New Clothes for the Emperors

The Works Progress Administration in Ohio presents The Federal Theatre for Youth in "The emperor's new clothes" LCCN98517057

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.

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A Voyage… Of Sorts

PICT0387 4x6 RS.jpegAbove: a project of mine that is almost finished. It may just come in handy…

Ever want to just get away from it all? Things just south of where I live seem to be getting a little dodgy. I’m not following it closely – bad for my health – but I get the impression that we (the entire Planet) are in for a frightening amusement park ride, kind of like being on a rickety contraption that has needed maintenance – no, out-and-out modification – for waaayyy too long. Circumstances beyond our control, such as locked iron bars across our laps, forbid escape, yet we might have avoided the crisis by Continue reading “A Voyage… Of Sorts”

The Scary Big Picture

It increasingly appears that the US, facing eventual economic decline, is desperate to consolidate its One Superpower Forever role, no matter what misery has to be inflicted on the rest of the world to do it.

Trade Deals, such as the TPP, with Investor-State Dispute Settlement Agreements (ISDS agreements) that allow corporations to sue governments, are one aspect of the American hegemony’s struggle. These have been encountering some difficulty in being ratified. And Donald Trump has threatened to tear up NAFTA, a trade agreement that already favours the U.S.A. over Canada. NAFTA’s  ISDS agreement section is Chapter 11. Google that to see that the U.S.A. has never lost one of these dispute settlements.

World-Wide Military Goals:

There are three main military aspects to the ugly struggle to stay on top:

  1. NATO: This European military tool, NATO, disguised as an international alliance of willing, like-minded states.
  2. Levant: In their exploitation of the Levant the US partners with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel and jihadists it arms.
  3. Its Pivot to Asia, which I will not address here.

Uncle Sam seems to me to be preparing for all-out war to consolidate its hold on the planet. I shall discuss NATO first.

NATO: First, let me mention an article called NATO Aggression: Is There A Way OUT? by Christopher Black, an international lawyer based in Toronto. Published in the journal New Eastern Outlook, it uses great economy of words to shed new light on the macabre, complicated entirety of the NATO situation, down to the Continue reading “The Scary Big Picture”

Family Photos and US Politics

I am sitting in my living room looking at the photos of my family on the piano and listening to the US election results come in on CBC radio on my iPad. One of my children and one of my grandchildren live in the US.
I have long been critical of the first-past-the-post electoral process and what happened on November 8th in the US reminds me vividly and viscerally how poor and unpredictable that antiquated system is and how farcical what we on both sides of the border call “democracy” has become.

However, my immediate, personal concern is about how vulnerable and scary things in neighbourhoods and on Main Street USA may become for the possibility of random acts of violent hostility caused by primitive emotions produced to no small degree by the shabby rhetoric and vaudeville displayed by both sides in this shameful, cynical contest.

Julian Assange has done courageous service in exposing how those controlling the world’s overwhelming superpower really have nothing but disdain for its average citizen and zero appreciation for those killed or maimed in the unfortunate places that they choose to manipulate. If I were a Syrian, Libyan, Afghan, Honduran, Salvadoran or any or any other tragic victim of decades of American hegemony, I might have been indifferent to this outcome.

But having two vulnerable, much-loved family members across the border…

***

Things predictably unpredictable are coming too quickly to a head.

JIT: Dutch-“Led”, Ukraine-Fed

July 28 – Without real evidence (Ukraine Air-Traffic-Control records, black box contents unrevealed kept secret though in British possession, pilot autopsy results, Ukraine radar, USA satellite info they claim that they had but have never made public in the 26 months since MH17 was shot down) the Dutch-“led” JIT blamed Russia for the MH17 tragedy. Ukraine, one of the suspects, who has a veto over any statement the JIT makes, got to supply the JIT with most of the “data”: hand-picked, doubtful, imprecise voice intercepts and social media posts. Ukraine data came from their intelligence service, the SBU. The same SBU accused by the United Nations of torture and threats/attacks on families of people they don’t like. Continue reading “JIT: Dutch-“Led”, Ukraine-Fed”

Canaries vs Cats

The Greeks, the Brexiters and, now, millions of Indian workers have taken to the streets.

Coal mine canaries: some dying, some chirping loudly.

Will they stir us slumbering, Trans-Atlantic couch potatoes into action or will the fat cats prevail?

http://in.reuters.com/article/india-strike-idINKCN1180UK?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/tens-millions-worlds-biggest-strike-india-battle-higher-wages-narendra-modi-a7224061.html

And from an ever-inspiring source:

https://electricinthedesert.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/biggest-strike-in-world-india-engulfed-in-red-banners-as-workers-strike-back/

Thank, you, Claire.

Maciej Cegłowski on The Unbridled Growth of Surveillance

On June 16, 2016 Maciej Cegłowski, one of four panelists on a seminar called The Moral Economy of Tech, startled his SASE audience of social economists with his ten minute contribution. It is worth taking the few minutes it takes to read. He reveals the scary extent to which our institutions gather a dangerous, gargantuan, indigestible amount of data on virtually every citizen.

Border customs agents are (Egad!) discussing asking travellers routinely for their social media links.

Cegłowski calls for a rethink of this invasive activity that governments and corporations do “just because we can” and muses about what could happen if extrajudicial murder by military or police drones were to become as commonplace in the First World as it is in an increasing number of US-strategic, Third World, places. And what place isn’t “strategic” for Barrack and Hillary these days?

One “tongue in cheek” photo to highlight America’s relentless military expansion:image

The above courtesy of russia-insider.com

Cegłowski points out that many of these drone hits are simply based on circumstantial data collection from cell phone contact lists or social media interchanges that create some imprecise “probability” that a target, guilty or innocent, is in a house or a car or at a wedding:

Get into the wrong person’s car in Yemen, and you lose your life.

He concludes with this frightening statement about data collected for data’s sake:

What we’ve done as technologists is leave a loaded gun lying around, in the hopes that no one will ever pick it up and use it.

I’m getting tired of passing on this stuff like Jeremiah.