Wednesday, December 7, 2022

There's This ...

 I hadn't been following this.  So this video was really my first exposure to it.



Friday, December 2, 2022

That beautiful moment

 That beautiful moment when your sadness at losing someone you loved is replaced by remembering how much you loved them.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Good Riddance To Humanity

 


As I said in big post about my book readings for 2021 and 2022, I was reading David Suzuki's and The Big Picture.  It's from 2009.  He's describing crises building in 2009 and now it's 2022 and we not only haven't mitigated our behaviour, but we're actually behaving worse.  And there are still idiots denying the reality of global warming and yammering about how expensive it would be to cater to the delusions of global warming fear mongers.

Rain forest depletion.  Mass extinctions.  Massive droughts.  Shrinking glaciers.  Methane bubbles.  Pakistan under water.


Then there's the COVID-19 pandemic.  Stupid assholes from the left and right sides of the political spectrum have decided that since governments lie and pharmaceutical companies do too that the pandemic is a fraud.  It's a "PLAN-demic."  The virus is just the common flu that was invented in a bio-weapons lab by the Chinese to destabilize the West (which is why the Chinese government released it in China first).  Or, the virus (that is no more dangerous than the common flu) was invented in a bio-weapons lab by Anthony Fauci so that he could get rich by not killing everybody.

Nothing really happened!  All those deaths in the old folks' home; all the over-crowded emergency rooms; all the cancelled surgeries; all the burned-out hospital workers; all the scenes of mass death in India; ... all business as usual.  It's a hoax goddammit!  Didn't you know that when John D. Rockefeller sat down with the House of Rothschild and Woodrow Wilson and Margaret Sanger to discuss their long-term plan to smash capitalism and human freedom, it was decided that, after Climate Science, the best place for activists to worm away the vitals of society from the inside was in public health management.

That's why EVERY hospital administration and EVERY local public health official is IN ON THE SCAM!!!  It is a vast, terrifying conspiracy.  Lots of moving parts.  Lots of "crisis actors."

Apparently that is the logic of a significant number of people.  The sort who think they sound intelligent when they say: "I would rather die of COVID than live in fear of it."  Yes genius.  Dying from not protecting yourself from something that you knew could kill you really puts you in your best light.  Too bad you can only die once.  I'd like to see you drive a car without brakes down a hill with no seat-belt on.  Then I'd like you to walk naked through a bear-infested forest smeared with honey.

Apparently wearing a mask over your nose and mouth ["Duh! The nose TOO???"] during a pandemic featuring a respiratory virus is a major infringement on one's freedom.  Gad!  It's just so fucking stupid!!!


Then there's the absolutely inexcusable rah-rahhing for World War III and a nuclear holocaust by shit-heads astonishingly captured by the USA's ridiculous narrative for the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Apparently mad-men with one of the world's two largest collections of nuclear weapons can be safely ignored when they say: "Don't make that large country right on my border a member of your military alliance against me!"  Apparently, right before they're going to rebuild the Czarist Empire, mad-men with gigantic arsenals of nuclear weapons say; "Look!  Let's sign this agreement whereby I agree to respect the Ukraine's autonomy if you'll guarantee it's neutrality."

Apparently the country that launches coups in Honduras, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Haiti, and which destroyed Iraq, Syria and Libya [killing millions], and which is helping the corrupt, misogynist, obscurantist regime in Saudi Arabia conduct a genocide in Yemen, is just passionate about the lives and the freedom of Ukrainians that have been endangered by this UNPROVOKED Russian attack!

This is GOOD vs. EVIL, RIGHT vs. WRONG.

Humanity is too stupid to survive.  We don't deserve to.



Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Squandering Hegemony (Walden Bello Edition)

 


Recently I wrote a couple of posts about how the Anglo-American hegemony established after World War II has been in steep decline in recent years. (1 & 2)  Over at CounterPunch the always worthwhile Walden Bello provides us with a similar analysis:

But what overdetermines the current crisis of the hegemon is that it is not just economic but also ideological and political.

The British Marxist Paul Mason has argued that with the triumph of neoliberalism and financialization in the global North, solidarity and a sense of community based on economic class and a shared middle class lifestyle among workers was replaced by an individualized identity as consumers, as market players in a society of seemingly shared prosperity but where rising income was increasingly replaced by rising debt as the mechanism of economic pacification.

