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Christmas Rant: Part I

The War in the Vendée was a royalist uprising ...
The War in the Vendée was a royalist uprising that was suppressed by the republican forces in 1796 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, ‘Part I’. There may, indeed, be a ‘Part II’ , depending upon how stupid things get before the new year.

Last year the grand ‘we’,  declined to see the value in the Occupy Wall Street campaign, that was staggeringly avoided by major press agencies.

We let the dreadlocked-live-our-values-over-charged-for-our-mediocre-educations-and-under-employed youth, fight it out in the streets for the middle class. The middle class, who are losing their ever crippling grip on the edge of affluence as they march to the hypnotically convincing drum of ‘The Man’.

‘The Man’, yep, that pretty much almost sums it up. Consider two facts from Joseph E. Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality;

“The top 1% earned more than 65 percent of the total national income [in the United States], ” and, ” …the ratio of CEO annual compensation to that of the typical worker by 2010 was back to what it had been before the crisis, to 243 to 1“.

While the media reports on Miley’s junior-miss sized twerking patooty, in above-the-fold-full-colour-coverage, they give about half of that coverage to reports about unions being vilified (by the powers that be), as unfairly over-compensating workers.

It doesn’t take a PhD in maths to know that the statistics mentioned above impact the majority of folks in not only North America, but everywhere on the planet.

When we treat silver-spoon born Conrad Black as a real journalist, and Rob Ford as a misunderstood ‘average guy’, we’re wrong. Dead wrong. Rob Ford’s Escalade is worth 3x that of the average vehicle (a simple Honda Civic) owned by those living in the GTA, and his assets multiply to have net value in the millions.

Toronto has a mayor who openly flaunts the rules, degrades homosexuals, women and anyone else who thinks differently than him, and uses the excuse that the press is too rough on him to get away with it all. Actually, his big bully brother does the talking. The day I knew we’d lost all dignity as a nation was the one that showed Mr. Ford and his compadres dancing like  idiots in council chambers just days after having his mayoral power stripped from him.

Only someone with the wealth of Mr. Black has the gumption to whine about being incarcerated for being a liar and a cheat. Call it fraud, bad accounting, whatever…it’s lying and cheating at the cost of everyone else who shares the same planet.

The worst part is, we let it happen. Yes, read this slowly; we allow this to happen. Instead of rioting in the street, we go to work, pay our taxes, and our over-inflated power, cell phone and health care bills.

Let me get back to the subject of unions. We’ve seen unions vilified by the Conservative government and big business, so much so that we’ve bought into this anti-union perspective.

Unions may have been gauche in the booming 80’s, but today we live a different economic and social reality. The reality is that unions are needed now more than they were needed in the past thirty or forty years. For over thirty years, the average annual income of a full-time worker stagnated, while the profits at the top have multiplied at astonishing rates.

Young adults entering the workforce are under-employed at alarming rates. Not to mention everyone one else. The days of full-time jobs with benefits that sustain a comfortable lifestyle are over. Instead, we have the majority of people working at part-time or contract jobs, unable to sustain themselves, or have any measure of security.

Besides being unable to pay their bills, folks in jobs that are not secure suffer from more illness and social problems than ever before. Economic instability feeds fear, and that creates a downward spiraling quagmire of social issues; homelessness, addiction, abuse, crime, and all of the other wonderful side-effects of poverty.

The top 1%’s after tax income reached an average of $1.3 million in the United States in 2010. That of the bottom 20% only reached $17,000. No wonder big-business-journalism and politics doesn’t like unions. Unions distribute the wealth and offer job security.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are issues with unions too. Look at the billions of dollars of bailout money that went to Automakers with no conditions to streamline their production or offer more affordable, environmentally friendly products. Despite the obvious lazy-barnacles that infest unions (they also infest non-union environments at the same rate though), I’d rather live with unions to ensure more people with full-time jobs, than with what is happening now.

Canada and the U.S.,  live in a world of performing-party-politicking that leaves us without leaders in a wild-western-hemisphere black-hole of civilization.

If we leave the world up to those with no social conscience, and a taste for greed rather than loving-kindness, there will be many darker days to come, than this, the longest night of the year.

 

 

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No News Is Bad News-Muckrakers Needed

Charlie Chaplin stands on Douglas Fairbanks' s...
Image via Wikipedia

Have you watched the news lately? Did you see all of the tragic accident scenes that are sadly typical of long weekend  news follow-up? Did you watch the 30 minutes of  weather forecasting that has become mandatory to any one hour news program?

The news this morning featured local accidents that happened yesterday, complete with close-up shots of a man on a stretcher surrounded by EMS professionals. Shocking. It’s almost t shocking enough to make a girl forget about what’s really going on out there in the big, scary world.

Even more shocking than the terrified face of the man strapped to the stretcher was the 5 seconds devoted to the impending Air Canada Flight Attendant strike and the rotating “Wall Street” riots in the United States

More shocking still (actually, not shocking any more) is the lack of independent journalistic inquiry (a 21st century oxymoron) into the real reasons the Flight Attendants want to strike, and why, our “democratic” federal government feels justified in legislating the negotiations between the union, and the fat-cat-gluttony of Air Canada itself. 

No offense Air Canada, you’re just one of many we’ve let eat all of the leftovers while we starve beside you. You’re actually my airline of choice. Your in-flight service is great, and your Flight Attendants are world-class.

I’ve heard that Air Canada needs to compete in the industry. I can live with that. I can’t live with the federal government protecting capitalist interests and taking our independent rights away to negotiate our working conditions. Before you go all redneck on me bitching about the unemployment rate and all of the people “who would be damn grateful for the work”, calm your patriotic erection down.

Take a big, deep breath and then repeat about 10 times. Think.

What happened to the social groups who fought hard for worker’s rights in the early 20th century? They lobbied and suffered so we had a 40 hour work week, benefits, and safe working conditions. We’re on the pendulum swing back to that.   We need modern Muckrakers, and we need solidarity in large numbers.

Think about what you’re hearing and seeing in 30 second clips, and why oh-conglomerate-news-agencies-oh why are we not seeing full news articles investigating working conditions and getting information about the steadily increasing profit margins of those companies who are thriving? (Just an aside -we might like to also see the numbers on the billions of dollars paid via public taxes to private contracts for our Middle East “peace” keeping mission).

Large companies are getting larger and have created monopolies in every sector. Our “news” is owned by a few large newsmakers who have an interest in their own investments.  And here we are bitching that we may not be able to make our flight  if the underpaid, overworked Flight Attendants strike.  Poor us.

It’s not an uncommon symptom of how and why the gap between the ultra-rich and the poor is becoming a groaning void. More and more people are losing their full-time jobs to contract and part-time positions. The bottom line for the capitalist elite is skyrocketing while the working class has to work harder and harder only to realize at the end of every month that the “ends” do not meet.

If you support losing full-time work, benefits for families, and stuffing the already obese pockets of the elite with wealth with profits that should belong to the blue and white-collar workers who actually work for it, by all means support our government in their pro-capitalist interference.

I’m not saying I’m right. I am saying that the Canadian government taking away our rights as worker is wrong. If we don’t get off of our apathetic part-time-employed-behinds, soon we will be in big, big, trouble. A democracy is only a democracy if the citizens participate.

I guess this wasn’t really a funny girly blog was it? I’m sorry. You’re very, very sexy when you think though. You too boys. Just think political participation and passion about human rights could get you out there and meeting your Mr. or Ms. Right. 

Dare to be political. Dare to be cerebral. Dare to be sexy. Pass it on.