Thursday, May 13, 2021

Latest Books

 

Currently I'm reading Freeman Dyson's Maker of Patterns: An Autobiography Through Letters. I got it from the library as an e-book and, not being familiar with modern technology, I didn't see the subtitle and thought it was going to be a summary of 20th Century mathematics and physics for laypeople. Instead it's excerpts from letters to his parents and his sister whenever he was apart from them. They start in the late-1930s and he'll be including stuff from the late-1970's. So far I'm only in the mid-1950's. But it's interesting nonetheless. Dyson helped to reconcile the Quantum Electrodymanic theories of Julian Schwinger and Richard Feynman. It's a very human account of the physics world in the immediate postwar period. Dyson writes about having to convince Robert Oppenheimer of the importance of Feynman's work. [INTERESTING: I looked for a link and found that Oppenheimer was praising Feynman in 1943. But by the time Dyson meets Oppenheimer the latter is unimpressed with Feynman's latest work.] He talks as an international scientist about the personal lives and struggles of male and female scientists from different countries in the chaos of the postwar/Cold War era. While I don't agree with all of his views, Dyson appears to have been considerably free of the racism and sexism that prevailed at the time. He rejected any notion that people from different parts of the world or of different sexes had differing levels of intellectual potential.  Even his accounts of travelling across the triumphant United States (by bus often, in order to see as much as possible) are interesting as you can sense the economic vitality through his words and his own thoughts as a British man from a comfortable economic background. 


Years ago I bought David Nasaw's biography of Andrew Carnegie at a Sear's bargain bin in Hamilton's Limeridge Mall. I started it and thought it was a trifle hagiographic but interesting. I gave Carnegie credit for being a principled opponent of war and government military spending. Then Carnegie competed for contracts to make battleship steel for the US Navy and I gave up the book in disgust. I took it off the shelf again a while ago and started over. I have to say that Nasaw is very fair to Carnegie. He argues convincingly that Carnegie's altruism was genuine, but also never fails to point out the man's hypocrisies and delusions. Essentially, Carnegie was a witty, charming young man who landed a job in a telegraph office and was able to make contacts in his city's (Pittsburgh) business community. Success as a telegraph reader led to promotion to telegraph operator, which led to work for a railroad company which led to promotion to a superintendent and so on. Carnegie eventually became a bond salesman and that all led to his becoming the owner and builder of the biggest iron and steel manufacturer in the United States. (I'd thought that Carnegie had been some sort of pioneering engineer/operator of a small steel firm and not a financial guy who drifted into the industry as a matter of happenstance.)

Anyway, obviously, Carnegie became a mega-capitalist. A peer of John D. Rockefeller. Together with his manager Henry Clay Frick, he crushed the union of his workers at his Homestead facilities. Carnegie believed that the political-economy which resulted in enormous wealth being concentrated in the hands of men such as himself was beneficial to society in the long-run. Men like him and Rockefeller were obviously men of intelligence and ability. They could direct their wealth into collective improvements (in Carnegie's case it was public libraries) which would have better social results than if it went to pockets of the thousands of replaceable men in his steel mills who would only waste it on better food, housing, clothes etc. Nasaw doesn't fail to point out the cruel obliviousness of Carnegie's urging his workers (who, after smashing their union, he has subjected to 12-hour a day shifts, seven days a week of heavy physical labour) to not neglect outside pursuits for personal development.

Finally, I got two books out on Athenian democracy. Thomas N. Mitchell's Democracy's Beginning: The Athenian Story.  What I got out of it was that there was some sort of crisis in Athens in the Sixth Century, caused by oligarchic domination and the subsequent impoverishment of much of the population. A respected patrician [that's a term from Ancient Rome but whatever] named Solon was asked to provide legislative changes that would bring some sort of balance back to Athenian society. Solon's reforms failed in the short run but they led to further reforms from later lawgivers which provided the basic structures that Athenian democracy was based on. This was self-rule, through a legislative assembly by all male citizens.  Later, in the war against the Persian Empire, the contribution of the poorest men as oarsmen in the Athenian navy gave them a feeling that they had just as much right as the wealthiest and the noblest in the leading of their City-State. Mitchell writes that democratic Athens tended to be led by members of the aristocracy and/or wealthy class, as these men had the education and self-confidence to take charge, but that the majority had to support them and - importantly - these leaders could be held accountable to the Assembly. (Mitchell points to the increasing lack of accountability today as being dangerous to social stability and democracy's integrity. I heartily agree. I ranted and raved about this problem during the harper years.) In the end, Mitchell says that Athenian democracy produced the lust for imperialism and the pig-headedness that produced the Peloponnesian War that saw Athens broken as a major power. The men in the Athenian Assembly repeatedly rejected opportunities for a favourable peace when a temporary victory produced offers for ending the war from Sparta. Athens would recover, but again squandered it's achievements by pursuing war with Macedonia in the late-Fourth Century. Upon their defeat the Athenians were forced to terminate their democratic institutions and were henceforth ruled by an oligarchy. 

I've only just started Paul Cartledge's Democracy: A Life. I'll try to remember to add my final thoughts at a later time. But basically Cartledge is so far talking about the rather hazy notion of "democracy" that was forming at the time (5th Century BCE) as opposed to the more concrete idea we have of what the term meant and how it operated in posterity. Cartledge will go on to describe the differences between Athenian democracy and "democracy" as it was subsequently defined and practiced in more recent times. He also says that he will differentiate between this concept of democracy and those proposed by [often] non-Western scholars who insist that democracy was not limited to Ancient Greece and Western Europe.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Leftover Factoids From My Covidiot Safari

 

Not much really. In my last post I neglected to mention how the anti-masker/COVID-19 deniers referred to masks as "face diapers." Because ... well, it's pretty obvious why but it's also obvious that these people are revolting imbeciles.

Also, the main anti-masker I interacted with ... our conversation was interrupted by a woman who said she was a nurse working in an Edmonton hospital [I did a search of her name and found her contribution to an online Alberta nurse's newsletter from 2014 and a couple of other pieces of evidence] who said that there very much WAS a crisis in urban Albertan hospitals. (She also said that nurses spoke with each other all the time and that nurses in remote and/or rural areas spoke openly about unused ICU capacities at their locations. IOW she's aware that some places in Alberta are untouched by COVID.)]

The gregarious anti-masker contemptuously told her to continue to wear her masks then, like a sheeple, and that taking the [Bill Gates poison] vaccine would make her even more "safe."

The Alberta nurse said words to the effect of: "You've already made up your mind and talking to you appears to be a waste of time." And left.

Which is further evidence of the utter debasement of these assholes. 

It would be nice if the the mainstream media could act as a gatekeeper against raw stupidity. But Canada's mainstream media almost uniformly endorsed the murderously stupid and murderously evil stephen harper in the last election that that rancid tub of shit ran in.


Hmmm. Can't see how to add a caption to an image in the new "Blogger."

Saturday, May 8, 2021

My Time Among the Anti-Maskers

 

As the third wave of the Corona virus pandemic really started to take off, with basically neo-liberal regimes at the provincial and federal levels (but, truth be told, t'was mostly the right-wing "conservative" governments that are mostly to blame) sending Canada's infection rate to that of the USA's, and with Toronto hospitals setting up tents in their parking lots to deal with emergency room overflow, I wondered how the anti-maskers/COVID-deniers could STILL be sticking to their guns.

