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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 »

Paul Fromm: Norman Raddatz The Victim

Anti-Racist Canada - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 20:13
Before beginning, we need to acknowledge the terrible tragedy that occurred yesterday in South Carolina. Our friend Daryle Jenkins of the One Peoples' Project as well as the folks at the Southern Poverty Law Center have been providing coverage of the racially-motivated mass murder and we recommend our readers take a look those websites. We will provide our take, and focus on the Canadian reaction, on a later date.

Earlier yesterday, the funeral of Constable Daniel Woodall took place. Woodall was murdered when he and other members of the Edmonton Police Service attempted to arrest Norman Raddatz on charges related to the continued and escalating harassment of a Jewish family. Raddatz also appears to have subscribed to the Freeman ideology, a pseudo-philosophy that has resulted in numerous violent acts in the United States where is it most prevalent.

Some time after the funeral took place, Paulie saw fit to add his $0.02:

The video is classic Paulie. Poor audio. A woman on crutches holding the camera. And numerous self-serving half-truths and lies.

We could discuss the claims he made about the demise of Glenn Bahr's WCFU. We might also have something to say about his suggestion that those involved in the assault on at least two men in Edmonton by members of Blood & Honour were exonerated (in fact Badrock had his charges stayed, Bernie Miller plead guilty, and McKee was sent away on weapons charges as a result of the investigation). We'll let those pass though. Let's for now counter the claims Paulie makes regarding the murder of Const. Daniel Woodall (we admit that we might have a few things mixed up and would welcome correction if we provide any inaccurate details):

Based on our current understanding, the police arrived to arrest Raddatz for his harassment of the Jewish family. He refused to open the door. The police then got a warrant and an hour later tried again. He still refused to come out. The police then used the battering ram. When Woodall and at least one other police officer entered (Sgt. Jason Harley) entered, Raddatz opened fire killing Woodall and injuring Harley. Though Paulie claims the police came in weapons drawn and shooting, it would seem the only shots fired were from Raddatz who is alleged to have fired more than 50 rounds at the police; some of the shots fired ended up in neighboring homes and it is lucky that Raddatz didn't kill anyone else.

Seems to be a little different than how Paulie characterized the event, eh?

But the part that this writer finds especially galling is who Paulie suggests is the victim:

Raddatz the victim?

You stay classy, Paulie.

Thursday Evening Links

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 17:44
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Daniel Tencer discusses the latest evidence that trickle-down economics are a fraud, while David Roberts and Javier Zarracina write about how the elite seems to get its own way even when the results are worse for everybody. And Heather Stewart reports on the IMF's findings as to the connection between financialization, inequality and stagnation as the extraction of wealth comes to be valued more than the production of anything useful.

- Meanwhile, Simon Enoch and Cheryl Stadnichuk observe that Saskatchewan is headed down a well-worn path to ruin based on the Wall government's obsession with P3s. And PressProgress exposes Con MP John Williamson as the latest example of how anti-government astroturfers never seem to have a problem having the public fund their own frivolous junkets.

- The Washington Post writes about NASA's studies showing that fresh water aquifers are being depleted around the globe.

- Gloria Galloway reports on the Aboriginal Progress Report which shows that Canada's First Nations are falling even further behind the rest of the country in both relative and absolute terms. Douglas Quan notes that the Cons' telling response is have no interest in addressing the gap. And Joshua Davidson writes that the Cons' contempt for the people left out of the broader economy by design extends to having the likes of Leona Aglukkaq vote down any attempt to ensure that her constituents can afford the necessities of life.

- Finally, Steve Sullivan is rightly appalled (if perhaps a bit too surprised) about Stephen Harper's utter contempt for the law. And Jeremy Nuttall points out that Canadians have reason to be skeptical about Justin Trudeau's new set of policy promises when it's paired with his willingness to give a Harper-directed secret police force free rein.

Pope Francis and the Moral Revolution to Save the Planet

Montreal Simon - Thu, 06/18/2015 - 16:06

His enemies tried to undermine Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change by leaking it before it was officially released today.

But it's still an incredibly powerful document. 

Pope Francis on Thursday called for a radical transformation of politics, economics and individual lifestyles to confront environmental degradation and climate change, as his much-awaited papal encyclical blended a biting critique of consumerism and irresponsible development with a plea for swift and unified global action.

And what makes it so powerful for me, is its call for a moral revolution.
Read more »


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