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This Justin

Dawg's Blawg - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 09:58
The emperor has no clothes. Only the most Liberal-intoxicated refuse to acknowledge it. Son chien est mort. Like the famous parrot, he’s no more. He has ceased to be. Emerging after weeks of absence, Justin Trudeau could do no better... Dr.Dawg

A Nation in Decline?

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 07:15

You can usually tell when someone has given up.  The house may be badly in need of a coat of paint.  The garden is overrun with weeds.  Maybe there's now cardboard where once there was glass.

How can you tell when a country has given up?  Is it when a gaggle of misfits, lunatics and jesters seek to become president?  Is it when the poor are reformulated to become destitute, their kids going hungry, while the wealth of the rich soars?  Is it when a punk with an assault rifle lays waste to kids in an elementary school or some malignant shit cuts loose on a bible study group in a black church in South Carolina?

We hear a lot about the United States being in decline.  It's being overtaken by China and, perhaps eventually, the whole BRIC gang.  But America's decline isn't from the ascendancy of emerging economic superpowers.  It's coming from the cancerous rot inside.

At times it seems that dysfunction has become the default operating system of the United States of America.  Look at the Bush/Cheney days.  Tax cuts followed by more tax cuts for the rich while the country waged two, trillion dollar wars financed by foreign borrowings.  That was pretty nutty.  How about cops killing unarmed black people from coast to coast?  That's kind of fucked up.  The dismantling of America's social safety net in the face of rising poverty and burgeoning inequality.  The rise of corporatism and the mutation of what is now a "bought and paid for" Congress and a corporatist Supreme Court.  That's institutional dysfunction at the highest levels.  Major cable news outlets that quite deliberately churn out outright lies and confusion.  The rise of the "permanent warfare state."  Mass murder - in theaters, in schools, in churches.  A people who have rejected knowledge in favour of belief.  Declining standards of living and levels of education.  A nation that exemplifies the chokehold of neoliberalism.

When it comes to decline, the United States needs no help from foreign rivals. It's already given up on itself.  Isn't it about time that we, the branch plant to the north, figured this out?


accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 06:36
Sure, it might be tempting to say there's no difference at all between this...
The federal government touted a number of initiatives Wednesday for improving First Nations’ well-being but could not explain why a new report showed the prosperity gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people was widening in some cases.

The report, released by the federally appointed National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, found that First Nations living on reserves had shown the least improvement.

Relying on 2006 and 2011 census data, the report found the non-aboriginal employment rate went from 62.7 per cent to 61.2 per cent. For First Nations living on reserves, it dropped from 39 per cent to 35.4 per cent.

Large disparities in income levels remained. In 2010, average income was $18,586 among aboriginals on reserves and $30,266 off reserves. For non-aboriginals, the average was $41,052....and this:
China’s president, Xi Jinping, has told villagers in one of the most deprived areas of the country, where four children killed themselves last week by swallowing pesticide, that poverty is nothing to fear.

He made the comments in Huamao, a village in the south-western province of Guizhou, according to China’s official news agency.
Speaking to Caixin, a current affairs magazine, in the wake of the children’s deaths, Ye Jingzhong, a scholar from the China Agricultural University in Beijing, said: “Rural society is withering.”

Xi’s trip to Guizhou appeared partly designed to address such concerns. The ruling Communist party of China “cares a lot about farmers, particularly those in poverty, and has enacted various policies to boost rural development”, the president reportedly told villagers.But there's certainly one distinction worth drawing. Unlike Stephen Harper, China's leaders at least deigned to show up in the general vicinity of the people they're telling to keep suffering through avoidable poverty.

More On The Precariat

Politics and its Discontents - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 05:49

In yesterday's post, I wrote about Angel Reyes, the 61-year-old member of the precariat terminated from his five-year 'temp' job at a recycling company one week after speaking to The Star about his inability to secure a full-time designation for the work he was doing, which meant that he was paid minimum wage while those classified as permanent at the plant made much more.

Unfortunately, Reyes is but one of many unable to escape the cycle of poverty and uncertain work, a situation aided and abetted by provincial regulations that seem to pay obeisance to the business imperative, an imperative that enhances corporate profits while exploiting workers.

Consider these facts:
Ontario’s low-wage work force has skyrocketed by 94 percent over the past two decades, compared with just 30 percent growth in total employment, according to a new report.

It shows that 40 percent of low-wage employees are saddled with unpredictable shifts, and the overwhelming majority do not get paid when they need time off.The report, compiled by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives,
shows that the share of Ontario workers labouring for the minimum wage is now five times higher than in 1997. It rose from less than 3 per cent of all employees to about 12 per cent in 2014.