It has long been a talking-point of mine that any oligarchy that could impose a hoax on the scale that the COVID-deniers seem to claim is happening would be an oligarchy that is simply too powerful to be resisted. And that furthermore, whether or not a bunch of shlubs decide to refuse to wear masks is going to be completely inconsequential to said oligarchies power and rule. This pandemic appears to have begun in China in late-2019. It has dominated government business (or should have dominated) since early2020. It's now the end of the first-quarter of 2021. The COVID-deniers call it a "plandemic." (So clever! Did you see what they did there?) Which is to say that the evil oligarchs have invented a health emergency out of whole cloth. (I'm not clear, and I don't care, whether these denialist shit-heads say that COVID-19 doesn't exist at all or whether they say that it does exist but is no more deadly than the ordinary annual influenza.) The World Health Organization and the USA's Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, working hand-in-glove with the world's giant pharmaceutical companies, and (for some reason) the Chinese government, have all implemented a propaganda campaign, a giant swindle, a fraud, a hoax, that there is a highly contagious virus with a mortality rate of between one percent and two percent.[Anyone who can't differentiate between getting 98% on a test in school and losing one out of every one-hundred people on the face of the earth to a virus probably won't be reading this blog] They have managed to get every government on the face of the earth and every sub-national government (states, provinces, regions, counties, cities, towns, villages) and every public health authority at all these levels (including hospitals) to play along with this hoax. For over a year. With only a few dissenters (mainly cranks and air-heads).

A genuine hoax requiring the complicity of literally MILLIONS of people would inevitably fall apart after a few months at most. (I'm assuming the oligarchy would supposedly impose threats of job losses or actual violence on whistle-blowers.) Imagine how fevered your brain must be (and full-time at that!) to believe in an oligarchic ruling class that could impose a deception of this scale for well over a year! Again, any ruling class that could do this would be far too powerful to resist. And refusing to wear a mask would have zero impact on their power. It's so stupid that it should go without saying. But a frighteningly large proportion of our fellow human beings are so fucking shit-headed that we have to have discussions like this.


Now, let's get some things out of the way right away. 1.) Capitalist oligarchs are mostly selfish psychopaths. 2.) Our governments serve power first and their people somewhere further down the list. 3.) Our governments and mainstream media lie all the fucking time.  4.) Scientists are occasionally corrupted and, more than occasionally, wrong about stuff and intolerant of dissent.  5.) Among capitalists, the owners of Big Pharma are among the greediest, corrupt and powerful. I think I've mentioned at least more than once that we leftist shlubs do share some of the concerns of right-wing shlubs, but that differences in brain wiring and other factors make genuine alliances between us unfeasible.

Are the police oppressive? Obviously they are. More and more, they're cold-blooded killers. Authoritarian goons, accountable to no one.

Is the system corrupt? Are our elites corrupt and evil and detrimental to our health? You bet they are.

So, what about these people? Aside from their murderous rampages, is there any way we could find some common ground with them?

No. First of all, us wimpy progressives believe that the best way to control the government is through firm application of the rule of law on corrupt elites. 

...

Oh yeah, ... organizing to make the government strictly adhere to their obligations on citizens' rights and the rule of law is going to control governments a lot better than putting on sixty pounds and strutting around with semi-automatic weapons while ignoring the police-state abuses of protesters and the poor and minorities ever will.

...

These idiots also disagree with us about the economy. They appear to believe in some mythical never-neverland, where small farmers and small business owners always make a comfortable living because evil governments and corporations don't exist to fleece them. And, decent, hard-working white people can always find a job because there aren't any coloured people with no self-respect who will work at any wage and drive down wages and cause unemployment for white people. In other words, total bullshit fantasy.

...

 Maybe it was their shared recognition with us that a police-state is forming around us and that they're actually fighting back (albeit in a psychotic, stupid fashion). But they're racist conspiracy theorists. There was never any serious belief on my part that they could be our allies.

...

Middle and working class racists and right-wingers who think they're being abused by corrupt elites but who take most of their frustrations out on the weakest in society, generally out of cowardice and/or laziness. Whereas progressives seek to make common cause with the weakest so as to raise everyone up.

In the end, it would be so much easier for us if our governments and media didn't lie so often at the behest of corrupt, amoral, anti-human psychopathic oligarchic overlords. Then, when confronted with their idiotic conspiracy theories [note: not all theories about conspiracies are idiotic] we wouldn't have to filter out reports from the New York Times, the Washington Post, or CNN or what-not because all those institutions are proven, admitted, shameless, serial liars.

Anyhow, the point is that these right-wing shlubs critiques have some claim to legitimacy but only partially. Whatever is obviously true about their views of the world is distorted by their fear-filled conservative brains and the subsequent racism and other distortions that flows from that.

Anyhoooooooo ..... I'm going to confess to having considered some of claims of the COVID-deniers as possibly valid early in the pandemic. Because governments and media lie. Because pharmaceutical companies' practices are often evil. Because a pandemic that makes mass protest supposedly dangerous is so convenient for an oligarchy that is increasingly losing its grip on the mass consciousness.  Is it possible that the lethality of the disease was being exaggerated in order to justify all sorts of elite machinations?

However, at the same time it struck me as bizarre that the oligarchy would create a crisis that exposed so many shortcomings in our society. (In Canada, the case of the abysmal conditions in our Long-Term Care facilities caused a major public relations black-eye to many elites and our whole society.) Furthermore I never gave a second of respect to the asinine claims of the anti-maskers about how masks made it easier for the oligarchy to snatch kids off the street to add to their supply of sexual abuse victims, or how masks suffocate you and make you go crazy, or how wearing a mask when the world's public health experts are saying there's a viral pandemic makes you part of the "sheeple." And, as the pandemic continued to rage and evidence of it became undeniable, I became more and more disgusted with the stupidity of the COVID-deniers and more aware of how they were the same old bunch of shit-head deniers of Global Heating, the same old deluded anti-Vaxxers, the same old worshippers of racist police forces.

So, with all of that out of the way, is my summary of my attempt at dialogue with some COVID-deniers on F-Zookerbooke. I was scrolling through my newsfeed when F-Zookerbooke told me that a "friend" of mine had said something on some page that I'd never heard about. Calling anti-maskers "kooks" or something or other. So I clicked on the story and found myself on a page dedicated to businesses defying COVID-19 regulations. My friend was very much in the minority. She was receiving all sorts of pushback from the regular denizens of this page, some quite detailed. I decided to communicate with them and find out exactly why they thought the way that they did.

I asked the woman who had been responding the most to my phaze-buk friend if she was suggesting (in April, 2021) that hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers (and everyone else in any relevant authority) the world over were propagating a hoax.

This woman told me that she wasn't "suggesting" it. She was "insisting" that this was the case. It's a "fact." She said that when she offered to volunteer at a hospital the workers laughed at her because there's no crisis. (Perhaps they laughed at her for other reasons. Assuming any of this happened outside of her imagination.) Healthcare workers are telling the truth on their fazebuck pages and other venues. And, in this woman's mind anyway, there are ZERO journalists prepared to go to the mat anywhere in the entire fucking world (except, perhaps, for outlets like Ezra Levant's "The Rebel" and other sources of total bullshit) to expose what would be the biggest scandal in the history of the world.

