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Capitol riots and the future of Canadian democracy


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Some interesting results from the analysis of participants in the events leading to inauguration of J. Biden in this BBC story: Capitol riots: Five takeaways from the arrests.

No, the core of the mob that stormed the Capitol were not extreme right wingers. No, it was not only (and mostly not) "redneck" counties.

It was a much broader and diverse crowd, as stated in the article: "What we are dealing with here is not merely a mix of right-wing organisations, but a broader mass movement with violence at its core," wrote Dr Robert Pape, director of the Chicago Project on Security & Threats.

And that is a clear symptom of a growing disenchantment and disengagement in the society with the formal democracy, a democracy from top down, by the enlightened and prosperous elites to the little people below. A democracy that lectures and preaches and never forgets itself, rather than engages, works, and achieves the results for everybody in the society.

Almost daily, before developing a habit of instantly turning the thing off or switching the channel we could see expert heads nodding in a wonderful consensus to whatever new non-policy of the day was proposed. Lecturing. Preaching, yes we sailed all the high seas just do this and that you lowly people. And it shows in the results, doesn't it: in Covid impact the country is doing worse than Ukraine (GDP per capita around $3000) and some provinces, same as Sweden that from day one chose clear information based approach with no mandated policies. And please go and check the charts on SARS and MERS two decades earlier.

But try asking a specific question, where is this coming from? And that published result here, what would it mean, for the policy? "Oh-this-is-still-so-new-to-us-and-so-much-we-dont-know". Wait, what about sailed all seas? Was it in the same story?

See, there remains no avenues, no forums and no ways to discuss, openly honestly and meaningfully issues and questions of concern to the society, and to some groups in the society. Only the default, block, square brick answer, "travel from Wuhan, not a problem!" and "in it together!". Been there, sailed all seas. And after discussing we would have to take it to the reality, make a meaningful change, make it happen. Nope, not gonna happen. Need $1.5 trillion, and a decade(s)-long action plan. "Such a can of worms!".

Now, what would it tell us about the prospects of our democracy here, for the next 160 years? Would it reveal to us anything worthy of our interest? And would we be interested to observe, think and act?

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  • 2 weeks later...

You have asked an extremely good question, and please let me apologize for not responding earlier, nor completely now (on an emergency callout for last week).

The short answer that I will be glad to elaborate on later is that the general public KNOWS there is something very wrong.  To me, it is a parallel to the "1%" protests.  Again, people KNOW/knew there is something drastically wrong with wealth distribution, but since they have come to rely on the media to deliver information, they are getting pure, unadulterated bullshit and they know that, but they never understood what was behind it.   Just that something is really wrong.  In the case of politics, the competing messages are once again so very different, they aren't quite sure what to believe, but the DO know the system of politics as we know it is deeply flawed.

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50 minutes ago, cannuck said:

..., but the DO know the system of politics as we know it is deeply flawed.

I think you nailed it, and it is that vague dissatisfaction with the status quo that is in the foundation of these events (and possibly, eventual degradation of the democracy) rather than specific figures, groups and so on. Certainly, they are not blameless and contribute to such developments. They are not their root cause though.

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On 2/9/2021 at 8:40 AM, myata said:

Some interesting results from the analysis of participants in the events leading to inauguration of J. Biden in this BBC story: Capitol riots: Five takeaways from the arrests.

No, the core of the mob that stormed the Capitol were not extreme right wingers. No, it was not only (and mostly not) "redneck" counties.

It was a much broader and diverse crowd, as stated in the article: "What we are dealing with here is not merely a mix of right-wing organisations, but a broader mass movement with violence at its core," wrote Dr Robert Pape, director of the Chicago Project on Security & Threats.

And that is a clear symptom of a growing disenchantment and disengagement in the society with the formal democracy, a democracy from top down, by the enlightened and prosperous elites to the little people below. A democracy that lectures and preaches and never forgets itself, rather than engages, works, and achieves the results for everybody in the society.

Almost daily, before developing a habit of instantly turning the thing off or switching the channel we could see expert heads nodding in a wonderful consensus to whatever new non-policy of the day was proposed. Lecturing. Preaching, yes we sailed all the high seas just do this and that you lowly people. And it shows in the results, doesn't it: in Covid impact the country is doing worse than Ukraine (GDP per capita around $3000) and some provinces, same as Sweden that from day one chose clear information based approach with no mandated policies. And please go and check the charts on SARS and MERS two decades earlier.

But try asking a specific question, where is this coming from? And that published result here, what would it mean, for the policy? "Oh-this-is-still-so-new-to-us-and-so-much-we-dont-know". Wait, what about sailed all seas? Was it in the same story?

See, there remains no avenues, no forums and no ways to discuss, openly honestly and meaningfully issues and questions of concern to the society, and to some groups in the society. Only the default, block, square brick answer, "travel from Wuhan, not a problem!" and "in it together!". Been there, sailed all seas. And after discussing we would have to take it to the reality, make a meaningful change, make it happen. Nope, not gonna happen. Need $1.5 trillion, and a decade(s)-long action plan. "Such a can of worms!".

Now, what would it tell us about the prospects of our democracy here, for the next 160 years? Would it reveal to us anything worthy of our interest? And would we be interested to observe, think and act?

