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.
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One Huge Piece of Fake News – MH17

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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.

Will Ontarians NOW Get That FPTP Stinks?

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….

Degrowth: Further Notes from 2014

These are valuable notes that I did not include in my post, La Mouvement Décroissance in October 2014. I had planned to revise and post them later. Here they are, much later.

Many of the ideas I’ll present below are obvious and have been known for decades. If we are to truly share the resources of our finite planet fairly with fellow humans and other living things we must make serious changes now. As Naomi Klein points out in her latest book, This Changes Everything, if we want to avoid the most horrific of futures we need to change what we’re doing fast. The time to dither and debate has disappeared. Klein argues here that the present grow-or-die model of capitalism is simply incompatible with human survival. See my Sept. 15 post on this topic here.

What is relatively new to me is the latest activity of the small, experimental, Degrowth Movement communities that are happily choosing to live very frugally as we must live some day all too soon. They go without many of the luxuries that we take for granted, recognizing that, if everyone on the planet were to consume resources at the rate of the average Canadian, we would need several more Earths immediately. This was pointed out 15 years ago in David Suzuki’s 1999 book, From Naked Ape To Superspecies on page 42. And Richard Branson ain’t gonna get us that far alive, hoes and pitchforks in hand, anytime soon.

Suzuki and his family have been walking the talk for a long time. He lists,  in a gentle, inspirational style at the end of The Sacred Balance, many things that we could do to reduce our human footprint on the Earth.

A simple list of ten ways we can make significant changes is also given here.

 

Footnotes:

Vandana Shiva, The “Seed Lady,” has been protecting India’s indigenous seeds from being patented of for over three decades.  She is a dedicated activist and is involved in the leadership of many organizations around the world dedicated to  biodiversity. Her work opposes the patenting of seeds and the practice of monoculture agriculture in general, preferring the planting of many things (food, herbs, medicinal plants) in natural soil the way Indian farmers have done it for centuries. Read her impressive life story here. Or observe her brilliance in this YouTube video – Part 1 of The Future of Food. Her movement, Navdanya, which she founded in 1991, is many faceted but is best known for the banks of seeds it has saved from extinction. Navdanya means “Nine Crops” – these are the essential sources of India’s food and she is fighting to save them.

Ideas From David Suzuki’s The Sacred Balance: Continue reading “Degrowth: Further Notes from 2014”

Four Photos – A “Guide Map”

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Courtesy of @ArtPicsChannel

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””

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
  • Squat
  • 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:

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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.