[This is the way these people think about everything. To hear them talk about anything, they are always this tiny band of freedom fighters surrounded by hordes of liberal traitors, communist terrorists, Islamic terrorists ... who could impose Sharia Law on North America in a heartbeat ... savage "rape-fugees," environmentalist terrorists, Stalinst imposers of "political correctness" who want to abolish Free Speech, ANTIFA terrorists dragging entire societies into anarchy, ... etc., etc., ... These people are always surrounded, always in danger, everything is always one step away from total disaster if they relax their "vigilance" for even a second. Again, this is all a symptom of the stronger "fight or flight" impulses of a conservative's larger amgydala. They can't help but be afraid all of the time. Or, more accurately, ... since these people often don't have genuine threats to their very existence, they are dimly ill at ease all the time. They believe that just beyond their personal communities of families and friends and co-workers, vague, powerful all-encompassing conspiracies are at work. As I said above, there is some truth to their fears. But when you're a right-wing shit-head who seriously proposes that First Nations terrorists, aided and abetted by Justin Trudeau, are seeking to usurp the Rule of Law and Parliamentary Democracy in Canada in order to turn the whole country over to Communist China, ... well, it goes without saying that you'll be acting like an idiot.]

I asked this woman about how the pandemic exposed the deplorable conditions in our Long-Term Care facilities. Was this black-eye to the private-sector parasites and their political servants all part of the hoax? Or wouldn't it be better to look at it as an unintended consequence of responding to a genuine pandemic health crisis. She chose not to answer me but instead babbled about my slavish obedience to wearing a "muzzle" (re: a cloth or paper mask) and how I was more interested in arguing than asking for information. [Poor woman. Only trying to inform. NEVER being confrontational!] It was all part of the Communist playbook for subversion. "Divide and Conquer." By asking her questions I was playing right into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.

I asked her how she seriously believed refusing to wear a mask could have any impact on a ruling class so powerful as to impose a GIGANTIC worldwide hoax. She asked me why anyone was wearing a mask in the first place. We never did before. [!] (I think that statement's stupidity speaks for itself.) Perhaps her rejection of masks is due to the Conspiracy's admission that "there's no asymptomatic spread." Obviously, this is false. But it shouldn't require any research to understand why that claim is also ridiculous. COVID-19 is a virus. It is spread by aerosols released from the nose and the mouth. If you have it, you have it. Regardless of whether you're showing symptoms. And if you have the virus, you will be breathing it out. How in the sweet name of fuck is the virus supposed to become inert just because the host doesn't show symptoms? How does it transform from being infectious to non-infectious just because the host (of which the virus knows nothing since it doesn't think and isn't even alive) shows no symptoms? Perhaps if your being asymptomatic is the result of having taken a relatively small viral load, it would be possible. But that's not going to be the case for everyone who is asymptomatic.

[Now, obviously, COVID-deniers will claim that "Snopes" is just another source for "FAKE NEWS." Along with most of the goddamned liberal-dominated mainstream media. And in that they have some claim to legitimacy. "Snopes" has shown itself to be unreliable in some areas. As is Wikipedia. As is most mainstream media. But they aren't all complete lies from start-to-finish. ONLY in the fevered mind of these conservative nutbars can there be a world where their embattled information sources are the only truth-tellers with everything else being lies, lies, lies. I'm no fan of the Globe & Mail. But I recognize the fact that they have good journalists who often provide good journalism. Relatedly, "Project Veritas" is a hacktacular partisan shit-show run by a scumbag. But when they published a video showing a CNN producer admitting that "Russiagate" was nothing but the network's shows were being ordered to fixate on it for political/partisan reasons, I wasn't going to discount this evidence because of the source. ]

The woman then began babbling about the "Great Reset" and listing off the names of villains (Klaus Schwab, Anthony Fauci, George Soros, Bill Gates and the Rothchilds) and spewing out all manner of theories (Bill Gates' concerns about over-population are evidence of his plans for deliberate mass-murder of tens of millions of people; Trudeau trying to get a seat on the UN Security Council as evidence of something - she could not say -; inflated death count statistics; "false positives" from PCR tests, and empty emergency rooms.) I noticed that this was this woman's main method of discussion. She'd get a question and ignore it except as a springboard to mention anywhere from three-to-five conspiracies, never bothering to reinforce anything she was saying with facts or arguments. 

The "Great Reset" is simply a title for the 2020 Davos Oligarch's Ball. A theme to re-package their usual high-level spit-balling about the future of international capitalism and humanity. As Naomi Klein wrote in The Intercept it's just a slurry of the usual neo-liberal rhetoric, the lip-service to the environment and "stakeholder capitalism." An attempt to put a human face on their pathological greed and narcissm.  Perhaps these COVID-denying shitheads see the grim spectre of Stalinist/Maoist totalitarian communism in these "globalists" schemes. But given the fact that they're totally incapable of explaining how capitalist billionaires and bankers are "communists" it's totally unimportant what they think, except for the hellish reality that we have to share a society with these hopeless fuck-ups.

The "false-positives" from PCR tests is yet another bone-headed, evidence-free bit of drivel. Just picture the arrogance of this woman (and all her yahoo comrades) who believe that all these lab workers are ignorant of the flaws in their daily work, and that if they'd only listen to some of her bullshit ranting the scales would fall from their eyes.

Bill Gates is an asshole. But he did not say he wanted to kill 10-15% of the world's population with vaccines. I took this up with my phazebuck disputant. I asked her why would Bill Gates insist that Oxford University apply for a patent for their Astra-Zeneca vaccine and produce it with a European phamraceutical manufacturer at a profit, thereby making it inaccessible to people in low-income countries if his goal is to kill as many people as possible? My debate participant eventually farted out how Gates (or products associated with him) was banned in many poor countries, because he's committed "genocide.") Which, you'll notice, doesn't really answer the question about why he'd make the vaccine inaccessible if he wants to commit mass-murder. For what it's worth here's a Reuters article dealing with many of the accusations against Gates. For my money it's too exculpatory, but whatevah.

Next I asked the general membership of this fasebuk group why was it that they didn't have ANY politicians on their side? Why did politicians like Trump, Bolsonaro, Johnson, Kenney, ... who seem to say that the virus is a hoax, always seem to be forced to concede to its reality? Why did Trump implement "Operation Warp Speed" to deliver a vaccine for a virus that was no more deadly than the flu? Why isn't Bolsonaro just forcing his critics to acknowledge the reality that the emergency wards are empty and that there is no health crisis? Why did Boris Johnson abandon his strategy of minimal lockdowns and the pursuit of "herd immunity" from most people contracting and surviving the virus? Why does Jason Kenney occasionally have to change his act from seeming to not care about people violating safety protocols to pleading with people to comply with them?

The first response came from a fella who said only that Kenney, having been to Bilderberg, was a "globalist plant." Which makes you wonder how out-and-out fascist a politician has to be to earn these people's trust.

