March 16, 2020
Pamela Palmater knows how badly First Nations have been treated historically and how small amendments squirrelled away in many huge omnibus bills by PM Stephen Harper have been cynically used by PM Justin Trudeau to divide and conquer – particularly in the current Wet’suwet’en pipeline issue.
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.
This quick email to my neighbour sent at 7:45 a.m. today:
Why? So that it will kink as little as possible.
Whatever happened to plain old rubber??
Premier Doug Ford (eeewwww….) can destroy what he wants in Ontario for a minimum of four years, and this tragic development is Ontarians’ (and Canadians’) own fault for being among the very few places on Earth that still use a neanderthal, First Past The Post electoral system.
Now I’m going to gargle and brush my teeth….
I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.
Vincent Van Gogh
I am going to try to spend much less time on exposing what I consider to be the crimes of our wealth-dominated Mother Earth. It is starting to take over way too much of my life and is having no noticeable effect other than to piss off the majority of those close to me.
I will be able to spend much more of my time time on family, musical performance, visiting the sick and imprisoned, reading and tai chi.
But, before metamorphosis takes over, Continue reading “Four Photos – A “Guide Map””
In presenting Vladímir Putin’s 21st Century equivalent to Khruschev’s “We will bury you.” the CBC last night failed to read Putin’s macho but desperate attempt to show the whole world that no one, not even the US, can come out of a nuclear war unscathed.
Our CBC only approximated fairness last night. Still the same, implied, refrain meant to be innately picked up by couch potato feelers:
“See? Putin is, as we said, ruthlessly scary etc.” A deliberate misread, in my opinion.
The real NATO threat that has forced Russia’s hand: America’s broken promise not to expand NATO Eastward beyond Germany, made to Eduard Shevardnadze by James Baker in 1990 and illustrated by this brilliantly sarcastic image:
The answer to a friend’s worthwhile tweet question “Can’t we all just go home and respect others’ need for security?” is, I believe, in Simon and Garfunkel’s “people talking w/o speaking” (the weaponized mainstream media) and, since 2001, largely for profit FBI and CIA: the “Neon god they made.”
Disturbed’s inspired, intensely visual, version of Simon and Garfunkel’s amazingly prescient (so clearly now) The Sound of Silence…
And the original by Simon and Garfunkel… with high praise for their poetic insight.
This sort of stuff is so bad it has probably been responsible for breaking up some homes, where one partner retches loudly while the other simply keeps swallowing.
This is Remembrance Day in Canada and Veterans’ Day in the States. If you’ve never seen the Canadian monument at Vimy Ridge, it is an enormous, beautiful, monument that pays tribute to the courage of the Canadian and allied soldiers who died there 100 years ago in and around deep trenches fighting the Imperial German Army. I visited it in 2009 and took the above photo. Then, it was about “never again.” Now we have politicians using Vimy to glorify Canada’s coming of age. Having “come of age,” Canadian troops are part of a super-aggressive NATO in – wait for it – Latvia. Latvia, for Pete’s sake! ‘Nuff said here. I digress.
Anyway, this post is about a song I wrote in 1983, when I learned that the Russians had so many ICBM missiles pointed at them so close that a Russian human could never respond to an American first strike in time to retaliate.
Vulnerable because of this proximity, Russia was forced to develop a computerized “launch on warning” system that would virtually, for them, take the decision out of human hands. Very scary…
The Nuclear Doomsday Clock got to 3 minutes before midnight in 1984.
So, to “save the world” like Arlo Guthrie, I wrote this country blues song called Radiatin’ A-bomb Blues and started contacting publishers. In those days we mailed them cassettes…
In 1984 this light-hearted song was pitched by Mark Altman of Morning Music to Doc Watson for his Sugar Hill blues project, but it was heard too late to be considered. I performed it also live on the CBC’s Metro Morning radio program and was interviewed by its host Joe Coté, one of my all-time favourite CBC Radio people.
Then by 1991, the Cold War over, the Doomsday Clock had been moved back to 17 minutes before midnight.
I stopped singing this song, and look whats happened since!
Its now two and one half minutes to midnight, just 30 measly seconds farther than the closest it’s ever been!
So here is my 1983 song, which I sang again on Thursday. I asked the audience to sing the chorus with me and they DID. One of my listeners reminded me that Arlo said “If you want to end war and stuff, you gotta sing LOUD.”
So it would be lovely if, while you’re listening to my song you can sing along as loud on the chorus as you can:
I got the low down, radiation’ A-bomb blues…
Sing anything you want. Just sing, and LOUD…
Here’s Arlo’s Alice’s Restaurant
And Eric Bogle’s And the Band Played Waltzin’ Matilda is, to me, the finest anti-war song ever written. Have a listen…
Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan, in his 2017 budget, appears to be in the process of selling what seems, to an unapologetic sixties leftist like me, every remaining good thing in that province to private corporations.
Naomi Klein’s prescient book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, would shed some keen insight on this, unfortunately worldwide, trend. And the seismic shift in Saskatchewan, and possibly soon in Ontario, has happened on our watch!
As for Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, more hurt than help here, appears keen not only to leave all of Harper’s anti-democratic buckshot legislation, squirrelled away in over a dozen omnibus bills, in place, but more than that, to contribute his own pro-corporate slavish sauce to the mix. At this very moment Trudeau’s trying to figure out how to slyly dress his cabinet to keep the alt-right from going with someone like Kevin O’Leary.
The clothes of the Emperor (the proper name for any Prime Minister or Premier with a majority) are all but gone, and so many of his promises are in tatters, but he cuts a dashing figure in boxing trunks, doesn’t he?
Pierre must be spinning, and, simultaneously shrugging, in his grave.