Sunday, August 14, 2022

Jordan Peterson Deep Dive

 Cody the News Guy at "Some More News" briefly looks at the topic of Jordan Peterson:



I don't know how Peterson still has any credibility as a self-help guru after he drove his own life into a ditch a few years back.  But he does.  He is still very influential.  Cody's short video provides a good portrait of the man himself and his style of argumentation and his way of looking at the world.

My takeway from it is that Peterson is a deeply insecure individual who NEEDS for the values of the world he grew up in to remain valid.  That world was patriarchal, Christian, heterosexual, capitalist, with a smattering of liberal-representative democracy.  It was also white supremacist.  And (as the video shows beyond a shadow of a doubt) Peterson is more than happy to quote drivel from nazi-adjacent "thinkers" to "prove" that a certain percentage of the population might be completely irredeemable and useless.  (He leaves it to his readers/listeners to ponder what the skin colour of those "useless eaters" might be.)

Now, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Peterson wasn't/isn't a bad looking guy.  He's also relatively tall (1.85 m).  These attributes, combined with a brain that works quickly at the task of inventing nonsensical arguments, have given him the self-confidence to rise above his squeaky voice and emotional fragility, and become a semi-charismatic bullshit artist.  He is a guru for a racist-conservative philosophy which he cloaks under a veneer of pseudo-scientific mysticism to appear as reasonable.

[Among several painful, cringe-worthy, infuriating segments, there's one part where Peterson angrily denies a nervous male university student's assertion that he (Peterson) defends the hierarchies he is always defending and celebrating.  The young man is unnerved by Peterson's yelling and gives up his point.  At a panel discussion on a British television show, Peterson's self-righteous indignation is less effective when a woman points out that women are not well represented in most Western representative democracies.  In response to her Peterson whines about being insulted and then starts yammering about how maybe she won't be happy unless 51% of bricklayers are female.  To which the woman smiles sadly to herself about the idiot she's sitting beside.]

Which all gets back to Peterson's emotional fragility.  I don't think he's aware that he's actually a con-man.  I think he genuinely believes in the white, patriarchal, capitalist, conservative worldview he proselytizes for.  When he smooshes together truthy-sounding arguments based on pseudo-facts and wishful thinking, he believes he's doing the Lord's work.  He probably truely believes that civilization will fall apart if father-led nuclear families believing in sky-gods who want us all to work hard and get rich are at all challenged.  His tears for the desperate young men who likewise need their fantasies upheld and for his own crumbling under the pressures of defending a world under attack from pink-haired feminist social-justice warriors are genuine.  As was his total nervous breakdown a few years back.

This is how a guy can write a book called Twelve Rules For Life, have a nervous breakdown and then come out with yet another book with supposedly more rules for life (the majority of all these rules being banalities) and then get a paying gig with racist, babbling speed-talker Ben Shapiro.

Don't get me wrong.  There's stupidity aplenty across the whole political spectrum.  But right-wing ideas, the thinkers of those ideas, and the swallowers of those ideas, enjoy the lion's share of the total quantity of stupidity in the universe.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Escape the Binary

 


Some musings from the day:

The Liberal Party leadership are merely more intelligent overseers of the same capitalist system as the Conservative Party's. As such, they serve Fossil Fuels, Bay Street, Big Telecom and other capitalist scum.

But grifters like Ezra Levant (who is supported/protected by elements from within the same capitalist elite) keeps his shit-for-brains fans infuriated with Trudeau and the Liberals.

It seems to me that the more extremist and frightening the right-wing base becomes, the more some people seem to think it necessary to coalesce around the Liberals (or in the USA, the Democrats) despite the Liberals (or Democrats) being just as responsible for the growing desperation of the populace.

And:

The first thing to do is to make all future plans with neither the Republicans or the Democrats.

It also supported a pro-Trump/Jan. 6th challenger to a Republican incumbent whom they had only recently praised for voting to impeach Trump for instigating that riot. (The thinking is that the pro-Trump candidate will be easier for the Democrats to beat in the actual election. The same way they promoted Trump over other candidates, believing Hillary would have an easier time crushing him.)

There.

Monday, August 1, 2022

The Catholic Church and the $30 Million

 


Big surprise that the mobbed-up gang of pedophiles and pedophile enablers/accessories after the fact is sleazing out on their obligations to provide even token compensation for the horrors they inflicted on First Nations children and their familes. (National Observer)  The Catholic Church pinky-swore to raise $30 million in compensation to the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement but has so far failed to raise even 1/6th that amount.  (At the same time it was able to raise four times that amount to renovate a Catholic Church in Toronto.)  This is racist arrogance, pure and simple.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

The Anti-Mask, COVID-denying, Anti-Vaxxers Parades & Rallies

 


Yesterday I was out near Yonge and St. Clair and a large caravan of "FREEDOM!!!!" idiots were driving south, blaring their horns, waving their Canadian flags, with a lot of them also flying the flag of the Netherlands.  I didn't recognize the flag and asked the driver of a pickup truck stopped at a red light what it was.  I asked him why they were all flying that flag and he asked if I hadn't heard about the protests there.  I said no.  He told me to get on YouTube.  The third most popular flag was "Fuck Trudeau."

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Beating Some Dead Horses

 

So much stuff happens and it's awful and then we just move on to the next atrocity and we don't seem to remember anything.  Some people (gawd blessum!) appear to be born anew every day.  There's nothing to learn from the past because they hardly remember the past.  [That link doesn't actually validate the point I was trying to make.  But fuck it.  It's interesting and I'm leaving it in.]

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

National Citizens Conferences Part V

 


This CounterPunch article from Patrick Mazza says what I've been fumbling towards: "Ditch the Constitution and Start Over: When a Government Becomes Destructive of the Rights of the People":

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for a people to dissolve a political system grounded on the rule of minorities over majorities, and to assume the powers of democratic self-government to which common sense says they are entitled, a decent respect for the opinions of humanity requires that they should declare why.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights, among these life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  That to protect these rights, we institute governments that derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government.

