Archive for December, 2006
I have a friend who likes to get together with another friend for a few beers and talk politics. Now, for some time I’ve been fomenting Revolution in my head but I’ve never been able to articulate what needs to be done to meet Corporate Greed head on. But these two guys came up with something that, if it doesn’t get them on an RCMP hit list or land them in Guantanamo – I don’t know what will.
But let me backtrack to The Agenda. It’s the new TVO Studio Two minus Paula Todd double plus Steve Paikin. I occasionally think to catch it and the other night, Carol Off was on (heheh – off/on) talking about Chocolate. She’s written a book, a political book, about the dark side of Chocolate (oh dear… I really DON’T intend all these puns – I HATE puns). Chocolate, it turns out, is a lot like everything else Corporate. Nasty and brutal for the people at the raw end of the market, cheap and ubiquitous for the consumers in the middle, rich and unconscionably profitable for the Corporate Cartel Owners.
Okay, that was one show. Another show was about our economy – wages, the cost of living, who’s really middle-class/who’s faking, taxes, retirement savings, debt loads. One of the panelists was a Globe and Mail business thingy, Brian somebody, expressing some very honest-sounding and candid opinions about how stressed the Middle Class actually is in terms of wages versus other economic factors in society. Particularly striking – all of a sudden to me – was the extreme profitability of the “Folks” (gawd I hate that gawddamned word) at the top of the Corporate Heap. To the point where, they weren’t even connected to the Heap anymore. They have their own Stratosphere.
Also on the panel was a TD Bank President or somesuch, somebody Drummond. He reeked of privilege. Monetary, academic – you name it. And, of course, he thought everything was fine, looking good, up even. People should just invest more in the Stock Market. Poor people. ‘Cause that’s how you got Rich. Investing in the Stock Market. He even made a pitch for education, claiming pretty much that the poor were stupid not to stay in school.
Gee, go bowling much, Richie Rich?
So yeah, I’m middle-class with a university degree and I make a basic clerk’s salary. I don’t think I’m faking, but I might be. Oh – and several years ago I switched a small pension from a guaranteed G.I.C. to a balanced mutual fund on the advice of the Bank and it is only now back up to where it was in 1990.
Yeah. Banks. Folks…
In the meantime, while my little pension has been struggling its way back to pre-1990 levels, the Banks have netted historically unprecedented Profits. Grotesquely huge, bigger’n heads, Bonuses have been paid out to CEOs of Corporations. The kinds of Bonuses that could buy Disney World homelands for all the world’s refugees.
My friends believe only a Labour Revolution can bring an end to this madness. The madness that sees wealthy Corporations locate plants in poor countries so they don’t have to pay living wages to the people who work in them and can extract huge profits at the other end while the economies they live in go without the manufacturing part of the whole process – the part that makes for a sound economy – and the middle class they live above supports their luxurious lifestyles buying stuff made by what are essentially slaves because there is no alternative.
The Corporations have squeezed out all the alternatives. Act local, think global is reversed. The economy is turned on its head. The good for the few is the New World Order.
This is where the organized labour part comes in. The thing is, with my friends, it’s not the labour we’ve all come to know and see coming before it even turns the corner. They are talking about – NEO-labour. A neo-labour that plays by mercenary rules. A neo-labour that fights back. Literally. A neo-labour that goes to those same poor countries where people have no protection from these Corporate Nihilists and organizes the workers – and this is the part where you may want to avert your eyes, gentle reader – using whatever works (i.e. well… think of what works for the Corporate thugs who locate plants in these poor countries in the first place) – TO SAVE OUR ECONOMIC LIVES!
Think about it. How can we not force Corporations to at least pay living wages to workers in poor countries to prevent the entire manufacturing sector of our economy from relocating to the third world? Hardly anything is made here anymore as it is. How can we possibly compete with what is essentially slave labour when we have Richie Rich doing just fine, thank you?
And we are so beyond the time to stage boycotts – don’t even go there sister. We can’t boycott EVERYTHING. And we shouldn’t have to, anyway.
