Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Ian Welsh serves up some tough commentary as to whether Canadian voters saddled with unrepresentative and downright destructive governments are merely getting what we deserve:
(W)e have selected, to rule our societies, sociopaths at best and psychopaths at worse. They have contempt for those they rule, do not see them as even truly human, and enjoy hurting them. They feel tough when they make the hard decisions, which are somehow always hard for others, but never for themselves. They encourage cruelty in society, from the ground up, and routinely subject the population to humiliating surveillance, force them to abase themselves to the least appearance of authority, whether legitimately used or not, and condone murder and torture and routine humiliation. They don’t do these things to themselves, of course, the rich, for example, don’t get groped in airports, but they routinely do it to those below them.

And in so doing they teach those below them, to do it to those below them, and below them, and below them, and so on. The sickness comes from the top, a rotten poison which has altered the character of nations. But it came from the bottom, first. It came from a population who became lazy and complacent and thought they had rights they didn’t have to guard like a dog with a bone; who thought they could just live their lives and leave politics to other people except for pulling a lever or marking a ballot every four years. It came from people who felt “I’ve got mine, who cares what happens to anyone I don’t know?” Unable to see themselves in others for longer than the gossamer blink of an eye, they were also unable to understand that what was done to others would also be done to them.

We have become contemptible. Our leaders, perhaps, are most contemptible of all, but we continue to consent. Oh perhaps polls might say we’re not happy, but who cares what polls say? We do nothing, we let our leaders do as they will, and we take on their mores, becoming cruel and debased and uncaring of what happens to our fellows, not even the care of enlightened self interest, the clear understanding that what is done unfairly, cruely, to someone else, could, probably will, one day be done to us. We pretend to care most about our children, making such a fetish of it that allowing children to roam unattended is virtually treated as a crime, yet we are creating a world in which they will suffer, unimaginably, a world in which hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of our grandchildren will die.

Lord save us from what we deserve, because what we deserve is what’s going to happen: war and revolution, famine and drought, climate change on a scale we truly don’t understand.
- But one of the most important ways of fighting back is to call out manipulative and dishonest spin for what it is. Which brings us to Linda McQuaig:
(T)he genius of the architects of today’s conservative revolution has been to obscure the class war they’ve been quietly waging, keeping us distracted with foreign military ventures, royals and other celebrity sightings.

Behind all these diversions, the class war has been relentlessly proceeding. While incomes at the top have steadily climbed, incomes of ordinary Canadians have steadily eroded. The real median Canadian family income hasn’t risen since the late 1970s — even though today’s typical family now has two earners, compared to just one earner 30 years ago. In other words, Canadian families are working about twice as hard to keep up to where they were a generation ago.

In the wake of the 2008 financial crunch, ordinary Canadians stand to lose even more ground. As the recent labour battles at Air Canada and Canada Post show, employers — now with firm backing from Ottawa — have new wind in their sails as they demand concessions and insist that new employees be hired at lower wage and benefit levels.

This means that employers are demanding the next generation of workers be paid less than today’s workers. If this isn’t evidence of an ongoing class war, it’s hard to think what would be.
(W)hile only about 30 per cent of Canadian workers are unionized, fully 52 per cent would like to be. (Ironically, this is roughly the same percentage of Canadians who support the monarchy, according to an Ipsos Reid poll taken after the royal wedding.)

Apparently Canadians want both unions and the monarchy. But they’re not allowed to have both.
- And Peter Prebble's response to Bronwyn Eyre's embarrassing claim that there's no evidence to support concerns about climate change also fits the bill.

- Call me old-fashioned if you will. But as far as I can tell, an agreement not to have national housing standards (but to negotiate single-province standards at some point in the future) isn't a deal on housing.

- Finally, Adam Radwanski suggests that home care could actually be an area of consensus in Ontario's fall election.

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