construct based on previous experiences. Somewhere along the line, leftists and progressives decided that image equals substance. That progressive rhetoric revealed progressive intentions (whatever the policies or betrayals; think Paul Martin or Barack Obama). That picket-lines and protest signs equals genuine struggle. That the rule of law held. That the media could be shamed into honesty and sense. That moral arguments could impact amoral or immoral scumbags.

The thing about people's mental constructs is that the longer they're held the more they ossify. Data that conflicts with the premises of the mental structures are ignored or discarded, because the individuals are simply incapable of processing them.

We also tend to believe that creating an answer equals solving a problem. In my non-thwap state, I told a principled, brave, committed activist that the reason thousands of people would come out to an event like the celebration of the anniversary of the discovery of DNA but not for protest rallies was because the DNA commemoration was nothing more than what it proposed to be. You came out; you formed a human double-helix, you had pictures taken, you had fun, you went home. Mission Accomplished. With an anti-war rally, you come out, you hear some speeches, you march with your signs, you go home. NOTHING ACCOMPLISHED. I said that afternoon demonstrations meant less than shit to imperialist monsters. My friend replied that of course demonstrations by themselves couldn't solve things but we shouldn't throw them away as a tactic. We shouldn't imagine the job is done because we went to a demonstration.

Left unsaid was what exactly was supposed to accompany the demonstrations. What WAS the work that needed doing after the rally was over? To repeat: Demonstrations on their own won't accomplish much, if anything. We need to do more. I have no idea what that "more" consists of.

Finally, I guess I'll say that leftists and progressives have an aversion to power and in inability to deal with it when it comes their way. A lot of leftists are frustrated despots. The reason we don't like the system is because it conflicts with our values and our individualism. Also, we don't trust power because we know what we'd be like with it. We therefore resolve to be pure and to leave power in the hands of the murderous exploiters, who we will attempt to petition and shame in order to get them to see things our way. Either that, or we join some outfit like the Liberal Party, who used to have a shot at power, and when it comes our way, we find that we've internalized the non-values of the corporate fucks who dominate it and we're justifying slashing welfare benefits or murdering trade unionists in Colombia or some other obscenity. Because we didn't prepare ourselves for power. We didn't think about it and let it carry us along.

In short: We're hopeless.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pro-Choice in Texas

A fundamental woman's right is under threat from Texas lawmakers. Consider this:

Texas voting districts are heavily gerrymandered to ensure Republican victories.

The Texas Speaker of the House ruled that Wendy Davis talking about ultrasounds and Planned Parenthood were off-topic in her filibuster against the Republican-sponsored anti-choice bill.

They tried to backdate their vote on the bill to have it appear as if they started voting before the midnight deadline of the special session had arrived.

They plan to do it all again and force the Texas Democrats to filibuster again, probably under more restrictive conditions.

So, women in Texas have a choice: Leave or stay and fight.

Women in the wider United States have a different choice: Leave, vote Democrat at their state and federal elections, or fight.

At the federal level voting Democrat means voting for an imperialist, mass-murdering, anti-worker, Wall Street stooge. I've no doubt that Barack Obama is anti-abortion but pro-choice for the votes. Pro-choice American women will vote for him because of this and thereby enable all of his spying, torturing, civil-rights shredding, environment betraying, drone-murders. And, even then, the battles remain to be fought a the state level.

Even in corrupt, oil-money soaked, corporate-sponsored fundamentalist Christian nonsense and insanity-driven, Texas.

Do you acquiesce to the loss of a fundamental human right in a corrupt, against-the-rules contest? If, as in the case of Texas, your rights are being taken away in such a fashion, do you play by the rules and lose, or do you discard the rule-book? In the case of the federal government, do you enable a monster to try to resist the monsters who are targeting you?

I ask these questions because we're all faced with this stark choice: Is it really all we can do to either acquiesce to stolen governments and "resist" by voting for some other dipshit in the hope that the dipshit will be our champion?

When the rulers toss out the rule-book, ... why do we insist on playing by the rules? Especially when it's our human rights and the fate of the planet in the balance?

ETA: A great article for all the Christian-Patriarchal-Oil-Sucking-Assholes in Texas

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Difficulties of Creating a Revolutionary Consciousness

I used to have a regular reader/commenter "Todd." In this post and in this post, I explored the idea of building a more revolutionary consciousness out of the distinctly non-revolutionary Canadian general public in a gradualist fashion. I called for a leftist government to transform the decision-making process in the public sector over to tripartite councils consisting of one-third traditional management, one-third worker representatives and one-third elected citizens.
As the employer, governments have the complete right to implement worker control over the public sector. At the same time, without creating to great a split with the past I think there's call for having managers who have a sense of the big picture remaining on the board. But there should be all sorts of positions (at levels of local control) for elected citizen representatives. As the recipients of the services provided and as representatives of the taxpayers, these citizens can voice complaints about service or service delivery and get a sense of who has a just case in things like work hours, job stability and costs, workers or management.