Your link from the Beeb shows that most of those arrested were white, middle aged (about 40), middle class and many were small business owners. True, they were mostly from blue states and counties in America, but they wouldn't have been there if they weren't also strong Trump supporters also. 

There were also many veterans and active duty military...and police also, from across the country....which explains some/but not all of the reasons why they got kid glove treatment and let through police lines so easy. What I noticed missing from the Beeb's list of Five is that a very large number....from 40% to almost half of those arrested either had or were facing financial difficulties...many were bankrupt or facing bankruptcy and foreclosure.

Ashli Babbitt, the Air Force veteran who was fatally shot in the neck when she tried to take the lead among her group, to break through the glass and enter the Capitol Rotunda, was running a pool services business with her husband. A business that was weeks behind on taxes and paying creditors. So, along with being a Q-Anon believing Trump fanatic, how much motivation came from staring at financial ruin and losing everything? One account I read, noted that 80% of the rioters were employed....but that also means that 20% were unemployed (I can't help thinking Q-shaman was one) and one thing that is totally lost on most casual observers about economic class issues is that it's not about what your income is in raw numbers that cause people to question their self-worth. It's more about whether you perceive yourself moving up or down the economic ladder, and gaining or losing social status as a result.

This is why billionaire assholes, who can't possibly spend enough money to use up their billions are still intensely competitive with others in the country club brethren, and keep working and scheming to come up with ways to advance their wealth and stock portfolios even further. $120 billion isn't enough! So, middle class small business owners who have to deal with closures and partial closures, are among the most likely to become depressed and turn to opiate abuse, suicide, or drive across the country to stop the evil forces trying to rig the election for the Democrats.

https://www.complex.com/life/people-charged-capitol-riots-history-financial-hardship

In the end, I don't think the Capitol riot has much to say about Canadian politics, unless the economic forces pulling America into the abyss produce similar results up here. Then, as the more socialist form of capitalism we have, stops providing as much in benefits...especially healthcare, we could end up with similar scenes in Ottawa and provincial capitols...with mobs of older, white middle-aged men who thought they were doing well, end up on the downward slide to bankruptcy at a time when they are nearing retirement. Can't say it can't happen here, I guess!

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On 2/19/2021 at 7:03 AM, cannuck said:

You have asked an extremely good question, and please let me apologize for not responding earlier, nor completely now (on an emergency callout for last week).

The short answer that I will be glad to elaborate on later is that the general public KNOWS there is something very wrong.  To me, it is a parallel to the "1%" protests.  Again, people KNOW/knew there is something drastically wrong with wealth distribution, but since they have come to rely on the media to deliver information, they are getting pure, unadulterated bullshit and they know that, but they never understood what was behind it.   Just that something is really wrong.  In the case of politics, the competing messages are once again so very different, they aren't quite sure what to believe, but the DO know the system of politics as we know it is deeply flawed.

I was glad to see a 'one percent' movement rise up 10 years ago, but I wish the framing of it had gone beyond it's focus on top 1% of income earners as being the ones running away with all the money and economic gains. 

If we look at who holds the most economic power, it's less than .1% who have the enormous wealth to buy politicians and political influence, along with media and culture to change the way issues are presented to us. 

I can't think of a better example than the misrepresentation of climate change and how the global warming crisis and proposed 'solutions' are talked about at the big enviro conferences, like at Davos. It's only now, after at least 20 years of understanding that looming disaster is already upon us, that we're finally hearing some focus on the economics that drives the carbonization of the atmosphere. 

But, the top billionaires we're all familiar with, can't sell their BS garbage all by themselves. And that's where we need to look at the top 10% of earners, many of whom are PMC's - or part of the professional managerial class of varying levels of importance. There are more traditional doctors and lawyers among this segment, but nowadays, there are many engineers, analysts and managers who make the trains run on time so to speak, for the billionaires and get relatively modest pay and benefits for their efforts. But, being PMC's, they get the status of having decision-making power over those of us who are hourly wage earners and do the grunt work. And with a little overtime, we can sometimes even make more money than the PMC's. BUT, the frontline weasels still have power over our jobs....which is why workers need to be members of unions now more than ever!  

And, the Trump era has ripped the scab off of the suppressed debate over whether the mostly liberal PMC's are friends of labor (as they pretend to be) or bigger enemies than rightwing selfish conservatives, who want a survival of the fittest society anyway. 

Well, I guess my point is that it is no accident that the earnings of blue collar workers have been eviscerated in the past four decades! This was all done deliberately, and the political parties we thought were on our side (NDP and LIberals to a lesser extent here, and Democrats in the US) have shown themselves to have been part of the scheme to sell us out as their concerns shifted to keeping the PMC's happy, and using bullshit and false promises to try to win enough votes to stay in power. 

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Our entire democracy was built on the premise that anyone can go from raags to riches, The American version even states that anything is possible including becoming rich and famous. Bill Gates did not just suddenly have billions fall into his lap, he eat pizza in is apartment like the rest of us until his hard work paid of, and poof for him it has been extremely generous.

Wealth redistribution is bullshit, what would happen to everyone's drive to over come all the obstacles to become rich if we all got a piece of everyone's pie, sounds a little bit like communisms to me, where everyone gets paid the same regardless of job. only in communism everyone is poor and the government is the only one that lives high on the hog.

