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.

Ukraine Crisis – Classic Disaster Capitalism

What Is Disaster Capitalism?

In her 2007 book, The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein pointed out that the world is being privatized at an alarming rate in a decades long process driven by capitalism in overdrive. Every disaster or world crisis is used to scare the population into accepting the need for yet one more transfer of wealth and power to the Very Very Few (my term). The neocons behind Disaster Capitalism will frequently create a crisis of which they can take advantage. The so-called War on Terror is the most devastating example of what has come out of this opportunistic policy, whose neocon proponents must have been quite content when 911 facilitated their continued, decades long, onslaught on our freedoms.

My point today: Recent events in Ukraine have highlighted for me that the Ukraine Crisis, which became acute with a February 22, 2014, US-engineered, coup d’état,  is a classic example of Disaster Capitalism. Before long the Ukraine will have been  aggressively and widely  privatized (farmland, mining, natural gas, etc) to an extent and at a rate that would not be tolerated even in the increasingly docile “democratic” West. It will be “justified” by  using the intimidating excuse that it will be better than the rampant corruption that now exists. This devastating crisis was created on purpose. The US, over several years, manipulated Kiev into a desperate position and then engineered a coup d’état. An American is now the Finance Minister of the Ukraine and both its President and Prime Minister are mere puppets selected in advance of the coup by the US State Department.

The shoot-down of MH17 over the Ukraine has been used to demonize Russia and magnify the crisis. The shoot-down has been used opportunistically and, perhaps, even committed deliberately. It may well be a false flag operation perpetrated by the Ukraine Army with US help and control. False flag operations have been an unfortunate part of US political strategy for years.

A quote from Naomi Klein on Iraq:

Like Russia’s gangsterism and Bush’s cronyism, contemporary Iraq is a creation of the fifty-year crusade to privatize the world. Rather than being disowned by its creators, it deserves to be seen as the purest incarnation yet of the ideology that gave it birth.

More quotes from The Shock Doctrine can be found here.

Scary! The TPP Fast Track! Please Sign Naomi Klein’s Petition

The senate has just given President Obama the power to take  America into the dreaded Trans-Pacific Partnership, described as “NAFTA on Steroids” because it probably includes provisions enabling Corporations to sue governments for laws they enact to protect the environment – as NAFTA’s Chapter  11 now does.

Congress is next to vote to give the President similar, draconian, totally undemocratic powers.

Please read up (if you need to) on the TPP and quickly sign Naomi Klein’s petition against it HERE!

PLEASE.

IT’S URGENT…

Love of Home and Books With Stained Pages

This is daydreaming and not really a book review, but I’m now reading Helen Oyeyemi and scanning Naomi Klein’s latest tome now and I just listened to a podcast interview of the Peruvian-born novelist, Daniel Alarcon, in which there was considerable discussion of the violence and corruption in Peru between the early 1980’s and early 1990’s (Shining Path and repressive regimes being the major killers). His parents are physicians who sought opportunity in the US early on before the “troubles.” Alarcon writes (in English) figuratively about Peru – and the US also comes under the umbrella of his allegory.

Back to the books:

First: The Opposite House by Helen Oyeyemi. With interruptions. It has been slow to get into. It is a library borrowing that has evidence of more than one spill of brownish liquid. Notes are helpful because I do not retain character names and details easily. Never have, but it gets worse as I approach my 70th birthday. It is about two related characters:

1. A young woman living in London named Maja whose father, a university prof,  left Cuba under Fidel Castro, having apparently (it’s complex, and I’m not finished) become tired of the thought police looking over his shoulder. Her mother, a Santero born also in Cuba with a long ancestral lineage from Nigeria’s  Yoruba-centred Santeria religion, frustrates her husband with her altar and devotions that he considers superstitious. Maja likes to sing and her observations are becoming quite wonderful.

