Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Power of the Propaganda System and the Status-Quo

So, right now, Canadian support seems to be roughly one-third for the appalling stephen harper and one-third for the appalling (but dreamy) Justin Trudeau. With one-fifth going for the Liberal-lite NDP and one-tenth going for the Greens.

In Toronto, the race for mayor appears to be between John Tory (who doesn't have a clue about most important things) and Rob Ford's less "charismatic" (which is to say that he's just a bullying thug with none of Rob's endearing "I'm a total fuck-up" charm) brother, Doug.

Signs of a debased and diseased political culture if you ask me.

How does this happen?

The other day I was visiting my 83-year old mother. She watches the news. She can't read the paper very much these days. I can't really say that she pays close attention to the news, because she is always very hazy on the details. (Her mind is as sharp as it's ever been. So it's not a case of old-age.)

But she regurgitates all the opinions that the right-wing owners of the news media so obviously want people to believe.

Out of nowhere she told me she didn't think Obama was a very good president. I agree with her that 's he terrible, but for entirely different reasons. She thinks he's an incompetent and a failure. She never said anything about the failure of the brain-damaged-by-drinking-repeatedly-to-black-out/cocaine-snorting george w. bush.

I could always tell she sympathized with Rob Ford. When I told her that I'd probably vote for Olivia Chow (the incredibly boring centrist who has a transit plan that already has the money in place) she looked at me like I was crazy. Again, Rob Ford's complete and total ignorance, incompetence, hypocrisy, stupidity, ... nothing. She sorta liked the guy.

Of course, she's quite worried about ISIS. And they're obviously bad dudes. But I explain in great detail how they're a product of US foreign policy, a deliberate creation, financed by Saudi Arabia and other Arab monarchies, and none of it registers.

It's a very powerful system.

I'm reminded of this young female co-worker I had back at the turn of the millennia. We were temp workers in a warehouse. This young lady loved nothing more than to take ecstasy and go clubbing. She didn't talk about anything but that and the warehouse soap-opera gossip. But one time, in a group discussion about the future, she concluded her musings with "Or maybe Saddam Hussein will blow us all up."

Obviously, by sitting in front of the television while the news was on, she'd absorbed that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat to the world and to her very existence.

Then, for ignorant people who are passionate about politics, there's FOX News and Rush Limbaugh.

Rush Limbaugh is a shameless con-man. A sleazy huckster. The sort of guy who thinks nothing of taking boner pills to make his slimy pecker rise to the occasion (past all the barriers caused by excess cholesterol and etc.,) in front of an impoverished teenage prostitute. A guy in his sixties, on his fourth marriage, who tells a young feminist that he wants to masturbate to videos of her private sex-life. And he's supposedly a spokesman for "traditional values."

The cretinous, ignorant, hypocritical, bullying, moronic Bill O'Reilly, has the highest rated news show in television for years on end. I mean, the guy is a complete idiot. Lazy and stupid. But there he is, yammering as if he has a fucking clue.

I don't know how we change it. Some social forces combined together in the 1960's and 1970's to force it down. But then, the corporate elites and their "traditional values" hypocrites and chumps denounced them for their snobbery and elitism, and (as they always tend to do) pronounced themselves victims and rebuilt their fortress of ignorance and bigotry.

Something will have to change, but I can't say what it is right now.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I've "found" a new aide for Paul Calandra

If he wants one that is. I don't know what his staffing situation is. (I suspect, that given Calandra's propensity to lie and cheat, his staff turnover must be horrendous though.)

Anyway, it seems as if this guy David Aryan charged a number of foreigners $25,000 for the privilege of coming to work a low-income job in Canada, but the jobs didn't exist (and neither did the employer). Aryan even made these people pay their way over here for this privilege.

Aryan can't pretend innocence in this matter, because the employer had ceased to exist months before the harper government approved the work permits. Not that he doesn't try to impersonate integrity (after a fashion):
CBC News tried to find Aryan, but his Toronto office is empty and his cellphone doesn’t accept messages. He responded to an email, saying everything that went wrong in this case was Tehrani’s [one his foreign clients] fault.
“Tehrani has been one of the most problematic clients that I have served, in the past two decades,” said Aryan.

“Tehrani decided to not follow the instructions he was provided … he further took the liberty of taking matters into his own hands and approached his employer directly. He proceeded to aggressively demand his employer to allow him to begin working immediately.”
One wonders what "instructions" were issued for when to approach an employer who didn't exist months before the work permit was issued? One also wonders how Aryan assisted Tehrani when it turned out the employer didn't exist? (Tehrani tracked down someone associated with this firm, but was given denials and empty promises.)