Paraphrasing those words of the Declaration of Independence, they seem uniquely fitting in a week just preceding the anniversary of their adoption 246 years ago. A week when the Supreme Court of the United States limited the power of the Environmental Protection Administration to regulate carbon dioxide pollution from power plants. The ruling in West Virginia v. EPA has many technical ins and outs that do not bar this power entirely. But it shifts critical carbon-reducing decisions to a Congress that has so far failed to act on climate. Thus, in practical effect, the court has become destructive of rights. It has undermined a vital protection for the life of people across a nation and planet already suffering and dying from a disrupted climate.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

National Citizens Conferences Part IV

 

Fascists and shit-libs!  What the fuck does any of this crap have to do with "National Citizens Conferences"?!?

My point is that fascists aren't visitors from outer-space.  They're often ordinary people with deep mental and emotional problems.  But, more importantly, ... not everyone who votes for a fascistic politician (like, say, Donald J. Trump) is a dyed-in-the-wool fascist.  Unlike CounterPunch's Paul Street I do not believe that the 70 million people who voted for Trump should be entirely written off.   As I've been saying throughout this series, fascism only comes to the fore during times of great economic distress, when extremist solutions start to look appealing in the face of the status-quo's failure.  And, furthermore, oligarchs support the rise of fascism because fascism appeals to many conservative values.  It's convenient for them too at first.  Fascists/conservatives call for "law and order" by which they mean the control of the poor and racialized minorities.  But the creation of a police state serves to make it easier to suppress everyone.  (Genuine fascists in Germany and Italy were able to avoid the worst aspects of the police state by becoming party members and functionaries who could wield some of this policing power themselves.)

Saturday, July 2, 2022

National Citizens Conferences Part III

 


Posts one and two talked about the fascist mindset; how it's always around; and how harsh economic conditions makes it more influential among the sort of people susceptible to it.  (Some people are more enthusiastic than others.  A few Canadians might genuinely believe that Jewish overlords are trying to swamp "old-stock" citizens with swarthy immigrant hordes.  Considerably more Canadians revere the Canadian Armed Forces and might support a political party that espouses brazen militarism.)

Friday, July 1, 2022

breaking news - The People's Right To Go Ape-Shit

 

The world is probably scratching its collective head wondering A) Why my last two posts about National Citizens Conferences (I, II) are about fascist numbskulls & B) Why this post isn't a continuation of that topic when I said at the time that my next post would be:

Next post I'll talk about how the Shit-libs cluelessly insist on poking these people and getting them angry.

So the world's collective voice box says "Thwap, what gives???"

The answer to that question my friends is that I feel the need to comment on recent Supreme Court of the United States ("SCOTUS") ruling against women's reproductive freedom.  And to discuss my response to that I'd like to go back to the year 2013 and link to a post I wrote as a response to the Repugnican-controlled Texas legislature's abuse of process to nullify Senator Wendy Davis's filibuster of their anti-abortion bill. (I didn't actually discuss Davis's filibuster in my first post.  I wrote about other conservative and neo-liberal abominations and our overall failure to resist them.  It was only in my second post that it was the events in Texas (and, specifically, the physical abuse by the Texas Legislature security of Davis's mostly female supporters when they shouted in anger at how Davis's filibuster was being knee-capped by the Republican speaker) that inspired me:

I wrote this 2013 post as a reply to a comment saying that fear of police violence was a factor in people's reluctance to defend democracy. I was also, at the time, inspired by my anger at the treatment of protesters during Wendy Davis's filibuster of an anti-choice bill in the Texas State Legislature a couple of months before. I recalled seeing footage of goons from some Texas police force (state troopers or legislative security of some sort) roughly dragging away (mostly female) protesters when they shouted in anger at the way Davis's filibuster was being illegitimately attacked in bogus rulings from the Speaker of the House.

The anti-choice Repugnicans were inventing tricks not in the book to try to stop this legitimate use of a parliamentary tactic. Okay? Do we understand this? If you play by the rules to try to defend your rights, and your opponents break the rules to try to stop you, and use their power unfairly to impose their rule-breaking, they have renounced their claims to authority. They have no right to expect compliance under a system of laws, because they have violated the laws. And when citizens see their rights being attacked, and that this attack is being imposed illegally, they have a right to voice their protest.

Spectators in the galleries of parliaments and legislatures are not supposed to scream and shout at the representatives. This is because in large territories like Texas (or Ontario, or Canada) people who happen to live near the legislature shouldn't have the right to influence (or bully) the representatives of people who live far away. I understand this. But by the same token, when a highly divisive piece of legislation is being advanced, and representatives of people on one side of that divide are trying to resist it with legitimate tactics and the numerically superior representatives resort to brazen abuses to get around this resistance, then all the claims to sanctity of the legislature have been rendered null and void.

It is in that spirit that I would like to say that the building of the right-wing majority on the SCOTUS and its empowering of all the anti-choice Repugnican state legislatures is an indictment of contemporary progressive political strategy and yet further evidence of the need to recognize the people's right to go ape-shit when their lives are under assault.

So, first of all, SCOTUS justices are nominated by presidents.  If the presidents aren't there legitimately it should follow that all their appointments are null and void.  Partisan Repug hacks and corporate media stooges aside it is well understood that bush II stole his first electoral victory.  Therefore bush II's appointments of John Roberts and Sam Alito were illegitimate.

Perjuring themselves during Senate Confirmation hearings is grounds for impeachment.  Among other things, the alcoholic rapist Kavanaugh said he considered pro-choice to be settled law as did Neil Gorsuch.  Therefore they lied.  Therefore they should be impeached.  (If you look this topic up on the internet you'll find many raving right-wing shit-heads blathering about how if Kavanaugh and Gorsuch were lying then so was Elena Kagan who said in her 2009 confirmation hearing "There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage." before going on in 2015 to establish the constitutional right to gay marriage.)  

