Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Trudeau vs. Modi


This is not an original thought.  Somewhere, almost a week ago, on a blog I only go to for news about Russia vs. NATO stuff (where most of the commentors deny global warming and the dangers of COVID) there was a link to a site that said the Canada vs. India spat [wherein J. Trudeau accused the Modi government of assassinating on Canadian soil, a Canadian citizen who was a Sikh advocate of Sikh separatism] was mainly about the USA putting Modi off-balance.

The USA was not happy that Modi successfully resisted pressure to have an anti-Russian message be agreed upon at India's hosted G-20 summit.  [When I mentioned US plans to compel Modi to do this to an intelligent co-worker of Indian origins (a Sikh, ironically), he said (as if it was the most obvious thing in the world) "But Russia is our friend."]  Trudeau is citing "Five-Eyes" intelligence.  Trudeau (like stephen harper and most Canadian PM's before him) was willing to serve as the USA's attack miniature-poodle against China in the bullshit lawfare case against Meng Wanzhou, and there's no doubt he would have even less of a problem stepping on India's toes.  (Canada had more to jeopardize by pissing off China given our much lower interaction with India.)

This isn't to say that Modi couldn't have had Hardeep Singh Nijjar killed.  Just that I can also see that the USA could use Canada to send a message to Modi to register its displeasure with his benign neutrality towards Russia. 

Monday, September 25, 2023

Crazy When You Think About It


So, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies are rightly outraged that a former Waffen SS fighter got a standing ovation in Canada's House of Parliament:

A top Canadian lawmaker apologized on Sunday for honoring Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian man who fought for a notorious Nazi military unit during World War II.

Anthony Rota, speaker of Canada's House of Commons and a member of the Liberal Party, hailed Hunka during a ceremony late last week as "a Ukrainian hero" and "a Canadian hero" who fought for "Ukrainian independence against the Russians" and "continues to support the troops today."

Canadian lawmakers in attendance gave Hunka a standing ovation, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy—who had just delivered a speech to the House of Commons—"raised a fist during the applause," NBC Newsreported.

Rota's description of Hunka—who fought in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the Nazi SS—sparked outrage, with the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies saying in a statement that "the fact that a veteran who served in a Nazi military unit was invited to and given a standing ovation in Parliament is shocking."


In response to the backlash, Rota issued a statement saying he has "become aware of more information" that leads him to "regret" the decision to recognize Hunka.

"I wish to make clear that no one, including fellow parliamentarians and the Ukraine delegation, was aware of my intention or of my remarks before I delivered them," said Rota. "This initiative was entirely my own, the individual in question being from my riding and having been brought to my attention. I particularly want to extend my deepest apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world. I accept full responsibility for my actions."

It would be nice if everyone involved in this debacle (including the media reporting on it) would realize that this is the natural end-point to this insanity.  Here's a blast from the past from the late, great Robert Parry about the beginnings of this crisis:

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Labour Unions and "Community People"


At the Gazetteer, in a post about BC Liberal leader Kevin Falcon's fond memories of SoCred Premier Bill Bennett, commentor "e.a.f." expands upon the "Solidarity" protests of 1983 (where one of Falcon's fond memories took place):

Some Union people were not keen on the "community people". they wanted a "general strike", but the union people felt, they would be paying for it, while the "community people" had nothing to loose and weren't paying for any of it. As one person said to me at the time, the "community people" want a general strike, but most of them don't have jobs so they have nothing to loose. the Union members would loose to much money.

"Operation Solidarity" was not cheap to run and it was the Unions which were paying the freight. The one thing Unions understand is, when push comes to shove, when you're fighting with the government, they can send Union members to jail. The community people" didn't seem to grasp that concept.

More than one Union leader weent to jail. As I recall the head of the Postal Workers Union did time, Jean Claude Parrot, 1980. He was the guest speaker at our Union convention the following year. Pleasant man.

1981, Grace Hartman, President of CUPE was sent to jail for conselling members to go on strike, even though hospital workers were not permitted to strike.

I'd like to speak to these thoughts with regards to my own "People Power" to save public healthcare posts.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

A Pleasant Surprise


Just have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised to hear that Doug Fraud has been moved to do the only act of practical importance (guilty parties resigning from government to cash-in in the private sector, "heartfelt" apologies from Fraud and his subordinates, promises to never do it again, etc., are worthless) and cancel the land deals in the Greenbelt.

I didn't think this would happen.  Now I have two theories for why this is happening.  The first is that the Fraud government's behaviour in this scandal has been so brazenly criminal that our official legal system (which managed to countenance the serial crimes of the harper government ON TOP of the usual establishment shenanigans of corruption) told Fraud that THIS TIME it wasn't going to happen.  Alternatively, the fact of the matter is that Doug Fraud, besides being a stupid, stupid, man, is also incredibly insecure and emotionally needy.  Almost everywhere he goes he either gets a frosty reception or a hostile one.  And it tears him apart emotionally.

Either way, this is one of those rare moments when I allow myself to think it isn't entirely futile.

Monday, September 18, 2023

"Ukraine's Got Talent" from 14 Years ago

 The other day I remembered watching this winning performance on the Ukrainian version of the "[Country-X's] Got Talent."  Kseniya Simonova tells a story in sand on an illuminated table that is projected for the audience.  It's a story of two young lovers separated by war.  Ukraine had suffered many tragedies in the 20th Century, from the bloody chaos of the Civil War, to Stalin's terror-famine (the Holdomor) and the Second World War.

