Tories Killing Climate and Democracy

A frustrated, defeated Layton.

On Tuesday, Conservative senators killed Bill C-311, the NDP’s Climate Change Accountability Act, which was passed by a majority in the House a Commons.

You care because the bill was killed before it could go to the Senate Committee for debate by unelected senators in a snap vote while 15 elected Liberal senators were absent. I care because this is only the first time that unelected Conservative senators will use their near-majority to kill a bill passed by our elected representative.

A Third of Canadians Troops to Remain in Afghanistan

The CBC has reported that as many as 1,000 of the 3,000 Canadian troops in Afghanistan will remain until 2014, 3 years after Canada is supposed to pull out. The good news (for the troops): they’ll be moved into a non-combat role outside the combat zone to assist with training and support.

You care because your patriotic male ego can now rationalize that Canadians are even tougher and braver than ever because we’re willing to get shot at or blown up when we’re not even in the fight and just trying to help those poor, innocent bastards rebuild their country after decades Taliban oppression.

I care because that’s 1,000 Canadian troop that are sticking around to train and support a force that does the bidding of a man that accepts bags of cash from Iran. Fuck you, Charlie Wilson, looks like Afghanistan never needed you anyway!

And We’re Still Alive

So it looks like they’ve managed to recreate the Big Bang beneath the French-Swiss border.

You care because we haven’t all died from being sucked into a man-made blackhole. I care because we weren’t all sucked into some alternate dimension where alien overlords pay a dollar a minute to watch us in childhood form share a peepshow box with Stephen Harper.

But for those of you who grew up with aspirations to rise to Rocky Horror pageantry stardom, there may still be hope. CERN is going to keep colliding ions until Dec. 6, and then go back to smashing protons in February, so I guess anything can still go wrong.

Security, Drinking Water, and Men in Shorts

So far, the G8/G20 cost Canadian taxpayers $857 Million, with $675 Million spent on security, and the they’re still not done adding up the tab.

Credit: Jeremy Gilbert

You care because your tax dollars were spent on security for world leaders who were discussing how much to charge you for clean drinking water. I care because while you can put a price on clean drinking water, seeing that many grown, uniformed men in shorts and riot gear is, well, priceless.

Source: Lex Gill

2 Years With No Chance of Parole

So they’ve done it again. The Americans have put the Republicans back in charge of Congress. And why? Because they’re mad at the Democrats for not having been able to clean up a mess that the Republicans made.

Source: CNN

It’s like a cruel joke that a bunch of beautiful, hormone addled¬† co-eds would play on that fat girl from the mid-West who always talks about her mother in the first person. You know, the one that likes to whisper and blush to her roommate about the schoolgirl crush she has on the extreme frisbee player who lives down the hall. The whole fucking thing is stupid, juvenile, and probably going to scar a lot of innocent, helpless folks for the rest of their meager lives.

It took the Republicans and their benefactors nearly a decade to stuff the economy down the drain pipe, and Obama has only had 2 years to try to pull it back out again. I mean, the man has already become first Black man in the White House! How much more can you expect from him? Especially in only 2 years. He has some some pretty damn big shoes to fill as it is. And you know what they say about a man with big shoes…

What do you want him to do next? Walk on water? I mean, Jesus, he’s the first Black president of the United States of America, not Jesus of Nazareth. And even if he was, what good would that do? Jesus might’ve been a miracle worker, and what he did with some bread and fish was impressive, but a lot of good that would’ve done for the credit crisis or unemployment rate.

But really, it’s all seems a bit too convenient to be coincidental. I mean, after Dubya, the GOP knew that the party was over (at least for the moment), so why not let someone else clean up the mess? And when the stains and cigarette burns wouldn’t come out of the carpets and furniture, they’d be there to help pick out new ones.

It kinda remind me of what Chretien did to Martin. Martin spent years trying to oust Chretien. In the end, Chretien managed to hold on to the reigns of the Liberal Party and ended up retiring on his own terms, letting Martin take control of the party with no real contest.

But what what Martin inherited was a sponsorship scandal that had happened on his watch as Finance Minister. He tried claiming that he hadn’t know about it, but the damage was done. Either he was a liar, or he was an inept jackass who was unfit to run the country. The party’s image was ruined and Martin’s career along with it.

But hey, politics is a cutthroat business, so you have to watch yourself when you’re shaving. You think you’re doing something that’s going to make you look good, clean cut, and trustworthy, but you come out looking like a pirate with more scars than war stories, and no one trusts a record with that many omissions.