Unashamed to plead innocence, Aryan is also unashamed to play the victim:
Aryan claimed it was Tehrani who was “cheating the system.”
“I believe that he is playing victim here while throwing me under the bus, simply because I was doing my job according to the books.”
When asked how he justifies his $25,000 fee, he said the money isn’t for job placement, but for various other services, including an “employment search.”
“I do not find it of any relevance to the matter. My prices are what they are and no one forced Mr. Tehrani to sign the contract that he did,” said Aryan.
[Former CEO of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council Phil] Mooney said consultants are only supposed to charge for immigration advice and paperwork, not for a job. He added that Aryan charges at least 10 times what a consultant should.

So, even though it appears that Aryan is still advertising the empty Toronto office space as his place of business, I can't make myself believe that he'll still be in his line of work for much longer. He's going to need a new employer. And that's why it was fortuitous that this scandal broke so soon after Paul Calandra made headlines for his boorish behaviour in Question Period recently.

Because (as is well known), Calandra is the sort of scum-bag who would screw over his dying mother to make a buck! He's perfect for another low-life, small-time, shameless, amoral piece-of-shit like David Aryan! 

Seriously! What is it with "conservatives"??? Criminal junkies like Rob Ford and Rush Limbaugh who pretend to be "zero-tolerance" for drugs and gangs, until it turns out they're drug addicts who consort with gangsters? (Or who take Viagra pills with them to the Dominican Republic!) Homophobes who cover for a fellow Republican Congressman's predilection for teenage boys? Draft-dodgers who start wars, use the military as a weapon to beat their political enemies with, and who then betray and abandon wounded soldiers as a matter of policy?

Who is so ignorant and debased as to vote for this scum? Who put an "X" beside Paul Calandra's name on their ballot? What do they think of him now? What do they think of themselves?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Moron the Vile Paul Calandra

You see, we have a Parliament. Through a crappy, "first-past-the-post" electoral system, we elect people to represent us. Those representatives ("Members of Parliament" or "MP's") tend to come from those organized ideological entities called "political parties." These parties have the financial resources, the affinities with the hegemonic culture and etc., to be able to wage these campaigns and appeal to broad groups of similarly afflicted Canadians.

But, you know, as opposed to tiny groups of super-brained anarchists who already know how everything should work but couldn't explain it to you if their lives depended on it, ... these MPs and this system are (for better or for worse) what we have to have any sort of say over the big issues in our lives.

Should we be educated by the public sector using tax revenues for the purpose? Should people who want to practice surgery have certain credentials? Should their be a reasonable faith that our food not poison us?

On and on it goes.

Should I have the right to call stephen harper a shit-head without worrying about a knock on my door at night? (Some people in some countries don't have that freedom.)

It's not a perfect democracy. FAR from it. But I believe that incremental change is the surest path to progress. We should cherish what we have while working to make it better. By "better" I mean more representative and more democratic.

Which is why I've been so consistently angry about the harpercons and their continuous demonstrations of contempt for our democracy, and with the opposition parties and the progressives who show themselves incapable of resisting them.

Calandra's recent display of contempt for the Leader of the Opposition's request to find out just how long members of the Canadian Forces would be in harm's way, as Calandra's boss, stephen harper, loans them out to curry favour with Obama, is really the worst sort of disrespect for our system of government.

And, let's remember, the reason that an idiot like Calandra has any influence over our lives is due to a little something that I like to call "our system of government."

That's right; the source of Calandra's and harper's authority is something that they have no respect for themselves. And I have asked and asked, since harper stole re-election upon his contempt of parliament conviction, just why is it we should listen to a single goddamned thing his so-called "government" has to say?

It turns out that Calandra (in an off-hand way) has confessed to only repeating the talking points handed out to him by the young fanatics (fanatical about being brazenly stupid corruption monsters I guess) in harper's debased and corrupt PMO.

harpercon thug, Dimitri Soudas says that those twisted gnolls in the PMO shouldn't be given short shrift, as they've helped the Conservative Party go from victory to victory and then steal a majority government.

The longer we tolerate these monsters, the more damage they will do. The more blood will be on our hands and the more shame we will have to endure. The more our democracy will be debased. The more lost we will become.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dregs of Humanity: Paul Calandra Edition

Take a look at this piece of shit:
This shameless buffoon has been very busy under stephen harper. That's because an utter scum-bag like stephen harper finds vile, revolting specimens like this to be highly useful.

The idiot's name, of course, is Paul Calandra. Paul will go on and on about how hard-working his father was. Seems to me that Calandra Senior should have spent less time at work and more time instilling values into his son. Calandra also goes on at length about (I believe) his two daughters. I hope and pray that someone besides this dirt-bag is teaching those kids about being a decent human being. Because Paul Calandra is just not up to the job.

