Or parts of it, anyway.
I had one of those nights where I woke up and made the mistake of having a thought, and with thoughts, as with potato chips, one leads to another. Soon, I had wads of things flitting between my ears, and it was clear that I wouldn’t get back to sleep until I logged some time with book and early morning television, normally a great soporific. I saw a report about how lotteries in Canada are suffering because their best clients (milk cows) are old and dying off and that the current generation of Millenials, those in the 18-34 age bracket, aren’t playing with the gusto of the older folks. Of course, my own reaction is that this is a wonderful phenomenon and that I don’t feel a great deal of sympathy for those who run the gambling establishment in this, or any, country. Then, this being CBC Newsworld, there had to be an expert attestation: their expert on all things economic, Kevin O’Leary, about as sterling an example of anti-social greedmongerning as could be had anywhere, a man whose sense of entitlement and self aggrandizement grates against every fibre of my being. His take? Essentially, good on the Millenials for sussing out that lotteries, like most forms of gambling (stocks, bonds and mutual funds excepted) are taxes on the stupid. I hated that I would agree with KO on anything, and his undercurrent of tax avoidance sealed the deal: KO wants us to fail miserably to support each other, to go it alone as rugged individuals so that the already-advantaged can use their financial and political leverage to perpetuate a system of gross inequity (and iniquity). Of course, the stupid factor was on full display with reports of an event honouring the real participants in The Great Escape, not Americans, and not Steve McQueen ( and who knew that Hollywood might rearrange the substance of a story to fit their hero cult) and a replay, several days delayed, of a nun singing some r ‘n b tune on an Italian version of some reality show, something of which I would have remained blissfully unaware were it not for the inordinate amount of “news” coverage that such a non-event got. Newsworld, all entertainment, all the time. How can Nancy Wilson keep a straight face as she reads this stuff (she was, in this case, the designated deliverer of good news, a task at which she has much company, unfortunately).
Then there is Henri Guaino, now an elected member of the French National Assembly and formerly a special advisor to former President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was invited to answer questions on a segment of a Paris morning show (Télématin) called Les Quatre Vérités, with the hot topic being the outcome of the first round of the municipal elections. His rightish UMP did well, the current central government of François Hollande did generally poorly and the real “winner” seems to be the National Front, whose populist thuggish nationalism seems to have become a safe harbour for a lot of the protest vote. Bless Guaino’s pointed and selfish little head, he was able to spot that not only were the Socialists being sanctioned, but the whole political class was taking something of a beating for their unfulfilled promises to improve life for the general citizenry in France. Guaino cited in particular the surrender of the levers of power to the EU and to the financial and corporate structure (this from an individual very much in the house of those entities). I didn’t hear any real solutions (the segment lasts all of ten minutes), but the implication is clear that democracy, when it gives over power to economic interests and bureaucracies, is in serious trouble. Who knew.
As a cap to all this, Murray Dobbin had a piece published in The Tyee this morning about big ideas and why the New Democrats seem to have lost some of their luster as they get more enthused about the idea of possibly forming a government (dream on!) and move toward the centre to attempt to capture that vote. In the end, the election of an NDP government might look more like a Pierre Trudeau government of the late Sixties than a real solution to the economic, environmental and social ills that beset us, so that the Dippers would have gained power, but would be unlikely to be able, or willing, to undertake the renewal that would lead us to a more just and equitable society.