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   Paul Edwards has a entertaining style of apocalyptic prose.  He writes this screedy piece in Counterpunch, but you can feel his frustration directed toward a political system engineered to maintain the plutocratic status-quo.

 

“Well, partly, yes. Hillary, for what she’s worth, swore nobody liked him or wanted to work with him. Bernie, in spite of his age, is not a Santa figure, not a holly, jolly old Burl Ives hologram. He wouldn’t appear beaming from a Norman Rockwell print. He’s got crust; sober sincerity; little humor and a load of gravitas, none of which infantile America–addled with toon bunnies, ninja turtles, and cuddly bears selling shit–can love. He wants you to think, and act on your self-interest, and you don’t want to do that, most of you.

After generations of skewed, bent political indoctrination, and relentless propagandizing by the poisonous, amoral Capitalist schlockmeisters who own this country and the world, most Democrats have accepted the fact that others–smarter, richer, higher up–should make their key decisions.

The hold of that induced ignorance and cognitive paralysis is greatest on those subjected to it longest: the over-60s, retired, and aged, who matured before cracks yawned in The Empire’s catechism during Watergate to show the sleazy thugs blighting American lives behind the official bullshit curtain. These are the political Walking Dead, The Impenetrables, Old Believers who carry in their DNA the incurable virus of pre-Vietnam Exceptionalism, and who will go to their graves rigid with mummified Democrat orthodoxy.

Then there’s the mass of middle-aged Democrat faithful, that slow-witted, moderate, mushy center, native home of Mr. Jones who, as Grace Slick sang, knew something was happening but didn’t know what it was. These are the passive ones–American “Good Germans”–who have punched in, consumed, and looked away as the US War Machine blew up and bled the backward, baffled Muslim world in its lust for oil, gas and brute hegemony. They are uneasy with suppressed guilt, fearful of any real aspirations, and they yearn for the safety of braindead serfdom under lullabying masters.

Then, bafflingly, comes the bulk of black Democrats, a category truly hard to fathom. Of course, it’s clear that black misleadership in Congress is just a whoring toy of the DNC. They hold their Uncle Tom forts by piously bullshitting their own abused people while betraying them, complicit with the likes of Biden, whose Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act fueled the lethal racism of our black stalag system. The notion that blacks have a true friend in the Senator from MBNA, the very cartoon of a phony, smarmy, jive honky liberal, is sadly mistaken but, pathetically, the hustled line up time and again to be crassly sold this evil, cynical screw job. As with organized Labor, Dems feel no obligation to black Americans. They count them a captive race who demand no reward for slavish loyalty.

For these sets of stagnant souls, the wonder is that the roaring wildfire of damning fact lit by the courage of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden, that incinerated the camouflage of this utterly corrupt, incorrigibly vicious Empire has sparked no fury in their calcified hearts.

And so the grotesque Marche Slave winds on its lugubrious, pathetic way toward the funeral pyre of its own making, while the Dem engineers of this self-immolation bask in idiot bliss. They truly believe they’ve won; that in eliminating Sanders and his sane, humane goals, and annointing the vacuous, amoral, cognitively impaired charlatan, Biden, they’ll flush the detested Sick Beast from his lair and control the National Security State alone again. It’s a deep collective delusion founded on balked egos, impotent fury, and wilful blindness to all that the time requires.

But, then, when were Democrats ever proactive for what American people needed? Even in the halcyon days of FDR, that humane conservative–for such he truly was–had to urge Berle, Ickes and Tugwell to “make me do it” before pushing his great socio-economic measures through Congress for the sustaining benefit of working Americans that made him a political giant.

In this perilous hour for the country, for Democrats to pawn off on their bedrock faithful–indoctrinated, automatistic, and hoodwinked as they are–a mediocre, ditzy, blithering, old Cold Warrior as the gladiator who will face and take out The Beast is bald lunacy and surefire political seppuku.”

Counterpunch columnist Rob Urie tackles some of the political consequences of the neoliberal choices we have made as a society.