We have landed in mercenary territory. Yup. Organized Neo-Labour needs to meet Corporate Greed head on. With mercenaries. Hired guns. Thugs. Lowlifes willing to do what Corporations are willing to do – except worse. Lower lifeforms – if that is humanly possible – to guarantee workers EVERYWHERE a living wage and regain our competitive advantage without being reduced to penury ourselves.
Radical? Not to my friends.
Okay. And not to me. So, arrest me. My pension won’t last out a year of old age anyway.
Smash the State!
Oh – and Support Public Broadcasting!
“Merry CHRIST mas”
So I was watching CBC the other evening when this asshole comes on the screen ranting about how nobody says, “Merry Christmas” anymore. That it’s always, “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings”. Or somesuch generic Christian culture eliminator.
Now, not to be a multiculturalist, or “terrorist”, but he was on the national broadcaster, given a prime evening news slot, to shriek at viewers, “Merry Christmas!!” several times. The irony completely escaped him, I’m sure – since I assume he was paid for his efforts – but, really. You can co-opt the national broadcaster to shriek, “Merry Christmas!!” at the entire country and you’re the holiday underdog here? YOUR culture is under siege? By whom? Private broadcastors who won’t air your, “Merry Christmas” rants?
I was thinking about writing a letter, actually. Until I heard some of the letters written to CBC by its viewers on other stories. Yikes. I had no idea the national broadcaster had an audience of almost exclusively crabby old people. I mean, it seems to FEATURE a lot of crabby old people – especially on its political panels, but then – so do the private broadcasters. And Michael Coren has Claire Hoy on his show – and they don’t get much crabbier and older’n Claire Hoy. What bug is up THAT guy’s ass, anyway? Cripes, a well paid hack who has nothing but contempt for the system that made him everything he is today.
But back to The Ranting Man. His name, apparently, is Earl McRae. I don’t know how relevant that is because I’d never heard of Earl McRae until he showed up on Warren Kinsella’s Top Ten List of people Warren Kinsella doesn’t like. And, in spite of HIS efforts to make a name for himself, I don’t really know much about who Warren Kinsella is, either.
What I do know, is that he’s white and Christian, Earl McRae is white and likes shrieking, “Merry Christmas” at viewers from the safety of the national broadcaster, and Claire Hoy is white and very bitter about everything – although probably not about being white.
I’m white, but I’m a woman. A feminist, actually. On the left. So I don’t see this erosion of the world around me. I only see more opportunities. For me and mine. NOT that I’m anywhere NEAR having a five minute rant spot on our national broadcaster – I’m juss sayin’, “Life is lookin’ good fo’ bitches.” We’ve got a pink book and everything.
And I know a lot of people who feel the same way. None of us have much in the way of power, though. At least, not the power to communicate our views that Christmas, Merry Christmas, is the new black. Yes indeed, far from putting the Christ back in Christmas, the Christmas brigade has leapt right past that bullcrap to making Merry Christmas the new black.
It’s true. I’ve had several people say, “Merry Christmas” to me already this year and it started last week – a good two weeks before Christmas. I’ve been tempted to respond with, “Christmas? What the fuck is Christmas?” but I’m wondering if a simple, “What’s that supposed to mean?” or, “Are you on drugs?”, or “Fuck off, wiseguy – can’t you see I’m a Secular Humanist?!” would do.
Because really, I think even, “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” are an infringement on my personal space. What about people who don’t have holidayS to be happy about because they only get Christmas day off because they’re working right through YOUR holidayS because they work in the service industry. Or whatever.
“Season’s Greetings”? What if you have seasonal affected disorder and everytime someone says, “Season’s Greetings” it’s like a slap in the face. Another reminder that you don’t cut it in today’s world. That you can’t even adapt to the joy of winter. That you are merely taking up space until spring.
Anyway, I thought all this until I got my “Holiday Greetings” card from Rogers. Then I wanted to smash in my TV and toss my computer out the window and just take my life right off the grid. Say goodbye to Christian culture once and for all. Alas, I have teenagers. And I don’t want to risk sending Rogers a “Fuck Off” greeting back because I figure it will end up on my file somewhere and the next time the service goes down for no apparent reason, I’ll hesitate to call and ask, “So… what… I’m paying for Ted Rogers to get richer by not even having to provide services now?”
