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Here in Alberta I am really enjoying our neoconservative UCP government.  They replaced a government that sough to balance economic investment and diversification with support of the public good.  The UCP essentially tore up that balanced economic plan and went ‘all-in’ on ramping up the Oil & Gas industry and making building pipelines a major campaign promise.

The UCP budget forcast included oil prices to be well north of $50 a barrel.  And here we are speculating that the current oil prices (April/May 2020) may hi the (negative)-40 dollars per barrel figure.

Yep, they were elected on the premise of killing the deficit and now are forecast to run some of the largest deficits in Alberta’s history.  But this is nothing new for Alberta under conservative rule.  Allegiance to the large business sector and Oil & Gas has always been a fixture.  The people of Alberta and the public services they need have always come a distant 10th.

So, the price of Oil has now cratered and is tunneling downward toward the core.  What next dear UCP?

 

“Alberta’s oilpatch history is full of ups and downs, dating back to the province’s first big oil rush more than 100 years ago near Turner Valley. But who would have thought oil would one day be worth less than $0?

On Monday, the price for West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the North American benchmark, fell more than $50 to close at negative $37.63 US.

“It’s certainly not something I ever thought I would witness,” said Matt Murphy, a Calgary-based equity research analyst with Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.

“I won’t wager a guess how it may trade [Tuesday]. Could it go worse than negative $40? I don’t know,” he said.

Oil companies in Western Canada and offshore Newfoundland were already drastically reducing costs, slashing payroll and pulling back on oil production in recent weeks with commodity prices hitting multi-year lows. Now, the cuts are being accelerated further with Husky Energy and Crescent Point Energy both on Monday cutting spending more than previously announced.


It was a crazy day on the markets.

WTI prices swung wildly as oil traders began to panic as time runs out to get rid of oil contracts for May. The price of oil is determined by investments known as futures contracts, which are agreements to buy and sell a certain amount of oil at a certain time in the future. Typically, the contracts are bought and sold countless times before the oil is actually delivered to the final buyer.

But the May contracts are set to finalize on Tuesday, meaning anyone left holding one will have to physically receive the oil — and storage options are filling up, especially in the U.S. Midwest. No one wants to be stuck with the oil and traders were willing to take heavy losses to ditch the contracts before they come due.”

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.

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.

 

 

 

In the famous words of George Carlin:

“There’s a reason education sucks and it’s the same reason that it will never, ever, ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it, be happy with what you’ve got. Because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the REAL owners, now. The real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions — forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land, they own and control the corporations; they’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the State houses, the City Halls; they’ve got the judges in their back pockets, and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all the news and information you get to hear.”

“They gotcha by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying — lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want — they want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that, that doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. That’s right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting f***ed by the system that threw them overboard 30 f***ing years ago. They don’t want that.”

“You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime, and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. …All day long, beating you over the in their media telling you what to believe — what to think — and what to buy. The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged. And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care.”

“…They don’t give a fuck about you, they don’t…They don’t care about you – at all. At all, At all. At all. At all. And nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care … that’s what the owners count on, the fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue d**k that’s being jammed up their assholes every day. Because the owners of this country know the truth — it’s called the American Dream … ‘cuz you have to be asleep to believe it.”

“The problem with Carlin’s brilliant rant is of course it’s extreme, well, cynicism. Millions upon millions of Americans do notice and do care. They aren’t asleep. They are capable of critical thinking. They very much want to un-rig the game, level the table, and change the system – make a people’s democratic revolution and save humanity. I run into and talk to and try to energize and learn and get energy from these people regularly. They haven’t surrendered to the American authoritarian-sexist-racist-nativist-nationalist-fascist nightmare yet.

I share with many of these people a basic underlying spiritual sense that giving up and letting the owners – our financial and political owners, yes – win is irrational and indeed morally corrupt. Let’s say the chances of collapsing the nation’s un-elected and interrelated dictatorships of money, empire, white-supremacism, and patriarchy are just 3 or 2 or even 1 in 10 (I think the real odds may be much higher). Why bring them down to zero by giving in to fatalism – to “it’s never going to change?” It makes no sense to give up: you lose nothing by believing in the possibility of democratic transformation and revolutionary change; you lose everything by not believing. Try some radical existentialism!”

A thick meaty discussion of the western political economy and the checkered history that has led us to the current financial mess we happen to be in. Great viewing, get some popcorn!

Mark Blythe seems to have a very good grasp of the current political and economic situations we now face.  If you want a no bullshit update to the state of the world, watch this.

 

 

The article and video can been seen on CBC.ca.

 

Trust the conservatives to screw up what should have been an easy smear by dropping the JT brownface video too early in the campaign.  This will be out of the public mind way before election day.  Also take note that Scheer is dancing delicately around this one as he walks the fine line between castigating and coddling the actual racists in his party.

I would still rather vote for Justin that for Scheer because a vote for Scheer is a vote closer to the right-wing populist shitshow they have going on down in the United States, and that fellow Canadians, is something we want entirely no part of.

A leader is someone who takes responsibility from their mistakes and then learns from what they did wrong hopefully becoming a better person in the process.  There is no evidence that the shenanigans of JT’s youth have followed him into his late adulthood.

 

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