The second responder brought up the Great Reset again. Also, "Agenda 21" and "Agenda 2030" and the New World Order. To repeat: The Great Reset is nothing but the usual Davos rhetoric. Which is to say that the world we inhabit (already controlled by the Davos crowd) won't look radically different were the Great Reset to be implemented in its entirety. Inequality would continue to increase. The destruction of the planet would continue. There would just be a few programs (probably voluntary so as not to offend the freedom and values of oligarchs who disagree) to salve the consciences of "woke" billionaires. What with the fact that EVERY politician is against them, and society itself, from health care workers, to climate scientists, to the education system, etc., is out to get them, ... these people are (as I've said above) a fearful lot. Of course, they have GOD on their side. So there IS that. And God has his own schedule. He's gonna save them. But at His own pace in His own Good Time. 

Anyway, I had to know that none of this is about our health. It's about the Chinese Communists, aided and abetted by Trudeau and the United Nations and the WTO, to TAKE OVER THE WORLD! This [other] woman works in health care. People arent' dying OF COVID. They've got co-morbidities and they're dying WITH COVID. Nothing out of the ordinary is happening. People go to the hospital for the flu and die of cancer or heart failure or whatever, all the fucking time, every fucking year.

I could go on but what's the point? I know that the world is round because I rode a bus up to Thunder Bay and saw the rain turn into snow as I got further north. More importantly, I saw that it took longer for the sun to set.  I know global warming is happening where I live because we always had snow on the ground at Christmas up until sometime in the late-1990s and now it's hit-or-miss. And I know that COVID-19 is real because my experience of previous flu seasons is that I don't get the vaccine and I don't get the flu and I don't hear of anyone else getting the flu. Whereas this year, I've met five people at work who got infected by COVID-19. And there's somebody else in my department who caught it, survived it (as 98% of people will do) but who hasn't returned from quarantine. And there's a guy in my old department who caught it and was hospitalized for it and who isn't coming back to work until the danger is totally passed because he apparently suffered greatly. And there's a guy in that same department whose brother (in the Old Country) died of it. And everyone in the factory heard that a woman on the assembly floor brought it back home and her father caught it and died from it.

Plus, I am not an insane, gibbering idiot who believes that a hoax like this can be perpetrated all across the planet at every level of government, by literally millions of people, with nobody being able to expoe it. These people's claims of working in healthcare and knowing there's no crisis are pathetic, stupid lies. Because these people are pathetic and stupid liars. They read shit and it turns their stupid brains into shit. EVERYTHING is a threat to their WAY OF LIFE. And their "way of life" is to work at their stupid jobs and to buy stupid shit and to go to their stupid churches and believe their stupid crap and eat the usual foods and barbeque their meat and to basically do things the same way they've been doing for decades and they're so goddamned terrified all the time that even non-binding UN resolutions to tone-down some of our most damaging behaviour to the eco-system causes these idiots to see themselves wearing rags behind barbed-wire fences in a Stalinist gulag.

Because they're stupid idiots.



Sunday, May 2, 2021

Biden's Bull-Shitting

 

What with Canada's dismal failure on the COVID-19 front, I'd ordinarily be loath to discuss US-American stuff. However, I've been working on a long post about our COVIDIOTS and the damage they are doing. It's taking a while. And, so, what I'm basically saying is that this post about US-American stuff isn't a sign that I'm being a typical complacent, self-satisfied Canadian, ignoring my own country's ills to focus on foreign shit.

Joe Biden is a career politician who (by his own admission) prostituted himself out to oligarchs. He was an advocate of cutting medicare and Social Security. He was an opponent of school integration. He's always been pro-imperialism. He was the architect of the racist crime bill and he also wrote the precursor to the Anti-Terrorism Act. He's routinely subsidized and supported by powerful corporate criminals who bidding he does. This has allowed him to win election after election despite being a dimbulb, pompous ass in love with the sound of his own voice and his delusions of intelligence.

There's been some praise for this shit-head, stammering his way into full-blown Alzheimers, and his State of the Union Address. Biden gave lip-service to all sorts of progressive policies. But Ted Rall has the skinny:

No one, Biden least of all, expects Congress to approve his big infrastructure or education packages. Recalcitrant Republicans and reluctant red-state Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia will probably water the proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill down to virtual under-$1-trillion insignificance. The $1.8 trillion education proposal, which would be funded by a capital-gains tax increase the GOP hates, is an even more desperate Hail Mary pass.

These bills aren’t serious attempts to legislate. Bidenism is a series of rhetorical feints, window dressing, kabuki theater designed to fail, just like Biden’s half-hearted dead-on-arrival attempt to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Since the Senate parliamentarian ruled against attaching it to the stimulus package, increasing the minimum wage hasn’t been heard from again.

The president’s agenda isn’t really an FDR-scale new New Deal. His true goal is to silence his party’s restive progressive base with so much slobbering lip service they won’t know how to hate him.

So, Biden is just gaslighting you. Biden and his advisors have decided that progressives are so pathetic that they'll accept empty promises in lieu of legislative accomplishments.



Thursday, April 22, 2021

Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce's Miserable Fantasy

 


So, on a certain level, I understand where Doug Ford and his unqualified Education Minister Stephen Lecce were coming from in their policy decisions with regards to COVID-19 and Ontario's schools. Being anti-government sector ideologues, they simply didn't want to spend the money to provide extra space and extra teachers and improved ventilation and any of the other safeguards that a highly contagious airborne, respiratory virus that has a fatality rate of around 1.00% (as opposed to the less contagious annual flu's 0.01% fatality rate). 

They did not want to spend the money. I get that.

I also understand that they wanted to PRETEND that nothing bad would happen when kids went back to crowded classrooms, with closed windows. They wanted to believe that the virus somehow knows that a potential host is between the ages of 5 and 18 and therefore, somehow magically knows to leave that person completely alone. They wanted to believe that since young people's bodies are far more energetic on so many levels (and they are therefore most likely to present as asymptomatic) that this meant (to Ford and Lecce) that young people actually don't get the virus AT ALL!!!

So, they wanted to fantasize, pretend, hope, pray, rationalize, ... whatever, ... that nothing bad would happen when they put the kids back in the classrooms without any effective safeguards against COVID-19. I get that. Wishful thinking. I know what that is.

But here's the thing: I don't see how they couldn't anticipate the CONSEQUENCES of their stupidity. I don't see how anyone intelligent enough to know to wipe their asses after shitting (which I assume Ford and Lecce both are) wouldn't easily be able to move on to Step Three of this scenario. Which is that OF COURSE a lot of students would get infected with the virus, even if it didn't affect them. And that schools would become super-spreaders, where anyone older (as, say, many teachers) WOULD get sick and perhaps die. And that furthermore, young people who picked up the virus at school would go out into the world, on buses, or subways, or walking down crowded sidewalks, and they would take the virus into their homes to infect family members (some of whom would get sick and perhaps die) and that these family members would themselves take the virus out with them when they went to work or to the store.

That's how viruses work. That's what "going viral" literally means.

So yeah; I GET that you didn't want to spend the money. And I GET that you fantasized about how you could avoid spending the money and that things would be fine. But I don't get how, as functioning adults, you actually BELIEVED that you could get away with it!

Check this out: I don't have any appreciable talent or charisma but I wish I was a rich and famous Hollywood Superstar. I fantasize about travelling to Hollywood and getting "discovered" and being a rich and famous Hollywood Superstar. Now, unless I spend an excessive amount of time on this fantasy, it's a harmless pipedream. But were I to actually go to Hollywood and try to become a star I would have crossed the line into sheer stupidity and madness.

