1. FROM VICTOR
It is amusing to hear residents of the west side complain about a city
council being indifferent to neighbourhood concerns. It was the west
side that defeated the opportunity to adopt a ward system. They fell
for Sam Sullivan's idiotic contention that wards would make for more
expensive government. This economic ignorance is particularly galling
when manifested by the upwardly mobile.
If we had councillors elected by neighbourhoods they would be
accountable to neighbourhoods. There are dingbats who say that such
accountability would result in nimby-driven governments. Nimbyism is
a fact of life. We make a reservation at Bishops because we don't want
to sit beside a smelly homeless guy. We ask for upgrades when we fly
to get away from the steerage conditions of economy. We buy in Point
Grey because we wouldn't keep our dog on the east side, let alone live
The greatest failing of the current era is that we have allowed the
nattering class (media) to convince us that preference equals
prejudice. If I deny shelter, employment or due process to somebody
on the basis of race, religion or orientation, that's prejudice and
it's against the law. If I do that, I deserve to be punished.
If I change seats on a bus because I don't like the appearance, garb,
girth or aroma of the person beside me, that's preference. If he/she
suspects my action is based on preference, tough luck.
2. FROM ANOTHER HAPPY CITIZEN
Sunday, August 2, 2009
"Democracy is not an outgrowth of free markets."
That is an excerpt from the final chapter of a new book called "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle."
The book is written by American war correspondent and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges.
Maybe that first sentence alone should be mailed to the Fraser Institute every morning on the off chance that one day they might get it.
Hedges attacks what he sees as the self-deluding and corrupt character of American society, economics and global influence today.
In the excerpt quoted in yesterday's Globe, he ties his analysis to the recent bailouts of banks and other corporations.
Hedges points out two juicy little tidbits in his way to larger issues:
"If they quit, they quit with a golden parachute. Even [General Motors CEO Rick] Wagoner is taking away $21-million.”
"Look at Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld. Many of his investors lost everything and yet he pocketed $485-million. An economic collapse does not mean only the degradation of trade and commerce, food shortages, bankruptcies, and unemployment."
"The free market and globalization, promised as routes to worldwide prosperity, have been exposed as two parts of a con game. But this exposure does not mean our corporate masters will disappear. Totalitarianism, as George Orwell pointed out, is not so much an age of faith as an age of schizophrenia.
“A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial,” Orwell wrote. “That is when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud.”
They have engaged in massive fraud. Force is all they have left.
There are powerful corporate entities, fearful of losing their influence and wealth, arrayed against us. They are waiting for a moment to strike, a national crisis that will allow them, in the name of national security and moral renewal, to take complete control. The tools are in place.
These antidemocratic forces, which will seek to make an alliance with the radical Christian Right and other extremists, will use fear, chaos, the hatred for the ruling elites, and the spectre of left-wing dissent and terrorism to impose draconian controls to extinguish our democracy. And while they do it, they will be waving the American flag, chanting patriotic slogans, promising law and order, and clutching the Christian cross.
By then, exhausted and broken, we may have lost the power to resist."
Posted by David Berner at 11:07 AM