A rather more mature version of this argument can be found here at Brookings.  It's not an unhinged rant but it comes to the same conclusion as the right-wing rants.  But this conclusion just doesn't hold water.  When Kagan spoke in 2009 the fact was that there was no federal legal right to same-sex marriage.  She helped to create one in 2015.  Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.  Kavanaugh and Gorsuch were speaking decades later about a precedent, saying that so far as they were concerned the issue was settled.  Kagan overturned no established rights in 2015.  Kavanaugh and Gorsuch just did in 2022.  They lied.  They should be impeached.  

It is clear that the Democrats are useless.  As Chairman of the Sentate Judiciary Committee, Biden helped arch-reactionary, self-loathing, right-wing pussball Clarence Thomas get confirmed by denigrating Anita Hill's testimony against him and forbidding other women from contributing corroborating testimony.  (Biden, after ensuring that the Senate did not hear this damning testimony, voted against Thomas's confirmation.  Eleven other Democratic senators voted to confirm him.  Given Biden's track record his "No" vote was most likely for theatrical purposes.  The same way his early career support for "Civil Rights" was mostly empty words and his real spending of political capital was to fight school integration.)

Biden still calls the stinking embodiment of corruption, Mitch McConnell a "friend" after McConnell's illegitimate styming of Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland because it was an election year and his subsequent shameless rushing through of Trump appointee Amy Coney Barrett in an election year.  By all rights Garland should be there and Barrett should not be.

The Democratic Party, the Biden Administration had a month to prepare for this ruling.  What strategy did they devise to counter it?  To once again fund-raise off of the terrorism of the Republicans and ask people to vote for their "lesser-evilism."  When Obama had a super-majority he did nothing, even though he said he would.

The system is against you, US progressives.  Going ape-shit is your only option at this point.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

National Citizens Conferences Part Two

 


Last post I mentioned one author who says that Trump's followers are fascists.  I then took some time to describe what 20th Century fascists believed in.  I pointed out that a lot of the fascist agenda was agreeable to "conservative" elites.  Fascism itself came to prominence as a result of the political-economic chaos in Italy and (moreso) Germany.  (Italian fascists were initially more excited about their country obtaining the extra territories they thought it was due for having fought on the winning side of World War I.  Italy had sacrificed 650,000 soldiers lives ... primarily due to the incompetence of its generals ... and fascists felt betrayed.)  Extreme times produce extremist political movements.  Germany would not have produced a Hitler were it not for the immense misery and dislocation caused by defeat in the war, a series of economic depressions and hyper-inflation, and the rise in socialism (that frightened many conservatives).

Saturday, June 25, 2022

National Citizens Conferences

 

Over 70-million US-Americans voted for Trump.  According to CounterPunch's Paul Street they are all hopeless fascists. (So far as I can tell it, Street's agenda is to write venom-filled journal entries about his country's downfall until his own mortal limitations kick in or civilization has completely collapsed around him.)  But what does it mean to be a "fascist"?  Fascism is a 20th-Century political movement that espoused national unity under an authoritarian dictator who is, himself, also the leader of a mass movement.  This mass movement represents the leader's hodge-podge of ideas with some of the most important being national greatness, racial purity, anti-socialism, anti-capitalism and anti-semitism and other forms of racism. [What's that you say?  "How can fascism be both anti-socialist and anti-capitalist?"  Hitler and Mussolini believed that industry had a part to play in building their societies.  They also believed people had some sorts of rights with regards to their individual property.  But they also believed that the free-market and capitalism were excessively individualistic and that capitalists had to be controlled for the benefit of the nation-state.  Industry and finance could be told what needed to be produced, their profits could be heavily taxed but for the most part there was no expropriation and the wealthy got to remain wealthy.  Think of it this way: Hitler really did sit down to breakfast with the newspaper and if he read about a criminal being convicted of something and he thought the sentence was too lenient he would call up the judge and tell him what the sentence should be and the judge would have to impose Hitler's decision.  It was the same thing with the economy.  Everything would trundle along as before, with the capitalists still in charge of their firms, but if Hitler wanted them to do something, then they would have to do it.]

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Biden Enlists Human Rights Champions Israel & Saudi Arabia to Fight Putin

 

This meme was probably made by a right-winger.  Perhaps the Democrats shouldn't make it so easy to mock them?

Just to hammer home the stupidity and the hypocrisy of all the shit-head liberals musing about their willingness to entertain nuclear war to stop Putin, ... Joe Biden, the senile corporate whore who stole the primary from Bernie Sanders, is going to Saudi Arabia to plead with Clown-Prince Bonesaw to increase oil production in order to lower fuel prices and thereby injure Putin's Russia.  You see, Putin must be stopped for his provoked invasion of the Ukraine.  So says the USA which illegally invaded Afghanistan and Iraq around twenty years ago and in Afghanistan until 2020 and which still has bases in Iraq.  The USA which also destroyed Libya and tried to destroy Syria through the use of Jihaadist mercenaries.

Joe Biden is so morally certain that Putin must be punished for his aggression and for his overall anti-democratic, authoritarian, corrupt ways that he is turning to an unelected monarch of a state that uses extremist religious obscurantism to deny the rights of the female half of its population; a state that still practices beheadings as well as the death penalty for "apostasy," blasphemy, homosexuality and a few more truly bizarre reasons.  A state that has been conducting a genocidal war of aggression on its impoverished neighbour Yemen, in which civilian infrastructure has been targeted, as well as civilians themselves either as target practice or through starvation as food imports are destroyed.

[That reminds me: Biden continues to keep monies stolen from Afghanistan where people were already starving before food prices started to soar because of the conflict in the Ukraine.]

