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Politics, Re-Spun: Against Collective Forgetting

Workers must do our part to Stop Harper!

Happy Labour Day!

In Stephen Harper’s Canada, we keep enumerating the things we’re losing: meaningful legislative debate, evidence-based policy, public science, a free and open society, among other things. But what happens if we go too long with a slow erosion of the features that make our society vibrant? What happens if we let the right wing continue to teach us that we shouldn’t expect anything meaningful from government?

What happens if young Canadians grow up without a sense of what used to be the Canadian birthright: Medicare, the CPP, and (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Welcome to the 1,000th Politics, Re-Spun Editorial!

Steve Harper, the greatest threat to Canadian security in the modern era.

Happy August! Happy Day!

I have a few comments about this, the 1,000th editorial at Politics, Re-Spun. But you can read them below, about my sabbatical plan, new visions for this almost 12-year-old website, and other things.

But at the top of this post, I have something slightly more urgent to delve into before I check out for a break.

That great sick freak, Donald Rumsfeld is generally credited with popularizing the concept of unknown unknowns to our modern/post-modern era. Being a sick freak, he spun that bafflement (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Israel: Rogue State

Why It Matters That Norman Finkelstein Just Got Arrested Outside the Israeli Consulate

Israel has the right to defend itself.

Arguably, so does every nation.

Israel, however, gets a free pass for going well beyond defending itself.

I’ll leave the West Bank alone right now.

Gaza:

Is an open-air prison, walled off by Israel. Is under an economic embargo. Is barred from importing and exporting. Recently saw its Gaza Ark bombed. Twice. Has had its children, hospitals, university, homes, beach soccer-playing teen boys, and hundreds of civilians systemically targeted and bombed/murdered. Makes people feel uncomfortable when they see pictures of (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: TFWP: How Racist is Canada?

Here’s one way to tell how racist a person/nation is.

Have them read this excerpt and see if they fly into a rage about “those” people, or just come up with economic arguments to keep “them” out.

Hopefully, everyone you know will nod and say, “obviously!”

Since this is a chronically underpopulated country with an aging population and an inadequately sized consumer and taxpayer base for its geography and culture, there is no reason for Canada to make any of its immigrants anything other than permanent.

Those who say “Canadian jobs for Canadians” are right: We should continue to (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Class Warfare CAUSED Income Inequality, Not the Opposite

Horatio Alger mythology is designed to make us leave the 1% alone and shut the fuck up.

If you haven’t yet seen John Oliver’s amazing rant about the perils of inequality and how the rich shame us out of talking about it by suggesting we’re trying to invoke class warfare, you can see it below.

The truth is, income inequality doesn’t just happen one day, then the classes fight each other. Class warfare is what creates the conditions for income inequality.

But as long as the 1% can keep us from talking about class issues, we can say income inequality (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: How Translink Impedes Transit Use

Translink is “being evasive on exactly how much money is being spent on this.”

via Compass Card program delayed again by TransLink – British Columbia – CBC News.

How’s that for not surprising.

Translink is notorious for its taxation without representation: taking municipalities’ money without providing democratic representation to municipalities. This was a gift from the provincial government years ago to keep local communities from directing their transportation infrastructure.

And now, Translink continues to be evasive about how much money they’re spending on the Compass card system and turnstiles, in place ostensibly to stop fare evasion. They’ve always been (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Occupy Movement Has Changed the Narrative, But We’re Not Done

Recently, with the WEF spending the last few years acknowledging global income inequality is a problem, I’ve declared a kind of victory for the Occupy Movement: getting the lexicon on the 1% and inequality on the tongues of the sly gazillionaires who rule the world, and into mass consumption.

Now we see that the CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest cancers of neoliberal capitalism and a prime mover of the 2008 crash, has admitted that income inequality is a problem and a destabilizer. Sadly, though not surprisingly, in this interview he also trotted out typical neoliberal “realities” (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The 1% Has More Solidarity Than We Do

In Davos, the 1% rule the world. Literally. They also have the guns.

The 1% are claiming we have it out for them; that if we don’t tone down the rhetoric and stop calling them names like “the contemptuous rich,” we might end up starting a class war. But they already know there’s a class war, and it’s been going on for generations. Today, the rich are winning because they have more solidarity than we do. The year 2014 is a battleground and the currency is solidarity. If we don’t start organizing together, quickly, and far more effectively, the contemptuous (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: How the Tsilhqot’in Land Title Ruling Can Help Kill Enbridge

Watch Pam Palmater’s response to the SCC ruling. Click above.

Stephen Harper had about a week to enjoy the glory of his remarkably understated whispery notification that the Enbridge climate killing pipeline will proceed.

Yesterday the Supreme Court shut down the prime minister, which they have a tendency to do because he so flagrantly intends to violate it. So they keep slapping his hand.