Having exchanged their class identity for that of consumers in the market, their loss of even the latter owing to the 2008-2009 crisis left them ideologically vulnerable, particularly when it came to their commitment to the liberal democratic belief in universal equality. Even before the financial crisis, many workers had already been feeling psychologically threatened by the gains of the movements for racial and gender justice, and their descent into economic insecurity was the final step in their rightward radicalization.

What the volatile combination of economic crisis, ideological vulnerability, and Donald Trump has done is to make legitimate if not respectable an anti-democratic core belief that has been transmitted generationally, communally, and subversively. This is White Supremacy, which is now informally the ruling ideology of the Republican Party.

Finally, to the political crisis. I don’t think there would be many who would object to our characterizing American liberal democracy as being in crisis. 

...

To repeat, what distinguishes the crisis of the hegemon today from the 1980s is the fatal combination of severe economic dislocation, deep ideological disaffection, and profound political instability. Global hegemony is difficult to exercise if, in addition to falling behind on the economic front, the hegemon is also nearing civil war and a significant sector of the society has lost faith in the liberal democratic ideology that legitimizes its global economic primacy.

That is where the United States is today.

So, how does it feel to be a member of a society in decline?  Did you subscribe to the moronic "Russiagate" conspiracy theory?  Do you shrug your shoulders at Liberal/Democratic assaults on constitutional rights while shrikeing about Conservative/Republican ones?  Do you believe the absurd official narrative about Russia in the Ukraine?  Are you a shameless hypocrite?

Then you are contributing to your own society's decline.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Ontario NDP Concerns About Provincial Healthcare Crisis

 


I was going to write something about the apparent crisis going on in Ontario's hospitals, especially our emergency rooms, where wait-times have (I've heard) tripled, with some hospital emergency rooms saying they were completely swamped.  I looked for a source to back that up and the best thing that I could find was this statement from the Ontario NDP:

NDP expresses Concerns about Ontario Medical System

Shaw fights to ensure ambulance availability, end code zeros in Ontario

Sandy Shaw, NDP MPP for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, will bring forward a motion for debate Thursday calling for action to end ambulance unavailability across the province.

“It’s a terrifying moment when you call an ambulance for a parent, grandparent, or child, only to learn that no ambulance is available to respond,” said Shaw. “Right now, we are witnessing a dire shortage of available ambulances in all parts of the Ontario. In different areas you may hear ‘code zero’, ‘code black’, or ‘code red’. They all have the same horrifying meaning – that not a single ambulance is available to respond to an emergency call for the entire region.”

In October, Essex County declared a state of emergency when a code black lasted three hours. In Hamilton, Code Zeros have already tripled compared to last year. In OttawaWaterloo, and Thunder Bay, Code Zeros have become a near daily occurrence.

“We cannot allow this terrifying crisis to continue. Ontarians expect ambulances to be available when they need them”, said Shaw. “When ERs and hospitals are short-staffed, ambulances remain parked as paramedics wait with patients instead of leaving them in the care of a nurse. That prevents paramedics from getting back on the road and saving more lives.”

Shaw is urging the government to take immediate action including repealing Ontario’s wage-capping Bill 124 to ensure the province can recruit, retain, and return nurses to hospitals so health care professionals are available to receive patients.

“Every Ontarian should have access to ambulance and paramedic services,” said Shaw. “The Ford government needs to provide the funding needed to end ambulance shortages once and for all. They can make that commitment today by immediately passing this motion.”

Background

Motion 4: End Code Zeros

That, in the opinion of this House, every Ontarian should have access to ambulance and paramedic emergency services, and the Government of Ontario should ensure the necessary funding to end the periods of time when ambulances are unavailable to respond to an emergency call, known as “code red” or “code black”.

Ontario’s staffing-driven health care crisis demands major investments, not partial solutions

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP Health critic France GĂ©linas (Nickel Belt) and NDP Immigration Services and International Credentials critic Doly Begum (Scarborough Southwest) released the following statement in response to the government announcement on Ontario’s health workforce:

“There’s no question that we need to retain health care workers on the frontlines of our hospital crisis right now. To entice non-practicing and retired professionals back to work, we need to make sure that the health care sector is fully staffed and fully funded. Long hours, insufficient wages from Bill 124, and exhausting shifts on understaffed wards will not make people want to return to work and provide the vital mentorship and training that is desperately needed for new nurses.