Biden wants Saudi Arabia to pump out more oil because the disruptions caused by the Russian invasion and the subsequent self-defeating sanctions imposed by the USA's puppet-governments in the EU have raised the price of oil.  Biden wants more oil to be pumped out in any case because the demented dimwit doesn't really grasp that global warming is a reality.

Biden is also stopping over in Israel, the racist apartheid state that has been torturing the Palestinians and stealing their land for longer than I've been on this planet.  Israel which tortures and robs the Palestinians and occasionally subjects them to a mass slaughter. He has asked them not to murder any more American journalists or commit any other atrocities while he's there.  They can get right back to it after he leaves.

Because Biden (and the USA's ruling class in general) are amoral psycopathic assholes.

If Russia backed Hawaiian nationalists to stage a coup in Hawaii and they did and tried to give Russia the use of the Pearl Harbour naval base, ... what do you think the USA would do?

If Russia talked about getting Canada or Mexico to join a military alliance against the USA and flooded us with weapons and military trainers, ... what do you think the USA would do?

Since we KNOW that the USA would not surrender Pearl Harbour but would re-invade Hawaii; since we KNOW that the USA would destroy any Canadian or Mexican government that tried to join an alliance with Russia, we should dispense with the nonsense that the Biden administration didn't know what would happen, ... and that goes for all the US politicians and functionaries who have meddled in the Ukraine since at least 2014.

Biden's criminality, the bipartisan serial violations of international law, the USA's blood-soaked record in Latin America, its support for Israel's racist barbarism and its friendship with the disgusting House of Saud, ... all of this and more gives the lie to the morality of that country.  If you believe otherwise you are brainwashed and have nothing of value to contribute.

Friday, June 17, 2022

A Comprehensive Look At The Lead-Up To Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

 


This essay from "Rise Like Lions" might sound like Putin-apologetics but that would only be because you're brainwashed.  Everything said about the USA's foreign policy elite psychopaths seeking to weaken, or even destroy Russia is true.  The USA's oligarchic leadership seeks to achieve "Full Spectrum Dominance" against any and all rivals; these being at the moment Russia and China.

If you're brainwashed, you might say: "Well Russia is a corrupt, authoritarian hell-hole and China is an authoritarian, ecocidal, racist (anti-Tibetan/anti-Uyghur) hell-hole.  So what if the USA takes them down a couple of notches?"  But that viewpoint would ignore the corruption and violence of the USA's oligarchs with their prison-surveillance state, their denial of basic human rights to their own majority, their super-corruption and racism, their employment of death-squads to enforce their will in client-states.

I've said it before and I'll say it again; There is nothing to choose from between the USA's rulers and Russia's or China's rulers.  We need world-wide democracy and rooting for any of those teams is worse than a waste of time.  

And it is NOT "rootin' for Putin" to point out that Russia has been targeted by the USA.  Putin might behave like a reckless imperialist expansionist were Russia in a different space-time continuum that made Russia the enormously wealthy super-power and not the United States.  But such a different space-time continuum would have so many other differences that Putin might not have even been born in it.  It's useless speculation.  Russia does not have the wealth to behave the way that the USA behaves.  It's as simple as that.

NOTE:  I would have liked "Rise Like Lions" to have mentioned the precedent for recognizing Crimean and Donbas separatists of the USA's recognition of Kosovo's independence following an internal referendum.  (Something I doubt Canada or Spain would tolerate in the cases of Quebec or the Basques.) 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Sympathy For The Imperialists

 

Is it possible that our incompetent, amoral, psychopathic overlords continued to insist that they were "winning" in Afghanistan mainly because they wanted to believe that they were?  In the same way that progressives are forever celebrating their inconsequential and sometimes completely imaginary victories?  (You know, the "victories" here and there that culminate in the working class being worse off with each subsequent year?)

Maybe it ain't cynical propaganda.  Maybe the little darlings just can't take off their rose coloured glasses.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Andrew Nikiforuk Tries To Save Humanity

 


The Tyee has posted Andrew Nikiforuk's two-part essay about the very real energy crisis that is upon us and how we need to radically transform our societies to reduce our energy demands.

Nikiforuk starts off by saying how the recent surge in fuel prices, though given a big push by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is actually part of a long-term trend and that things are only going to get worse.  Remember "Peak Oil"?  The argument that we have passed the point where the most readily accessible fossil fuels are used up and it will be increasingly harder to find further sources.  The more difficult it is to find this energy the more expensive it will be.  We were spared the increase of fuel costs temporarily due to the fracking boom and the OPEC price war that was waged against it.  This price war inflicted a heavy toll on the fracking industry but I recall reading more than a few sources who said that fracking was nevery viable in the long-term.

This is very important because fossil fuels are still the major source of energy for our industrial societies.

Despite effusive rhetoric about an “energy transition,” fossil fuels still account for 79 per cent of all energy spending in the global economy.

Whenever the price of those fuels rises, so too does the cost of food, housing, clothing and transportation, renewables and electric cars.

Art Berman has repeatedly underscored the basics: “Energy is the economy. Money is a call on energy. Debt is a lien on future energy.”

For decades now economists have mostly preached a different gospel. Their models pretend that money, labour or technology make the world go around. But this profession largely has been ignorant of the central role that energy plays in the rise and fall of civilizations. Whatever the economists might say, physical reality still rules. Growth doesn’t happen unless the per capita energy spending of fossil fuels increases. Period.

...

Meanwhile rising oil prices affect the cost of dinner, directly and indirectly. Whenever the price of diesel goes wild so too does the cost of our food, much of which travels far to our pantries. As the energy ecologist Vaclav Smil has calculated it takes the energy equivalents of five cups of diesel fuel (from fertilizers to herbicides to transportation) to put one kilogram of imported tomatoes on the table.

In fact we live in a wasteful civilization that thinks it is entirely acceptable to burn 10 calories of mostly fossil fuels to make one calorie of food, and all by employing fewer than one per cent of the population. Prior to the colonization of farming by fossil fuels, agriculture was local, small, low energy (employing human or animal muscle), inefficient and nutritious. Now it is global, big, high energy, efficient and tasteless.