It is for those people that don't want to put in the work and earn their way in life. There are all kind of kids with no formal education make millions in areas like forms of multi media, they worked hard to grow their wealth into more millions why should some clown with no ambition, self motivation at all get a slice of that. And when that happens are we still a democracy, someone is always going to be pulling the strings and getting more pay to do so for good reason. 

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12 minutes ago, Army Guy said:

It is for those people that don't want to put in the work and earn their way in life. There are all kind of kids with no formal education make millions in areas like forms of multi media, they worked hard to grow their wealth into more millions why should some clown with no ambition, self motivation at all get a slice of that. And when that happens are we still a democracy, someone is always going to be pulling the strings and getting more pay to do so for good reason. 

Why work hard though, and gamble time and again in an uncertain competition, if with enough $$$ one can simply control the things? An unrestricted free capitalism for everybody is a fiction - in reality it ends up as an oligarchy, one way or another. So a complex system of controls and redistribution is set in place. And that's fine. The problem is that then it also figures out the same why. Why bother working, changing and inventing when we can just take care of ourselves? Phoenix system that didn't work from the start and taking decade(s)? to fix. Buying thousands of outdated iPhones for budget money simply because it's financial year's end. Dividing up billions for "rapid response" that's nowhere to be seen and so on.

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1 hour ago, Right To Left said:

In the end, I don't think the Capitol riot has much to say about Canadian politics, unless the economic forces pulling America into the abyss produce similar results up here. Then, as the more socialist form of capitalism we have, stops providing as much in benefits...especially healthcare, we could end up with similar scenes in Ottawa and provincial capitols...with mobs of older, white middle-aged men who thought they were doing well, end up on the downward slide to bankruptcy at a time when they are nearing retirement. Can't say it can't happen here, I guess!

The forces indeed can be different here, but what if they produced the same result? How sustainable is the strategy to import talented labor from the underdeveloped world to pay ever rising bill for the public bureaucracy that's becoming more expensive and less productive year on year? What if one day there's simply not enough public dough and the debt has become too expensive? What if the economy does not pick up as quickly as hoped for? Would the PS that is pretty much the only place in the country that is worry-free about the future be able to sustain whatever's left of the economy for a decade or so? And would public debt stretch far enough for that?

That could the US scenario compressed into only a few years, Heavens forbid.

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3 minutes ago, myata said:

Why work hard though, and gamble time and again in an uncertain competition, if with enough $$$ one can simply control the things? An unrestricted free capitalism for everybody is a fiction - in reality it ends up as an oligarchy, one way or another. So a complex system of controls and redistribution is set in place. And that's fine. The problem is that then it also figures out the same why. Why bother working, changing and inventing when we can just take care of ourselves? Phoenix system that didn't work from the start and taking decade(s)? to fix. Buying thousands of outdated iPhones for budget money simply because it's financial year's end. Dividing up billions for "rapid response" that's nowhere to be seen and so on.

Why work hard, wow, this has been the newest generation moto, yes they are all tech savvy, but lazy as shit, they want everything handed to them, and whine and cry until they do. so why work hard , well in my day, ya I'm that guy....working hard was one way to get ahead in life, a better job, a better position, which put you in a better position to gather wealth. more wealth gathered meant a better position in life... There is nothing stopping you from gathering wealth and moving up the ladder in life , well with exception of you... thats right they are the biggest hurdle you have to conquer is YOU. 

Bill gates worked for his billions, every day until he said enough and handed his business off to someone else to run, he wants for nothing, he influences the world we live in, yes me and you are influence by one man who took the world by the balls and squeezed. why is that dream not possible for you, what is stopping you from jumping on that train, millions of north Americans have jumped on board and have gathered enough wealth to relax enjoy life... 

If we could take care of ourselves, then we don't need all these social programs or free rides, as for wondering why our government is a mess, that has been an issue since the day our government was first formed. And when you figure it out let me in on the secret because it baffles me.

 

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7 minutes ago, myata said:

 Would the PS that is pretty much the only place in the country that is worry-free about the future be able to sustain whatever's left of the economy for a decade or so? And would public debt stretch far enough for that?

That could the US scenario compressed into only a few years, Heavens forbid.

So why in blue blazes are there not more Canadian citizens pounding on the PS doors for jobs... Yes they are insulated from issues regular people face in civilians jobs....for the most part but there has been plenty of times when PS has had pink slips handed out... you could always join the military and be making close to 60,000 in 4 years... you get to travel to all the worlds shit holes, get blown up, shot at ,have you nation forget about you, force you to get injury claims settled in court, have the PM tell the world they are asking for to much right now!!!!!... other than that it is a good job, pays very well ...some of the best people in Canada work there, yes a they are bit crazy but atleast they will have your back on your worst day. 

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13 minutes ago, Army Guy said:

If we could take care of ourselves, then we don't need all these social programs or free rides, as for wondering why our government is a mess, that has been an issue since the day our government was first formed. And when you figure it out let me in on the secret because it baffles me.

 

Are we certain of that though? How many smaller places went into disarray when the main employer closed? The problem with fisheries caused pain in the Atlantics for decades. And that's with all the social nets and what if they weren't there? Watch your family starve or work for pennies? Or get paid for bringing stuff that gives temporary relief from all troubles into the community? Or... sure we want to go there?

