Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Death of the "citizen"

Goodbye, dear citizen! We hardly got to know you...


But, thank god you're back!

No, you're not a "citizen" anymore...

You're a consumer.


But at least you're back.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Another thing that could never happen just happened

Do you ever follow those stories where some business-savvy keener wants to open up a new fish farm, and a bunch of pointy-headed long-beards will show up to claim that the farmed fish will escape and wreak havoc on wild fish habitat and blah blah blah?

So they'll have a hearing, wherein the keener presents lots of experts who claim such a thing can never happen, blah blah blah.  And because our culture valourizes business-savvy keeners and discounts everyone else, the project gets the green light.

And then this happens.

Oopsie!

Well, it's only 300,000 fish... and its not our fault.

It was the solar eclipse!

9/11 through the prism of POTUS 45

Donny J made it official yesterday; he's turning his back on the last campaign promise that he hasn't already broken; ending the longest war in US history. The particulars of his announcement are beyond laughable. He will ramp up boots on the ground by some 4,000 pairs and serve notice that we're now officially in it to win it.

Complete bullshit obviously. If the USA/NATO combine couldn't win Afghanistan with over 100,000 troops, bumping the numbers up to 12,000 from 8,000 is a joke.

I'm guessing that this is not so much a case of Mr. Trump changing his mind, but rather the acknowledgement that it's not actually the president of the country who is running the show.

Which raises a multi-trillion dollar question; if it's not the democratically elected leader running the country, who is?

That's not a question a lot of Americans seem to concern themselves with. No, Americans are far more concerned with where a trans person gets to take a shit, whether a NFL player stands for the national anthem, or if Civil War statuary should be removed from public spaces. These are issues that so divide Americans that they will gleefully beat one another to a pulp in defense of their respective opinions.

Questions of who is actually at the helm as the world's most dangerous state careens off the cliff isn't something most Americans can roust themselves off the couch over. After all, even raising the question will get you tarred with the "conspiracy theorist" brush.

It's not really going off the cliff of course. The only thing that really matters to those who call the shots is that the American war machine keeps pumping profits to those who own it. Making the Afghanistan campaign open-ended guarantees lots more of that. As do the dozens of other intrigues simultaneously greasing the war machine, from Ukraine to Yemen to Iraq to Syria to Israel and on and on and on.

From the point of view of those actually steering the ship, this is not "going off the cliff." This is everything going to plan.

Which is what Trump is in the process of figuring out. Who the hell was Trump, after all? Until he ran for the 2016 election he was anything but this racist, misogynist, nativist, etc, etc, beast who now fronts every newscast. He was a fairly typical Manhattan uber-rich liberal who was relentlessly fawned over by the same media that now denigrates him non-stop. Oprah had no qualms about conducting deferential interviews with him. Google Images has a vast trove of pictures showing the racist beast yucking it up with the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

In fact, if you were an A-list American socialite, politician, sports or entertainment star in the decades before Trump's White House run, chances are there's a picture somewhere of you posing with Donald J Trump.

So what happened?

What happened was that he unexpectedly won the election, and America's deep state propaganda machine, often referred to as "the free press," swung into action. Trump was not supposed to win. What's this nonsense about improving relations with Russia and ending wars for regime change? No arms race with Russia or China? No perpetual wars in Afghanistan or Iraq or Syria? OMG, the gushing taps of the war profiteers will be down to a trickle in no time flat...

We gotta stop that man!

And I think they have. The beast has been tamed. Sure, he'll keep up with those silly tweets, but that doesn't hurt the war machine.

The last time America's propaganda infrastructure closed ranks so effectively in the interests of preserving the folks behind the curtain was circa 2001. I was a welding inspector at Frankel Steel where the structural steel for Seven World Trade Center was fabbed up. Nobody I've ever met who has hands-on experience with structural steel buys the official narrative, nor do the over two thousand professional architects and engineers who have put their professional reputations on the line to say so, yet sixteen years on it's that official narrative that holds sway.

If Americans were not so stupefied by their exceptionalism they might be asking themselves why.




Monday, August 21, 2017

A picture of race relations in America

Meet Bridget and Fran.

Marion at her friend’s house.

Read their story at The Guardian.

When you peruse mainstream media it's easy to get the impression that race relations in America are all about white privilege and black resentment. I think there's a reason the big media platforms push that narrative; the old maxim "divide and conquer" comes to mind.

It is therefore very refreshing to read a story about a couple of working class women who don't seem aware of the "racial divide." Fran and Bridget are both active with "Stand up Kansas City," a group lobbying for a $15/hr minimum wage.

That wage workers in the world's wealthiest country are too often trapped in poverty even when working more than full-time hours should be an embarrassment to every American.

A minimum wage that affords a decent standard of living is long overdue.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

About that new car smell

That's not the smell of white privilege, is it?

I've only had the privilege of new car smell twice in my life.

That factory-order '73 Duster 340 had new car smell all over it.

As did the Toyota I bought brand new thirty years later.

The dozens of cars that passed through my hands in between generally didn't.

You could still catch a whiff of new car smell in that '73 Trans Am SD 455. It had a mere 5000 clicks on it when I got her.

And the '77 Impala with the 350 4bbl that I bought as a dealer demo still had the smell.

But by and large, new car smell gets annihilated in short order by B.O., farts, smoke of all kinds, farts, spilled beer, more farts, wet dogs, and the perfume of the latest hottie you thought you'd impress with your new car.

By the way, that's a strategy that seldom worked, and when it did, you lived to regret it.

So it was a blast down memory lane when I stepped into my dear octogenarian father's new Dodge truck the other day to be enveloped by that new car smell!

Yup, the new car smell still smells the same!

Word of advice, Dad; avoid the hotties.

Checking my white privilege

Ya, I guess there's no getting around the fact that I'm a honky. Unlike that Dolezal woman, I don't have a snowball's chance in hell of passing.

Today me and the Farm Manager took a tour up to Tobermory to scope out waterfront real estate that might be suitable for our retirement.

Personally, I find that white privilege is highly over-rated. True, I've never suffered police brutality, although there were a couple of occasions in my youth where I didn't really think it was necessary for the dickheads to draw their sidearms. And I have to admit they didn't open fire, so maybe white privilege does count for something.

Anyway, we had a fine day if it, capped by a lovely lunch at the Princess Hotel in Tobermory. That's run by a Greek family. What's up with the Greeks? Do they have white privilege? One thing I know for sure is they have a knack for running restaurants. The Kritikos family has done a great job with their hotel-restaurant, and they've recently expanded into offering extra-virgin olive oil from their family's olive groves in the old country.

Then we drove around and collected some names off for sale signs, and got home to do some research on the internet. Here's one real estate agent who came up more than once.

Not sure how far my white privilege is gonna get me in my quest for waterfront on the Bruce.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Hope I don't die before I get old

Went to see my dear daddy at his cottage the other day. Couldn't help but notice that he seems to be enjoying his dotage very much.

I thought I was just having lunch, but as it turned out (surprise!), he happened to be having a crisis that involved a chain saw, a ladder, fifty feet of rope, a John Deere 450 crawler loader, and a spindly little cedar tree with a trunk diameter of less than six inches.

If it was me, I probably would have just whacked the thing down with an axe. After all, five inches of cedar hardly seems worth firing up the Stihl. Nevermind all that other shit.

But that's how Dad rolls.

And at 85 years of age, he's earned the right!