Paul's latest act of moral failure is his behaviour in Question Period last Tuesday. Thomas Mulcair asked the government for specific dates about the beginning and the end of the Canadian Forces' participation in the conflict in Iraq. Calandra chose to stand up three times and condemn the NDP for something somebody associated with the party said about Israel's attack on Gaza.

The pimple-brained, harpercon lapdog, Speaker Scheer found this brazen contempt for the very basics of parliamentary procedure fine and dandy and arrogantly passed over Mulcair's right to ask two more questions, and skipped over to Justin Trudeau. Trudeau, true to form, is always more happy to piss on the NDP than to stand-up for the rights of Parliament, and he nattered away with his own questions.

Now, first of all, Paul Calandra is a "Conservative." And it's no longer news that the Conservative Party of Canada are anti-Canadian criminals with complete and utter contempt for our parliamentary system of government. They are a selfish mafia-type organization, full of half-wits and deluded religious freaks and self-hating closet-cases.

But on top of this vile hatred of Canada and Canada's quasi-democracy, Calandra and the Conservative Party also want to avoid any sort of accountability for their commitment of the lives of other people (those in the Canadian Forces) who they are exposing to great harm in Iraq. Calandra believes the lives of our soldiers are playthings for stephen harper to share with his big buddy, Barack Obama, to try to be his friend. harper wants to play with his toy soldiers, and he doesn't want to have to face up to the fact that they're real human beings, representing us and being paid for by us.

Given the Conservative Party's documented sadistic hatred of "the troops," this shameful, disgraceful behaviour is going to be even more revolting after harper commits ground troops into direct combat with ISIS and then tosses the maimed bodies and minds of our soldiers onto the scrap-heap upon their return to Canada.

Finally, Paul Calandra stands up in Question Period and brays like the jackass he is about how much he supports Israel's deliberate slaughtering of innocent men, women and children in Gaza. I'm sure that Calandra has some idiotic, incoherent justification for his cheering-on of mass-murder. But the same can be said for capitalist pigs who let their containment ponds for mining waste rupture poisoning the water supply for thousand of people, or who let their tanker-cars and train engines to deteriorate and crash and kill dozens of people. Who knows what child molesters do to rationalize their behaviour?

Paul Calandra is on a moral par with those sorts of people. He's an absolute disgusting disgrace.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Parliamentary Radicalism

"But thwap! If you're poo-pooing the massive people's march against climate change yesterday, and calling for (unstated) radical alternatives to marching, why the fuck do you believe in voting and parliamentary politics????"

I know exactly why I'm doing this. I think it's more powerful to pass a law telling capitalists (or any other oppressor) that they have to do something, rather than pleading (or "demanding" as we like to delude ourselves we're doing) that they do something.

After the landslide victory of the British Labour Party in 1945, one of their members Hartley Shawcross (apparently, later "Baron" Shawcross) responded to hooting and hollering from the Tory side of the House about a trade union disputes act, and said that the members opposite can carry on all they wanted to but that "We are the masters at the moment and shall be for some considerable time."

This has been remembered as I remember hearing it: "We are the masters now." The link goes on to say that this seemingly arrogant statement caused his reputation a great deal of damage and was, if anything, uncharacteristic of the man. But I think it would be an excellent thing to say to the brainless shills of the Conservative Party, and the corporate fucks in the Liberal Party, and to any capitalist lackey politician, once a majority of people's representatives were elected behind a genuinely democratic mandate. It would be a great thing for the majority to say to the wealthy minority, once their power was broken.

And their power could be broken through "Workers as Citizens." Because it is the power of money that weakens and undermines the latent power of "one person, one vote." That's why our system of representative democracy is unable to deliver the goods. There was a moment in time, 1945, when the capitalist system was off-balance. Whatever the real causes of the Great Depression, that economic catastrophe discredited the capitalist system. And, what's more, the ability of the capitalist nation-states to find the money to fight World War II and thereby provide full-employment, when they'd spent ten years telling people that they couldn't fight unemployment in the Great Depression, REALLY got people angry. The Fordist system of production made it union organizing relatively easier. The almost simultaneous (for historical purposes) arrival of universal suffrage meant that elites had to square the experiences of the fifteen years before 1945 with the reality of mass elections.

And thus, the welfare state was born. And living standards improved markedly all across the board. And the capitalists and their minions set to work trying to discredit and undermine it from the very beginning. Whatever the merits of their case (and they were few) the economic crisis of the 1970s was their moment to say that the postwar compromise was finished. And 1980 (with Thatcher and Reagan in power, and with the crackpot ideas of Milton Friedman in the ascendant) was when the counter-attack began.