I remember at the time being affected by the story-telling, but also by the audience's reaction.  Particularly this well-dressed middle-aged woman dabbing her tears.  Everyone in Ukraine has (I'll bet) memories of a family member who was lost to those maelstroms.  Entire societies can be traumatized, and the pain of the affected generation is often visited upon subsequent generations.

And now, thanks to deluded, arrogant, psychopathic US shit-heads, the Ukrainians are suffering another tragedy.  Most serious analysts estimate Ukrainian war dead at 400,000.  (Russia's dead are estimated at 70,000.)  The USA imposed on Russia what it would not tolerate for itself.  This war and all its dead is the responsibility of the "Forever Wars" crowd currently working through the doddering Joseph Biden.  They sought to do to Russia and Putin what they did Libya and Qaddafi. Putin tried to avoid this war.  He tried diplomacy.  NATO ignored him.  In so doing, NATO pursued the course that has led to millions of refugees, 400,000 soldiers killed and god knows how many more (definitely over a million) wounded, perhaps maimed for life.

US-Americans went on for decades of how THEY were traumatized by the Vietnam War.  Their total casualties over almost a decade were less than 60,000 killed.  The memorial to their dead is a fittingly stark and sober one.  But remember: Ukraine has lost more than SIX TIMES that number in two years.  From a smaller population. 

Putin tried diplomacy.  NATO ignored him.  European leaders admitted that they bargained in bad faith in the Minsk I and II negotiations.  They were simply playing for time to build up Ukraine's military.  Pro-war US writers talk about how cheap this war on Russia is for them.  They're benefitting US weapons makers.  And there's been officially no cost in US-American lives (aside from mercenaries and volunteers).  Because US-American lives are supposedly more precious and important than Ukrainian lives.

Ukraine's counter-offensive was doomed to fail because of inadequate air support.  (At the beginning of World War II, France had better tanks than the Germans but the Battle of Montcornet was ultimately lost due to German superiority in air power and artillery. It doesn't at all surprise me that NATO tanks and fighting vehicles are getting destroyed by Russian artillery and missiles.)  This is the sort of stupid thing that US military planners are always doing.  Build up the Afghan army on paper by pushing men through a fraudulent training process and then being surprised when it evaporates before the Taliban.  Which reminds me: Recent estimates of excess deaths caused by the USA's "War on Terror" stand at 4.5 MILLION.  But we're supposed to believe that the blood-soaked, psychopathic monsters in Washington care about Ukrainian's freedom and democracy?

When these hypocrites and scumbags like Blinken and Biden rebuffed Putin's attempts at diplomacy, this is what they must have known would be the result.  That's why they installed nazi shit-heads at the control of the Ukrainian government.  Nazis, being shit-heads, will do stupid things for stupid reasons.  Just like Jihaadists do.  Normal people in Ukraine wanted peace and they voted for Zelensky as a peace candidate.  The nazis said they'd hang Zelensky from a tree if he pursued peace.  

Friday, September 15, 2023

People Power Healthcare Campaign


So, last time, I talked about how Canada's healthcare system, specifically single-payer insurance, public hospitals and unionized public sector workforces, were all being deliberately undermined through under-funding, de-listing and privatization (including PPP's) by neo-liberal politicians in thrall to profit-seeking privatizers.  I said that to oppose this we need to construct a legislature-ready plan for the restoration of federal-provincial funding and regulations to bring us back to the status-quo as it prevailed in the 1980's.  This plan was to be presented to the federal and provincial governments as a non-negotiable demand.  Concerns about how to fund it are addressed by Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) that says that governments spend money on whatever it is that they want and that taxation is used only to stabilize the money supply.  Considering how much the bloated incomes of the wealthy is based on useless, unproductive behaviour [including monopolistic price-gouging] and how much of their wealth is simply hoarded (often illegally overseas) or is used to monopolize real-estate and further drive up the cost of living, heavier taxation of the wealthy will NOT have any adverse economic effects whatsoever.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Using People Power To Save Public Healthcare In Ontario


So last time I wrote about the need to spend the majority of our time articulating a positive vision for humanity and a coherent road map for how to get there.  I also said that while we were doing this we should carry out smaller campaigns, such as the saving of public healthcare in Canada, both because they're necessary in the short-term and because they can serve to rally and empower ordinary people.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Putin Headlines

I should have started this thing long ago.  Everytime I open my browser I'm treated to stupid headlines about Hollywood gossip, SUN News condemnations of Trudeau, fads from the seventies that I've probably forgotten, ... but also, almost daily headlines about how Putin is about to die or fall from power or has bad body odour.  So, I've decided to chronicle them here.  I'm not going to link the headlines.  They'll probably disappear before too long.  (Watch.  The phenomenon will probably end tomorrow.)

1. "Experts say: Putin is afraid of this."  from " plus another one from the same site: "Ouch! Big blow for Putin and Russia." [Sept. 15th, 2023]

2. "New blow for Putin as two Russian elite commanders die within days of one another." from " [Sept. 18th, 2023]

3. "Ally turns against Putin" from (CA) [Sept. 19th, 2023]

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

What Is To Be Done (Thwap Version)


What do we have to do?  Create a world that truly respects democracy and human rights and that respects the living planet that sustains us.  We have to create a civilization that truly allows everyone the right to rise to their fullest potential.  A world that recognizes the inherent right of all to equal enjoyment of their humanity regardless of sex, race or geography.  