I mean, for everything that can be said about the strategic genius and tact of Dr. James Carville, he’s just one man. There are hundreds of cutthroat rogues with only half of the talent of Carville swelling the ranks of the GOP, but when you add them all, the Dems are out-manned and out-gunned.

But hey, the problem with the GOP is the same problem with the profession of policing. The sobering reality of it all is that we need police and we need conservative (if only to balance out the left-wing wing-nuts that would have us living on communes and growing cilantro) — liberal democracy just wouldn’t work otherwise.

The tragic reality, however, is that the kind of person attracted to those jobs are the wrong kind of person for those jobs. Both professions seem to attract a disproportionate amount of hate-mongers, tyrants, and douche-bag jocks with small penis complexes and nothing else to do with themselves ever since they graduate high school and had football season confined to the boob-tube.

That being said, it’s kind of hard to ignore that the GOP does seem to be a lot better at the long-term game than the Dems. It seems like every time the history books turn around, the Dems are reacting to some mess, movement, or crisis that has roots somewhere deep in the Good Ol’ Party’s legacy.

Mind you, even that’s probably because of the GOP’s incestuous gene pool. I mean, if they really are attracting a disproportionate number of hate-mongers, tyrants, and douche-bag jocks with penis envy, that’s gotta make it that much easier to arrive at a consensus and build strategy in general.

Gawd, I’m starting to wonder if maybe I’m the mad one for having some semblance of hope or even speaking up in the first place.

Self Phone Culture

I hate cell phones. They’re a symptom of everything that’s wrong in America, like the rib cracking cough that’s makes pneumonia so much more insufferable than the flu. Fuck you, I don’t need you. There’s someone else, somewhere else, and they’re more important than you. I don’t need you. I am connected. I can talk to someone else. I’ve just been settling for you company, and I don’t need you anymore. And now I’m gonna run for mayor.

No wonder we’re all so desperate. No wonder we’re all so lonely. We live in our own head, at the whim of our whim. We’re indecisive, disoriented and confused. We don’t know where we are or who we want to be. We just know that we’re bored and are clinging to the hope that there’s just gotta be something better and more convincing beyond the immediate moment.

Eye contact can be terrifying. The eyes are the window to the soul, and it isn’t easy looking into the depths of someone else’s desperation and realizing that we’re not alone, realizing that we’re just as unoriginal and inconsequential and unappreciated as we find everyone else around us. So we put on the blinders, look at the ground six feet ahead of us, tune out, and tune into the magical little sound box that’s frying our occipital lobes one kilohertz at a time.

And what would we do if the network came crashing down tomorrow. Forget the disruption in communication. We’re a generation weaned on connections. We’re nothing on our own, and left to ourselves, we have nothing left to do but wallow in the foamy, white noise that’s our own shallow stream of consciousness.

I remember going to a conference in Vegas in 2005. It was The Magic Show and I was working for American Apparel. It was 2005, our phones were still in the stone age, and The Magic Show is one of the biggest conferences in the world. The system couldn’t hack it, and it crashed like a neanderthalic superstructure. We were lost. A bunch of us had push-to-talk phones and could still communicate enough to get our jobs done, but our safety net was gone. All our conversation could be heard by everyone around us.

There was no privacy, no one to confide in, no escape. We were stuck with whoever we happened to be standing near and were completely alone. And there’s nothing quite as pathetic in the same way as a hipster who has to face their own irony. Fuck it, I couldn’t take it. I ripped the battery from my phone and drove out to the desert with a model who robbed me of everything but my soul. She was a good girl.

A Matter of Conscience

Credit: Hugh MacLeod

I found out this morning that someone I worked with is dead. He didn’t come to work yesterday and no one could get in touch with him, so some people went by his place to check on him. They found him face down in his pillow. He was 26.

He was 26 and now he’s gone. When I was 26, I found out I was going to be a father. But before I found that out, I’d sit up late reading books and getting high in the spare room at my parent’s place, thinking about how much of a failure I’d already become, and wondering whether I’d have the courage to silence the screeching voices in my head if there was a gun in the night table next to me if.

Then life gave me a shot in the mouth and reminded me that it’s not all about me, that there are other people around me, and some of them are depending on me. So I sobered up and pulled my shit together. Since then, I’ve been doing what I have to do to take care of business. I’ve been running the rat race, taking it in the tuckus from bosses, dealing with lay-offs, and doing what I have to do to make ends meet. But I never stopped wondering if maybe there are more ends than I really need.