And that's what Ford and Lecce did. Because they're stupid assholes. Self-centred, lazy, stupid, ideological, confused fuckwits. I already know about Doug Ford's numerous complications. I really didn't know who Stephen Lecce was other than annoying. I went to his Wikipedia page and discovered that he caught the eye of stephen harper (as certain young men tend to do to that opponent of gay marriages) when he was the head of some "conservative" political club at his university. So harper hired him into his office and made him [I'm speculating] one of the "boys in short pants" who supervised MPs and Cabinet Ministers that used to be complained about. He's a bullshit Public Relations peddler and he worked for used-car salesman/Ontario MPP Al Paladini. Now he's in charge of education. And while I'm not the sort of person who demands that only certified experts are qualified to help manage public duties, I tend to be leery of conservative con-artists who hate public goods and who also hate worker-centered institutions such as trade unions, such as the ones that Ontario teachers belong to.

Ford and Lecce are murderously incompetent ideologues who should never have been elected to power. They have blood on their hands and they can eat shit and die.



Sunday, April 18, 2021

How "Workers as Citizens" Could Transform Society

 

I've been away because blogging is a waste of time. I should be on some newer platform, perhaps "Twitter" with its 140 [?] character limitations and potentially more addictive gratification response times. Or maybe I should be a YouTuber now? Speaking, instead of writing? Or maybe I should embarrass myself dancing on "TikTok"?

But that all sounds like a lot of work too. And whooz kidding whom?

So I've been thinking of posting shit about other topics; most recently Jason Kenney once again deciding that COVID-19 is a real thing. It is everything the health experts the world over have been saying it is, TWO WIT: It is a highly contagious virus that could kill 1% of the people who get it (which could be 100,000 to 300,000 Canadians for example) and which has been found to have long-term effects on many more people who survive it.

Jason Kenney has re-discovered these truths, and has, for the moment, broken with the right-wing, white supremacist led, "anti-mask" movement (as well as the desperate business owners being broken by our governments' half-assed responses, which prolong their misery while still making them responsible for paying their rents, mortgages, and taxes to the banks and the governments that the banks own. 

Now that his delusion and incompetence have produced a medical inferno in his province, the miserable shithead has decided to impose a lockdown. 

One really has to wonder about brains like Jason Kenney's. How does one simultaneously grasp that COVID-19 and its dangers are real, but at the same time, and being in charge of the province's policy-response to this healthcare crisis, try to pretend that it isn't real to placate nazis and restaurant owners?

Anyhow, ... I got that off my chest. 

[Real-time update: A few hours after writing that I read this post from Owen Gray at "Northern Reflections" that partially explains Kenney's behaviour. It seems many members of his own caucus are brain-dead denialists. They don't see why they should have to do what people in more populated areas have to do. But as commenator "Cap" says: 

These rural folks still don't get it. Putting additional restrictions on high-Covid urban areas causes city folk to seek services in rural areas. This brings Covid into areas ill-equipped with hospitals able to deal with it.

So you have two choices. Either you accept additional restrictions everywhere or you enforce travel restrictions between urban and rural areas. Either way, beating Covid means accepting personal inconvenience for the greater good.

Cap]

(Please note: "Cap" lost both his parents to COVID-19 so he has every right to bring the hammer down as hard as he does.)

There's a lot more criticism of all sorts of things I feel I could write about. Criticisms ....

BUTT!!! I don't just want to blog my negativity! I want to offer positivie proposals to try to get humanity out of the many messes we find ourselves in. Hence my occasional posts about "Workers as Citizens" lately.

So now I think I'll indulge myself in a counter-historical pipe-dream wherein I was hugely influential in the 1990s and "WaC" became an actual THING on the Canadian Left in the early naughts.  

Now here's the thing: It is vitally important that we take cognizance of the enormity of the task before us. Some Leftist writers have had DECADES in which they could have articulated how to respond to the overarching power realities in capitalist society so as to make the majority's (the majority being sane after all) thoughts on the environment and human rights and war versus peace and economic justice be reflected in a process that is supposedly democratic. AND THEY HAVEN'T DONE IT!!!!.

Sneering fuck-face Jeffrey Saint-Klare of Kownter-Paunch has no mass-movement behind him. He's been an "activist" for decades. He has nothing to show for it except for a website that appears to have the same business model as the Huffington Post, ie., writers contribute for free and every year or so the website circulates the hat for contributions so that Jeffrey can keep his house and buy new books. (Unless he gets them for free like his website's "content" contributions.)

So, let's imagine that in the year 1999, instead of getting fired-up about describing the latest outrages and proposing an afternoon of peacefully milling about carrying placards, the Canadian Left thought about getting the general public hep to the idea of workers having a say in the running of their workplaces! In the case of small workplaces, like, say an independent retail establishment, their voice would be relatively less powerful than would be the case in a larger workplace with hundreds, or even thousands of workers and a proportionately smaller administrative and owner population.

In a store, it would be the owner's name on the bank loan and on the rental agreement with the landlord. But the employees would SEE these agreements. They would KNOW how much has to go to these costs. Also, I know for a goddamned FACT that most Canadians are reasonable people. The store is the boss's baby. The owner PROBABLY puts in more hours than any of them. (I also know for a fact that there are spoiled rich kids who open a store or a restaurant or whatever and who do shit and are only sustained by employees trying to keep the damned thing going so as to stay employed.)

Are we to believe that in a workplace with one owner and five employees, that all five of them would be lazy, parasitical leeches? More likely the majority of the workers would be decent, sane people who realize that their paycheques rely on the sustainability of the workplace. And they would align with the owner against any employee who, out of insane levels of stupidity or entitlement, acted so as to endanger the future of the enterprise.


But the main thing is that most of what we currently produce as a society is unnecessary. Our societies depend upon unsustainable levels of consumption. We depend upon the eternal production of world-busting garbage that people don't need and which does not provide lasting happiness. A sane world is going to be one wherein such nonsense has been shut-down. And that is going to require STATES with the VAST RESOURCES to subsidize the wages of people in discontinued industries and to build the infrastructure to direct human talents and ambitions to more sustainable pursuits.

So WHAT has the Left proposed about this obvious requirement? Perhaps there's something. But I just haven't heard of it. I especially haven't heard anything coherent about how to get from here to there. If you know of anything that I've missed that spells this out, please, by all means, inform me of it in the comments.


But no state bureaucracy could figure this out. This is where I agree with all the pro-capitalist, "free market" political-economy that I've read over the years. All the Milton Friedman stuff about the brilliant efficiency of the price system.  Friedman's problem is that he was an ideologue. He had his face buried so deep in capitalists' assholes that he thought that "externalities" were unimportant and that "demand" wasn't just "effective demand" but actually the critical needs of the whole human race. His sadly diminished view of reality is no way for humanity to reconcile itself with the very real limits of our planet's life-sustaining capabilities. 

Imagine that it's 2010. Not only has the very sane, defendable, easy-to-wrap-your-head-around idea of workplace democracy,  .... WHEN PURSUED SERIOUSLY AND WITH INTENT by the Left has not only taken hold in Canada, but as a philosophy it has also galvanized leftists the world over. EVERY SINGLE workplace in Canada has people thinking about how to transform their workplaces into either producing environmentally-sustainable and necessary for human well-being stuff, or they're focusing on other ways that the capital of their enterprises could be directed into more sustainable directions.

