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neo_liberalism  Much has happened in the world in the past few months. Especially since November 8, when the “left” or the “progressives” in the USA and indeed the world have been crapping their pants about some orange skinned person with homunculus like hands winning the seat of most powerful person in the world. While as concerning as this is to me (it really is), what has been more concerning to me has been how the Democratic Party and it’s supporters have been acting even before the election and their actions since. What I mean by that is, what difference does it make if Trump is in power if the alternative to him is no different or perhaps worse in some ways.

Enter Caitlin Johnstone into my radar a few weeks ago. Not only is she saying everything I have been noticing going on with the progressive side of the USA, but she does it with style and a flair that is beyond my writing skills. Her voice needs to be amplified by people who feel that the left has been co-opted by the neo-liberals in a drive to make the choice between neo-liberal and ultra-neo-liberal.

Here are some excerpts of what I love about her:

Caitlin Johnstone on the corporate media:

  “It’s been a trippy last few days, and if you’ve been listening to mainstream media it’s even trippier because everything’s on fire and we’re all about to die. In real life though, the world is still turning, the sun is still shining, and Republicans are just doing a somewhat milder version of the same idiotic dance they’ve always done. We’re essentially getting the same anti-science, anti-environment, pro-billionaire schtick we would’ve gotten had any other Republican won the presidency, minus the wars and predatory trade deals that the neocons love.

  This is hardly the goose-stepping, minority-incinerating dystopian apocalypse that the establishment media was promising us in the event of a Trump win. They’re still trying to paint it as though their alarmist prophecies have come true, but they have not. Sure it’s weird and stupid and kind of uncomfortable, but we are unquestionably living in a safer world than we would have been under a President Clinton. This is important for progressives to notice, because by cranking up the alarmism to eleven and freaking out about literally everything Donald Trump says and does, the neoliberal establishment is setting us up for their next move”

This safer world being talk about is because the No-Fly-Zone in Syria is something Candidate Clinton routinely said she would impose. In debates even.

Caitlin Johnstone on the Democratic Party’s refusal to own up to their betrayal of Sanders and refusal to change:

  “To this day, the elites of the Democratic party are doing everything they can to avoid addressing the DNC’s brazen assault on American democracy the way everyone knows they should. In any sort of functional democratic political system this outrageous scandal would have been met with unequivocal condemnation from the top to the bottom, with the President personally overseeing a complete overhaul of the Committee and all the party’s leaders apologizing profusely to the American people and doing everything they could to make it better, including a complete re-do of the primary under close, stringent oversight. Instead they’re babbling about Russian hackers and trying desperately to get the average American to care about Kremlin operatives more than they care about having to work three jobs to make ends meet in the Walmart economy.”

Caitlin Johnstone on just how awesome Tulsi Gabbard is:

  “Gabbard somehow refrained from unleashing the torrent of shrieking, profanity-laced vitriol I definitely would have blasted him with had I been in her shoes, maintained her composure without batting an eye, and patiently explained why Tapper is stupid and wrong about everything. She swatted aside the limp pundit’s feeble protestations as she finally spoke of her findings in Syria, the people’s unbelievable suffering at the hands of the terrorist insurgents, their confusion as to why the United States is backing terrorist factions, and the fact that she did not meet a single person who believed that there were moderate rebels in Syria. It’s definitely worth a watch; here’s a hyperlink if you missed it the first time.”

On why Obama doesn’t deserve special credit for commuting Chelsey Manning’s sentence:

  “In terms of what’s left of his legacy, all that Obama gets from me is one less thing to hate him for. When I’m going to bed at night, there will be one less thing on my extremely long list of evil things that he has done for me to rage about. He’s still the guy who got Chelsea Manning tortured and nearly killed. He’s still the guy who chose to let her rot in isolation long after the United Nations special rapporteur on torture Juan E. Mendez stated unequivocally that Manning’s treatment was “cruel, inhuman and degrading” and after 295 legal scholars signed a letter declaring that she was being “detained under degrading and inhumane conditions that are illegal and immoral.” He’s still the guy who left her in that hell hole after not one but two suicide attempts. He’s still the guy who promised to protect whistleblowers and have the most transparent administration in history, then went on to prosecute more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined. The man is evil, and his ceasing to inflict more evil in this one particular area does not change that. He’s probably only doing it to bait Assange out of political asylum anyway.”