Now life has given me another slap off the head, and I there’s no more avoiding that this is it. No dress rehearsals, no glory laps. Every shot you don’t take is a shot you miss, and every shot you miss is a little piece of you lost forever. But fuck it, ’cause soon it’s all going to be over, and none of it will matter much anyway, so I mind as well be able to sleep with myself in the meantime so that I can enjoy it as much as possible.

Digging Up Your Own Grave

It’s bad news all over, for the left and the right. Democracy and the markets are taking a thrashing, and the bodies are piling up. It’s starting to stink, and we can use some graves, but there aren’t many real journalist left to do the digging. They’ve all either been laid-off or bought-out, and a hungry man doesn’t wield a shovel.

A few of them, though, were either lucky, smart, or stupid enough to read through the lines of their own bullshit early on, and got out while the getting was still good. They were able to make it out West before the law did, and those of them that were lucky were able to claim a chunk of the Ponderosa for themselves (those that weren’t either scalped or shot in the back by a flippant drunk horse rustler).

One of the lucky ones was Tom Forenski. He’s managed to find a way to keep his belly full and his shovel out of hawk for long enough stretches to dig’em six feet deep before the rainy season turns’em into sinkholes. His latest ode-to-a-spade has enough room it for just about anyone he’s ever worked for, with, or on.¬† Sifting through the annual Edelman Trust Barmometer, Tom has found that:

- Trust in information from friends and peers, “people like me,” dropped by 20 points, from 47 to 27 percent.

- Trust in information from digital media–blogs, social networks, and free content sources like Wikipedia or Google news, remains low: only between 11 percent and 22 percent of respondents express trust in information about companies from these sources.
Trust in credibility of TV news declined by 20 points, from 44 to 24 percent.

- Trust in news coverage on the radio dropped by 17 points, from 48 to 31 percent.

- Trust in newspapers fell by 14 points, from 46 to 32 percent.

- Only 38 percent trust media (as an institution) to do what is right, down from 46 percent in 2008.

- Media companies (as an industry) have declined in credibility by 16 points (from 48 to 32 percent).

- In the U.S., media companies are tied with the insurance industry for last place. Banks are second from the bottom.

- Top trusted industry is technology and it has widened its lead over other industries.

- Tied for the second most trusted industry is Biotech and Automotive at 63 percent, followed by Energy, Retail and Food at 61 percent.

I can get Automotive tying for second place. I mean, geezus, the American people own the auto-industry now. If they can’t trust themselves, how are they supposed to look themselves in the mirror every morning and keep bullshitting themselves into thinking that what they’ve been doing for last two decades has actually meant anything and that they should keep doing it?

Besides, we’re a nation of smug, arrogant apes. About the the only thing we trust is our gut instinct and it tells us we’re hungry. So how are we supposed to afford an $8 non-fat caramel double machiatto to wash down our Grand Slam breakfast if we don’t trust ourselves enough to show up and work and bring home the bacon?

But Biotech? Ye gawds, it’s a college student’s worst nightmare. I mean, they’ve done things to farmers, genes, and the American justice system that would make an Father O’Hanrahan blush. But I digress…

It seems like America is losing faith in anything with a type-face. We’re losing faith in the people we don’t really know and the blogs that they write. We’re losing faith in Google and it’s ability to gage the relevance of something based on how many virgins linked to it. And we’re also losing faith in the media companies that can no longer afford to pay their creditors, never mind the interns that are supposed to be fact-checking the weather reports.

Tom thinks it’s bad news for PR agencies, “social media experts,” citizen journalists, and media start-ups. But what about the poor and wretched souls in middle-America who don’t know whether to be more terrified Osama, Obama, or the impending Zombie apocalypse when their kids ring-in 2013 with a double of their cerebrospinal fluid on the rocks?

These are the people whose weekend trips to Walmart and Costco keep the coffers of the agencies and media companies replete with fresh lies, and how are they supposed to keep spending if they’re too terrified or confused to make it to work in the morning?

Two decades of whore-mongering is catching up with us folks. It’s daybreak, the party is over, and before the shooter-girls can count-out, go home, and sleep it off, the rest of us have to face the reckoning and pray to the vengeful, pagan gods we’ve worshiped all night that there’s enough left-over for the cab ride home.