Regardless: There is no "capital strike" as democratic governments sought to seriously address the reality of global warming, global poverty, and all the other ills. 

Look, I'm a student of economic history. I recognize the contribution of technology to have created a world where ... LOOK! I think that the musings of comfortable Western academics about the abundance of hunter-gather societies are based on fantasy. Certainly some areas of the world had worked out arrangements to share limited resources. At the moment I'm thinking of the Arctic. I'm of the impression that the Inuit had a balance of survival so precarious that they had zero interest in conquering nearby communities. To what purpose??? To kill or enslave the inhabitants in order to build another community with just as small a margin for survival? How long before that colony was placed in a state where they felt the need to kill some other community (including that of their forefathers) to survive?

Look: If I'm wrong about the divine levels of bliss of hunter-gatherer societies; if they didn't come into conflict with neighbouring humans over scarce resources, if their populations weren't kept in check by occasional famines or by the limits on populations caused by scarce resources, ... then I'll concede to more informed analysis.

But, regardless, we are now at the place where we are now at. I believe that life was often precarious. Sometimes (often times) "nasty, brutish and short." And technology, spurred by freedom of enquiry and shit-loads of stuff I can't get into here, but also including the [hint: MARXISM COMING UP!] superior ability of hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, of early capitalists to direct society's resources better than inbred, thuggish, arrogant, mafia-type "aristocrats" descended from brutish warrior families.

Capitalists exaggerate their contribution to the advancements of human capabilities under their dominance. But they had some part to play in it. At the price of untold millions of lifes destroyed by actual enslavement (which had also been a feature of earlier societies) and de facto enslavement of lives of drudgery under below-poverty wages. Capitalism is an inhuman system celebrated today only by shit-heads.

Look: "Workers as Citizens" would direct the genius of all of humanity into finding more productive, sustainable directions for their workplaces AND it would destroy the power of capitalists to impede the work of DEMOCRATIC governments to realign their countries' resources to more sustainable pursuits.

I'm too drunk to continue ...


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Oligarchs vs. "Workers as Citizens"

 


In my last post I made some noise about how we leftists have to propose a revolution, because one does not simply "reform" a system dominated by amoral, vicious psychopaths. We cannot petition or shame amoral, murderous psychopaths into better behaviour. The goal has to be to remove power from their hands.

But then, for my "revolutionary" strategy, I advocate for a constitutional amendment extending citizenship rights to workers within their workplaces. (Very quickly: Just as a Canadian citizen cannot be exiled from Canada, neither can a worker/citizen be involutarily expelled from their workplace. Just as our various levels of government have to provide open, public access to their budgets/spending, so too will workers have the right to inspect their workplaces' finances. Just as a Canadian citizen has the right for free speech and to advocate for their preferred policies, so too should worker/citizens have free speech rights within their workplaces and to propose policies [including changes to what the workplace makes and how it makes them]. You get the idea.)

Now, some of you might be asking just how the hell I imagine that murderous, amoral psychopaths will ever permit a political party to come to power and amend the constitution so as to nullify the control enjoyed by those same psychopaths. How can I, on the one hand, talk about brutal realities/harsh truths and then contradict myself by thinking we can peacefully take away their power through the electoral/legislative/constitutional process?


First of all; What are our options? Again, we aren't going to change things by remaining powerless supplicants peacefully demonstrating and petitioning our masters for better treatment. Telling them that they can remain in charge but they have to act more nicely towards us. Look at the level of callousness and indifference with which the US ruling class is subjecting their own people during this pandemic. Perhaps at some level, the mental insects like Joseph Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, etc., might honestly believe in what they're doing (Pelosi's wounded blathering to Wolf Blitzer about how her party is feeding the poor when they're doing anything but, for example.) Or a moronic psychopath like Donald Trump who is able to simultaneously believe the pandemic is a hoax, a Chinese attack on him personally, and a very real danger (as he confessed to Bob Woodward).  But I can't imagine that anyone who can tie their shoes and remember how to get to the bathroom isn't also aware of the death-toll of for-profit healthcare; the hypocrisy of murderous starvation sanction on Venezuela's socialist government while murderous dictatorships in nearby Colombia and Honduras get showered with financial and military aid. Barack Obama knew what he was doing when he ran cover for Wall Street in 2008, up to and including their brazen criminality of falsely claiming ownership of mortgages of properties that they then foreclosed on. 

However deluded and stupid these people might be, they're not so divorced from reality so as to be unaware of the sufferings they are causing. They might deny it (which is easy to do since they live in social bubbles of similarly afflicted assholes) but denial is a 24-7 thing. It's impossible to maintain such a front full-time. They know what they're doing. 

Crystia Freeland knows what the governments of Colombia and Honduras and Brazil are doing when she aligns herself with them to attack Venezuela. Our politicians know what they're doing when they protect our mining industry from criticisms and any sort of legal consequences for their atrocities overseas. Justin Trudeau knows the danger of global warming and he knows what he's doing when he stops talking with David Suzuki about it upon gaining power. 

These people, and the capitalist oligarchs they serve, are monsters. And they are aware of how monstrous they are.  No sane civilization can be built while leaving them in charge. We need to take their power away.


But how do we do that? Surely not by dressing up in black and throwing rocks through windows! Forget about the tiny, anarchist and communist super-radical population, ... not even "progressives" in all their diverse glory have the numbers to win pitched battles against the police and the other enforcement arms of the oligarchic state. I do believe that physical violence against a regime of murderous, brutal greedheads is justified. But I also believe that violence dehumanizes people and that it can either spiral out of control or produce crackdowns that neuter the limited avenues of organizing and protest that we now have.  Plus, if you simply look at the array of tools of violence enjoyed by the state against anything that "the people" currently have, you will see the balance tips very much in the favour of the oligarchy.  I am not a pacifist and I believe that the best situation should be a society wherein the citizenry doesn't immediately recoil in disgust at the idea of physical retribution at some particularly heinous, egregious, blatant, brazen, example of elite malfeasance. You know, cops who brutalize people should fear retribution, and society should acknowledge the validity of such retribution when the legal system fails, time and time again, to hold them accountable. Politicians who deliberately impose policies that get people killed should fear walking around in public without security and society should be in support of that situation. The current state of affairs where some mass-murdering piece of shit gets red paint thrown on them and even progressive critics of that piece-of-shit's policies run to the fainting couch is ludicrous.

But the idea of a violent revolution seems to me to be a non-starter. 

I rather think that it has to go this way: In his book Radical Transformation, Kevin MacKay takes issue with the "Deep Green Resistance" who believe that radical sabotuers, destroying the industrialized world's infrastructure will develop a fan-base among the general population who will support them. MacKay argues that it's the other way around:

Violent radicals don't appear and generate a mass of non-violent supporters. MacKay says that what tends to happen is that a critical mass of people find a situation intolerable, coalesce to for a peaceful resistance/protest/reform movement, and then, when the powers-that-be reveal themselves as unwilling to concede to the barest of concessions, this radicalizes many among the membership. When the forces of the state resort to violent suppression of the movement, even more people become radicalized and some eventually decide that only force can have any impact.

