Evoking Vietnam-Era Memes

In an article over on Common Dreams, we get to read the following:

New United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley arrived at U.N. headquarters in New York City for the first time Friday, and wasted no time in lashing out at the international community and U.S. allies.


“For Those That Don’t Have Our Back…We’ll Respond Accordingly,” she says, and goes on about “taking names”.


This reminds me of the Vietnam-era “My Country Right or Wrong” outlook which, ultimately ignores the founding idea of the U.S., a country forged to respond to a set of grievances relating to wrong-doing in the mother country.

It speaks to a very limited idea of what constitutes any notion of diplomacy and mature interaction with other nations and groups around the globe. Yes, a lot of traditional diplomacy is based on secrecy, subterfuge, dishonesty and backstabbing, but threats of this nature rarely produce constructive results, and the bluster that is here deployed speaks to a very unsubtle cowboy mentality which would only produce results via the unleashing of extraordinary force (move the Doomsday Clock even closer to midnight?)

It also reinforces the idea that we are dealing here with a pack of brats of varying ages and experience who make up in chutzpah what they lack in knowledge and wisdom and who are totally self-absorbed.

Cartoon by Clay Bennett Chattanooga Times-Free Press



This was the end quote from yesterday’s edition of MIT Tech Review’s The Download mailing list:

The more voices of reason that the President hears, the better. Simply attacking him will achieve nothing. Are you aware of a single case where Trump bowed to protests or media attacks?”

— Elon Musk explains how he thinks people will have to approach negotiations with Donald Trump, in a conversation with Gizmodo about how useful climate change policies could yet be introduced under his administration.


As I have become older, a little more patient, a little more tolerant and more focused on outcomes than on personality, I would generally concur with Musk, but I find myself asking, in this case, a question slightly rephrased:

Are you aware of a single case where Trump bowed to logic?


Sound the Alarm!

It’s a banner day for headlines at the Globe and Mail.


It starts with this:

Canada’s media industry needs major federal cash injection: report

PPF President Edward Greenspon, who is a former editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail and a former senior executive at The Toronto Star and Bloomberg News, oversaw the production of the report that was based on consultations with 300 people and a public-opinion poll.

There are actually some interesting propositions in the report, but the flashing red light on the bullshit filter goes off every time there is a reference to the sorry state of the country’s news media, especially when there is a call for public investment in private (for-profit) “news” outlets. These folks have soiled their own nest and often taken sums of cash out of the enterprise through salaries and dividends and failed miserably at informing the public of the events that have, in many ways, beggared the bulk of the country. There is far too cozy a relationship between the organs of the press and the privateers who siphon off an inordinate share of the wealth of the commons. It’s all free market all the time until there is suffering on the part of Bay Street’s minions, at which point the socialism that is so deadly for the working classes is just about a good fit for the poor starving media moguls.


We also get a screed on:

Voting for Conservative leader: What would Stephen Harper do?


Look, it was hard enough putting up with his sneering countenance for the decade leading up to the election of October, 2015, but to have him consulted as a first-case consultant on the election of Donald Trump, or on who should be the long-term replacement for the man at the head of the FedCons is adding more than a bit of insult to the injury he has already inflicted on his poor long-suffering homeland. On top of that, does anyone else get the feeling that the FedCon leadership race is beginning to look a lot like the brewing storm of the Republican nominating process leading up to the Convention last August? Do we see mirror images of people like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jed Bush, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and Donald Trump in the faces of Kellie Leitch, Lisa Raitt, Maxime Bernier and, for God’s sake, Kevin O’Leary? This would all be so laughable if the clown car in the US hadn’t driven up the sidewalk, running over common sense, fiscal responsibility, several and sundry peace processes, voter integrity and the outcome of the Civil War in the process. I fear that Harper is our GW Bush and has spawned a Hillary figure in the form of JT who makes a good case for anyone else without regard to the sanity of the policies behind the figurehead.


We are also treated to this:

Where high-net-worth investors are putting their money right now

Of course, we know where that might be: in shell companies and offshore accounts, as indicated by the latest from the Panama Papers saga, wherein it turns out that Canada is as opaque as any place in the world when requiring or providing information on corporations, and where Canada Revenue chooses not to prosecute the big players because those folks have effective teams of lawyers who can stand weak and ineffectual laws on their heads in the pursuit of shady deals, while the mistakes of small fish are jerked on a hook in a trice.