And the Army, with all respect, is paid for from the same public purse. And what if we woke up to find it empty one day?

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8 minutes ago, Army Guy said:

Our entire democracy was built on the premise that anyone can go from raags to riches, The American version even states that anything is possible including becoming rich and famous. Bill Gates did not just suddenly have billions fall into his lap, he eat pizza in is apartment like the rest of us until his hard work paid of, and poof for him it has been extremely generous.

Wealth redistribution is bullshit, what would happen to everyone's drive to over come all the obstacles to become rich if we all got a piece of everyone's pie, sounds a little bit like communisms to me, where everyone gets paid the same regardless of job. only in communism everyone is poor and the government is the only one that lives high on the hog.

It is for those people that don't want to put in the work and earn their way in life. There are all kind of kids with no formal education make millions in areas like forms of multi media, they worked hard to grow their wealth into more millions why should some clown with no ambition, self motivation at all get a slice of that. And when that happens are we still a democracy, someone is always going to be pulling the strings and getting more pay to do so for good reason. 

And if you buy lottery tickets every day, you too can be a millionaire...at least that's what the commercials tell us!  I'm sure the main reason why lotteries and casino gambling have taken off and led so many poor, dumb people to gamble is because it's the only chance they have to get rich...or just not slide further and further into poverty.

Do you actually think Bill Gates or any of the other dotcom and social media leeches created their multibillion dollar monopolies from their hard work and superior intellects? Certainly that's what they would like us all to believe. But, consider that the entire internet revolution was kicked off with free government help! Specifically, from the DOD's ARPANET program that started in the 60's, and was used to interface time-sharing computers in the US and beyond. 

Gates was not a starving college student, eating pizza in his dorm room as you're suggesting. He came from a well off family, wealthy enough to send him to an elite private school that already had a computer terminal and programming courses before 1970. Gates never did spend time in college, but instead worked on his little startup called Microsoft, formed with school friends Paul Allen and others. Gates' genius..if you want to call it that, was being shrewd enough not to sell the copyrights along with the DOS system sold to IBM for a flat fee of $50,000. Gates reasoned that once other computer designers saw IBM using their operating system, then everyone else would want it too. In the 80's, with the introduction of Windows, a user-friendly graphical interface, it was effectively a license to print money. Gates saw that as long as Microsoft continued growing, his best way to grow his own wealth was to buy out Paul Allen and other early shareholders who also had a major stake. At least he didn't just outright cheat them, like Steve Jobs's cutting and thrusting at Apple, or Zuckerberg did to the Winklevoss twins when he realized how lucrative Facebook could become in the future.  

So, in almost every example of the dotcom billionaires, their rewards have come from ruthless greed in business/ and not great powers of invention! Most of the parasites just take the great ideas of their engineers and stake their claims over them. 

And about Wealth Redistribution! Do you only work at something if you see big rewards for it?  I make a decent living doing my job, which I will be retiring from soon. I consider work as the way to pay the bills and put food on the table, I've never spent time trying to figure out how to get rich, by any means or method!  After I retire, I'm not going to miss going to work every day. I have enough interests and hobbies to occupy my time, and when I no longer have to put in five days a week working, then I'll have even more time doing the things I like to do. 

I believe the only way we can all survive on this rock is to turn to socialism and remove conditions that create inequality. A book I bought 10 years ago - The Spirit Level by two British epidemiologists - Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett goes through all of the statistical data comparing nations and local regions and states within, comparing all sorts of quality of life statistics. The inescapable conclusions Pickett and Wilkinson came to is that healthier, more livable societies are also most equal, regardless of overall wealth/ while even the richest nations like the United States, that also had great gaps in income and wealth did poorly when compared by physical and mental health, drug abuse, education, crime and incarceration, obesity, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and life expectancies. 

https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/resources/the-spirit-level

Also, regarding 'democracy,' I would say that if we allow corporations and their superrich major shareholders to buy politicians and change laws and regulations in their favor, then we got democracy in name only! 

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1 hour ago, myata said:

The forces indeed can be different here, but what if they produced the same result? How sustainable is the strategy to import talented labor from the underdeveloped world to pay ever rising bill for the public bureaucracy that's becoming more expensive and less productive year on year? What if one day there's simply not enough public dough and the debt has become too expensive? What if the economy does not pick up as quickly as hoped for? Would the PS that is pretty much the only place in the country that is worry-free about the future be able to sustain whatever's left of the economy for a decade or so? And would public debt stretch far enough for that?

That could the US scenario compressed into only a few years, Heavens forbid.

We're already heading down that road, because NAFTA et al has locked us in to the same economic pattern as the US. Our governments have less and less freedom to plot an independent course. 

I imagine that the US Federal Reserve debt expansion has made it possible (and necessary) for Canada and the other NATO allies to turn their central banks loose, but at a more limited level than the $27 Trillion the US Fed has been bleeding in red ink this year. A few days back, financial blogger - Wolf Richter asked this pertinent question:

Who Bought the $4.5 Trillion Added in One Year to the Incredibly Spiking US National Debt, Now at $27.9 Trillion?

And, what everybody else really wants to know is when does panic and hyperinflation set in, and pull us along with it? Because all the buyers of instant money cannot get payed back by an economy which cannot grow anymore to absorb all of the old debt created. At some point, more and more people will realize that paper currencies are already part of a giant ponzi scheme, and the whole thing will just go belly up when enough investors realize that they won't get the returns they were promised.