 

“The question of bailouts is fundamentally different from that of taking care of people. An adequate response to the pandemic will require years of dedicated effort, not tossing a trillion dollars at ‘the economy’ and hoping for the best. Social distancing and quarantines might require income and material support for tens of millions of people for as long as eighteen months. Nancy Pelosi is reportedly already balking at spending government money to do what is necessary. It would be a benefit to workers if she forced her corporate sponsors to provide paid time off for their employees, but she won’t do this.

The economic fragility behind the rapid descent into economic crisis isn’t a product of nature. It was purposely created by the bi-partisan political establishment at the behest of oligarchs and academic economists. NAFTA was meant to make workers economically insecure. Welfare ‘reform’ was passed to make life outside of capitalist employment intolerably tenuous. The minimum wage hasn’t been a living wage for forty years. And plans to cut Social Security and Medicare are meant to increase economic fragility. Likewise, austerity is the enforcement mechanism to keep the rich in control of American political economy.

This combination of manufactured social fragility and neoliberal governance will sooner or later produce a political rupture. The election of Donald Trump was the first act of one. An extended economic crisis can produce social solidarity or a deeply ugly political response. The Democrats’ choice to stick with their neoliberal program means that they are indifferent between electing Joe Biden and a second term for Donald Trump. Add the widespread unemployment that is already baked into their reflexive austerity and a more perfect formula for fascist ascendance is difficult to imagine.”

It galls me the level of disregard for our society being exhibited by our Alberta UCP government. The naked capitulation to business interests over the public well being is infuriating.

 

We all know the UCP are scum. Just terrible garbage people. Broken promises left and right, austerity for everyone, and harming the poor, the young, the old, the severely handicapped, and everyone. Then they lie about doing these things even as they are doing them. This is pretty much neo-liberalism 101. It’s been going on since Reagan, Thatcher, and our very own Brian M. and Klein. What’s also true is that your average UCP supporter is also trash.

Yup, that’s right. I’m calling you all trash. That, after all that’s been going on, the UCP would still win an election if it was called today is reprehensible. It means one of three things is happening. It means either you don’t know what’s going on, or you don’t care what’s going on, or you support what’s going on. In any of these three situations you are trash but it’s the people who don’t know what is going on that are the worst of you. Not that this distinction matters much as the scale ranges from sewage byproducts to nuclear waste. But ya, those of you who don’t know what is going on are the nuclear waste.

Seriously, if you are in ignorance of what is going on all that means is that it is purposeful ignorance, the worst of all ignorance. It would take a concerted effort to avoid all media and be unaware of how your choice at the polling station is decimating this province. But I’m guessing if you are reading this then you aren’t one of those people because they are likely unicorns. As in they don’t exist or if they do they are so rare that they’ve never been spotted by another person.

As for the other two, which is worse you ask? Well, you guessed it, it’s those that don’t care. At least those who support this selling off of our province stand for something. I mean it’s a terrible and evil something, but at least it’s something. If you are one of those people that just shrug your shoulders and go “ehh.. one politician is as bad as another” then you are the problem. You’ve literally just lived through a politician that kept the lights on during one of the worst economic downturns we’ve ever had and are seeing a politician that took a bad but improving situation and immediate turned it into dog shit  and see no difference. Honestly, you are bad and you should feel bad.

But wait, there is still time! You can contact your MLA, tell them you voted for them and you are very angry and will not be voting for them next …. BWAHAHAHAHA. Nope. Sorry. It’s too late. Kenney is an unaccountable king for the next few years and by the time he is done with his first term the damage will take generations to repair. But don’t worry, because that won’t happen either because you idiots will still keep voting UCP because one politician is as bad as another, am I right?

So to sum things up, the UCP are trash and so are their supporters. Their austerity is causing generational damage to our province and everyone will suffer, especially the most vulnerable. Nothing they do will bring back the heydays of $100/barrel of oil and nothing they can do can even affect that. So we’re all screwed because garbage people are voting for garbage politicians.

 

 

 

 

Is Bernie Sanders destined to become the next Jeremy Corbyn? A second excerpt from the Jonathan Cook essay we looked at yesterday.

