Monthly Archives: October 2016

My Letter to Wallonia



On Saturday just past, a group of like-minded people in my city sat down to write letters of support to Wallonia, the district of Belgium holding fast against the signing of the CETA Investor-State ‘trade’ deal. Here is my letter, in thanks for their principled and courageous stand for their rights, culture, economy and democracy.

Dear President-Minister, Paul Magnette:

I write to you in thanks and support for your principled stance against the CETA (AECG) deal. As a Canadian, I, among thousands, have been opposing CETA for many years. Particularly, we oppose the Investor-State, Investor-Court system written into this deal.

Canadians opposed to this deal know that it allows corporations and investors to sue us (in our case, from the federal level right down to the municipal) for perceived threats to their profits. Our government, like yours, has no recourse to sue investors who damage our economy, our public services, our industries and environment – among many other negative impacts of their focus solely on profit. We Canadians resist what is essentially a trade model for corporate/investor protectionism. Such protectionism would be condemned if demanded by a country. And yet, all countries need protection against this narrow focus on the advancement of corporate interests and intrusion of one nation’s power into another sovereign nation.

We know, and Canadian negotiator Chrystia Freeland knows, the dangers of granting such powers to investors, even with a so-called open-court tribunal, as is being written into an addendum to the CETA. Freeland has, prior to taking her position as Trade Minister, written against the dangerous power of plutocracies, in her book “Plutocrats: the Rise of the New Global Super-rich, and the Fall of Everyone Else” published in 2012.

Please do not give in to compromise or the coercion pressing you to accept this deeply-flawed CETA agreement. Stand strong, protect yourselves and your economy, and assert your rights. We are behind you and take heart from your courage.

Thanking you in deepest sincerity,

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Trump has slotted himself into a common role in American culture, especially for the rabid right, joining lesser maniacs like Bill O’Reilly. He is a Jeremiah, a figure who laments the degeneracy of the present (you know, Mexicans, Blacks not knowing their place, Mexican rapists and drug dealers, Muslim terrorists in every apple-pie neighbourhood) and compares it to some Golden Past. That past never existed, and proof that it did is not necessary. It only has to be summoned up in the minds of fearful, ignorant racists who want to reduce a complex world into something small and black-and-white, preferably controlled and ordered by their violence and guns. Wishful thinking, racism and cowardice are thus transformed into something pretending to be ideology. This is what the Republican Party has done to itself. Populism, in their hands, coupled with a raging desire to grab the reins of power, has turned into toxic rage, fueled by ignorance and lies. The bigger the lie, the better. And there is none bigger than Trump, an imitation of that clown, Mussolini.

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Donald Trump a Hitler-in-waiting?

Some people glibly compare Trump to Hitler. Fortunately for the U.S. and the rest of us, Trump has none of the (perverse) substance of Hitler, and barely any charisma. He is a long train wreck, decked out in election bunting and bullshit, who hasn’t a clue how to make allies or how to inspire people to anything like the level Hitler could. Adolf Hitler worked very hard, for many years, to finally reach his goal of dictatorship. He played the world’s leaders expertly. By comparison, Trump has – rank opportunist that he is – only managed to bluff his way to the top of the bankrupt dungheap that is the present, schismatic, Republican party.

Trump has managed to plug into the ignorance and bigotry of a percentage of the American people, but he has nothing else with which to maintain power. He has no legions of brownshirts, no coherent, unified vision, no Gestapo infiltrating, intimidating and murdering opponents and dissenters. The petty egotism that drives him is not sufficient to make him a leader – even a sociopathic, perverse one.

But there is one way in which Trump echoes Hitler. At the approaching end of a world war in which Hitler almost conquered the planet, Hitler spent his days madly screaming about the ‘super weapons’ that Germany was building, which would ensure his victory. Terminally damaged in body and mind, Hitler hallucinated a power he no longer had. Likewise, but without any war victories, without any long tests of his endurance and vision, Trump is similarly squawking “I’m gonna build a wall. I’m gonna build a wall” as if that will be his crowning achievement once he becomes president. Hitler ended his reign totally deluded. Trump began his bid for power just as deluded. He is an oaf, an emperor without a stitch of clothing, a serial bankrupt, an utter clown with delusions of grandeur. Even if he were to become president (my intuition tells me) he would self destruct in the effort to carry out his responsibilities as the most powerful leader on the planet. His presidency would echo the string of bankruptcies for which he is famous. Which makes sense. He is ethically, ideologically and intellectually bankrupt already.

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