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On 2/9/2021 at 5:40 AM, myata said:

And that is a clear symptom of a growing disenchantment and disengagement in the society with the formal democracy,

That is about right.  Because we have a bullshit democracy where people's voice is never heard.

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Last summer I happened to be invited to a graduation ceremony at one of the well-known Canadian universities. The ceremony was online of course, still in the first lockdown and the Dean inspirationally urged the graduates to boldly go and make their mark on the world before them. By that time, PS of all levels has wisely shut down all hiring and many graduates had no idea where they would go next. No support following the ceremony was offered either. Just go and make it.

I wonder if the speech was a remaking of the last year's, certainly sounded like nothing much has changed except standard sendoffs to challenges that will be overcome with reason and perseverance. The time of the 6-digit salaried "public" CEOs (with public bonuses and incentives) must be too precious for such minor things. For them little has changed indeed, except maybe temporary closure of the fav restaurant, though there's still the delivery.

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On 2/20/2021 at 7:46 PM, myata said:

Are we certain of that though? How many smaller places went into disarray when the main employer closed? The problem with fisheries caused pain in the Atlantics for decades. And that's with all the social nets and what if they weren't there? Watch your family starve or work for pennies? Or get paid for bringing stuff that gives temporary relief from all troubles into the community? Or... sure we want to go there?

And the Army, with all respect, is paid for from the same public purse. And what if we woke up to find it empty one day?

Look i am no expert on social programs, but i can tell you this, there are a lot of people here in the Maritimes and other  places that take advantage of these programs because they are just to "lazy" why work when the government is going to pay me to do nothing, CERB , unemployment, welfare, etc . And while there are people that need temporary help. but it does  breed dependency, before all these programs people had to move to where the work was, or work for pennies. But survivors like so many Maritimes moved to Alberta or working in camps up north to feed their families, but for a lot of people gaming the system is what they do. Because Canadians love free money...

Atlantic provinces have seen a vast majority of their industries closed down or drastically reduced to a small fraction of what it was, like fishing, logging, pulp and paper, fish processing, most of the work here is in the service industry but no one wants to work for minimum wage, so they become dependent on social programs, it is not fair to tax payers or workers. and if these programs were not there, well people would be forced to move or accept lower paid work to survive,  trust me, miss a few meals and it is a great motivator to work and bring home a few dollars to eat etc.... Besides have you seen any of these UNICEFs commercials lately" this is young Billy he has not eaten in days, he has to walk 10 kms just to get water... people may be hungry in Canada, but no one is starving to death. 

And if one day the government coffers where empty, to the point PS workers were being laid off, social programs would come to a screaming halt, and the country would start to collapse, and soon people would think minimum wage was a good thing.  See Greece, Germany pre WWII, etc  as an example if it had not been for inter national help they would be in total disarray.

I wonder how Canadians survived back in the day before all these social programs, today we are spoiled to the point of being weak. 

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4 hours ago, Army Guy said:

Look i am no expert on social programs, but i can tell you this, there are a lot of people here in the Maritimes and other  places that take advantage of these programs because they are just to "lazy" why work when the government is going to pay me to do nothing, CERB , unemployment, welfare, etc .

I would agree with you to some point at least, if this argument was applied in an equal extent to everybody, everyone in the same boat and suffers downturns and problems equally. I don't mean the communism of course, but only publicly funded affairs. This is clearly not the case here, though. There are those of us for whom nothing has changed much really, except maybe serious inconveniences like temporary closure of the hairdresser, favorite restaurant and so on. In that situation I find the calls to just boldly go and do it, mildly speaking, not very convincing.

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On 2/20/2021 at 5:35 PM, Army Guy said:

Bill gates worked for his billions, every day until he said enough and handed his business off to someone else to run, he wants for nothing, he influences the world we live in, yes me and you are influence by one man who took the world by the balls and squeezed. why is that dream not possible for you, what is stopping you from jumping on that train, millions of north Americans have jumped on board and have gathered enough wealth to relax enjoy life... 

If we could take care of ourselves, then we don't need all these social programs or free rides, as for wondering why our government is a mess, that has been an issue since the day our government was first formed. And when you figure it out let me in on the secret because it baffles me.

First of all: don't fall into the "left wing vs. right wing" trap.  Politics from the Uniparties have no direct bearing - for them it is simply a matter of granting special privilege.

Bill Gates worked for his MILLIONS, not his Billions.  Wealth that is created can only be found on the balance sheet of the company.  When that company has a market valuation as much as 1,000x as much as its actual value - he nor anyone else is "working hard" for those billions, they are merely redistributing wealth that is rendered by increasing the money supply - and that means passing the actual bill along to ever taxpayer.  Further, those billions that Bill and Linda give away were stolen from shareholders who were dilluted by ridiculous stock option plans.   While I applaud your concern for entrepreneurs who make their money from their OWN work and investment, those who play the publicly traded game are a long way outside of that class.

Why I mentioned the left-right thing is the some of the largest freeloaders of all are emphatically from the extremes of the looney left.  People who actually work for what they earn seldom go there. 