And it was the fact that the postwar compromise had left real power still in the hands of the capitalists that made the job all the easier. The US Federal Reserve answered to the financial sector, not the people. It obeyed the Friedmanite order to raise interest rates and through millions of people out of work, devastating the power of labour. Industrialists could decide to invest or not invest. And, thanks to the beginnings of globalization, they could invest anywhere in the world. They'd invest wherever labour standards were lowest. The workers of the wealthy countries were now put in direct competition with workers in poor countries. Industrialists could move factories to wherever they wanted. They could automate those jobs that they couldn't export.  They could punish governments that didn't entrench their powers into investor rights deals (which they called "free trade" deals), and reward those that toed the line. They were then advised to attack the welfare state, and labour unions, and everything else that gives ordinary people a chance, a pause, a place to stop and gather their breath, an independent source of subsistence and dignity.

And, because standing up to them meant economic crisis, politicians obeyed. And because command economics (as in the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China) and development economics (in the then-named "Third World") had failed, and because "social democratic" policies that refused to deal with the realities of power in a capitalist society had failed, people came to believe that (as Thatcher put it) "There Is No Alternative."

But there IS an alternative. A public sector run by the workers and the people and a democratically elected government! Independent workplaces where the workers have a commanding say in how things are run! A government that can set taxation and social spending and regulations according to the needs and demands of the majority and not a minority!

All of this is possible if we use the democratic system to give workers this power as a legal right.

I mean, for fuck's sake! What are the alternatives that most everybody else is offering?

In the USA the hope of most progressives, the Democratic Party, at one time controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress. What happened? They bailed-out the banksters and continued the bullshit War on Terror.

Does anyone seriously expect either the Liberals or the New Democrats to behave any differently here in Canada(that is, without a radicalized MASS movement FIGHTING for genuine change)? The Democrats are totally corrupt, but the NDP does what it does out of fear. It does what it does out of a misguided attempt to show the business class that it is "responsible."

And why should progressive Liberal Party politicians, or progressive NDP politicians listen to the radicals? What do the radicals have to offer? Insignificant numbers and ZERO analysis.

"Throw a rock through a window."

I mean, seriously, what the fuck?

Other left-wingers come up with excellent critiques of the status-quo and excellent models of how institutions could be run, but without dealing with the root of the problem, the control over the economy (and to a great extent, the culture) of our society, their points are moot.

Read this post and then get back to me on how unrealistic my ideas are. (Read this post too.) And, all the while, reflect on the goddamned reality that nobody else has come up with anything of any practical impact in all the years I've been crying in the wilderness.

I am so fucking sick of this bullshit.

Unlike childish and deluded radicals, I acknowledge the historical reality of the resilience of the Anglo-American political system. I acknowledge the historical reality of the unintended consequences of revolutionary upheaval. (In this, I am on the side of the vast majority of people who reject the radicals' idiotic calls for everyone to smash the system and then take a a leap into the revolutionary dark.)

THAT is why I have so much care for our present quasi-democratic system and all that was achieved over centuries of struggle. I do not pretend to know how the world should be arranged, how it should function day-to-day. I just know that
people should have a say in their conditions of employment, and whether they should even be employed. I don't advocate destroying the political system we have. I advocate using it to its maximum potential, and then, gradually strengthening it once the overwhelming power of capital against the people has been eliminated. I don't advocate destroying the economic system we have. At first, under "Workers as Citizens" there will be supply and demand. There will be wage inequality. There will be the profit motive. But then, using unemployment as a weapon will be gone. Attacking whistle-blowers will be gone. Threatening the people's representatives with retaliation for majoritarian policies will be gone.

"Workers as Citizens" is like that missile fired into that convenient ventilation shaft in the Death Star in "Star Wars." (Except that it doesn't blow everything to Kingdom Come afterwards. I don't know! Pretend that instead, the missile makes flowers bloom everywhere, like the climax of "Yellow Submarine" and the Death Star becomes a floating hospital/cruise ship in space or something.)

The majority of people need to get behind something, and that's only going to happen if we give them something that is familiar to them. Something that doesn't alienate them. Something that speaks in the language they're familiar with.

And we, the supposedly full-time world-changers, have to get it through our thick skulls that wandering around in large groups for an afternoon doesn't fucking change anything. Millions marching against bush II's invasion of Iraq in 2003 didn't stop that invasion and all the horrors that followed. The march against climate change last Sunday, ... how much influence can you see it had on Obama or harper?

Gawd! I am so fucking sick of this bullshit!!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

2 Days after the great people's march against Global Warming

By tomorrow, it'll be as if it never happened. Amirite?

Or will I be proven wrong?

Will it actually be the case that a bunch of people marching around city centres all over the world will actually convince everyone who makes their millions in the fossil fuels industry, and every politician who owes their career to big oil, to shut-down and go home?

What we need to start doing is convincing ourselves, and then others, that some things are worth fighting for. And by "fighting" I DON'T mean peaceful marches, signing petitions and everything else that doesn't ordinarily get confused with "fighting" unless leftists are hallucinating about how to change the world.