The inflationary problem doesn’t stop with food. Most people, for example, still don’t understand that one barrel of oil does the equivalent work of 4.5 years of human labour.

As a consequence current oil consumption equals the employment of 500 billion fossil fuel “energy slaves” in our economy. This vast disruptive army has enabled the level of global consumption responsible for the relentless poisoning of oceans, the degradation of forests, the depletion of fisheries, the erosion of soils, the disruption of nutrient cycles and the destabilization of the climate.

So the truth is this: Civilization largely has used fossil fuels to destroy robust natural ecosystems and to replace them with artificial and fragile ones.

I mean, we have to cut back anyway due to the environmental damage caused by fracking, and the apocalyptic consequences of global warming.  But regardless of all of these realities, as a collective, humanity wants to continue on auto-pilot, wants to sleep-walk into the future, wants to continue to live in Dreamland.

One of the ways we're doing this is by deluding ourselves that we can continue to make and consume all of the crap that we're doing and grow the economy and build more unsustainable shit for all of humanity simply by switching to renewables like wind and solar:

Meanwhile the green technocrats offer an equally distorted narrative about the state of things. They get climate change, but pretend a transition to renewables can be achieved without a massive investment of fossil fuels (try making a solar panel or windmill without oil) and the brutal mining of rare earth minerals. They even pretend that inflation, which makes every renewable more expensive, is not a barrier.

They also ignore that it took 160 years to build the current energy system at a time when petroleum and minerals were abundant and cheap. Now they propose to “electrify the Titantic” as ecologist William Ophuls puts it, at a time of expensive fossil fuels, indebted financial systems and mineral shortages.

The techno-greens also pretend that civilization can substitute fossil fuels, which are densely packed with energy, with renewables, which are less energy dense — and do so without subsequent reductions in demand or changes in behaviour.

Power density can’t be taken for granted. It measures how much a particular form of energy can flow from a given unit area. Art Berman recently explained what a shift from high density to low density energy sources means. In basic English, “it takes two coal workers, 169 solar workers and 1,100 wind workers to equal the work of one natural gas worker.”

Low density energy not only requires more materials but occupies a larger physical space on the land. It also delivers smaller energy returns. If a forest spends more energy growing fewer leaves to conduct photosynthesis, it must either shrink or collapse.

An in-depth 2021 study by Simon Michaux at the Geological Survey of Finland illustrated this inconvenient reality. It calculated that to replace a single coal-fired powered plant of average size producing seven terawatt-hours per year of energy would require the construction of 213 average sized solar farms or 87 wind turbine array facilities. Renewables just have to work harder.

The global economy currently operates 46,423 power stations running on all types of energy, but mostly fossil fuels noted Michaux. To green the sector up and still keep the lights on will require the construction of 221,594 new power plants within the next 30 years.

So it's nonsense.  Global warming is real.  Fossil fuels are running out in any case.  Renewables are not up to the task.  (Nuclear energy is still problematic.)  And we are a wasteful civilization consuming more than we need and destroying the earth's ability to sustain us on numerous levels.  We have to reduce our consumption levels.

There is, of course, a third narrative which no one wants to discuss. Lovelock, who is famous for postulating the Gaia hypothesis for how Earth’s systems are regulated in synch, urged in 2005 that we embrace “a sustainable retreat.”

An economic retreat means shrinking fossil fuel spending by at least one third, which means the end of economic growth. (One recent study suggested high income states probably need to cut their resource use by 70 per cent.)

So what does shrinkage look like? It means returning to standards of living prevalent in the 1960s and 1950s. It means deglobalization. It means slow living instead of fast consumption. It means walking instead of flying. It means more people growing food on smaller plots. It means relocalizing life. It means making changes most of us are not yet willing to talk about, let alone make.

This is an enormous task and, sadly, it is my observation that the Left (the political demographic that most accepts all these realities) has so far not progressed beyond identifying the problem; petitioning our overlords to change; and grumbling about how our overlords continue to only pay lip-service to changing.



Friday, June 3, 2022

Who Votes For Doug Ford?

 


A culture that believes nuclear war might be justified in light of Russia's invasion of the Ukraine.  A culture that believes wearing a mask during a viral, airborne, respiratory pandemic is an intolerable assault on liberty.  (Mustn't forget the people who do wear a mask but leave their noses uncovered because they don't understand the concept of breathing.)  A culture that believes that the so-far toothless measures to deal with global heating are Stalinism but agrees wholeheartedly in the surveillance/torture state constructed in the Great Bullshit War on Terror.

A culture that forgets how Ford's first instinct upon hearing that Ontario seniors were dying in droves from COVID-19 because their for-profit long-term care home owners were pursuing profit over their goddamned responsibilities, and who (it was quickly revealed) had been leaving their clients to live in filth and squalor for years, ... Ford's first instinct was to protect these long-term care profiteers (including his filthy, murderous, super-corrupt predecessor Mike Harris) from legal liability.

A culture with a media system of scumbags and airheads that works night and day to make a scumbag shithead like Doug Ford seem like a regular guy.

Obviously our anti-democratic First Past the Post electoral system is working as our elites think it should.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

The Enemies of Progress are Now Internal

 The forces of reaction decided to colonize the enemy.  And they're so smart and we're so stupid and hopeless that they might get away with it.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Commenting On George W. Bush Saying "Iraq" Instead of "Ukraine"


When george dubya bush was president some people said that he was only pretending to be stupid.  They said an absolute moron could not have flown those difficult fighter jets used by the Texas Air National Guard.  (A reminder:  the TANG was the institution that bush II's family pulled strings to get him into so that he could avoid the danger of serving in the War On Vietnam which they supported.  It's also the institution from which he went AWOL from aside from stopping at a base between drunks to get free dental care.)  Assuming that dubya ever flew one of those planes would only establish that he had good reflexes (and he did, dodging those shoes thrown at him was evidence of that) and that he had a decent memory to remember how to use the plane's controls.