The share of low-paid work has also ballooned: almost a third of all employees in the province are now making within $4 of the minimum wage, compared with less than 20 per cent of the workforce in 1997.

And while more than half of all minimum-wage workers are still young people, most of those making less than $15 an hour are 25 or older.Add to that these sobering statistics:

50.5: Percentage of Ontario employees working less than 40 hours a week

29.4: Percentage of Ontario workers who are low-wage

6.7: Percentage of employees unionized in private-sector businesses with fewer than 20 people

23.7: Percentage of employees unionized in workplaces with 500 or more people

The human face is all-important in truly coming to grips with these statistics. Responding to the above are two Star readers:

Re: Ontario's ‘eye-popping' shift to low-wage work, June 15
This is the second article I’ve read recently about low-wage workers in Ontario becoming the norm. I’m one of those folks. I went from full-time decent pay to part time (15 hours a week) at barely more than minimum wage. Why? Downsizing, loss of work, poorly managed companies. Yet the upper executives and company owners suffering is little to non-existent.

And I have been doing all I can to change that in the last six years by taking college courses. Now, at 50, I feel stuck, marginalized and depressed that there is no way out.

I see my government care less for those who support the infrastructure and more for those in the 1 per cent. How do we fix this? I don’t know, but something needs to change and none of the parties seems to care or have a plan or even address this issue in meaningful ways.

Janet Swainston, CambridgeAnyone even remotely surprised by the tone of this article clearly hasn’t been paying attention these last 20-odd years. Corporate taxes were slashed, ostensibly to increase profits and free up monies for research and more jobs. That didn’t happen. Jobs have been outsourced and wages have dwindled.

Companies now hire contract employees who are responsible for paying their own taxes, EI, etc. Their continued employment is subject to the whims of their employer.

This is all backed by complicit governments whose sole economic plan seems to be that if they cut corporate taxes it will trickle down to the citizenry.

Escalating corporate bonuses have put to rest the bromide that “when times get tight we must all tighten our belts.” Translation: “You tighten your belts while we loosen ours.”

John Dickie, TorontoRecommend this Post

Look Upon My Works, Ye Mighty

Northern Reflections - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 04:50


Stephen Harper wants to build a monument to the victims of Communism. Critics call it a misplaced monstrosity. But while those critics bemoan the ugliness of the proposed monument, Harper has been busy constructing a much uglier monument to himself. It's called Bill C-51. Michael Harris writes:

C-51 is the transparent and triumphant work of someone who likes martial authority, likes being photographed around people in uniform, likes dishing out punishment to anyone who crosses him, and wants to turn Canada into a giant yard-sale for the oligarchs who run things. The most repressive kingdom on Earth gets Canadian weapons and the Wheat Board. The nation with the world’s worst human rights record snares a long-term trade deal and Nexen. Even Tim’s is gone.

And have you noticed that there’s no war Stephen Harper doesn’t want to get in on, or foment? His stupefying habit of baiting Russian President Vladimir Putin is only the most recent example; Harper runs Canadian foreign policy as though it were a rumble in a parking lot. And now he has navigated the most undemocratic piece of legislation of his term — his legacy bill — through the democratic institutions he controls completely for another few months.
Justin Trudeau should have known better than support the bill. The NDP and the Green Party did .And the hacker collective Anonymous does, too:

C-51 is designed for the things Harper doesn’t like. He doesn’t like free speech. He doesn’t like protestors who take their convictions to the street. He doesn’t like public information getting out there without his approval — so he doesn’t like any displays of independence from scientists, journalists, bureaucrats or judges. He doesn’t like unions, or environmentalists, or opposition in any form. C-51 is made by and for a man who — like every dictator everywhere — thinks that his should be the last word on everything.
Those who stood up against this kind of state intrusion were the victims of Communism. And now, in the name of less intrusive government, Harper gives us Bill C-51. He is Canada's Ozymandias.

Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

How Bill C-51 Will Remake Canada in Stephen Harper's Paranoid Image

Montreal Simon - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 03:18

In one of my last posts I wrote about how Stephen Harper is now so desperate he is looking crazier every day.

Morphing into a monster who can no longer be restrained by the rule of law.

And yesterday when he flew into Toronto to personally deliver a cheque for a commuter train project, those fears were only reinforced...

For although he was plastered with make-up, there was new look in his cold dead eyes.

And it was pretty clear that something had changed, and that his transformation is now complete.
Read more »


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