Say… is Ted Rogers a Christian? He looks white enough.
Anyway, this year, to get even with the “Merry Christmas” brigade (those poor holiday underdogs) I’m putting the Christ back in Christmas by pronouncing it, “CHRIST mas”. I mean, if you’re going to compete with the really big holidays, like Ramadan, Hannukkah, Diwali, etc. – ON A CULTURAL LEVEL – you’re going to have to de-trash, de-tackify, de-trailor park Christmas. I mean nothing – NOTHING – says – NO CULTURE – like our modern day Christmas. Afterall, who CAN’T go buy a bunch of crap once a year and wrap it up and give it out? Eh? Well? Let’s face it – it’s not that you CAN’T shriek, “Merry Christmas!!” anymore – because obviously you can – on the national broadcastor, no less. It’s that ANYBODY can shriek, “Merry Christmas!!”
But, “Merry Christ mas. Not so much.
Left, Right, Left Left Right
Ottawans made a really bad decision recently. They elected a new Mayor. A Mayor so shiny and new – he could be The Love Boat. Instead, he’s just a rich guy on the Right of the political spectrum who got the job on a “0% tax increase” promise. Oh – and also because his main competition was a seasoned City Councillor on the Left.
Stupid voters. Will they never learn? Taxes will always go up. That’s life. It costs money. And the politician who tells you that it won’t, that life will be CHEAPER under his watch, is not someone you want running Government services. Because when he says “life will be CHEAPER” – he means “YOUR life will be cheaper”. That’s because it’s already pretty worthless to him – he’s rich.
And I say Larry O’Brien is on the Right, not just because he’s a fly-by-night rich guy on the Right (which he is – thanks to lots of Government contracts, too, I might add), but because he strikes me as the kind of guy I wouldn’t trust to hold my mother’s purse. That’s how I feel about Politicians on the Right. Leery. Very, very leery. How do I feel about politicians on the Left? Dismayed. Very, very dismayed. Because I know – Canadians, by and large, are short-term voters and will never commit to a Government on the Left.
Otherwise, “Act Locally, Think Globally” would be our motto. Instead of, “We Always Get Our Man” or “The True North Strong and Free” or “But It’s a Dry Cold”.
Anyway, how we vote got me thinking about this Left/Right divide. There were a few stories in the news recently that made me realize why, as a socially progressive/fiscally socialist Lefty (and it’s literal, too – Lefthanded R Us), I have such an intense distrust of the Right. The main one involves the late Tommy Douglas and the RCMP:
Cripes, We Can’t Even Get Our Lefty
Why am I not surprised that the RCMP wasted our money and its time spying on Tommy Douglas? Why are you not surprised? Because we know now, that the Right is the enemy of Democracy. The Right values Order, the Establishment and the Establishment of Order – OVER Democracy. Read the National Post editorial board’s Eulogy of Pinochet if you don’t believe me. In fact, read any article in the National Post and you will soon realize that the owners of the media chain on down are champions of Private Healthcare – to the point where I am quite sure that if Tommy Douglas were alive today to be pilloried in the press, the National Post would be leading the charge with cries of, “Deport Him to Syria! He’s wearing Lenin glasses!”
And yet, who claims to be all about freedom? The Right. Would they approve of the RCMP spying on Tommy Douglas? Of course they would. He’s on the Left. Do people on the Left think the RCMP should be spying on those THEY see as “Enemies of Canada”. No. No they don’t. People on the Left don’t trust the RCMP. The RCMP represents the interests of the Right. ALL police forces represent the interests of the Right. Remember Toronto cops campaigning in uniform for Mike Harris? On our dime? They got a raise out of it, too. The “Taxfighter” gave it them after he got elected.
People on the Left believe in social progress. People on the Right want to go back to a simpler time. A simpler bigoted time, as it were.