At no other time in his life did bush II display any particular intelligence or wisdom.  Not as young man who got a legacy appointment at Yale (where he was a C-student) and then (by hook or by crook) a Harvard MBA.  He wasn't showing intelligence or wisdom as a young man post-graduation, drinking and carousing and doing the rich white boys' drug of cocaine and going AWOL from the TANG.  He was made the figurehead of a consortium of wealthy business parasites who bought the Texas Rangers baseball team and who ripped-off the taxpayers for hundreds of millions to get a publicly financed stadium.  dubya then became governor of Texas and executed a lot of people.  At some point he sobered up and became just an asshole.  Then he stole the presidency and then 9-11 happened on his watch.  The entire time he was president he displayed a slow-wittedness and an inability to speak as anything other than a moron.

Some people said it was an act.  It wasn't, but even assuming it was for the sake of argument, it was a life-long act.  bush II was so stupid that Dick Cheney was able to pose as the brains behind their operation and Cheney himself wasn't very smart.  Cheney was a fuck-up academically and in business.  His entire career was his wife's creation.  

People are always saying that it's dangerous to underestimate these people.  I don't think that I am underestimating them.  I think that I'm giving them their due.  It's those who say that people like bush II, Cheney, Biden, stephen harper, etc., etc., are highly intelligent who are doing reality a disservice.  

I recently dallied with some internet weirdo who believes in conspiracies to the extent that he types online that COVID is actually a chemical poison spread through civilization by a globalist elite that is trying to ethnically cleanse the Ukraine to provide living space for International Jewry and that Vladimir Putin (actually a body-double since 2016 or some other year it doesn't matter because it's not true) was trained by MI-6 and various national leaders who did not allow the importation of vaccines to their countries (Haiti and some African countries I believe) were assassinated after which the vaccines came in.

Sheer insanity.  But a lot of these conspiracy theories are similar to the thinking that demands we believe that people like george dubya bush or stephen harper are intelligent.  It creates this shadowy world of genius string-pullers that allow the conspiracists to revel (simultaneously) in their ability to see the patterns and their inability to do anything about it.  These dark, sinister forces, (the Rothschilds, the Bilderbergers, the Globalists, etc., ) have pulled the wool over everyone's eyes except for these diligent, intrepid independent researchers who have their own little community where they trade their imaginary insights with each other and curse "the sheeple" for not seeing what they see.  Somehow or other the Globalists either don't know about these communities of truth-seekers and that is why they all haven't been killed, or they do know about them and ignore them because they're not a threat.  (Or, once in a while, one of these internet conspiracy researchers dies in a way that can be considered mysterious and that just shows how ruthless the Globalist Davos Soros crowd can really be.)


All of this is just my way of establishing my own view that bush II really is a moron.  That when he was speaking at the Southern Methodist University's George W Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, on the date of May 18th, 2022, and blathered stupidly and hypocritically about how the absence of democracy in Russia produced a great tragedy:

“The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq. I mean, of Ukraine.”

And then he excused his stupidity on his being 75 years old and the audience laughed along with him because it was comprised of people who self-select for cretinism by wanting to go and listen to that brain-dead war criminal in the first place.

bush II's outburst was so bizarre it made me wonder (for a second) if he was actually an evil genius after all.  That he knew how counterproductive it would be to provide such a brazen example of the USA's murderous hypocrisy but that he knew the opposition against the system is so impotent that it wouldn't matter.  In the end, I had to remember that nothing was served by bush II's stupidity and that the whole power-elite of our times are idiots who only survive because the system that they've inherited was built by more capable people and it remains somewhat powerful despite the fact that the people holding the steering wheel for the past few decades are monkey-brained psychopathic incompetents.

And then it got even better. After correcting himself with a nervous chuckle, Bush broke the tension in the empire-loyal crowd with the words, “Iraq too. Anyway.” He then quipped that he is 75 years old, leaning harder on his “Aw shucks gee willikers I’m such a goofball” persona than he ever has in his entire life.

And Bush’s audience laughed. They thought it was great. A president who launched an illegal invasion that killed upwards of a million people (probably way upwards) openly confessing to doing what every news outlet in the western world has spent the last three months shrieking its lungs out about Putin doing was hilarious to them.

There are not enough shoes in the universe to respond to this correctly.

As comedian John Fugelsang put it, “George W. Bush didn’t do a Freudian slip. He did a Freudian Confession.”

One of the many, many interesting things about this occurrence is the likelihood that Bush’s words tumbled out in the way they did because he’s either heard a lot of criticisms of his invasion or has been thinking a lot about them; a familiar neural pathway would explain why his brain chose the exact worst word he could possibly swap out for “Ukraine” in that moment. This would be a small light in the darkness for we ordinary folk who oppose war and love peace, because it suggests that even the worst empire managers cannot fully insulate themselves from our criticisms.

george dubya bush really was a stupid man who stole the presidency and fabricated a "justification" for an illegal war of aggression that killed over a million people and traumatized tens of millions more and his stupid case for this illegal war was approved by Joseph R. Biden and Hillary R. Clinton and they both went on to destroy several other countries and now we're supposed to pretend that they're alarmed by Putin's "unprovoked" invasion of the Ukraine.  bush II is just a contemptible shit-head who should have been hanged by the neck until dead like the war criminals they condemned at Nuremberg.



Wednesday, May 18, 2022

"Wars Are Not Won By Evacuations"

 


Indeed.  That quote is from Winston Churchill's speech after the successful evacuation of much of the British Expeditionary Force (and over 100,000 French allied soldiers) from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940.  While the evacuation ["Operation Dynamo"] was rightly considered a wonderful achievement, Churchill cautioned:

"We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory.  Wars are not won by evacuations."

