Neoliberalism’s Legacy

Ravens on steps at Barr'd Island

This Chris Hedges post inspired my listing below, but my own blunt, scruffy and ornery mood soon took over, so don’t blame him…

Neoliberalism’s Grand Achievement: 8 Families now own half of the Planet’s “wealth”

A concise, incomplete history of it’s ascendency:

  • Sharing the wealth was invented to deal with uppity, but needed, unionized workers in the 20th century
  • A phoney science called “economics” was born and nurtured
  • They stumbled onto a flawed idea called “free” trade
  • Corporations were soon made into “persons” with rights and the ability to live forever; that’s much longer than real persons live
  • Those rights grew and grew as worker’s power shrank
  • Human rights, such as clean water, became “commodities” – sold at a positively pornographic price in some places
  • Market “freedom” inevitably led to privatization: fewer and richer Rich vs more and poorer Poor
  • Entertainment and gadgetry kept the middle class distracted – a worthy crowd control project presented to government/corporate/labour think tanks in the 70’s
  • Monopolies were made legal instead of criminal
  • Unemployment Insurance was euphemized Employment Insurance in Canada
  • Companies were allowed to use their employees’ pension savings, including the workers’ own contributions leaving just a bunch of promised numbers in the safe
  • Banks were allowed play with insurance and sell mutual funds
  • Crazy shit like derivatives became a way for the banks to get richer – until they didn’t
  • Your taxes and mine went to bail out poorly managed banks and their overpaid executives
  • Car companies were bailed out even though they broke their pension promises
  • Private equity firm(s) gobbled up peoples’ houses at auctions as if they’d planned it.
  • “Disaster Capitalism” took control of natural and organized disasters
  • Little wealth was created, just redistributed upward
  • The good freedoms of the many (association, speech…) were replaced by freedoms of the few (monopoly, price gauging, foreclosure…)
  • Human beings are now just another “commodity” to those above eight families.
Advertisements

One Huge Piece of Fake News – MH17

cockpit-mh017 3.jpg
Bullet Holes? photo credit: anderweltonline.com

A 1970’s quote that  John Pilger recalls he heard directly from Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler’s film maker:

“Propaganda always wins, if you allow it.”

And she calmly said that it succeeds against the well-educated, liberal bourgeoisie. Will you allow it to win? Some of my closest, smartest friends have been conned.

*********

November 27, The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) continues to be exposed as having used critically flawed “evidence” to discredit Russia… The latest presentation from Russia, on Sept. 17, 2018, is thoroughly damning in its destruction of the JIT’s claim on May 24 that:

the BUK-TELAR which was used to shoot down flight MH17 originated from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian armed forces.

The Russian response on September 17 was extremely thorough about the production and shipping details of the missile the JIT identified. Lt. Gen. Nikolai Parshin took 12 painstaking minutes to explain that this BUK (whose casing and venturi serial numbers were identified by the JIT) found in the crash area

was delivered by rail 29 December 1986 to military unit 20152 of the Ukrainian army and never sent back to Russia.

Russian Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov then attacked the video used by the JIT to explain the movement of this BUK from Russia to Ukraine. Konashenkov used sophisticated, carefully explained, geometrical evidence to demonstrate that the BUK truck was superimposed on another video of parts of its alleged “route” to the launch site. Then Konashenkov said:

This is conclusive evidence that Ukraine was not just involved in this tragedy but it also manipulated the international investigation.

Konashenkov then played a recording of a 2016 conversation between servicemen preparing for military exercises in Odessa. Ukrainian Armed Forces Col. Ruslan Grinchak suggests to one of his soldiers who is objecting to an order:

Hey! If this keeps going on we will take down another goddamn Malaysian Boeing and everything will be great again. So, that’s what we will tell them.

Konashenkov also explained that in July 2014, when MH17 was shot down, the colonel was the commander of the 164th radio technical brigade, nr A1451 of the Ukrainian Air Force. […] “In other words Grinchak knew exactly what was happening in the air over Donbass, because it was his job.”

The General then stated that Ukraine was clearly involved in the MH17 tragedy and has concealed key information from the JIT that would lead to evidence of Ukraine  involvement.

Here I have to credit the brilliant source of the information I used for this entry. Most of what I have said above is clearly explained in this September 17 post by Max van der Werff ( @MaxvanderWerff ). I’ve been following him since June 2015. I followed the tragic MH17 very closely from July 2014 for two years. I still have a keen interest in everything that has happened but only report from time to time when the occasional breakthrough is made.

This is such a time. I’m not holding my breath for the truth to come out. It’s been four years and four months since the shootdown and February 22, 2019 will mark 5 years since the US-promoted coup d’état that ousted Viktor Yanukovich and started this whole mess that I call the “Blame Russia Chorus.”

And I suggest you don’t believe the coming deluge of fakery on Crimea and the recent Azov Sea provocations. This may well be a deliberate Ukraine ploy, one spin-off of which is to feed the phalanx of complicit Western MSM and thus distract the couch potatoes from paying attention to the above.