And finally Caitlin Johnstone on what I consider to be the actual problem, the neo-liberal takeover of the progressive parties in western democracies:

  “The Democrats had taken a severe beating starting with the neoliberal establishment’s evisceration of Jimmy Carter back in the late seventies and early eighties, but Bill Clinton figured out that you can still rake in big bucks from the donor class and give them everything they want in exchange as long as you pay lip service to the things the political left cares about. Under Slick Willy’s leadership, the so-called New Democrats took on the mantra of “fiscally conservative, socially liberal,” which was another way of saying they don’t care what you do in your bedroom or what color your skin is, as long as you help them crush you to death with the Walmart economy and sell your life blood to Wall Street.”

I hope these paragraphs that I have shared has encouraged you to give Caitlin a visit. She’s currently talking about how to retake the Democratic Party and why it’s important to attack the neo-liberals on the left rather than on the right. I hope you find her as awesome as I do!

 

 

 

 

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Dear US citizens who want to move to Canada because of the election,

Recently your country has elected Donald Trump to be your president for the next four years. This concerns a great deal of us up here in Canada (and conversely there are some up here that think it’s a great idea). I’m sure it concerns many of you too. In fact I know it as it is hard to escape this reality. The blogosphere, Facebook, Reddit, and even the coffee room is abuzz with this. #Notmypresident is a thing now. People are talking about impeachment before Trump has served a day in office. I get it, people are upset. However I have a few talking points I would like to convey to you at present.

First off, Canada is not a consolation prize, it is a privilege to live here and one that is very difficult to achieve. Just because you don’t like the outcome of your election doesn’t mean we want you here. Quite frankly, we don’t have room. I mean if we even take half of the people who voted for Clinton then we would double our population. But to be honest, we don’t really want you here. We like being your neighbours, but we don’t really want you to move into our house when your left hand is upset with your right hand.

Second, I think you are needed in the USA. Honestly. I really do. Someone has to undo the damage your Democratic Party has done to its base. What they did to Bernie and his supporters is beyond the pale. Actively working against one candidate and for another when they were supposed to be impartial, gaslighting Bernie’s supporters when they complained, impugning their integrity after Wikileaks proved you worked against them, telling them you could win the election without them and you were better off without them. Give your head a shake. You need to make up with these people and then you need to come up with a way to join together. Otherwise what you are looking at in your home is going to become a very familiar story.

Third, you need to get over the delusion that things were that much better under Obama. Obama also has been bombing the shit out of brown people, more so than Bush ever did. He gave you a shitty healthcare option that only gave the health insurance companies more power when he could have pushed for single payer when the democrats owned the Presidency, the House and the Senate. He never did close Guantanamo nor did he even stop the torture that was happening there. Then there was the incident where that man literally went to Flint, Michigan and drank poisonous water and declared it safe. Sure, harm was very unlikely to come to him from drinking such a little amount however is sure as fuck was and still is, to this day and beyond, to all the residents of Flint whom are still there being forced to deal with what I would describe as Hell. If you think I’m being facetious about Flint, think again. If you were the mother of a small child in Flint and are without means, your options are to knowingly poison  your children and let them die a slow death or to deny them water and let them die a fast death. The icing on this Hell Cake is when the guy who is supposed to be on your side, Obama, the President of the people, comes to Flint, and you get your hopes up that he’s going to fix this mess but then he not only doesn’t but he almost literally stabs you in the back instead. So Trump might be a lot of things but to date I don’t think he’s ever actually perpetuated the poisoning of an entire community.

Fourth, and finally (not because I couldn’t go on, but because this is getting too long to retain the reader’s interest) you have one of the biggest privileges known to man in this word, that being having citizenship in the most powerful country in the world. With that citizenship you can actually get involved in the democratic process and be the change you want to see. Bernie supporters, this goes double for you. You need to double down and get involved in the party you were so motivated  to elect Bernie to just a few months ago. Bernie always said he couldn’t do this alone, that he needed people like him to be elected in all the different offices aside him for him to do the things he wanted to do. This remains true today. And it is now, the “quiet” periods of politics where these shifts really happen. If you want the revolution that Bernie offered then now is the time to go out and make it happen! It certainly won’t happen if you run away to a different country.

There is no secret that video games are a big business, grossing more each year that Hollywood and growing each year. In fact, video games have largely replaced television for me. To that end I wish to start honoring what I consider to be the best of the best each year. This may turn into a more regular feature if enough interest develops. That said, lets just get right to it with this year’s winner.