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Another Post About a Potential Right-Wing Revolution in Europe


A little while ago I wrote about a possible right-wing revolution in Europe as a result of the neo-liberal disaster of the European Union being imposed by traditional "centrist" parties and (more recently) by co-opted, intellectually bankrupt "leftist" parties like the Social Democrats and the Greens.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Mad World


That is all.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Liberal Zombies Making Excuses For Afghanistan


I was on social media recently and a US-American liberal was engaging in some justifiable criticism of the Taliban in Afghanistan.  But I pushed back because that sort of thing tends to include a general amnesia about the utter and complete failure of NATO (the most powerful, wealthiest countries in the world) to contruct a political-economic order in Afghanistan that could meet the very modest hopes of the Afghan people.  In fact, our "government" of a corrupt, powerless puppet in Kabul (who had to be protected by NATO troops from his own people and from the warlord narco-gangsters that took over as provincial governors) was actually so bad, that honest journalists such as Chris Hedges and Tariq Ali (among others) demonstrated that the general population preferred the Taliban to it.

Furthermore, I mentioned the sickening cruelty of Biden petulantly freezing Afghanistan's foreign currency reserves and how, combined with inflation in the price of grain and fertilizer (that inflation itself being a product of Biden provoking a war between Ukraine and Russia) meant that many Afghan women, along with Afghan children and men, would soon starve to death, thus sparing them from the Taliban's misogynist tyranny.

Now, don't get me wrong: I said at the start of this that criticism of the Taliban is justified.  But when Biden carried out Trump's exit from the country, I also pointed out at the time how the media was framing it as the abandonment of the women of Afghanistan, as if we should have stayed there for twenty more years until the violence, corruption, theft, rape, murder eventually won the "hearts and minds" of the people.

The problem remains that the same imperialist voices who initiated this shit-show; who cheered it on for twenty years of stupid lies; are still the voices that are being sought out by the corporate oligarch, pro-imperialist media. Assholes like William Kristol, Max Boot, and the whole stinking lot of them are allowed to give their opinions while the people who have been proven right continue to be marginalized.

The narrative is that this is a disaster for Afghanistan, especially with regards to women's rights. And it's sickeningly true. The Taliban are horrible on women's rights. But if Afghan human rights and happiness (of both men and women) had been at all important to Western leaders, they would have done more to ensure that the government that they subsidized was a good one that did things for the people of Afghanistan. They didn't care so they didn't. Instead they subjected them to thieving rapist gangster warlords and thieving rapist gangster police and burned their cash crops and bombed their houses and invaded their homes in night raids and droned them from the skies for twenty fucking goddamned years.

With the lesson presumably being that illegal, hideous occupations should continue until the oligarchy is 98% agreed that they should be ended and not a second shorter.

Anyway, ... some other liberal was wandering by and accused me of being an extremist who didn't understand how the real world worked.  Saintly Joe Biden shouldn't be condemned for, well, aything I guess, because there are limits to US power, and maybe Biden didn't handle the withdrawl perfectly but he is still our Last, Great, Hope and a fine man and certainly not as corrupt as Trump and his family.

And with that world salad, they could all go on continuing to cling stupidly to the party of Biden, Pelosi, the Clintons, Buttigieg, Clyburn, Rahm Emmanuel and Debbie Wasserman-Shultz.

Monday, August 28, 2023

What Will WE Do About Doug Ford's Corruption???


So, [as we all know] Ontario's Auditor General found that political staffers of the Ontario Ministry of Housing, up to and including Ryan Amato, chief of staff to Minister Steve Clark, were selecting portions of the Greenbelt to open up for development, often in violation of land-use regulations, totally in violation of the official process for such decisions, with access to Ministry staff (especially Amato) being vital for developers's success in seeing their dreams come true.  AG Bonnie Lysyk estimates that these developer scum will enjoy a increase in their investments to the tune of $8.3 billion.

At first Ford said that he would accept all of the AG's recommendations except for the one that says to reverse the final decisions to allow the land to be developed.  Steadfastly clinging to his moronic story that he plans to build affordable housing in the Greenbelt he accuses his detractors of contributing to the crisis of homelessness in Ontario.  As well, the fat fuck is yammering that his first swing of the pick-axe to begin chipping away at the Greenbelt is only taking away one little chip:

Ford also expressed frustration Friday in an, at times, testy press conference at the magnitude of media coverage of his decision to remove 7,400 acres in 15 different areas of the Greenbelt, while adding 9,400 acres elsewhere, in order to build 50,000 homes.

"Folks, it's one-third of one per cent," he said, referring to the amount of land being removed from the Greenbelt. "When I talk to people and I say, 'one-third of one per cent, it's like a speck on a map,' they say, 'Really, and they're making that big of a deal?'"

Obviously, people who haven't been criminal sociopaths their entire lives, and who care about such things as democracy, fairness, equal applicability and enforcement of the law, transparency, know that engaging in such blatantly criminal behaviour, the first brazen attempt is the most important.  Ford (and his rich, criminal buddies) know that if they can get away with this, then subsequent theft will be easier.