The idea that we can do without social programs is simply a non-starter.  EVERY government of any kind has social programs.  If you want to see what does and does not work, look at sick care in the USA - the fastest way in the world for a middle class family to become bankrupt is finding out what you sick care insurance does NOT cover.  Most of us can indeed care for ourselves, and I agree we have gone way overboard in some areas, but the fundamentals of medical insurance SHOULD be a social programme, never a business.  Service delivery a very different thing.

You are right to rail against wealth re-distribution - but you are completely wrong to state that BIll Gates and his dotcom ilk are in any way different from raping the economy with their speculative gains.  Also worth noting: that in a world where anti-trust laws were being enforced, his extremely predatory manner of doing business would land him in jail.

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On 2/9/2021 at 5:40 AM, myata said:

No, the core of the mob that stormed the Capitol were not extreme right wingers. No, it was not only (and mostly not) "redneck" counties.

It was a much broader and diverse crowd, as stated in the article: "What we are dealing with here is not merely a mix of right-wing organisations, but a broader mass movement with violence at its core," wrote Dr Robert Pape, director of the Chicago Project on Security & Threats.

Anyone following Trump is an extreme right winger - where else on the spectrum could they possible be located?  Having read that article, it does not claim that anyone on the left or the center helped storm the capitol building.  

That said, on the more interesting question of what this portends for Canadian democracy - bear with me, this takes some explanation.

Free speech is the idea that we ought to be free to speak our beliefs without fear of government censorship and retaliation.

Speech acts are when, by saying something, we are also performing an action.  Marriage vows, declarations of war, and promises are classic examples.  Note that we hold people responsible for their speech acts in a way that we do not for their free speech. 

The Principle of Harm states that we ought to be free to do whatever we want, as long as it does not harm someone else.

I believe that, for decades, we have been allowing a few wealthy, privileged people to use their free speech to perform speech acts that violate the principle of harm, and that it has been horrible for our democracy.  A few examples follow:

In the 70s governments were not yet sure if smoking was bad.  Trying to create good public health policy, they paid many doctors to testify under oath to Parliament/Congress/etc.  Some of those doctors, who were on the payroll of tobacco companies, testified under oath things like, "passive smoking is not harmful."  Many people were harmed by the delay this caused in implementing public health measures we would nowadays believe to be common sense.  Those doctors were allowed to keep their profits and their credentials, and many of them were paid for expert testimony on other occasions as well.  None of them were brought to justice, in spite of having committed perjury.

In the 00s, Fox News platformed a bunch of "experts" who claimed, without evidence, that Iraq was behind 9-11 and had WMD.  Those claims were obviously false in real time, but they convinced enough Americans that their Republican government was able to invade Iraq.  Now millions of people are dead and neither the "experts" nor the "news" organizations that profited by platforming them, have ever been brought to justice for the consequences of their lies.

You can probably think of other instances where people were allowed to use their free speech to perform speech acts that violated the harm principle.  We don't have to let them get away with it.  When we figure out a good mechanism for holding people to account for these types of misdeeds, we will see the health of our democracy improve.  We could make it illegal for an organization that calls itself "news" to make false claims, or to call someone an "expert" and then give them a platform to make false claims.  We could make it illegal for billionaires to assemble gigantic propaganda empires such as Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc.  You can probably think of some other things we could do.

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1 hour ago, GrittyLeftist said:

Anyone following Trump is an extreme right winger - where else on the spectrum could they possible be located?  Having read that article, it does not claim that anyone on the left or the center helped storm the capitol building. 

The point of the OP was though that it's not the inciting speech that creates these problems; rather the other way around, the decline of democracy as an active, intelligent and capable social entity creates the environment that becomes receptive to division, mistrust and mutual hatred.

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On 2/20/2021 at 8:52 PM, Right To Left said:

And if you buy lottery tickets every day, you too can be a millionaire...at least that's what the commercials tell us!  I'm sure the main reason why lotteries and casino gambling have taken off and led so many poor, dumb people to gamble is because it's the only chance they have to get rich...or just not slide further and further into poverty.

 

Gates was not a starving college student, eating pizza in his dorm room as you're suggesting. He came from a well off family, wealthy enough to send him to an elite private school that already had a computer terminal and programming courses before 1970. Gates never did spend time in college, but instead worked on his little startup called Microsoft, formed with school friends Paul Allen and others. 

So, in almost every example of the dotcom billionaires, their rewards have come from ruthless greed in business/ and not great powers of invention! Most of the parasites just take the great ideas of their engineers and stake their claims over them. 

And about Wealth Redistribution! Do you only work at something if you see big rewards for it?  I make a decent living doing my job, which I will be retiring from soon. I consider work as the way to pay the bills and put food on the table, I've never spent time trying to figure out how to get rich, by any means or method!  After I retire, I'm not going to miss going to work every day. I have enough interests and hobbies to occupy my time, and when I no longer have to put in five days a week working, then I'll have even more time doing the things I like to do. 

I believe the only way we can all survive on this rock is to turn to socialism and remove conditions that create inequality. A book I bought 10 years ago - The Spirit Level by two British epidemiologists - Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett goes through all of the statistical data comparing nations and local regions and states within, comparing all sorts of quality of life statistics. The inescapable conclusions Pickett and Wilkinson came to is that healthier, more livable societies are also most equal, regardless of overall wealth/ while even the richest nations like the United States, that also had great gaps in income and wealth did poorly when compared by physical and mental health, drug abuse, education, crime and incarceration, obesity, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and life expectancies. 

https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/resources/the-spirit-level

Also, regarding 'democracy,' I would say that if we allow corporations and their superrich major shareholders to buy politicians and change laws and regulations in their favor, then we got democracy in name only! 