So, if I had had more persuasive abilities in the 1990's, the Left might have been advocating for the constitutional advancement of workers' rights within their workplaces in a big way in the year 2000.  (As opposed to whatever the hell grand project they've been working on instead that I've simply been too blind to notice.) If enough people and groups on the Left had been advocating for something positive, something that so totally shifts power away from capitalists and towards ordinary people, something that utilizes the Western, liberal values of democracy and human rights that so many North Americans and Europeans have internalized (I can't really speak for other cultures, though I'm sure they appreciate democracy and human rights. And my hesitation to extend liberal cultural hegemony to other cultures is simply because I'm not sure if there really is a more collective ethos in them.) 

Over five or ten years (bringing us to 2010) there are grassroots movements for workplace democracy and political parties advocating for it. (In all honesty, the most that I can tell that the left has been doing in the thirty-years under discussion has been to yearn for a return to the postwar Keynesian compromise, plead for recognition of various ecological crises, and make advances in the areas of identity politics [sometimes on only a very superficial level].) At some point, ordinary people (perhaps Royal Bank of Canada employees being forced to train their foreign replacements, or WalMart workers being told to punch-out and then come back on the floor for extra unpaid work, or Long-Term Care workers condemned to permanent part-time/no-benefits status seemingly forever) might start to think about how maybe having a legal right to a say in the way their workplaces operate, without fear of being fired, is a good idea.

Call me crazy, but I can see this idea becoming popular with significant numbers of people. Let's say (for the sake of argument) that Canada's NDP was convinced of the viability of this strategy. The Conservatives would oppose it and in the most ham-fisted way possible. I wouldn't put it past those morons to blurt out that democracy just doesn't work. The Liberals would (as they tend to do with progressive causes) say they support it in principle, but that we have to move slowly, and try to neuter enthusiasm and smother the project in years of delays and betrayals. But make no mistake about it: The oligarchy would know this was a stake to their vampire heart and they would take off the gloves against the movement behind it.  And, of course, while they were doing this, they would have been continuing to destroy the environment and engaging in their financial market criminal speculation that has required trillion-dollar taxpayer bail-outs every 5-10 years or so. 

How much more radicalized would the electorate be from the oligarchy's rejection of "Workers as Citizens" than the electorate appears to have been radicalized by the failure to restore Keynesian social policies? And, compare the appeal of a coherent, easily-understood, but sweeping, transformative policy like "Workers as Citizens" with the super-radical proposal of telling people to destroy the present system and then take a leap into the darkness in the hopes that Utopia is on the other side?

I think we would have had far more people on our side if someone, ANYONE on the left had been proposing ANYTHING as comprehensive as my plan in all the years since I first tried to interest others in it. 

Remember where we are folks! We've been screeching about the civilization-busting danger of global warming in a big way since the year 2000. And in 2021, we haven't made more than half a step away from our greenhouse gas emissions society and we're five years away from having lost all hope of preventing this calamity from becoming an inevitability. (If it isn't already.)

Somebody has to take responsibility for this absolute and utter failure.



Thursday, March 18, 2021

What Is To Be Done? 2021 Version

So, I've been busy, ... plus I've been plagued with a knotted muscle in my back on the left-hand side, halfway up (the place most impossible to reach) which makes sitting and typing excrutiating. And nobody listens to me anyway. All the paid, full-time moderates, and the paid super-radicals, and the unpaid activists and volunteers both "pragmatic" and "radical" are all too busy doing nothing, or doing the same things over and over that haven't produced anything in the past, to bother with a crackpot such as myself.

Before I forget (and it's relevant so ...) here's Vincent Emanuele from CounterPunch:

The inability to articulate a vision that has a serious connection to material reality or the forces that currently dominate and comprise our political, economic, cultural, and social institutions is a problem the anarcho and religious left has faced for at least as long as I’ve been engaged in political activism and organizing (fifteen years), if not for decades. Appeals to 'erode structures of oppression,' which sound pretty on paper, mean utterly nothing to organizers and working-class people who are strategizing on the ground. Further, calls to 'erode structures of power' fall into the same failed category of 'anti-politics' that the anarcho-left has peddled for years: constantly calling for 'dismantling' this, or 'abolishing' that, or 'resisting,' but never articulating a viable vision for the 7.8 billion people who live on this planet, never building, never winning — always on the defensive; hence, always focused on destruction.

God bless him! Oh. Before I forget, Ian Welsh provides some hard truths that self-described "revolutionaries" have to incorporate into their analysis if they ever want to be taken seriously:

So, get control of force and use it to control money/means of production; or get control of money/means of production and use it to create force. Obviously it’s really about some of both, but you use whichever one you have more of to get control over the other one. Wall Street bought DC so that it could have control over the police and courts, which is why Obama immunized them from their crimes and bailed them out; including really raw and obvious crimes like illegally signing a document saying the bank owned someone else’s house. Absolute fraud and straight robbery: that’s what Obama made go away for the financial industry.

Some of those people who had their houses stolen, in a society with less police and military and nasty prisons might have taken retribution and recompense into their own hands, but in America, well, no, that’s really not possible. Might get retribution, but then the cops will imprison or kill you, which they didn’t do to the men who stole your house and probably your job, car and future.

...

And that, my friends, is where we are now. There will be no significant downward redistribution until elites either lose control of the violent apparatus or genuinely think they are about to, or can’t win their side of an oncoming revolution.

So, what do we want? Reform or Revolution? If you say "reform" then you're wasting everybody's time. Do you want to reform a system that is ruled by capitalist/imperialist oligarchs? Is the future of humanity supposed to be the vast majority asking for more crumbs from the table until systemic contradictions destroy the ecological base upon which we all rely? 

No. It has to be Revolution. It has to be a genuine, radical transformation of the balance of power in human society. For us leftists, this radical transformation must have as its end-point a system wherein power is dispersed amongst as many people as is practically possible. There are individuals AND societies. For instance, it would not do if each of us held the power of life or death over every other individual. As individuals we would want our personal right to life to be respected and defended by our societies. We would not like to live in a world where every individual has the right to burn tires in their backyard or to operate a backyard shambles.

To control anti-social, selfish, narcissistic, sociopathic, psychopathic individuals, we need a society. A society that upholds the rights of all the individuals within it. I realize that this sounds a little like Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan, but it's not the same thing. I do not believe that without a higher authority over us, that individual humans would all engage in "a war of all, against all." Relatedly, I don't believe that we need anything like the all-powerful leviathan that Hobbes envisioned. Because in the society that I'm picturing, no individuals or institutions will have the resources/abilities/power/authority to do things like create and spew toxins without regulations, oversight or consequences. Nobody will have the ability to absolutely crush anyone. No institution with large numbers of people will be able to do nefarious deeds confident in the inability of their employees to be kept in the dark or coerced into silence. There won't be police forces with the arrogance, authoritarian mindset, sense of entitlement, legal immunity, allegiance with oligarchs, to suppress ordinary people. There will be international bodies overseeing universal human rights and environmental standards. To the extent that things such as nation-states continue to exist, these will be mainly for things like guaranteeing national standards as used to be the case with the Canadian public health care system. Much more authority will be devolved to local levels where power can be more easily monitered and controlled.