 

The Sanders threat

Sanders is one of those glitches. Just like Jeremy Corbyn was in the UK. They have been thrown up by current circumstances. They are the first signs of a tentative political awakening to power, sometimes dismissed generically as “populism”. They are the inevitable outcome of the ever greater difficulty power faces in concealing its self-destructiveness as it seeks to remove every last limit to its voracious acquisitiveness.

Once upon a time, those who paid the price of power were out of view, in disenfranchised, urban slums or far-off lands. But the accelerating contradictions of power – of late-stage, global capitalism, if you prefer a specific name – have brought those effects much closer to home, where they cannot so easily be ignored or discounted. Growing sections of western societies, the central locus of power, understand that there needs to be serious, not cosmetic, change.

Power needs to be rid of Sanders, just as it previously had to rid itself of Corbyn because both are that rarest thing – politicians who are not imprisoned within the current power paradigm. Because they do not serve power cultishly like most of their colleagues, such politicians threaten to shine a light on true power. Ultimately, power will use any tool to destroy them. But power prefers, if possible, to maintain its cloak of invisibility, to avoid exposing the sham of the consumption-driven “democracy” it engineered to consolidate and expand its power. It prefers our collusion.

The reason the Democratic party establishment is trying to bring down Sanders at the primaries stage and crown a power-functionary like Buttigieg, Biden or even Elizabeth Warren – or if it must, parachute in a billionaire like Michael Bloomberg – is not because Sanders would on his own be able to end the globe-spanning power of pathological capitalism and consumerism. It is because the nearer he gets to the main shadow play, to the presidency, the more power will have to make itself visible to defeat him. (Language makes it difficult to describe this dynamic without resorting to metaphors that make power sound fancifully human rather than structural and ideological.)

As the other candidates increasingly look unsuited to the task of toppling Sanders for the nomination, and rigging the primaries has proved much harder to do covertly than it was hoped, power has had to flex its muscles more publicly than it likes. So narrative is being marshalled to destroy Sanders in the same way that the antisemitism and Brexit narratives were used to halt Corbyn’s grassroots movement in its tracks. In Sanders’ case, the corporate media is preparing a readymade Russia narrative against him in case he gets nearer to power – a narrative that has already been refined for use against Trump.

(Trump’s relation to power could be the basis for an entirely separate post. He is not an ideological threat to power, he is one if its functionaries. But he is a potential Harvey Weinstein or Prince Andrew. He can be sacrificed if needs be. The Russiagate narrative has served two purposes useful to power. It has tamed Trump’s ego-based politics to ensure he does not threaten deep power by making it more visible. And it has created a compelling political drama that channels and dissipates the “resistance” to Trump, satisfying much of the left’s own need to feel they are doing something, when in fact they are simply strengthening Trump and deep power.)

Caught in a trap

Late last week, as the landslide in Nevada for Sanders was imminent, the western media uncritically reported claims, based on unnamed “US officials”, that the Vermont senator is seen by the Russians as an “asset”, and that the Kremlin is trying to help either him or Trump to get elected. No one making that claim was identified, no explanation was offered of how Sanders could serve as an asset, nor was evidence cited for how the Russians might be able to help Sanders win. Power doesn’t need facts or evidence, even when its claims are self-evidently disruptive to the democratic process. It exists chiefly in the realm of narrative and ideology. This is a story, just like Corbyn’s “antisemitism crisis”, that is made true simply through repetition.

Because power is power, its narratives can defy the most elementary rules of logic. After all, how could an unverified, evidence-free narrative about Russian interference on behalf of Sanders’ campaign be more important than actual interference by anonymous “US officials” intended to damage Sanders’ campaign? How could such undemocratic, unaccountable efforts to interfere in the outcome of the US election be so readily peddled by the media unless the entire press corps is incapable or unwilling to engage their critical faculties in favour of the democratic principles they claim to uphold? Unless, in truth, they are not there representing us, the people, and our interests, but are instead simply servants of what amounts to a power-cult.