Because yes, I watched the Michael Coren Show last night featuring Ottawa’s own Hate Radio host, Lowell Green. Now, if you don’t know who Lowell Green is, think Rush Limbaugh with a couple of bankruptcies. Literal bankruptcies. Lowell Green, of course, is on the Right of the political spectrum. And what he was saying on the Michael Coren Show last night was the stuff of southern lynch mobs and elderly British tea parties. I won’t bother re-iterating his ranting here. Afterall, if we haven’t all danced naked with our Grandmothers, we’ve at least all heard Gramma McRacist say of Pearson International Airport after a trip away to visit rellies, “I hardly knew I was in Canada!”
It was that sort of ranting. With lots of finger wagging at the Left. “You guys are responsible for this mess!” And “Look around – they’ve ruined everything” And “Canada used to be a great nation and now it’s a joke”.
I mean, where to begin? A) I don’t see the “mess”; B) The Left has never formed the Government of Canada; and C) Define “great nation”. So, with regards to A) and B) I’d have to say – if there’s a “mess” (and I don’t see what Lowell Green sees) I’d have to say it was made by the Right. With a lot of help from the Center. The Center being that bulk of political inevitabilities that Democracy brings. With regards to C) well, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”? I dunno. I should add here that when people phone in to Lowell Green’s show to not vent their hatred alongside him, he hangs up on them. It’s true. And yet – people still phone in. ??? Ah, the wonders of modern technology and leisure time at work. Unless all the callers are out-of-work layabouts…
But back to the “inevitabilities that Democracy brings”. Democracy. Remember? That’s the thing that leads to a more inclusive society. Where more and more people have rights previously denied them. The good thing. The good thing that the Right really doesn’t want at all.
And I think I’ve got it figured out. The Right doesn’t want Democracy to grow because it figures that the more Democracy spreads itself around (i.e. “thin”) the less Democracy there is for them. That their lives are CHEAPENED (see opening paragraph for full circle picture) by Democracy because – if everybody has it, it can’t be worth much – can it.
No wonder the Right is so angry about Democracy. They believe Democracy is at work/play cheapening their lives.
So, why isn’t the Left angry about Democracy? Oh yeah – because the Left understands that the more people are empowered by Democracy – the more Democracy there is. For everybody.
Pino – We Hardly Knew Ye
What is it about Pundits on the Right that they feel the need to express their solidarity with Dictators on the Right? In case you hadn’t heard, Pinochet, the former Dictator of Chile, responsible for the torture, disappearance, murder of thousands of civilians in that country – is dead.
Good – right?
Welllll, not if you’re on the Right, it seems. Because apparently all that Strongman Thuggery resulted in the trains running on time in Chile. I’m not making this up. The National Post editorial board – admittedly, not the brightest lights on the planet, probably not even the brightest lights in a room with a 20 watt bulb – took great pains to bring us the good side of Pinochet in its editorial today,
This is my favourite line from the eulogy (But read the whole thing – it’s quite unbelievable – as in, UNBELIEVABLY WHACK!!):
“But as we contemplate the man’s life, it is important that we examine the full picture, and not just the black-and-white villain image that the Western media too often promotes.”
What the fuck?! You ARE the Western media you Peabrained Eedjits! Good Gawd in Hell! Has the world turned UPSIDE DOWN?!
But remember when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher weren’t in power yet and General Augustus Pinochet was a brutal Dictator who murdered thousands of people? And then they WERE in power and he was the darling of the Right’s “Jellybeans and Tea” set? I mean, it’s not just that a democratically elected leader was murdered to make way for a Fascist Thug, with the American C.I.A. playing a lead role in the actual murder part, it’s that… no wait… IT IS THAT A DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED LEADER WAS MURDERED TO MAKE WAY FOR A FASCIST THUG!
Imagine, if the brave men, women and children who had protested that reality then, knew that this would be our reality now. That one of our – Canada’s – National Newspapers – the editorial board, no less – would be eulogizing their Oppressor, a Murderer of Thousands, because they JUST CAN’T HELP THEMSELVES!