It will help ordinary people understand how their society works and will not seem to radical for all the people out in suburbia.

it's about making people comfortable with being in control. This society that we've constructed is incredibly complex and it's been designed by and for capitalists and technocrats. But we can't just smash it. A lot of people don't want to smash it. But what do we do with it? First, more people have to get a chance to figure out how it works. These elected citizen representatives will be a part of this process. Every hospital will have a number of ordinary people up there representing the communities as potential users (and definitely the taxpayers) of that institution. Every water and sewer system, every highway, every local power facility and every local police service. Whoever is interested can run for a term or two as a paid representative of the general public.

So, ordinary people will get an understanding of how their society really functions and will have a hand in the sometimes difficult decisions of managing important public resources. I'm willing to bet that that alone will bring about a difference in the organization and delivery of services. As well, ordinary people, either as workers or as citizen representatives, will get empowered by having genuine decision-making capabilities, unmediated by a corporate hierarchy with a non-democratic agenda.

Todd took issue with this. He appeared to say that since this piecemeal reform would itself be hysterically attacked, why don't I forget about gradual steps and go for the whole enchilada?
I think what I'm trying to say is that, no matter that it's only "baby steps" you want to take (no matter how well they might be justified), someone is going to oppose them for one reason or another. The same thing can be said about more robust demands as well, so why not just go for broke and demand full worker control instead of a half-way measure?
This statement came out at some point after Todd had criticized me for imagining a cohesiveness to society, "the people" or the working classes, that doesn't exist, and which therefore makes calls to arms difficult if not impossible.
And again with the "we" stuff. At this point in time, given the state of consciousness of much (never mind most) of Canada (much less the rest of the planet), "we" is a dead issue. There are far too many cleavages, real and imagined, to start talking about "we" (it's hard enough to talk about "the working class" and get them to believe it) right now. We have to still work on making the right kind of "we" (and we get that with raised consciousness and organized political action).
Besides, you're asking that we turn away from one "singularity" ie The Revolution to look for another one: spontaneously raised consciousness in the masses (and how that's different from people who've had their consciousnesses raised enough to force one or more decisive struggle[s] I don't know).
Todd, if you're still around, or anyone else, can you explain to me what "full worker control" means and how it is to be implemented after it has been successfully demanded? Who will do this demanding? What sorts of accountability will there be? Is obtaining full worker control somehow more feasible or equally feasible to implementing tripartite boards of citizens, workers and managers? Why? How? What is this "organized political action" that's being discussed? A useless rally somewhere? A poster on a utility pole? A forum involving the usual suspects in a lefty church or university meeting room to hear an academic speak? What? What are we talking about?

If none of these things can be explained, then I fear that it's just all symptomatic of the left's continuing irrelevance.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Where the Church Street Neighbourhood is Today

I'm posting this for a friend. It's her survey of attitudes towards Toronto's Gay Village from the GLBTQ community themselves:

"What the Gay Village means today."

Happy Canada Day and Born a White Male Day!

The idea came to me last year that celebrating Canada Day would be as meaningful to me as celebrating having been born a white male. It would be racist and sexist of me to celebrate having been born a white male. Sure, there have been some great achievements from white males; Michelangelo, Isaac Newton, Arthur Schopenhauer. But we've also done a lot of damage too.

The thing is though, for me, it's just something lucky. I'm lucky to have been born a white male. Even though things haven't entirely panned-out for me so far as a steady income goes, I've been very fortunate in a lot of other things and I had a greater chance than most people who have ever been born.

The same with having been born a Canadian. I'm grateful for that. This is one of the best countries in  the world when it comes to material benefits, no two ways about it. Being born a white male Canadian is therefore, a doubly fortunate occurrence.

But what about Canada?

We're built upon and still rely upon the abuse and exploitation of the First Nations. The majority of us are either hostile or indifferent to the idea of justice for the First Nations.

Democracy? What a sick joke! Canada is a sham democracy with an ignorant and apathetic majority, framed on either side by deluded right-wingers and left-wingers. The idea that the Conservatives resorted to election fraud should have produced visible outrage. (Not that the left-opposition would have known what to do with that though.) The bulk of us are okay with living under a government that steals elections; that refuses to be accountable to its own Parliament, that expects Parliament to agree to policies without knowing their costs.

Human rights? Canadians, as a people, have stumbled through for over a decade as we oppress and torture the people of Haiti and Afghanistan. It is we who, together with our fellow imperialist allies, prop-up kleptocratic torture states. When we're directly involved in war crimes, the harpercon government simply prorogues Parliament, destroys evidence, and then concocts some sham exercise to release a triple-filtered dump of shit.

And the majority of us don't care.

The environment? We're among the worst polluters on the planet.

Our mining firms continue to despoil and murder with taxpayer subsidies.

The majority of Canadians IT SEEMS, are content to enjoy the material benefits of being a Canadian, while at the same time remaining blissfully unaware of the sources of these material benefits or in the functioning of their own democracy.

I don't know why they celebrate Canada Day either. For all the thought they put into the responsibilities of being a Canadian, they might as well just assume that our wealth rains down from the heavens or grows out of the peculiarities of our soil.