1. Look buying lotto tickets for the most part is a dream, a long shot at getting rich, and while for some it is a stupid practice, but people are still becoming millionaires right, it is not a rigged game, although the odds are crazy to win, people are still winning. Much like the life struggle to become wealthy, or for most comfortable by doing a job they either love or see great potential to gather wealth faster than the average guy, like doctors lawyers etc... these dreams are available to every Canadian the rich or the poor. It depends on how driven you are, what risks your willing to take, and what choices you make. If you think all your going to do is slip deeper into poverty then in my opinion i think your wrong.  

2. Bill gates and all the other media wizards may have come from money, or not but don't tell us all that all these opportunities just fell into their laps, and over night they were billionaires that their was no hard work or effort involved. And sure they may have turned into billionaires because of ruthless business practices as you call it, but that is all part of western democracy, and free market economy and those opportunities are available to everyone.

3. Thats not the problem I have with wealth redistribution, I have worked hard for what I have today, to hard just to give it away so everyone is on a level playing field. you want it , work for it. And to answer your question about did i work only for the rewards, don't get me wrong I loved doing what i did for a living. But on the other hand i also worked hard for ever promotion i got, and getting those promotions did play a part in my drive in my career. It was nice to go from a worker bee to a supervisor and climb the ladder to the top. I am retired now, and i do enjoy life to the fullest, because of the wealth I have gathered along the way.  and if anyone else wants it they will have to work for it, in western democracy there are no free rides to success.

4. you seem to think I am against all social programs and i am Not, there are many i believe that are critical to this nation, free medical care is one of them, short term welfare is another, but here in the Maritimes i see fishermen earning well over a million a season only to draw pogy in the off season, or people on welfare for complete generations, or major companies getting billions in interest free loans to keep them afloat, Bombardier anyone, this type of social programs we can do without... here is another i think are a waste, provinces getting a piece of someone else pie... NB provincial government  had stated he would prefer Ottawa cut it off and force the have not provinces to mange their budgets a lot better than they have, to invest in their own economies in stead of this form of welfare the feds give out..

5. I wonder just how the stats would look if people did not have to work at all because of social programs, everyone made the same regardless of job or specialty, sounds a lot like communism to me and we all know how that made out, we however live in a western democracy which has it's problems and all those on your list are part of that, becasue we allow people to make choices, and live with the consequences, want to shot fentanyl, and kill your self 3 times a day, that is a choice... some people make better choices than others but we still have the choice.... 

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11 hours ago, cannuck said:

First of all: don't fall into the "left wing vs. right wing" trap.  Politics from the Uniparties have no direct bearing - for them it is simply a matter of granting special privilege.

Bill Gates worked for his MILLIONS, not his Billions.  Wealth that is created can only be found on the balance sheet of the company.  When that company has a market valuation as much as 1,000x as much as its actual value - he nor anyone else is "working hard" for those billions, they are merely redistributing wealth that is rendered by increasing the money supply - and that means passing the actual bill along to ever taxpayer.  Further, those billions that Bill and Linda give away were stolen from shareholders who were dilluted by ridiculous stock option plans.   While I applaud your concern for entrepreneurs who make their money from their OWN work and investment, those who play the publicly traded game are a long way outside of that class.

Why I mentioned the left-right thing is the some of the largest freeloaders of all are emphatically from the extremes of the looney left.  People who actually work for what they earn seldom go there. 

The idea that we can do without social programs is simply a non-starter.  EVERY government of any kind has social programs.  If you want to see what does and does not work, look at sick care in the USA - the fastest way in the world for a middle class family to become bankrupt is finding out what you sick care insurance does NOT cover.  Most of us can indeed care for ourselves, and I agree we have gone way overboard in some areas, but the fundamentals of medical insurance SHOULD be a social programme, never a business.  Service delivery a very different thing.

You are right to rail against wealth re-distribution - but you are completely wrong to state that BIll Gates and his dotcom ilk are in any way different from raping the economy with their speculative gains.  Also worth noting: that in a world where anti-trust laws were being enforced, his extremely predatory manner of doing business would land him in jail.

1.  I have already fallen into that trap, as you said here : as it happens most of the social programs or ideas come from the left side and while there are social programs that are critical to our nation, health care, although we don't get a very good bang for our buck here, family services is a good program,  welfare, and unemployment are just riddled with people taking advantage...same as the CERB, and other programs the government hands out billions every year. I think we could also expand on other social programs as other nations have done , like free higher education, in exchange for a time restricted mandatory job, serving the people ie doctors nurses, etc. all kinds of different ideas out there. 

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Why I mentioned the left-right thing is the some of the largest freeloaders of all are emphatically from the extremes of the looney left.  People who actually work for what they earn seldom go there. 

 

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1 hour ago, GrittyLeftist said:

Anyone following Trump is an extreme right winger - where else on the spectrum could they possible be located?  Having read that article, it does not claim that anyone on the left or the center helped storm the capitol building.  