[I have to wonder who the "people" are that Doug Ford is talking to.  Is it the wealthy vermin who spit on the idea of democratic government? Or is the shit-head chumps who line up for a burnt weiner or processed burger at the annual "Ford-Fests" celebrating their ignorance?]

My question to you, dear readers, is what are WE going to do about this?  The RCMP (hah!) say that they're pondering investigating (ha-ha!).  You remember the RCMP don't you?  They invade the lands of the First Nations and point sniper rifles at them when they protest illegal pipelines going through their sovereign territory; beat people up and occasionally shoot them when they have them in their custody; and charged Mike Duffy with accepting a bribe but cravenly refused to charge oligarch Nigel Wright with bribing him.  So, ... I guess we all know where that RCMP "investigation" is going to go.

The opposition parties are foaming at the mouth.  Including the super-corrupt Ontario Liberals.  But Ford has majority so they have literally no power to do any more.  If the police and the political process can't or won't touch Ford, how possible is it that he thinks he can just ride this out and wait for people's short memories to forget all about it in time for the next election?  And who thinks that given the docility and tactical cluelessness and delusion of the Left grassroots opposition that he's probably right?

Of course, I proposed something long ago to deal with criminal scum like Doug Ford.  But I'm insane.  It's better for the Left to do the same thing it's been doing for decades, over and over again and hope that THIS TIME there'll be a different result.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

This is how INSANE Democrats are ...


I go to "Daily Kos" for the comics.  Mainly "Tom Tomorrow's 'This Modern World'" and "Reuben Bolling's 'Tom the Dancing Bug'."  But also for Jen Sorenson and Brian McFadden.  "Tom the Dancing Bug" has shown enough smarts, and provided enough laughs over the years so that I do my best to overlook how he has fallen for that whole brain-dead "Russiagate" nonsense.  "Tom Tomorrow" has, himself, started to become much more of a Democratic Party advocate due to his sensititivities having been traumatized by Trump.  Meanwhile, Brian McFadden has occasional left-wing criticisms of the sleazy, lesser-Evil Democrats that cause the Democratic Party Cultists (the majority of the "Kossacks" actually) to condemn him as an evil traitor/purity pony leftard/etc.  There's also three or four other cartoonists who function more like editorial page cartoonists at a newspaper that supports the Democratic Party.  One example of their partisan hackery (I can't remember which one of them did it) has Mitch McConnell sitting at a poker table with Joe Biden.  McConnell has a tiny number of poker chips in front of him while Biden has a mountain of them in front of him.  Words are provided to the effect that this represents Biden's handling of the debt-ceiling bullshit crisis.  McConnell is saying: "Not bad for a dementia patient."

Monday, August 21, 2023

Anonymous US Officals Condemn Ukrainian 'Cowardice'


[Note: I put single apostrophes around the word Cowardice because none of the US officials mentioned below used that exact word, and because I didn't want anyone to think that I was actually calling the Ukrainians cowards.]

Caitlin Johnstone wrote a brilliant piece describing the loathsome intellectual and moral failing of the USA's imperialist oligarchy.  "Big Brave Western Proxy Warriors Keep Whining That Ukrainian Troops are Cowards."

Here's the quotes from her essay:

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Neo-Cons, Liberal Internationalists, & Isolationists


The foreign policy "elite" in Washington are Neo-Con imperialists.  [I wrote "elite" with the quotation marks because, when all is said and done, these people are imbeciles.  Their stupid delusions conform to and sustain the narrative of imperialism and this accounts for their rise within the establishment.  But to believe in the filth that they believe in, they have to be intellectually and morally stunted freaks.]  There is no truly anti-imperialist faction in Washington.  The closest viable ideology to anti-imperialism are the isolationist nationalists.  This is mainly a right-wing, often right-libertarian set of politicians.  Its spokesman today is Senator Rand Paul (son of Ron Paul, who named him after Ayn Rand).  Ron and Rand Paul at least play footsie with racists, but their main hobby horse is libertarianism.  Slightly earlier, the social conservative/quasi-fascist, Nixon advisor, Reagan speech writer Patrick Buchanan was the spokesperson for isolationist nationalism. They often refer to the resistance to "entangling alliances" expressed by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  Wars were expensive in the 18th Century.  And the USA was militarily weak.  There's no doubt that the carnage of the US-American Civil War probably soured USians against getting involved in foreign wars as well.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Oligarchs vs. Monarchs

 picture here

I recently read Michael Hudson's And Forgive Them Their Debts and it was essentially about how oligarchs vied with kings/emperors/whatever for power.  And thinking about the prestige of the British political system among continental thinkers in the 18th Century ... it was nobles jerking off to the control the British aristocracy had over their monarch.  Which they only won in the end by embracing the aims of the Commons TEMPORARILY during their campaigns against royal power.

French aristocrats might have thought they were playing a pretty cunning game.

The British aristocracy did kick ass in the 1700's.  The copper sheathing of the Royal Navy in the Caribbean for instance. Nascent London aristocracy.

Much pearl-clutching against Stalinism is old-fashioned Edmund Burke/Voltaire/I Don't Know.

[Don't forget to add in LYNX later.]

Pro-NATO Liberals Supporting the Proxy War on Russia ...