With the Tsilhqot’in ruling, our hope that first nations are our last line of defense against more climate killing tarsands development, has been greatly augmented.

In the coming weeks we will see how this may be (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Elevate the World from Mediocrity to Greatness? Lululemon? GMAFB

GMAFB

Capitalism dissociates us from each other.

It makes us embrace consumerism and individualism and erodes community and cohesion.

Yet, oddly, Lululemon’s mantra of elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness is about liberating us from those shackles. Oddly, based on Ayn Rand’s whacko philosophy [see below], we need to be liberated from such an environment that is imagined to be government-controlled.

I will pardon you for not laughing at the irony of this. It’s not funny. The hyper anti-government, anti-community, pro-individualism, pro-capitalism Ayn Rand crew fears government will turn us all into mediocre wastelands of human endeavor.

But if (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Robocop Remake Skips its Elysium Class Warfare Moment

Don’t bother with the Robocop remake. The original–campy, sensationalized, mildly intolerable–still succeeds in one key element: examining class warfare.

You’d think that in an era of post-2008, the 1% being called out as contemptuous greed-mongerers and the Occupy Movement, that a Robocop remake would examine in a contemporary frame, the class divide that reflected Detroit in the future, as told by the 1987 dystopic lens.

But no. My friends, I have seen the new Robocop so that you don’t have to.

The new one skips these things:

Detroit actually having gone bankrupt. Huge wealth bifurcation. Massive class conflict. Garish pop (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Hey, BC: Want More Jobs? Dump the LNG and Pipelines!

Well, I found yet another [like this] study showing how many MORE jobs we’d get by moving to a post-carbon energy infrastructure and dumping LNG, tarsands, pipelines and all the other Mordor Industrial Complex BC and Alberta are embracing.

Not only is dumping the carbon energy infrastructure essential to do what we can to minimize the effects of climate change/breakdown, it’s also good for the economy, good for jobs, and in particular, good for highly trained union workers.

So unions should be lining up to skip the short-sighted, short-term gains of a few thousand carbon energy jobs in (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Pope, a Kardashian and Arianna Huffington Walk into a Bar

The pope, a Kardashian and Arianna Huffington walk into a bar.

The Pope says, “Inequality is the root of social evil” as he’s trashing the global economic disorder, but since it was reported on Arianna Huffington’s website, we couldn’t help but be lured to a link photo of a Kardashian mom posting a picture of her in a bikini in Mexico because her daughter did. [I'm still not sure why this matters.]

The Pope continues, “We discard a whole generation to maintain an economic system that no longer endures, a system that to survive has to make war, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What Does Soft Fascism Look Like These Days?

We don’t see brown shirts and jackboots, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t seeing the de-democratization of our society.

In Vancouver this month, armed police with guns drawn, raided a house because they suspected people inside not of being terrorists, but of spray painting “No Pipelines” all over the place.

Read Police raid house in East Vancouver, with guns drawn, on pretext of anti-pipeline graffiti | Warrior Publications.

But in Harper’s Canada, opposing pipelines is deemed by the climate change deniers as an act of economic terrorism, which we will likely see in a far more pronounced fashion if in (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Denmark and Germany Show Us How Easy It Is

Seeking some climate justice and labour justice?

You’ve come to the right place. Here’s how Denmark and Germany are showing us that it isn’t brain surgery. Why re-invent the wheel; just steal ideas from people who already get it. Simple!

Denmark

Someone once told me that Starbucks stores in Safeway grocery stores need to hire staff based on the unionized rates in the Safeway. The prices are the same and Starbucks isn’t going bankrupt.

It turns out that in Denmark, strong unionization has led to $21/hour wages at…wait for it…McDonald’s. That’s higher than Vancouver’s new 2014 living wage of $20. (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: A Little Bit of Civil Terrorism…

A little bit of civil terrorism keeps the population docile, afraid of irrational and unjust behaviour from law enforcement [sic] but hey, it helps us all live more peacefully because if you’re not a terrorist, you have nothing to fear from police terrorism via unconstitutional and racially discriminatory persecution. Right?

Nope:

“We’re going to go out there and violate some rights.” Hear the secret police recordings that will take your breath away. In a bad way.

via Meet The 17-Year-Old Who Blew The Lid Off Racial Profiling With His iPod.

And if you’re in NYC, check out the NY (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Occupy, For Democracy

Journalists protest the erosion of freedom of expression in Canada on Feb. 27 in Toronto. Photo Credit: Hiba Zayadin

When I write about soft fascism, I sometimes feel too Canadian. I don’t want to be impolite and talk about hard or old school or 20th century fascism because frankly, when people read that word, they think, “hey, is he talking about Hitler kinda stuff? Ok, then, so it’s not fascism.”

It is though. You don’t have to start a genocide for someone to consider your actions fascist.