Forcing internationally trained health professionals to prove language proficiency multiple times is one barrier that many of us fought to remove. While we welcome small steps towards making it easier for internationally trained nurses to join the frontlines in Ontario, it’s disappointing to see doctors who live in Ontario and have international training continue to be left sitting on the sidelines. We have a dire shortage of family doctors with over a million Ontarians lacking access to primary care. The lack of access to primary care is just one of the reasons that people end up in an emergency room – and further burn out health care workers in hospitals.

We need strong incentives to bring retired nurses back to underpaid and overworked positions. Today’s announcement does not address the systemic problems retaining our existing health workforce and preventing health care workers from returning, or attracting new doctors to our system.”

NDP slams Ford for sitting on tens of billions amid worsening health care crisis

QUEEN’S PARK – Catherine Fife, NDP Finance Critic, slammed the Ford government for sitting on $44 billion in contingencies as the health care and other crises worsen in Ontario, revealed by the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) report.

The bombshell figure comes from the FAO’s 2022 Fall Economic and Budget Outlook. In it, the FAO is forecasting a $40 billion shortfall across all programs over the next six years, including:

    • $23 billion shortfall in health
    • $6 billion in education
    • $4 billion in children, community, and social services
    • $2.6 billion in postsecondary funding
    • $2.3 billion in justice

“It is unconscionable for Doug Ford to make cuts in health, education, and social services,” said Fife. “Our hospitals are already at a breaking point. Education workers are accessing foodbanks. ODSP and OW recipients live in legislated poverty.

“Doug Ford needs to allocate these massive historic contingencies to prevent shortfalls in the services that Ontarians count on.”

Fife said covering the projected shortfalls on its own isn’t enough. The NDP is also calling on the government to invest more in health care, education, and social services instead of racking up $25.2 billion in surpluses over the next six years.

“The government should address the staffing crisis in health care by repealing its wage-capping Bill 124,” said Fife. “The government should bargain a fair deal with Ontario’s lowest-paid education workers instead of risking disruption and staffing crises in our schools. The government should double social assistance rates so that Ontarians aren’t forced to live in legislated poverty and rely on food banks.”

I remember it was in the days of the Ontario Progressive Conservative majority of the loathsome, stupid, cowardly, asshole Mike Harris, when our hospital emergency rooms were similarly overloaded.  Perhaps the fact that both of these periods of extreme crisis in Ontario's healthcare system occurred during the administrations of the shit-headed, evil, corrupt, fuck-faces in the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party is the clue? (The Ontario Liberals only ensure a low-level crisis, year after year.  And then they pat themselves on the back for being a lesser-evil.)

Of course, in his own stupid, cynical, corrupt way, Doug Ford is doing what he wanted to do from the beginning.  Which is to (insanely) see the public system fade and to then marshall as many public dollars as he can to give to the wasteful private sector.  And then, with the extra millions of dollars those private sector parasites have left over after their CEO salaries and their dividends to their shareholders and, oh yeah, the delivery of healthcare, they can help build the OPC's electoral war-chest.

But what about the rest of us???  Besides us NOT adequately protesting in the streets for shit-head Ford to spend OUR MONEY on OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM, ... we see news reports everyday (even from right-wing sources like CP-24) about the burn-out caused by the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic and we blithely allow ourselves to pretend (like our governments) that the pandemic is over and we don't get the boosters (I've read it's only 16% have got the last one.) and we don't wear masks (even on public transit).  We appear to believe that if we keep doing what we always do things will continue as they always have.

Just another way we're failing as a society and as a species.