 ... and all of the suffering and death of Ukrainians, Russians, and everyone else affected by this nightmare:

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Been Reading


There's been some action at this post about my reading in 2023 if'n yer innerested and haven't checked it out in a while.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Two Problematic Posts


I thought that I'd post these two links, explain why I think they're interesting as well as problematic for me.  Perhaps the act of doing this will later inspire me to expand on my unimportant thoughts in later posts at some indeterminate time in the future.

First of all, there's this post: "Why is the West so weak (and Russia so strong)? The role of human capital and Western education)" hosted on a self-described conservative's site. [I've been going to such sites lately for more realistic discussions about the NATO/Ukraine vs. Russia proxy war.  It's sometimes a hard slog, because some of the commentators at these sites deny global warming; denounce the NATO countries for not suppressing homosexuality; deny the reality of global warming; and, some of these idiots simultaneously cheer on Putin's de-nazification goals in Ukraine whilst ranting about the Jewish plot to genocide both Ukrainians and ethnic-Russians in Ukraine so as to provide another homeland for Zionism.  I believe that Putin is genuine in his goal to eliminate the nazi element in Ukraine's institutions because the Ukrainian brand of naziism advocates the physical elimination of Russians.  That Putin actually supports fascists in other parts of Europe is irrelevant to this.  IN FACT: pro-NATO shit-heads who are cheering on this mass-slaughter are the ones who can be accused of "Whataboutism" when they raise the point of Putin's hypocrisy.  THEY are the ones deflecting from THEIR support of fascists in the war that THEY support.  Putin, as a Russian, and as the political leader of Russia, has some self-interest in combatting Ukrainian nazis.  Some US-American ignoramus who fantasizes about the taste of Joe Biden's anus has no justification for supporting the Azov Battalion.]

Holy Fuck! But I DO tend to start babbling when I get typing.  It's just that one thing always leads to another thing.  It's all connected.  ANYWAY ...

Saturday, July 29, 2023

"Two-Tier Justice" and the "Freedom" Convoy

Back in the naughts there was an occupation of a housing development in Caledonia, Ontario that Six Nations activists said was on their unceded land.  The Six Nations had been given something called the Haldimand Grant to compensate them for lands lost to the inhabitants of the new United States of America. 

Friday, July 28, 2023

Crystia Freeland Takes a Dump on Toronto


So, there was a derailment on the Scarborough Light Rail Transit line last Monday.  

The TTC says it is bringing in external experts to review what caused a Scarborough Rapid Transit train car to derail Monday, with the transit agency even considering shutting the line down permanently — months ahead of its scheduled decommissioning.

Five of the 45 people onboard were hurt when the rear car separated from the rest of the train and derailed just south Ellesmere Station. Stuart Green, spokesperson for the TTC, said Tuesday the injured people were treated for "severe bumps and bruises" and taken to hospital as a precaution.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

The Fired Ukrainian Prosecutor


I just have a quick thought to share about Viktor Shokin, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General whom Democrats say was fired for not investigating corruption anywhere, including Burisma (the Ukrainian energy company that gave President Biden's crackhead son Hunter a no-show job at $50,000 a month); and whom Republicans and leftist critics say was fired BECAUSE he was investigating Burisma.  

Saturday, July 22, 2023

The World Begins to Fry and ...?


Don't get me wrong; Eve Ottenberg is one of my favourite writers.  What I'm complaining about really has very little to do with her.  It's just that reading her essay this morning: "As Earth Sizzles, Climate Denialists Rearrange Deck Chairs" caused me to again bewail the almost total failure of the Left to face-up to the reality of the task ahead of us and to put forward serious strategies for accomplishing that task.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

CounterPunch Can't Decide If Putin Was Provoked Or Not

 That's what one gets from reading the variety of authors at that site.  Let a thousand schools contend!  It does seem to be a fairly foundational thing to be clear about in order to understand and comment on the crisis though.  Doesn't it?  

It's like checking the weather forecast and there's a lively debate over whether it's going to rain or be sunny.

Maybe CounterPunch could have a never-resolved debate over whether capitalism is actually good or not?

Friday, July 14, 2023

Post-Fordism and a Better World


Reading this new article by Caitlin Johnstone about the bankruptcy of the maker of something called the "Instant Pot" (because it was too durable and useful as opposed to having planned obsolescence) made me think about something that's been rattling around in my head for a few days.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Could Putin Have Avoided War?


I think I'll first mention Michael Husdson's essay, which I read earlier this morning, before moving onto David Swanson's essay about how both Russia and the Ukraine could have avoided this terrible conflict.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Alex Himelfarb on Zombie Neoliberalism


I was directed to this post: "How to kill a zombie or the strange persistence of neoliberalism" by Alex Himelfarb from one of Greg Fingas's ("Accidental Deliberations" blog) helpful "Afternoon Links" posts.

Essentially, Himelfarb expands upon the proposition offered by Wolfgang Streeck that I talked about in my last post, to whit; that while neoliberalism is now widely recognized as having failed, we will continue to suffer as it lurches from one catastrophe to the next because there is no viable alternative at hand to replace it with.  

Sunday, June 25, 2023

An Accidental Trilogy

This is taken from my most recent updates at this post about my reading for the year.  I decided to put my research about how rebellions and revolutions arose and how they contributed to the democratic instinct on hold for a bit and read some books about current political-economic conditions.  The three books I signed out appeared as an accidental trilogy.