As I have documented many times before, Corbyn found himself caught in a trap of the kind now faced by Sanders. Any supporter (including Jews) who denied that the Labour party Corbyn led was antisemitic, or argued that the antisemitism claims were being weaponised to damage him, was cited as proof that Corbyn had indeed attracted antisemites to the party. Concluding that Corbyn’s Labour party was not antisemitic, based on the evidence, was treated as evidence of antisemitism. But as soon as Corbyn agreed under media and party pressure to accept the alternative – that an antisemitism problem had taken root on his watch – he was also implicitly forced to concede that something about him and his values had allowed antisemitism to take root. He found he was damned either way – which is precisely how power makes sure it emerges the winner.

Why does society work the way it does?  Why is there such a disconnect between the common people and politics.  Jonathan Cook examines the power structures in our society and how they work.

 

“Rather than thinking in terms of individuals, power is better visualised as the deep waters of a lake, while the powerful are simply the ripples on the surface. The ripples come and go, but the vast body of water below remains untouched.

Superficially, the means by which power conceals itself is through stories. Its needs narratives – mainly about those who appear powerful – to create political and social dramas that distract us from thinking about deep power. But more fundamentally still, power depends on ideology. Ideology cloaks power – in a real sense, it is power – because it is the source of power’s invisibility.

Ideology provides the assumptions that drive our perceptions of the world, that prevent us from questioning why some people were apparently born to rule, or have been allowed to enclose vast estates of what was once everyone’s land, or hoard masses of inherited wealth, or are celebrated for exploiting large numbers of workers, or get away with choking the planet to the point at which life itself asphyxiates.

Phrased like that, none of these practices seems natural. In fact, to a visiting Martian they would look pathologically insane, an irrefutable proof of our self-destructiveness as a species. But these conditions are the unexamined background to our lives , just the way things are and maybe always were. The system.

True, the individuals who benefit from the social and economic policies that uphold this system may occasionally be held to account. Even the policies themselves may occasionably be held up to scrutiny. But the assumptions behind the policies are rarely questioned – certainly not in what we are taught to call the “mainstream”.

That is an amazing outcome given that almost none of us benefit from the system we effectively sanction every time we turn out to vote in an election. Very few of us are rulers, or enjoy enormous wealth, or live on large estates, or own companies that deprive thousands of the fruit of their labours, or profit from destroying life on Earth. And yet the ideology that rationalises all that injustice, inequality and immorality not only stays in place but actually engenders more injustice, more inequality, more immorality year by year.

We watch this all unfold passively, largely indifferently because we believe – we are made to believe – we are powerless.

Regenerating like Dr Who

By now, you may be frustrated that power still lacks a name. Is it not late-stage capitalism? Or maybe neoliberalism? Globalisation? Or neoconservatism? Yes, we can identify it right now as ideologically embedded in all of those necessarily vague terms. But we should remember that it is something deeper still.

Power always has an ideological shape and physical structures. It has both faces. It existed before capitalism, and will exist after it (if capitalism doesn’t kill us first). Human history has consisted of power consolidating and regenerating itself in new form over and over again – like the eponymous hero of the long-running British TV sci-fi series Doctor Who – as different groups have learnt how to harness it, usurp it and put it to self-interested use. Power has been integral to human societies. Now our survival as individuals and as a species depends on our finding a way to reinvent power, to tame it and share it equally between us all – and thereby dissolve it. It is the ultimate challenge.”

To change a system, one needs to understand how it works.

 

 

 

The World Rugby Association gets a clue that maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t have men competing against women in a sport (especially full contact ones).

“The governing body will hold a forum next week to consult “expert voices” and is seeking elite players’ views.

As a reason for the review, World Rugby cites research suggesting that reducing testosterone does not lower strength and power proportionately.

“World Rugby’s vision is ‘a sport for all, true to its values’,” said World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.

“There is growing recognition of the importance of autonomy of gender identity in society and all sports are currently evaluating their policies to ensure that they are fit-for-purpose in the modern sporting and societal landscape.”

If the tide can be turned in Rugby, elsewhere common sense and dedication to scientific material reality can prevail. :)

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