It’s a kind, gentler, Canadian-style fascism with a hit of Tom Horton’s (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Occupy Vancouver Reboots Tonight!

Occupy Vancouver reboots tonight to join the worldwide #WaveOfAction that began on April 4 and runs [at least] to July 4, 2014.

We will meet in Grandview Park on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish territories.

615pm is the start time, though honestly, I’ll be there a bit early. With my Occupy Vancouver sign taped to my hockey stick. In some convenient part of the park, since there will be a May Day march arriving there for a rally at the same time.

Things to consider:

Inspiration for this venue came from funkypenzz. Vision [mine anyway]: Seeking equality (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: When Blog Comment Spam Goes Bad

You know you want it!

Someone really crossed the line from whoops, to nuclear codes.

One of the15,000 weekly blog spam comments that never make it to the human eyes stage on this website, accidentally made it through.

Sadly, it is a compendium of all the kinds of faux-sincere blog comments. Which is like Christmas for those who pay attention to the sociology of the internets.

Read at your leisure, and peril. Actual websites deleted to not encourage bad behaviour.

It becomes a mildly deranging mantra of ill. Kind of like neoliberal capitalism.

Push back!

Remember, Occupy Vancouver reboots at (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Let’s Play Cowboys and Indians

Why not?

It seems to be working in Washington, DC.

And you know what? They’ve got our backs.

When ranchers are farmers and tribal communities realize that the tarsands and their toxic pipelines threaten us all, it’s pretty easy to figure out how working together gets things done.

They’re even occupying the Mall in DC. With teepees. See? Look:

#Sacred Indigenous Activists return to the #RejectAndProtect encampment on #NationalMall @WaveOfAction #WaveofAction pic.twitter.com/FISKVCQjNG

— NYCCamp (@NYCCamp) April 24, 2014

You can watch a simple summary of the Reject and Protect campaign to encourage the White House to stop delaying (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Help Conservative Senators Stop Harper’s Banana Republic

Emperor Stephen Harper and his double double.

Interesting times indeed.

8 Conservative senators have decided that Emperor Stephen Harper has no clothes. The Emperor has whipped and intimidated his backbench, cabinet and senators for a long time. Senator Hugh Segal stood up to him on bad legislation. Though he left the senate.

Jim Flaherty stood up to him on how bad a public policy that family income splitting would be. I think he quit politics to avoid the idiocy of Harper firing him from his finance ministry to replace him with the lacklustre lapdog Joe Oliver.

Now we have 8 (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The World Economic Forum Is Now Occupy’s Mouthpiece

By the way, if you were keeping track, the World Economic Forum rules the world. They’re the richest corporations in the world getting together with governments to plan the world. And why not, they’re the elite.

And it turns out, since you’re keeping track, that Occupy has been quite successful. How successful?

Simple. Check this out, from the WEF’s recent document called Global Risks 2014, page 13.

Occupy is all about justice and equality, politically, socially, economically and environmentally. Since we’ve convinced the World Bank and IMF that grotesque inequality is trouble, the WEF has now acknowledged it’s one (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: Canadians will forever be indebted because of Jim…

Canadians will forever be indebted because of Jim Flaherty.

Regardless of what one thinks of the recently deceased man on a personal level, if one uses objective, non-emotional criteria, it is clear that he was probably the worst finance minister in Canadian history. Unfortunately for us, his replacement, Joe Oliver, will likely be much worse.

Almost immediately after Flaherty’s death became public, the fawning political praise and sickening historical revisionism flooded in like oil from an Enbridge pipeline spill. Over-the-top accolades for the small callous man have been stomach-churning, and is an insult to his many victims. It is (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Poor Kids, Poor Families and Shame

“When Centennial’s students found out Seymour couldn’t hold a pyjama day because many students didn’t have pyjamas, they fundraised to buy every Seymour student a pair last Christmas.”

- When the Field Trip’s Too Pricey, Students ‘Self-Exclude’

BC’s disgusting and preventable child poverty crisis. Let’s stop coddling the rich!

When parents receive letters from their kids’ school asking for donations for playground upgrades or library books or technological devices, a certain segment of the population sighs, grows a few more grey hairs and dies a little bit inside.

Parents who are struggling financially cannot afford the luxury of even (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Death of Jim Flaherty

“We are, of course, not in the world alone and our lives here are finite.”

“Our individual and family responsibilities are primary. Yet the desire to accumulate private goods in the end does not lead to satisfaction simply because, as we all learn, enough is never enough.”

- Jim Flaherty, October 2011, Western

It has been an honour to serve Canada. Thank you for the opportunity. pic.twitter.com/vIbBNgT0wY

— Jim Flaherty (@JimFlaherty) March 18, 2014

It is always sad when people die, including former federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

He will easily be remembered as an (Read more…)