Thom Hartmann's The Secret History of Neoliberalism: How Reaganism Gutted America and How to Restore Its Greatness, David Dayen's Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power, and Wolfgang Streeck's How Will Capitalism End? Essays on a Failing System, worked out to tell the story of how we got here (Hartmann), what the end-result of neoliberal theory has produced (Dayen), and the likely near-future for humanity given the failure of neoliberalism specifically and capitalism in general.

First, Hartmann's Secret History of Neoliberalism:

This book goes back to the founding of the Mont Pelerin Society, where liberal economists like Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises got together after World War II to come up with a set of prescriptions that would save civilization from totalitarian fascism and communism.  In their theoretical fantasy-world, the capitalist free market, when left to its own devices, functioned perfectly.  Unregulated prices sent signals to profit-maximizers who self-interestedly produced wealth for themselves that would subsequently trickle down or filter out into the wider society.  It was the best, nay, the ONLY way to run society.  

The problem was that it didn't work fast enough and it didn't always make everybody richer.  Some people suffered at the hands of the market.  But that is life.  That is reality.  However, some people don't want to accept reality.  Like the toiling masses for instance.  Democracy was dangerous in that it gave uneducated, immature populations, the power to interfere with the capitalist free market, creating regulations and rigidities and distortions that would eventually produce disaster.

Supposedly the inflation and high levels of unemployment of the 1970's ("stagflation") was the inevitable disaster that they'd predicted.  "Stagflation" supposedly discredited the Keynesian social welfare state, the class compromise of the post-war era.  It was time to sweep away such nonsense and impose the technocratic, neoliberal, free market regime that economic "SCIENCE" had established as the one, true way for humanity.  First, in the UK under Margaret Thatcher, and soon afterwards, by Ronald Reagan in the USA.

America’s most popular progressive radio host and New York Times bestselling author Thom Hartmann reveals how and why neoliberalism became so prevalent in the United States and why it's time for us to turn our backs to it.

With four decades of neoliberal rule coming to an end, America is at a crossroads. In this powerful and accessible book, Thom Hartmann demystifies neoliberalism and explains how we can use this pivotal point in time to create a more positive future.

This book traces the history of neoliberalism—a set of capitalistic philosophies favoring free trade, low taxes on the rich, financial austerity, and deregulation of big business—up to the present day. Hartmann explains how neoliberalism was sold as a cure for wars and the Great Depression. He outlines the destructive impact that it has had on America, looking at how it has increased poverty, damaged the middle class, and corrupted our nation’s politics.

America is standing on the edge of a new progressive era. We can continue down the road to a neoliberal oligarchy, as supported by many of the nation’s billionaires and giant corporations. Or we can choose to return to Keynesian economics and Alexander Hamilton’s “American Plan” by raising taxes on the rich, reversing free trade, and building a society that works for all.

Indeed.  Hartmann advocates protectionism and some form of mercantilism. Economic nationalism.  He has chapters on how neoliberalism destroyed Russia and Chile, and other chapters on how the rejection of neoliberalism by the Chinese and South Koreans made them stronger.  He talks about how Reaganism has destroyed the state's ability to provide necessary services and hollowed-out the economy, causing unemployment, inequality and a loss of skills.  His chapters on the out-sourcing of military procurement by profiteering, gouging oligarchs, and how this has weakened the USA's ability to produce its own weapons is playing out before our eyes in the [welcomed, to my relieved eyes] USA's failure to ramp-up production for the proxy-war in Ukraine.

Personally, I don't favour economic nationalism.  I prefer regional integration of large areas (for instance, North America from Panama to the Arctic, with the free movement of people, and the expansion of democracy and human rights and legislative authority over the economy for everyone within this group.  And I think Hartmann's belief that a returned to enlightened, regulated capitalism under a restored New Deal is unrealistic.

David Dayen's Monopolized describes the world that was created by neoliberal ideologues.  A state that does not, by pretending that it cannot, regulate capitalism, loses the ability to control oligarchies and their collusion, which amounts to the same thing as monopoly.  

And when uncontrolled oligarchies exist, things get bad for the majority:

Over the last forty years our choices have narrowed, our opportunities have shrunk, and our lives have become governed by a handful of very large and very powerful corporations. Today, practically everything we buy, everywhere we shop, and every service we secure comes from a heavily concentrated market.

This is a world where six major banks control most of our money, four airlines shuttle most of us around the country, and four major cell phone providers connect most of our communications. If you are sick you can go to one of three main pharmacies to fill your prescription, and if you end up in a hospital almost every accessory to heal you comes from one of a handful of large medical suppliers.

Dayen, the editor of the American Prospect and author of the acclaimed Chain of Title, provides a riveting account of what it means to live in this new age of monopoly and how we might resist this corporate hegemony.

Through vignettes and vivid case studies Dayen shows how these monopolies have transformed us, inverted us, and truly changed our lives, at the same time providing readers with the raw material to make monopoly a consequential issue in American life and revive a long-dormant antitrust movement.

It is a damning indictment of neoliberal nonsense.  A very worthwhile read.  Each chapter shows how powerful corporations exploit, abuse, and plunder.  It's infuriating.  It is the world we've been living in since Reaganism.  It makes life for ordinary people more expensive, insecure, and unjust.  Read it.