I

In the 00s, Fox News platformed a bunch of "experts" who claimed, without evidence, that Iraq was behind 9-11 and had WMD.  Those claims were obviously false in real time, but they convinced enough Americans that their Republican government was able to invade Iraq.  Now millions of people are dead and neither the "experts" nor the "news" organizations that profited by platforming them, have ever been brought to justice for the consequences of their lies.

You can probably think of other instances where people were allowed to use their free speech to perform speech acts that violated the harm principle.  We don't have to let them get away with it.  When we figure out a good mechanism for holding people to account for these types of misdeeds, we will see the health of our democracy improve.  We could make it illegal for an organization that calls itself "news" to make false claims, or to call someone an "expert" and then give them a platform to make false claims.  We could make it illegal for billionaires to assemble gigantic propaganda empires such as Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc.  You can probably think of some other things we could do.

1. So can we say anyone that follows Justin liberals are extreme leftists. kind of painting everyone with the same brush is it not. hard core liberals have voted liberal their entire lives regardless of who is in charge or what their platform is, same with any party who has it's hard core supporters, that does not make them a extreme leftist or extremist right winger...

2. I'm pretty sure history records a much different version of the 1 st and 2 and Iraqi war than you do, and a hardly think it was just FOX news who had their finger in that pie in reference to WMD...and i also sure that WMD was not the only factor in the invasion for both wars..., and in case you missed it WMD includes chemical wpns , which huge stock piles were found and destroyed, but hey no nukes were found so that means that WMD's  did not exist despite all the evidence they found. kind of like all those fighter jets they had purchased but could not find all of them all, then dozens were found buried in the desert, imagine that...Someone burying shit in the desert...like all those people Sadam made disappear in the desert...

3. I do however agree than corps and organizations with big pockets do control the media and what it puts out as news with out a bias slant , CBC anyone ...

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On 2/22/2021 at 3:12 PM, Army Guy said:

Look i am no expert on social programs, but i can tell you this, there are a lot of people here in the Maritimes and other  places that take advantage of these programs because they are just to "lazy" why work when the government is going to pay me to do nothing, CERB , unemployment, welfare, etc .

One question: Are "lazy" people happy? Yes, or if not, why not? Why aren't they enjoying "taking advantage" of income support or programs created for low income people. 

My estimation would be someone's income would have to be pretty low, if it's a net benefit for them to quit work for CERB, UI or welfare...which leads me to ask why employers can't pay living wages for work that may be considered entry level and lacking prestige, but someone has to do it nevertheless, or the business owner has to either pay more money or improve working conditions (why is that option so rarely mentioned?).

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And while there are people that need temporary help. but it does  breed dependency, before all these programs people had to move to where the work was, or work for pennies. But survivors like so many Maritimes moved to Alberta or working in camps up north to feed their families, but for a lot of people gaming the system is what they do. Because Canadians love free money...

Atlantic provinces have seen a vast majority of their industries closed down or drastically reduced to a small fraction of what it was, like fishing, logging, pulp and paper, fish processing, most of the work here is in the service industry but no one wants to work for minimum wage, so they become dependent on social programs, it is not fair to tax payers or workers. and if these programs were not there, well people would be forced to move or accept lower paid work to survive,  trust me, miss a few meals and it is a great motivator to work and bring home a few dollars to eat etc.... Besides have you seen any of these UNICEFs commercials lately" this is young Billy he has not eaten in days, he has to walk 10 kms just to get water... people may be hungry in Canada, but no one is starving to death.

And if one day the government coffers where empty, to the point PS workers were being laid off, social programs would come to a screaming halt, and the country would start to collapse, and soon people would think minimum wage was a good thing.  See Greece, Germany pre WWII, etc  as an example if it had not been for inter national help they would be in total disarray.

I wonder how Canadians survived back in the day before all these social programs, today we are spoiled to the point of being weak. 

 

 So, rightwing thinking is to condemn those at the bottom of the economic hierarchy instead of asking why they are there, let alone why a handful like McCains and Irvings or other rich east coast families became superrich. If someone frames economic success or failure as 100% due to individual strengths and weaknesses, then there is no other option for processing the predicament we are all faced with today, which I will claim shows clearly the failure of relying on capitalism far too long!

An economic system that is dependent on continuous growth, can only turn increasingly ruthless and psychotic, devouring itself when there are no easier ways of making a profit from investment. As time goes on, more and more people start asking hard questions about the system that rules over us and if we have the time, how does it succeed in maintaining control when, as Marx noted 150 years ago, there are many times more of us than there are of them. Playing identity politics is a place to start, but it's not just about race, ethnicity or place of origin, blaming the poor for their poverty, their high levels of depression and other mental illness.

There's also the public shaming of people who end up drug-dependent and unlikely to find gainful employment or being able to hold down a job, in a typical non-union workplace where an employer can hire and fire at will with no explanation or recompense. If we have an explanation that a civil society should be striving for full employment (recognizing that there is a 2 to 3% who can be considered unemployable because of a range of issues). IF the ruthless rightwing approach to dealing with the 'dependent' unemployables is followed, then leaving them on the streets to die of exposure is an acceptable course of action. If you are a socialist or follow actual Christian moral principles, then such these 'mora hazard' arguments against providing real universal programs aren't justifiable!

 

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