2. The second character is a Yoruban goddess, Yemaya (Aya) who lives in a magical “Opposite House” that has one door in Lagos and one in London. I’m currently two thirds through this book and loving it. I can understand the stained pages – evidence of a book that cannot be put down even while eating…  or a cookbook… in both cases loved. Maybe I will seek out similarly abused books deliberately in the future. I’m reminded of a fabulous song that made #1 in 1944 called You Always Hurt The One You Love by the Mills Brothers.

Second: This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein. This 2014 book I’ve just begun. I’m familiar with many issues in it, so I’m just scanning quickly and highlighting names and key words here and there. Klein’s conscientious footnotes cover almost 60 pages. A great reference for any activist. Continue reading “Love of Home and Books With Stained Pages”

Unbridled Capitalism – Incompatible With Human Survival

A couple of species that just might outlast us...
A couple of species that just might outlast us…

This has been a week of cautious hope for me:

First: Naomi Klein has laboured for 5 years and come out with a new book called This Changes Everything. I have pre-ordered it from our big Canadian book chain as it comes out soon. Klein was just interviewed about this book by Michael Enright on his great Sunday morning program, The Sunday Edition. You can listen to the podcast here. Klein argues in her book that nothing short of a revolution is needed to remove the current impasse between where we need to be (i.e. in a sustainable biosphere) and where our capitalism-dominated model will inevitably keep us until we run out of oxygen. We could have taken a gradual route to sustainability had we taken action in the late eighties when the problem became obvious to anyone with a brain connected to a heart, but now no gradual options are left. Years ago I used the analogy of putting on the brakes before our runaway species careens into Mother Earth’s equivalent of a brick wall. A gentle slowdown vs flying through the windshield.

Bill Clinton’s America held out for a market-driven solution – LULUCF-based carbon sinks – as the basis for the doomed 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Ironically, after insisting on this complicated approach, they never signed the treaty.

I was saddened to hear that The Sunday Edition has been shortened from three hours to two. I had hoped that the best of CBC radio would somehow escape the partisan, anti-CBC financial butchering performed by Harper’s regime. Michael’s interviews are long enough to intelligently explore an issue. As a result, the 2-hour format limits the program to two in-depth conversations.

Second: I just received this really superb, easy-to-watch, four minute YouTube video produced by the Council of Canadians that efficiently (and charmingly) destroys the idea of building a pipeline to carry DILBIT (diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands) across Canada to our East Coast for export. Among other damning bits of info, the lively artboard presentation points out that the “cleanup” of  Enbridge’s 2010 Kalamazoo oil spill is entering its fifth year and has already cost a billion dollars.

So where’s the hope in all that?

Well, I do still believe there is a chance (rapidly diminishing, of course) for humans to avoid being perhaps the first species on the planet to engineer its own extinction. The intelligent presentations about these two, related, huge and urgent issues I witnessed this week have combined to nudge me ever so slightly above my normal bed of depression and despair.

We are not faced by a dilemma – to shit or get off the pot. We are left with this single choice: to get off the pot, and fast.

 

Cypriot Canaries

Two things to say:

1. The average Greek and Cypriot citizens are the canaries in our financial coal mine.

2. Amoral bankers, robber barons and Greed are the methane.

The news this morning reminded me why I went from being a news junkie to largely tuning out. Item One was on Cyprus. I could have made a huge time-wasting blog out of it. The above two sentences sum it up for me. Look around. Start trying to change things . Please.

I will return here from time to time to post useful links exposing the sources of the methane. Here’s number one:

A blog by Naomi Klein posted on Hellenes that says it better than I could.

Idle No More: Naomi Klein Weighs In

If Canadians have a chance of stopping Mr. Harper’s planet-trashing plans, it will be because these legally binding rights – backed up by mass movements, court challenges, and direct action will stand in his way.

In the Globe and Mail, way back on Christmas Eve, Naomi Klein wrote on feeling the hunger of Theresa Spence for justice.

This quote from Klein’s article contains my favorite 35 words yet written on why Idle No More is so important. For me, they sum up the essence of the thing so quickly, so forcefully. One knows exactly where this must go.