Simply put, Life is Strange is a stunning game. It has incredible depth of writing, compelling and believable characters, and story hooks and twists of a mystery that kept me up far too late far too frequently trying to figure out what’s going on. It is sold in an episodic fashion, of which I have always been skeptical, but in this case makes the pacing of the game down into 5 acts that follow very much like a Shakespearean  play. Finally the soundtrack for the game fits the milieu of the North-Eastern Coast, particularly the hipster state of Oregon.

You play the game as the non-silent protagonist Maxine Caulfield who is attending the prestigious Blackwell Academy in her senior year of High School to hone her budding talent of photography. However, after witnessing a tragic event she discovers she has the power to rewind time and stop this tragedy before it happens. This starts a cycle of where Max has to continually use her power to overcome the new obstacles put in her way to uncover the dark secrets that Blackwell Academy and it’s host town Arcadia Bay hold.

What I really loved about this game is just how believable the story is. It follows many coming of age themes, overcoming and standing up to bullies, self discovery and discovery of love, and forming the bonds of lifelong friendship. However it also addresses many other issues such as how you help a depressed friend or how you react when you find out someone has had an abortion. It was truly refreshing to see the women in this game not acting as objects that move the plot forward for the men in game but instead as fully actualized adults. While there is some women on women conflict and women talking about dates with boys this does seem to secondary in your interactions with them. You primary interactions with the other women, whether friendly or adversarial, are about your relationship with that person.

Ultimately this is the game I enjoyed the most in 2015 and I recommend it to everyone. I hope you choose to give it a try.

 

With the downturn of the economy we are now facing a crisis in terms of food for those that need some extra help. In an article by the CBC:

 

The HungerCount 2015 report compiled by Food Banks Canada says 852,137 people, including 305,366 children, accessed a food bank in this country during March, a slight increase over March of last year.

and

Usage in Alberta is up by almost 83 per cent since March 2008 — right before the start of the global financial crisis — when the number of people turning to food banks was at an all-time low across the country.

While asking for increased donations is not sustainable, I think it’s time we all gave it a shot. And to that effect, let me link to this funny and informative video on how to donate to a food bank properly.

That’s right, cold hard cash. It’s easier and cost effective. And the good news is that you can even do it online!  Go to the Alberta food banks and make a donation today! You might just stop a toddler from going hungry today!

 

FOODBANK

 

 

SQ policeThe developing story about alleged Quebec police misconduct keeps getting more interesting. Neil Macdonald wrote an amazing analysis of the situation over at CBC News. There is some great analysis going into the history of SQ (Sûreté du Quebec police union) and how they consider themselves above the law but I think the closing statement is probably the best closing statement in any article I’ve ever read:

But ask yourself this: If I, a charter member of the privileged white males society, find them frightening, imagine what must go through the head of an intoxicated young aboriginal woman on a cold night, alone in a squad car?

Wow. I highly suggest reading the article in full. It will be well worth your time.

To speak to the title of my post though I wanted to address the fact that police officers were taking our aboriginal brothers and sisters for a car ride and dropping them off miles outside of town. For those of you that think this is a new or unusual practice, don’t. It has happened before. And outside of Quebec. As some of you may remember the Saskatoon Freezing Deaths. This was where the Saskatoon police force would take natives out on “starlight tours”, which would mean to drive them miles outside of the city and drop them off. In the dead of winter. We know this was happening as early 1976 because an officer was punished for this and we know it was happening as late as 2000. Is it still happening there?

I remember the reporting at the time of the story and found it troubling but I thought this must be an isolated incident, just this one police for that was doing this. To find that the SQ is doing the same is exceptionally dismaying. If the SQ is doing this, then how many other police forces are doing this as well? That the SQ *allegedly* are adding rape into the situation by demanding sexual favours for a ride back into town saddens me.

As the Intransigent One stated, these things don’t happen in a vacuum. I think this story has revealed the need for not just a federal investigation into the developing Quebec story, nor just the Highway of Tears, nor just the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, but on the conduct of all police forces in relations to our indigenous people. That there are three major issues happening at the same time, all in different parts of the country demonstrates the need for this. We need to get a handle on this issue. I mean, if Neil Macdonald can feel frightened by one of our police forces, imagine how it is for someone not in the privileged class. It’s no wonder why there are such trust issues between our aboriginal people and the rest of us.

Shocking I say! SHOCKING!!!!

/s

Those commie pinko bastards!

Rachel Notley being sworn into office.

Rachel Notley being sworn into office.

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