I can hear my imaginary readers responding: "Fine thwap! But how is any of this supposed to come about?" Well, my devoted apparitions, I believe it needs to happen this way: We will need a mass movement to demand and then achieve the democratization of workplaces. And, while this is being done in individual instances, the mass movement must also push for workers' rights to democratic workplaces on a legal/constitutional basis. Yep. It's my "Workers as Citizens" hobbyhorse again. The idea I have advocated for since the 1990s, with exponentially less fervour every year since then up to the present day.


What else are we going to do? 

Could you leftists PLEASE acknowledge just what it is that we're up against? We are up against an oligarchy of murderous psychopaths. Okay? Companies like NestlĂ©'s which pushed infant forumla in poor countries with no thought to the myriad dangers of this campaign, and for decades, ... including over a decade after having signed an international code of conduct forbidding such practices, and the death toll of malnourished infants can be [very conservatively] estimated at thirty-million. And yet, these murderous vermin continue to operate in the open, selling their products, showing us their ads, taking their profits, year after year after year.

This isn't an aberrant lack of oversight. This is systemic. This level of murderousness is A FEATURE of captialism. Not a "flaw." (Obviously it is flawed behaviour in the eyes of sane human beings. But it is evidently approved behaviour in the moral calculus of capitalism.)

And that's just one food conglomerate. There's the weapons industries. The parastitic financial sector. There's racist, authoritarian, toxic cops. There's a whole system of brutal, power-mad, amoral, grasping, shameless psychopaths. 


Public healthcare systems are one of the greatest life-savers in modern societies. They've proven their cost-effectiveness AND moral superiority to for-profit, individualized, private healthcare delivery systems for decades. So of course, the powerful US oligarchy resists it. And of course, bloated psychopaths like Doug Ford, stephen harper, Jason Kenney, ad nauseum, are seeking to destroy it here in Canada. Why would they want to do that? Who knows from out of the variety of influences upon these shrivelled souls and contemptible morons? Perhaps they're deluded ignoramuses who vaguely buy-into the lies of the private insurance providers and for profit medical community. Perhaps they appreciate the donations to their political parties from these for-profit parasites. Perhaps they think public healthcare services are wasted on poor people who should just die. Who knows? Who cares? It's enough that they want to bankrupt and kill so many of us that we should fight to remove them from power.


At the end of the day, we need to have a revolution to take power out of the hands of such people. We have to come up with systems of governance that bring power down to the community level while still maintaining national or international authorities to guarantee equality and human rights across countries and the planet. The details of this have probably been written about before, and are being discussed and studied today. But it's all academic if we never try to implement the revolution that's necessary to make them a reality.

And make no mistake about it. The oligarchs and their bullying enforcers will resist. Our societies barf-up the most selfish, scheming, amoral, calculating, and shameless among us to rise to the top. They will use all their claws and fangs and lies (propaganda) to defend their positions. The idea that we can petition them to change, or shame them to renounce their ways is the most deluded stupidity. 

Are we then to have a violent revolution? "To the barricades comrades!!!" What barricades? What weapons do we have? What weapons do they have?  Is there to be a General Strike? Perhaps. Waves of rotating strikes. Consumer boycotts. Closing down of bank accounts and the formation of more democratic credit unions? 

The main thing is that we need to have a coherent goal, convince people of its virtues and articulate a coherent, valid strategy for getting there. "Workers as Citizens" obviously utlizes extra-parliamentary activism, but sees as crucial the use of existing political systems to create its legality. (At the very least, denying a democratically arrived-at, legitimate policy will serve to discredit the oligarchy and thereby radicalize the bulk of the population that supports it.)

After its implementation, ordinary, non-radical, workaday people won't have to notice some sweeping transformation of their lives. They can naturally, organically transform their workplaces as local circumstances permit or demand. And this includes the transformation of the economy necessary to ATTEMPT to mitigate global heating. This will also require states that have the resources to assist with the dramatic reductions in meat consumption, automobile use, plastics, useless consumer goods, airlines, etc., etc., ... Some people will be paid to stay home until beneficial work is found for them. Some workplaces will need to do massive re-tooling from wasteful consumerism to providing actual necessities. 

I've been tinkering with this blog post for a couple of weeks, in my spare time and I think I'll post it now, azzizz.




Friday, February 26, 2021

We Have Five Years: GO!!!!!

 

A few years ago experts began to say that we had ten years to radically transform, what should we call it, ... the international economy? human civilization? humanity? so as to avoid ecological collapse and the implosion of technological civilization. And, so far, we haven't done that. We haven't begun to do that. Nightmarishly, as a collective, we haven't even begun to think about how to go about doing that. [After writing this post and putting in the pretty pictures I looked for a link to go with my "few years ago" statement. How time flies. That link is from 2007. Which coincides with how some experts say it's already too late.]

I've been thinking about blogging about Jason Kenney some more. Or Doug Ford. Because Lord knows that we Canadians have spent far too much time talking about everything Trump related and acting complacently about our own predicament because "At least we're not as bad as the USA." Then, a couple of days of reading about the broken promises of the contemptible Joe Biden, including last night's reporting that the senile imperialist bombed Syria, made me want to at least address the hideous reality that the US political system is entirely hopeless but so many US-Americans are still passionately invested in that stupid theatre.

But what would be the point? Yes. Things are bad. Our politicians are corrupt/scumbags/idiots/dotards/morons. Nothing new to see there. The USA's political-economic elites are world-threatening maniacs. Where do we look for rescue? Europe? A bunch of bickering neo-liberal automatons and boorish fascists? Russia? A fossil-fuels dependent authoritarian oligarchy? China? Anti-democratic, authoritarian technocracy? I suppose we could look to the many good examples in the Global South, not for rescue, but for inspiration. The achievements of Bolivarians in Venezuela at addressing education, housing, literacy and nutrition are undeniable. The achievements of pro-Indigenous people's parties in Bolivia and Ecuador are also praiseworthy.

We can look at certain policies from around the world, in Venezuela, Cuba, New Zealand, Bolivia, Sweden, Norway, Ecuador, and other places, for reality-based examples of the benefits of non, or anti-capitalist, majoritarian policies.

And then we should think about achieving them here, in Canada, A-N-D in the United States. Because the USA remains the world's most richest, powerful country, and anybody, anywhere else in the world, who can come up with intelligent strategies for defeating the insanely narcissistic oligarchs who are plundering it and deforming it, has a responsibility to speak up. 


So that is what I decided to blog about today. If we accept that we had ten years to transform the human world a few years ago, and we've done effectively nothing since then, I think it imperative that we focus our minds on how we could conceivably transform the world within FIVE years. If you blog, spend half your time blogging about achieving this. If you read for research, research more about specific strategies for changing the world. All the time you spend critiquing capitalism and complaining on PHazeBock, take half of it to think about what seriously needs to be done to have the world on a sustainable projectory WITHIN five years. 

Don't engage in meaningless generalities about "raising awareness" until a "critical mass" is reached, whereupon "something" will magically happen. Don't waste everyone's time with drivel about taking some obviously corrupt, corporatist tool and "pushing them left." Don't self-delude yourself about a revolutionary tidal wave that is just about to happen.

I have my own ideas and I'll write about them in my next post.