Saturday, October 22, 2022

The Continued Squandering of Anglo-American Hegemony

 


I wrote something about this before. Because we were never truly democracies, but, rather, capitalist republics, we never had any chance of genuinely flourishing and perservering.  And people are starting to notice our decline. [That link goes to a review about a Russian's argument for US-American decline, but all one has to do is look at the recent leadership debacle in the UK of Johnson-Truss, and the sad state of leadership in Ottawa with the airhead Justin Trudeau facing-off against the shit-stain Pierre Poilievre, with the cretins Doug Ford and Brad Wall in the provinces.  As I typed I realized that the UK leadership farce is mirrored by Alberta's fall of the imbecilic Jason Kenney and his replacement by the even more embarrassing Danielle Smith.]

Here's some good stuff from that review:

Yet in recent times, he argues, something has happened in American elite circles that has let the more grandiose and delusional side of the American psyche run amok, and this has happened at the very time when America is most in need of good leadership.

Martyanov believes that America’s extreme meritocrats vastly over­estimate their capabilities. This is because, rather than focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of the country they rule, they have been taught since birth to focus on themselves. They believe that they just need to maximize their own personal accomplishments and the good of the country will emerge as if by magic. This has led inevitably to the rise of what Martyanov characterizes as a classic oligarchy. Such an oligarchy, he argues, purports to be meritocratic but is actually the opposite. A proper meritocracy allows the best and the brightest to climb up its ranks. But an oligarchy with a meritocratic veneer simply allows those who best play the game to rise. Thus, the meritocratic claims become circular: you climb the ladder because you play the game; the game is meritocratic because those who play it are by definition the best and the brightest. Effectively, for Martyanov, the American elite does not select for intelligence and wisdom, but rather for self-assured­ness and self-interestedness.

It seems very accurate in my mind.  Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton clearly see themselves super-geniuses even though neither of them achieved anything of merit during their entire careers, which in Biden's case is continuing on in its delusional, destructive path.

But the general public has to share some of the blame for elevating bizarre pieces of human garbage like Donald Trump and Pierre Poilievre to high office. (Or in the case of liberals and social democrats, they praise to the skies robotic centrists and cynical con-artists like Dalton McGuinty or Crystia Freeland and shriek blue murder at anyone who criticizes them.)

Which is a shame because if you read history, besides doing a lot of bad things, British culture produced a lot of good things.  By the 18th Century, many continental thinkers were looking to the British example for good government, religious toleration, scientific advances and individual freedom.  I say all this again, with a fairly strong grasp of the atrocious crimes of British imperialism and the murderous violence of its class system.  But it must also be understood that human cruelty is not particular to the British or to Europeans.

When one says that women's rights made many of their first gains in the Anglo-American countries, or that Britain produced many of the first female authors in the modern period, one is not denying the prevailing oppression of women at the time and which continues to the present day.  I am not attempting to deny the ugly reality that was very much a part of this heritage.  But it did have its accomplishments.  Individual freedom and creativity in the Anglo-American countries was looked at in admiration around the world.  We (especially our leadership) sometimes claimed to have all the answers, and we never did.  But I fear that the good part of our example is going to be forgotten by the rest of the world by the time that these idiots, arrogant mediocrities in our oligarchies drag everything crashing down.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Shit-Libs Proudly Admit Their Stupidity & Insanity

 


First of all, most of the writers (I believe there's more than one) at "Lawyers, Guns, & Money" are not full-time stupid people.  There's a series: "So-and-so visits an American grave" where the writer talks about the remarkable life of the person who used to inhabit the body buried under a tombstone.  Eloquent summaries of often forgotten US-Americans who made a positive contribution to their country and helped make their country however good it eventually became.  In the same way, I don't really believe that Christian Parenti or Max Blumenthal are genuinely stupid even though they've both swallowed/concocted some shit-for-brains COVID-denialism conspiracy theory.  I don't really think that Owen Gray at "Northern Reflections" is indifferent to the sufferings of starving Yemeni children just because he never mentions them even when it's pointed out that the USA is being titanically hypocritical condemning Russia's attack on Ukraine whilst aiding and abetting Saudi Arabia's genocide in Yemen.

It's just that like Parenti and Blumenthal allowed their minds to turn to garbage on the subject of COVID, and Gray is doomed to forever believe that centrist maniacs like Thomas Friedman are sources of wisdom because they speak in "liberal" journals like the New York Times, and whoever it is at "Lawyers, Guns, & Money" worships at the altar of the Democratic National Committee, ... on some occasions they espouse clearly stupid beliefs.