I was moved to recall Churchill's words in response to the bizarre reporting on the end of the fighting at the Azovstal Steel Plant in the contested city of Mariupol in the Ukraine.  Every headline in the pro-NATO media refers to an "evacuation" and to "an end of combat operations" there.  But reading further it appears that the fascist (and the mainstream media was fine with referring to these nazis as nazis up until a little while ago) battalion surrendered to the Russians:

Hundreds of combatants were evacuated on Monday from the besieged Azovstal metallurgical plant in the southeastern port hub of Mariupol. Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, Anna Malyar, said fifty-three wounded soldiers were taken to a hospital in Novoazovsk, a town controlled by the breakaway pro-Russian Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), and another 211 Ukrainian personnel were taken to the DPR-controlled village of Olenivka.

A little while ago I posted about how it's difficult to know what the real military situation in the Ukraine is.  The propaganda in the NATO countries says that Russia's military is floundering, it's soldiers dividing their time between murdering civilians and surrendering.  NATO's weapons are pouring in and being used to destroy tonnes of Russian military equipment.  Meanwhile, in Russia itself, the population is simmering with anger against the tyrant Putin (who apparently smells funny and is losing his mind).  The Ukrainians are defying imperialism and protecting democracy and are a light and an example for the world.

Meanwhile, the pro-Russian websites are saying that Russia's special military operation is progressing in an orderly fashion according to their own timetable.  Ukrainian nazis are murdering pro-Russian collaborators and shooting civilians trying to escape through corridors provided by the Russians.  Ukranians have filmed themselves torturing Russian prisoners.  Russia has systematically destroyed the Ukraine's airforce and transportation infrastructure.  NATO weaponry is obsolete, cannot be used without proper training and is being destroyed before it reaches the front in any case.  Meanwhile, in Russia itself, Putin has 80% popular support and there is no mention of how he smells or how his body and brain are crumbling.

Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle?  I don't know.  But I have to say, with this stupid drivel about "evacuating" the nazi Azov Battalion from Azovstal when in actuality they've surrendered and been taken prisoner, the pro-NATO propagandists aren't doing themselves any favours.  The word "evacuation" tends to mean getting your people out to safety (like the British did at Dunkirk) and not being captured.

In related news, Norman Finkelstein asks a question that I've been pondering myself: What exactly was Putin supposed to have done in the face of YEARS of USA/NATO provocations?

And my question which I’ve constantly been putting in correspondence is a very simple one: if you agree that for 20 years—more than 20 years, more than two decades—, Russia has tried to engage in diplomacy; if you agree that the Russian demand to neutralize Ukraine —not occupy it, not determine its government, its form of economy, just neutralize it like Austria after World War II—, if you agree that was a legitimate demand; if you agree that the West was expanding and expanding NATO; if you agree that Ukraine de facto had become a member of NATO, weapons pouring in, engaging in military exercises in NATO; and if you agree… You know, Russia lost 30 million people during World War II because of the Nazi invasion, so there’s a legitimate concern by Russia with all of these —if you excuse my language— Nazis floating around in the Ukraine, then the simple question is: What was Russia to do?

I’m not saying I agree with the invasion, I’m not saying it went right, but I think one thing: the invasion showed… you know what the one thing the invasion showed, Briahna, was that Russia is kind of weak militarily, which is why all the more they may have been fearful of a NATO-backed Ukraine filled with Nazis, and probably at some point positioning nuclear missiles on its border. And I think 30 million, 30 million people… Listen to this: I think 30 million people is 30 million arguments in favor of Russia. Now I’m not going to say, because I’m not a general and I’m not a diplomat, so I’m not going… I’m not a military strategist so I’m not going to say it was the wisest thing to do. I’m not going to say it was the most prudent thing to do. But I will say —and I’m not afraid to say it because it would dishonor the memory of my parents if i didn’t say it—, I will say that they had the right to do it. And I’m not taking that back. They had the right to do it. They had if I can call it the historic right to do it. 30 million people (killed during WW2), and now you’re starting again, you’re starting again. No, no, you know I can’t go for it, I can’t go for those who acknowledge the legitimacy of the arguments made by Putin but then call the invasion criminal. I don’t see that.

Now you could say the way they executed it may have had criminal elements. However I don’t know… Well, you went to Harvard Law School, I don’t know if you studied the laws of war, but the laws of war make a very big distinction between ‘jus ad bellum’ and ‘jus in bello’, namely whether the launching of the war was legitimate or whether it was an act of aggression versus the way you conduct the war, ‘jus in bello’. Maybe the conduct, targeting of civilians and so forth, that probably violates the laws of war, but that’s a separate issue under law from “did they have the right to attack”. I think they did. I’m not going to back off from that.

Now, I think there's too much veneration of what the Soviet Union did in WWII and no acknowledgement of why Ukrainians might hate Russians because of Stalin's terror-famine in the 1930's.  (Though I don't think most Ukrainians hate Russians.  Seventy-three percent of the Ukrainian electorate voted for Zelensky as a peace candidate.  It's really only the degenerate extremists propped-up by the United States that have a visceral hatred for the Russians.)  Still and all, I think Finkelstein's stance is more respectable than those "idealists" blathering about their uninvestigated abstract principles (when they're not yammering insanely about how nuclear war might be an option to end Putin's aggression).


Also, the Democratic Party cult-site "Daily Kos" had a headline about how "Tankies" refuse to blame Russia for this war.  At this point in my life I just don't feel like engaging with something so irredeemably stupid and shit-headed.  I'm not going to link to it.  I'm not even going to bother linking to it.  It is so fucking goddamned stupid to think that Russia wasn't provoked.  If you believe that ... fuck it.  

Here's something I will link to: An account of the European Union's economic suicide, within which are links to Michael Hudson's reflections, including news about psycopath Victoria Nuland's amoral scheming:

The only way left for U.S. diplomats to block European purchases is to goad Russia into a military response and then claim that avenging this response outweighs any purely national economic interest. As hawkish Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, explained in a State Department press briefing on January 27: “If Russia invades Ukraine one way or another Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.” The problem is to create a suitably offensive incident and depict Russia as the aggressor.