Finally, Streeck's How Will Capitalism End? describes the place we find ourselves in since the 2008 financial crisis, which was caused by unregulated, neoliberal, financialized capitalism.  It is an era of corruption, stagnation and increasing social-economic inequality.

Capitalism destroyed the ability of institutions (politics, labour unions) to control it.  But it needs to be controlled or else we have the abominations described by Dayen and the nightmare dystopia described by Streeck.

Capitalism is in critical condition. Growth is giving way to secular stagnation, inequality is leading to instability, and confidence in the capitalist money economy has all but evaporated. In How Will Capitalism End?, Wolfgang Streeck, an observer of contemporary politics and economics, argues that capitalism’s shotgun marriage with democracy that began in 1945 is breaking up because the regulatory institutions restraining its advance have collapsed. After the final victory of capitalism over its enemies, there is no political agency capable of rebuilding them in sight. The capitalist system is stricken with at least five worsening disorders for which no cure is at hand: declining growth, oligarchy, starvation of the public sphere, corruption, and international anarchy. Wolfgang Streeck asks whether we are witnessing a long and painful period of cumulative decay: of intensifying frictions, of fragility and uncertainty, and of a steady succession of "normal accidents."

It is a fairly dense, detailed work.  This is a scholarly work of social-economic analysis.  Which makes it all the more worthwhile.  It focuses on Europe but makes connections to other polities, especially the United States of America.  In the European Union, neoliberal technocrats have created the true dream of the Mont Pelerin ideologues.  An economic zone where democracy has been effectively removed from decision making.  What that resulted in was a European banking system that tried to imitate the massive (if imaginary) wealth creation (based on fraud) of Wall Street and the City of London.  This saw massive, easy loans from German and French banks to real-estate speculation and etc., in the Mediterranean countries like Spain, Italy and Greece.  With the 2008 international financial crisis that all went bust and the technocratic geniuses are focusing on austerity as the solution.  But austerity is only going to squeeze the European working class to pay back the bankers the money that the bankers themselves lost.

Streeck talks about a taxation and redistribution state in the 1945-73 era.  Redistribution was partly an increase in working class consumption to compensate for continued political inferiority.  Briefly there was the inflation state of the 1970's as wage increases were allowed to meet the price increases of the era.  Then Reagan initiated the debt state.  An era when first the public sector, and then the private sector (including households) were allowed to borrow to maintain consumption.  Now we're in the consolidation era.  Canada probably got their first with the blinkered austerity and tax-cuts era of Paul Martin.  The public sector is cannibalized to pay for the tax-cuts for the wealthy.

Streeck points out how the 2008 crisis and the pandemic forced governments to return to deficits, but this simultaneously alarmed the fucking oligarchs about the solvency of their cash cow.  MORE AUSTERITY!

Streeck's book is particularly important for how he realistically explains that this state of affairs of lurching from neoliberals' self-imposed disasters, one after another, will probably be extended, because no viable alternative movements exist.  A sad, but welcome bit of reality after all the useless patting themselves on the back of Leftists, endlessly celebrating their tiny, or non-existent "victories" as the world careens out of control and conditions for the majority continue to decline.

I'm tired of writing today.  

Thursday, June 8, 2023



I am 56 years old.  (But I still got it!)  And I don't recall ever in my lifetime wildfires simultaneously on the Prairies, in Ontario, and in the Maritimes.  Obviously it's global warming.  Same as the previous wildfires in Alberta in recent years (whereas in the past, including the recent past, wildfires had been rare occurrences) and the towns in BC bursting into flames.  Hotter summers.  Longer warm weather spells.  

This summer (or very soon) we'll have ice-free Arctics.

Glaciers have been in rapid retreat all around the globe.

By this point only insane people and people so shit-headed that their delusions appear insane will doubt global heating is upon us.

And yet our political class only pretends to care.  It pays the merest lip-service to the crisis because to do more would upset the very powerful fossil-fuels oligarchs.  (And, especially in Canada, the Bay Street fuck-heads, like the shit-covered assholes in charge of the Royal Bank, who invest heavily in the Tar Sands and other fiascos.)

And the bulk of the population continues on its merry, deluded, ignorant way.  Celebrating unseasonably warm days in October and November.  Buying their SUVs.  Leaving their air-conditioners on when they're not home.  

Yesterday it hit me.  If Reagan had started a ... well, he DID continue a proxy-war on the Soviet Union's border, when he maintained the Carter/Brzezsinski support for the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan.  At the time (and upt until I started this section of the post) I never really considered how dangerous that was.  Still, the difference between the army of Afghanistan in the late-1970's and the 1980's, and the army that NATO built up in Ukraine, ... plus the difference between the sclerotic USSR and the hyper-sonic weaponized Russia of 2020, ... it isn't comparable.  The Mujahedeen didn't plan on invading the Soviet Union.

The Carter/Reagan adventure in Afghanistan was not the same thing as the support for anti-Russian nazis (as opposed to other sorts of nazis that Putin doesn't seem to mind) in Ukraine.  Bleeding the Soviets in Afghanistan seems worlds away from ethnically cleansing the Crimea and the Donbas of ethnic Russians and taking over the Russian naval base in Crimea.

