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.
Learning to “Struggle It Out” in Jackson
Poor, black US citizens are among the world’s many suffering canaries in the coal mine of unfettered-Capitalism, that unsustainable pursuit, having finally disempowered all of us except for the “point0-0-whatever%” that threatens to take the 99.99whatever% down the road to starvation, widespread war and extinction.
Chris Hedges interviews a rare sort of leader, Kali Akuno, a co-founder and co-director of Cooperation Jackson, a recent movement of poor, black citizens in Mississippi’s capital, Jackson.
Amy Goodman’s interview on Democracy Now with Akuno on the topic: Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination, in December last year, is excellent as well, especially for its inclusion of an appraisal of ultra-right Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and President Donald Trump. Akuno here points out a new white supremacy initiative building in America.
Under attack by a new city gentrification initiative that will eventually drive them off the land on which they currently eke out their humble, desperate existence, Cooperation Jackson is a movement started by Chokwe Lumumba, Mayor of Jackson until his death on Feb. 25, 2014. Akuno was his Director of Special Projects and External Funding.
This movement is a fascinating phenomenon that uses many of the potentially planet-saving Décroissance concepts being tried in different places I described in my October 2014 post, La Movement Décroissance. The French word Décroissance, uniquely combines the concept of degrowth with that of stopping believing in the way the current money-based system works. In Cerbère in Southern France and the Barcelona area, small communities have been established that:
- Eat locally – and mostly plants
- Disobey strategically some of the System’s “precepts”
- Borrow, barter and time-trade, reducing dependence on money
The key objectives of Akuno’s movement outlined in his interview with Chris Hedges are excitingly similar: Continue reading “Learning to “Struggle It Out” in Jackson”
You Asked “Why Can’t We All Go Home?”
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.
Our CBC: A Weapon of Mass Delusion
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.
New Clothes for the Emperors
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.
On Suffering and Disillusion
No action destroys evil, but only the apparently useless and perfectly patient suffering of it.
Simone Weil, Gateway to God, p. 51 quoted in my diary entry on 10 October, 1984.
My belief in the above to be true, while never total, was stronger over three decades ago, when I was a Christian. The example of Jesus, given by a well-known Jesuit, seemed to confirm Weil’s intuition:
The power of the human person, his secret weapon, is his power to suffer and die.
From The Two-Edged Sword by John L. McKenzie, S.J., from page 25 of the same diary.
I look at the way the world has been increasingly dominated by a single political entity since I read the above statements, with, seemingly, little but pain and destruction for any peoples whether they dare to oppose it or not.
This dominion has been achieved by a combination of overwhelming military might, the absolute and wanton waste of Mother Earth’s natural resources on weaponry and, since the Reagan years, the gradual extreme control of the West’s mainstream media to the point that, among the smartest of us, there is a dismal, widespread lack of awareness.
I am now far from convinced that there is much hope for the approach of “turning swords into ploughshares.”
By the way, we Christians might be forgiven for thinking that Jesus used this phrase somewhere in the New Testament, but we would be shocked (I was!) to find that this everyday, so hopeful expression comes from the name of a statue completed in 1959 by a Russian sculptor named Evgeny Vuchetich and presented at that time to the United Nations, where it still stands. But New Yorkers may well be aware of this…
Yes, a Russian from, er, Russia! Go figure! The same Russia that is now increasingly, and I am convinced unfairly, vilified on the front pages and TV headlines of all the major organs of the “free press” for doing things that the planet’s paramount hegemon has been doing for just as long, albeit with greater success.
North Dakota Fascism – A Wake-Up Call?
Bleakness abounds. Politicians with considerable power turn away. Mammon rules with asymptotically growing crudity, cruelty and excess, even without Trump in “power.” No big surprise that American “democracy” is a crock if one’s eyes are truly open to HRC’s portrayal by Wikileaks. We have learned nothing from the fascism of the past and, ironically, we minions who have benefitted from neocolonial atrocities committed upon others around the globe for over a century will, in turn, be ground under.
So wrong on so many levels.
And, President-Elect Trump, the idea of Greatness in the old-fashioned, Roman sense of economic growth and world dominance, is meaningless. In a finite biosphere, growth, as we have known it, is unsustainable. Get over it.
It is time for a Damascene Conversion.
True greatness Continue reading “North Dakota Fascism – A Wake-Up Call?”
Our Not So Mellow Canadian Cello