He’s not “on the Left”, therefore – he can’t be ALL bad. Let me ask you, and I’m serious – should there be a ban on editorial board commentaries? Because I really don’t think people that stupid should be allowed to take up oxygen someone less stupid could be breathing – let alone take up space in a newspaper. It’s a wonder we can’t hear the thousands of tortured and murdered rolling over in their graves.
But yes – Pinochet made the trains run on time. I guess that’s what matters to the National Post editorial board at the end of the day. Order.
Nevermind the Peace and Good Government part of the ballgame. Well, heck – what am I saying? All George W. Bush needs is a little Order brought to the American economy and he’ll be right up there with General Augustus Pinochet, I guess.
Rest in peace. I’ll just be here in the corner having an ANEURISM!
So, I guess Stephane Dion has French citizenship, eh? Why don’t I care? Honestly. I’d care plenty if Stephen Harper had American citizenship. Or if Jack Layton had Chinese citizenship. Could it really be because I’m an Anglo-Canadian and figure, having beaten the French bastards once – we could do it again if need be?
I dunno. And I mean I dunno because I dunno if that’s why – or that we could beat the French bastards again if need be. I don’t even know which French bastards I’m talking about – the France French bastards? Or the Quebec French bastards.
But speaking of France’s French bastards reminds me of England’s English bastards. I’m Scottish/Irish, so I really don’t care for the English. Not to put too fine a point on it, but – they’re gay. In fact, I think I’d be way more bothered by a Canadian political party leader with dual Canadian/British citizenship than I am by Stephane Dion’s Canadian/French dual citizenship. I dunno, again. Maybe it’s because this is Stephane Dion we are talking about? I really don’t know. I mean, even now if I found out that Lucien Bouchard had Canadian/French citizenship I’d want to kick ass. Then kick his cane out from under him. And then bonk him over the head with it.
Okay, okay. I’d want to kick his cane out from under him and then bonk him over the head with it, anyway. Whether he had Canadian/French dual citizenship or not. In fact, I’m all for revoking his Canadian citizenship altogether. With a good swift kick to his traitorous old ass.
Sayyyyyy… instead of Stephane Dion bothering to revoke the French half of his dual citizenship, how about Gilles Duceppe have his uni-Canadian citizenship revoked. That makes more sense to me. In fact, how about ALL the Bloc MPs have their Canadian citizenship revoked. Afterall, they’re traitors. Advocating Quebec’s secession from Canada. Why not give them a taste of NO CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP FOR YOU – right now. Head them off at the pass. If Stephen Harper can pull a Nation Resolution out of his Alberta Nationalist ass – why can’t he turn the other cheek and pull a Canadian Citizenship Review of Bloc MPs Resolution out of his Canadian Federalist ass.
Oh yah – BECAUSE HE DOESN’T HAVE A CANADIAN FEDERALIST ASS!
And THAT’S why Stephen Harper having dual Canadian/American citizenship would bother me more than Stephane Dion having dual Canadian/French citizenship. That and the fact that the United States is already RIGHT NEXT DOOR! And – A SUPERPOWER. And a Prime Minister with Canadian/British citizenship would bother me more than a Prime Minister with Canadian/French citizenship BECAUSE WE ONLY JUST PATRIATED OUR FRIGGIN’ CONSTITUTION FROM THE TOFFEE-NOSED TWITS!
French citizenship? Who cares about French citizenship? They don’t want us anyway. We’ve got Quebec. They think of Quebec the way we think of Americans. Not highly. And obviously, a Prime Minister with Canadian/Chinese citizenship is out of the question. We might just as well chain ourselves to mining machinery and start working for day passes. Cripes – Canadian/Chinese citizenship? I don’t even think Canadian Prime Ministers should get Chinese Visas. Forget it. The further away from China we stay – the more likely there will still be a metre of Canadian owned ground by the year 2020.
Canadian/French citizenship? Who cares?
Unless… Sayyyyy – maybe instead of Stephane Dion revoking his dual Canadian/French citizenship, he could get THE REST OF US dual Canadian/French citizenship. You know, like when you bring gum to class – bring enough for EVERYBODY.
I like it – I like it a lot.