That's my blog post for tonight!

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Anti-Inflation as Class Warfare

 

There were two reasons that I got political.  One summer in the early-1990's I read two books.  One of them was Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In Democratic Societies based on Noam Chomsky's 1988 Massey Lectures. That one told me that the world we live in was far more monstrous that I could have ever possibly imagined.  The second was John Raulston Saul's Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West. That one told me (among other things) that the Canadian government's debt and deficit situation had not been caused by lazy people mooching off the welfare system (which was the general consensus) but by the ruinous, asinine anti-inflation policies of the Bank of Canada (which was itself following the monetarist consensus established by Paul Volcker and Milton Friedman in 1979). 

It is to the second issue (monetarist anti-inflation policies as class warfare) that I wrote my two recent posts about the current price inflation and the establishment's preferred way of dealing with it.  (In the second post I neglected to continue my response to a quote about how 1970's price controls ... specifically over the price of oil ... led to difficulties at the pumps):

Price controls on gasoline exacerbated shortages, by not allowing rising prices to curb demand. The controls allowed refiners to raise gasoline prices each month based on the previous month’s crude oil price. In an environment of rising prices, the price controls incentivized refiners to withhold gasoline and sell it later at higher prices, rather than selling it today. Further aggravating the shortages, the federal government had an allocation system that did not allow gasoline distribution to adjust to demand conditions around the country. Some states also established a policy that only allowed drivers to buy $5 of gasoline at a time, meaning that they had to buy more frequently, virtually assuring longer lines.

Crude oil markets were regulated as well. Different prices for “old” and “new” oil were a relic of the earlier oil shock in 1973-74 that established perverse incentives, reducing domestic production and increasing imports. Additionally, in April 1979, the Department of Energy ordered large refiners to sell crude oil to smaller refineries that could not obtain affordable supply on the market. However, these smaller refineries were generally less complex, able to produce less gasoline from a given crude oil than their larger counterparts, deepening the supply shortage.

The situation drove a groundswell of anger against U.S. oil companies and public support for President Jimmy Carter dropped substantially. The crisis highlighted the inefficiencies inherent in government control of fuel markets, although the public wanted the government to do something about high prices and long lines.

 

I also pointed out how one economist recalled the absolutely horrible struggles between employers and workers over "Cost Of Living Allowances/Adjustments" during wage negotiations in a time of inflation.

"When I was a graduate student, all the professors would say, 'Oh, we'll never see this era again of letting the inflation genie out of the bottle,'" economist Constance Smith, a professor emeritus at the University of Alberta, said wryly.

Like others who lived through that time, she remembers it as being "unpleasant" — a term echoed exactly by Powell from his own memories, as repeated attempts by central banks to quash inflation failed to convince people that prices would stop rising.

Smith remembers constant battles over wage demands eventually leading to cost-of-living adjustments, or "COLA clauses," being written into employee contracts, to assure that workers' incomes would not constantly shrink due to unpredictable inflation.

Knowing as we do that the the mainstream economics' response to all inflation is to vastly increase the price of money (the rate of interest at which it is to be repaid) which thereby causes a massive recession, which thereby causes massive unemployment, which thereby causes massive government deficits (which must be financed by borrowing at a high rate of interest), which thereby causes austerity, which thereby causes the elimination of federal support for affordable housing, and also causes cuts to the public health care system, and also means that tuition costs skyrocket, all of which meant the destruction of worker's unions and bargaining power and the resultant increases in inequality, household debt, job precarity, and on and on, ... I'm pretty sure that those people stuck in long line-ups at the gas stations would have elected to suffer that temporary inconvenience over the insanity that their overlords had in store for them.  And they'd obviously prefer to still be able to fight for COLA's in the face of a rising price level.

Today, Ian Welsh posts about the class warfare being practiced by the USA's Federal Reserve as "inflation fighting":

Since 1979 the only type of inflation pressure either the Federal Reserve or legislatures have been willing to recognize is wage-push inflation.  (See HERE for a long explanation of how the Federal reserve crushed wages with wage push inflation measures.)

This is why, for going on 43 years now, workers wages have not kept up with GDP, most people can’t afford to buy a house, rent is thru the roof, and people die due to medical care costs.

But the way to deal with companies increasing prices faster than their costs isn’t to stop employers from hiring, it’s to institute an excess-profits tax, where companies that are making a lot more than they did before the pandemic simply have it taxed away. Granted, that would take legislative action, but the Fed isn’t even calling for it, and the Fed has a powerful bully pulpit.

You could also aggressively act on anti-trust concerns and break companies up so that they have competition: they can raise prices in large part because they are unregulated oligopolies who raise prices in lockstep.

Those are legislative actions, but the Fed is the main regulator of banks and brokerages and could stop loans from being given to firms buying up the housing and rental supply and jacking up prices. It could encourage the government entities which guarantee housing loans to put conditions which disallow rent increases beyond a few percentage points, and not allow large numbers of homes to be owned by corporations.

There are certainly other steps which could be taken, but the point is that the Fed isn’t pushing anything but “don’t hire and don’t give raises”.

In tight labor markets wages should rise. That’s good. If every time there is a tight labor market you squeal about inflation then hammer the economy into the ground to kill wages, of course people’s wages will fall behind, and if that’s substantially the only thing  you ever do to deal with inflation for over 40 years, of course wages will be hammered.

If, at the same time you run policies which cause massive inflation in housing, rent, and medical care (and now food), well then, ordinary people will be screwed because those are things they must have, no matter the cost, so if they can pay they have to.

What the Fed is doing, in other words, is class warfare, the same as everything of significance it has done since 1979. People will die because of this and become homeless.

I agree with pretty much everything he says there.  This isn't "objective economic [pseudo-]science."  This is class warfare.