Aspect number two of this fine piece is that it indicates to whom the G&M panders, and incites the rest of the G&M-reading proletariat to think of themselves as being in the know and as potentially shifting sides in the epic class warfare when their less-than-one-paycheque reserves eventually grow to the point where they will be in the winners’ circle of the Elect of High Net Worth.

And we’re supposed to subsidize this media slag heap?


Food, Life, Profit

In an earlier post, the topic was the usurpation of control and decision-making via the magic of gadgetry, a phenomenon which, for many of us constitutes a step backward in the development of humanity and society. Often of late, so much of the vaunted innovation appears to be for the sake of innovation without a clear set of guiding principles regarding benefits and the recipients of those benefits. We do things because we can, often in the process neglecting more difficult and more pressing challenges, often those requiring sustained and/or concerted effort and little prospect of immediate profit.

The broad strokes of the division between those who would have mankind control all aspects of life on Earth and those who tend to work with and within the forces of Nature is summed up to a point in the following excerpt from an article in Quartz:

The modern food movement has brought us to a fork in the road. On one path are people who say it is enough to eat the fresh fruits and vegetables that spring from the earth, the milk from our cows, and the meat from farmed animals. Simplicity is the path to fulfillment, and sticking close to nature and whole foods is the safest bet for achieving nourishment.
The other vision prescribes that the best diet is one that is predetermined for us, collected by farmers and tinkered with by scientists to help us attain our maximum health and eventually prevent chronic illness. It is more obscure and decidedly high tech.
The argument on both sides of the dichotomy seems almost anodyne and relates to the quest for the ultimate scheme for human nourishment, and perhaps there are points to be made on both sides of the question, but it all falls apart when the underlying notion of the execution of the plan for measured, targeted and controlled nutrition turns out to be more in the interest of a small group than for the betterment of the lot of the majority of living creatures. At the root of the MTC clan is Nestlé, a corporation with a long track record of doing what is profitable, even when the profit is the only benefit and where the source of the profit may be deleterious to society as a whole, thinking of “interesting” recipes for baby formula, the promotion of sugary products and recent pronouncements, backed up by corporate actions, tending to reserve potable water use for the exclusive rights to bottle and sell by none other than Nestlé.
Whatever benefits are outlined in the Nestlé plan tend to induce some head-scratching simply because of the notion that something that might perhaps be for the overall benefit of society might be withheld from those unable to fill the coffers of Nestlé shareholders. It reminds me of a conversation I had with an acquaintance who returned from a retreat with an EST group, a person quite fired up about plumbing the depths and breadths of human consciousness and the attainment of enlightenment. These are laudable enough goals and it all sounded good until the question of “tuition” arose and it became clear that any achieved wisdom would be attained at the cost of a severely depleted bank account, and the sums in question were of a nature beyond keeping the enlighteners in reasonable comfort, and the whole issue sounded as though the enlightened were less concerned about the propagation of wisdom than they were about the accumulation of wealth. Such seems to be mostly the case with the “wisdom” of Nestlé, as well as other purveyors of exclusionary benefits.
It would seem especially and increasingly important that wisdom be shared freely as we approach the apocalyptic consequences of population and consumption overshoot and that we cease to allow the benefits generated by human endeavour to accumulate in the accounts of those who already benefit in outsize proportion to the contributions they make to the future of civilization.

Slapped on Someone Else’s Wrist



VSun reports that BC Hydro is facing large fines for environmental violations as part of the rush to get Site C beyond the point of no return, an event that must trouble Christy Clark and Jessica Macdonald no end. Firstly neither one seems overly troubled by the optics of blindly pursuing  a folly of pharaonic proportions, and, secondly, both are snickering that the paltry hundreds of thousands of dollars will be coming out of the hide of those same BC Hydro clients who will be forced to bear the burden of the cost of the dam, the cost of financing the dam and the cost of furnishing free electricity to the designated industrial beneficiaries, most of whom are found in listings of BC Liberal funders. It makes a person feel a little like a scapegoat tied up tightly with no recourse, especially for those who didn’t vote for the party of fiscal responsibility and business acumen. I know I prefer bungling to the downright nastiness and greed that seems to characterize out current régime.

Truth On The Loose

This article, as you can plainly see, is behind a paywall of Trumpian proportions, but we can let it engender a musing or two. Being a banking and fossil fuel insider, it’s likely that he will use a privileged pulpit to shill for development of fossil fuel resources. It just seems too blatant a shill for anyone to take it seriously. It’s rather like Global TV explaining that they should be the primary source of our questions about Why when they are a central pillar of the problem in the first place. But the gullible abound.