The former was questionable.  The latter is insane.

It's especially insane when you look at the shit-heads in charge.  Joe Biden used to be a mediocrity.  Now he's a senile mediocrity.  His Secretary of State Antony Blinken is an arrogant, racist imbecile.  (Biden is obvioiusly heavily racist.)  The Republican Party is led by pathetic closet-cases, vermin, and the laughable monstrosity of Donald Trump. Contary to what your average white, male, right-wing conspiracy theorist believes, there are no Jewish Overlords or Alien Reptile Genius Oligarchs pulling all the strings.  Instead there are the arrogant psychopath/shit-heads who gravitate to the "Intelligence" sectors; Wall Street douche-bags like Jamie Dimon; and not-so titans of intellect like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, .. and whatever.

No.  It's just a bunch of shit-heads and ass-wipes.

Russia has nuclear weapons.  Russia was provoked into this war.  Senile Biden and imbecile Blinken (cheered on by arrogant mediocrity Hillary Clinton) are also trying to provoke nuclear armed China.  Because theyre idiots who have no idea what they're doing and who have been so insulated from the consequences of their serial incompetence that they have absolutely no grip on reality.

Finally; COVID.  COVID is still killing lots of people.  It's still exhausting our healthcare systems.  And humanity is divided.  There's the small but significant minority who have an accurate understanding of the dangers of the pandemic and how to address it.  Then there is the larger minority of deluded and/or ignorant people who pretend it isn't a problem and probably a hoax. Then there are the politicians who pretend to care about the problem and to address the problem but who refused to do anything about it that would inconvenience the banks, Big Pharma, and the capitalist oligarchs in general.  And so, for instance, there were lockdowns but you still had to pay your debts to the banks even when you had no income.  And the profits of Big Pharma selling a product developed on the public's dime prevailed over vaccinating people in low-income countries, thereby allowing the virus to flourish and spread and spread and mutate and mutate.  And now the virus in endemic.  And then there's the terrible reality of people who the pandemic revealed have no idea about how they breath because they wear masks while exposing their nostrils.

And "fighting back" (by doing nothing) is the washout Left that I wrote about last post.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Doug Ford Has Nothing to Worry About


Near Yonge & Queen

So, I went to the Ontario Federation of Labour's "Enough is Enough!" protest last Saturday.  My expectations were, sadly, met completely.  You see, I'd wondered whether the Ontario Labour Movement had learned anything over the last three decades of miserable failure, or whether it remained wedded to the same "tactic" of moronic chanting as they either walk along a parade route or congregate in a pubic square.  Of course it's the latter case.

Earlier in the March. (Oops.)

Way back in the 1990's, appalled at the murderous incompetence of Premier Mike Harris, I attended an OPSEU rally in Hamilton to find out what what we were going to do about that stupid asshole.  I stood at the edge of the crowd for about 15 minutes waiting to hear about some sort of plan of action, but all I heard was "Hey-hey! Ho-ho! Mike Harris has got to go! Hey-hey! Ho-ho! Mike Harris has got to go!"  I wandered away for a while and came back about ten minutes later and all that had changed was that they started marching towards the downtown core still shouting that stupid chant.

Yonge & Dundas

Mike Harris served out two full terms killing people at Ipperwash, Walkerton and elsewhere.  Disrupting education ("Creating a crisis") and serving his corporate masters before retiring to his reward in the corrupt private sector.  Recently, stupid fat tub of shit Doug Ford gave him the Order of Ontario, thereby disgracing the award for all time.

The denouement. (I don't know these people.  I was trying to get a picture of the Doug Ford Puppet.)

Here it is, 2023, and things are worse than ever.  Doug Ford is deliberately allowing Ontario's hospitals to implode so that he can then offer the snake-oil of privatization as a "solution."  He's fucking over working people and rewarding himself and his owners with pubic funds.  The man is vermin.  And all that the OFL can think to do is engage in the same magical thinking.  The same self-evidently failed drivel.  It's pathological.  It's criminal.

This young guy was just up on the roof for his own reasons.  But the police presence for the rally got in the way of his plans.  He was threatening to jump when I left.   (This was at Nathan Phillips Square.  The starting point of the march/rally.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Saw a Few Minutes of Question Period Today


It was inspiring.  Genuine Canadian democracy in action.  Slime-ball shit-head Pierre Poillievre was castigating the government for its deficit-spending "adding fuel to the inflationary fire."  (Slimey Shit-head repeated that metaphor a few times during the back-and-forth.)

Deputy Prime Minister Crystia Freeland, the corporate tool/imperialist lackey with the Nazi grand-pappy, replied that the inflation rate is going down.  At one point during the exchange she mocked Poillievre for his crypto-currency fetish, as well as for his wish to fire "the independent Bank of Canada Governor."

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Biden to run again ...


Joe Biden has always been a stupid, stupid man.  A man too stupid to know he's stupid.  His ignorance and delusion subsequently allowed him to see himself as a man of substance who spoke wisdom.  But in the corrupt, degenerate politics of Washington D.C. that allowed him to fit right in.  Except now he's [at least] tired.  Old age.  From his outbursts and his incoherent ramblings he is possibly senile.  Remember that last election the pandemic allowed him to hide from the media and the electorate.  This time he most likely won't have that advantage.  Plus; he's four years older.