Propaganda has very deep pockets and there is much to study.

Read my post MH17 – A Continuing Study if you care. There is a big piece of my life that has gone into all that has happened leading up to the criminal February 22 coup d’état and the resulting tragic deaths, sanctions and cynical machinations that have ensued, continuing to destabilize our world.

Sicily and Malta Holiday – Part One

 

 

We returned from a holiday in Sicily and Malta on October 22.

It started, dreadfully stress-loaded, with  a 2.5 hour Toronto delay on the tarmac in Air Canada 890, followed by an Air Canada “welcomer” in Rome that commanded us to “Run!” to our replacement flight – an impossible and dangerous marathon pre-destined to fail epically. We “ran” for 25 minutes…

Though we were both almost 74, no motorized transportation was offered. In fact, when requested, it was denied. We missed that replacement flight and, at one point, my wife and I were so breathless that I was worried that one of us would have a serious medical incident at FCO.

We went to about 4 disinterested, misinformed Alitalia desks/gates until we finally found a veteran Alitalia  supervisor who knew exactly how to solve our problem in about 10 minutes. He and his super efficient staff got us and our bags on Flight 1741 to Catania that left at 3 PM, 2.5  hours after our original Alitalia flight 1711 had been scheduled to depart.

Our destination was Siracusa, that ancient, sacred place that was once more important than Corinth or Athens. We easily found the Interbus kiosk at Catania Airport  that sold tickets to Siracusa for €5.70 pp and arrived at Maison Ortigia in the dark. Emanuele was waiting for us and for a few other patrons of his B&B who had also been delayed in their travels.

The beauty of what we experienced in these two ancient, war-torn lands more than made up for the stress we went through on October 8th and 9th in getting there.

Catania to Siracusa
Route from Catania to the island, Ortigia (ancient Siracusa) is a 63 km bus trip.

 

Internet Kudos and Bozos in Sicily & Malta

This is a random post just because, exhausted after two great but hectic weeks, I feel like it:

Three places that stood out regarding Internet friendliness and simplicity during three-night stays this month:

Great:

Maison Ortigia in Siracusa, Sicily

Radisson Blu near Valletta, Malta

Bad:

Best Western  Ai Cavalieri Hotel in Palermo, Sicily

Despicably bad reception in the hotel’s new section, but the staff will keep you in the dark for days playing with a plethora of passwords.

There, I’ve got that off my chest.

 

 

 

 

Wine Making With Aretha Franklin

“So,” I’m going through a set of challenging wine-making instructions for a high quality Negroamaro (juice plus skins – a first for me).

I had to edit and translate them into hand-written, clear Binglish (Bob-friendly English) and decided to come to grips with the spelling and pronunciation of the following additive:

kieselsol

The incredibly helpful and generous person I buy my juice from, Joe, has as much fun pronouncing it as I do, but he sure knows how to make wine!

The word “kieselsol” wouldn’t stay in my septuagenarian, but fussy, brain, so I took time to look at it carefully. The first part, keisel, I thought must rhyme with Diesel and it did! The sol part, for a maternal anglo like me, is easy: Saul, like the biblical king.

But, if you want to be absolut richtig and use the handsome German pronunciation, just think Diesel-Soul – as in Aretha Franklin, RIP. I will call kieselsol “Diesel-Soul” from now on. And I will replace some of my cuss words with it.

I may even make it a mantra…

A Glorious Potted Hibiscus

 

We were given this potted hibiscus in January and put it out on the deck in the spring. I think I fertilized once with soluble 15-30-15 in a fertilizer sprayer.

I decided after listening to an expert on tomatoes who suggested strongly to someone who hadn’t seen any flowers: “Don’t feed them.”

I decided not to feed this plant again and it began to flower prolifically in late August and you can see that the early September photo on the right has at least three more blooms to come. I wonder if this plant wouldn’t have done as well if it had been fed more often. What do you think?

Also we have seen ruby-throated hummingbirds passing through our yards in late August and on September 1. I read that the males leave Ontario in July, the females follow in August and this summers’ babies migrate south to Mexico and Central America in September. How cool is that?

Hose Me Down, Folks!

A66E21C1-622E-407E-8F0E-745D37060980
Hose Initiation for Hosers

This quick email to my neighbour sent at 7:45 a.m. today:

Before its first use… this new and “improved” hose recommends that it be extended in the sun for several hours as straight as possible with the pressure turned on at the tap. I have done my best. I assumed you wouldn’t mind it extending 6 feet onto your lawn.
*********
Why? So that it will kink as little as possible.
*********
Whatever happened to plain old rubber??
*********
No… I haven’t gone crazy – yet…
The “architect” of this particular hose probably has…
Wish I’d read the fine print…
I’ll put it away at 2 PM.
Cheers,
Bob