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those greedy bastards!

June 2, 2015

Hey, did anyone else notice that 2 weeks after the Nova Scotia government MLA’s voted themselves a nice new full pension that now kicks in after only two years in office, unionized Halifax Water workers were locked out by the City, after negotiations on a new contract broke down when the workers refused to accept the government proposal to claw back their pensions?

Halifax Water, the people who have worked 20, and 30, and 35 years making sure our water comes in, and our shit goes out.

And making sure it happens whether the weather is -35C or +35C.

Our esteemed members of government give themselves cash-for-life after only two years of service (a job, I might add, for which you need only show up for work “sometime in the spring and fall”; (-as noted in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly Act))

– and then has the gall to say that the government can’t afford worker pensions.

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We all know that we can’t afford the worker pensions, but that’s not anywhere near the full story.

Blaming unionized workers for the financial mess the province is in is like blaming the strawberry for being in the pie.

The government had no problem with salaries and benefits back when corporate taxes were running at about 35% of government revenues.

But those days are long gone.

Thirty years of neo-liberalist capitalism has reduced the corporate tax rate to around 8% in most Canadian provinces (there is a lot of fudging as to what this number really is: with companies naturally protesting by saying that it is closer to 15%, and that it is actually still too high; and with some Harvard and Fraser Institute economists saying that it is actually much lower – and may in fact be less than zero.)

For thirty years North American companies basically blackmailed America, and Canada, by threatening to take their factories elsewhere – to which they did anyway, despite the 30-year 75% drop in tax rates.

According to CIBC (one of Canada’s largest banks), there should be applause and back-slapping all-around as Canadian companies reported record profits for 2014. Profit margins, they noted, that broke a 27-year record. (It was the best year ever, in fact, for Canadian banks.)

You sure as fuck didn’t see any celebrations on the streets the day that news broke – did you? (Mar 31, 2015)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/corporate-profit-margins-at-27-year-high-and-likely-to-stay-there-1.3016324

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So companies have the North American economy by the balls. That’s not news.

What’s pathetic is that their stooges in political power – the ones who reward themselves so brazenly –   actually want us to believe that it’s the greedy union worker’s fault for our economic mess.

Or the already-too-high minimum wage! (a whopping $10.40 in Nova Scotia!)

And when only 3-4 companies own 98% of all mass-media communication – like, for instance, how the Irvings own all the daily newspapers in New Brunswick – every single one – its not hard for corporate media to convince the rest of us that it is indeed the union workers’ fault for the economic mess we are in.

And why their op-ed pieces all oppose any increase in the minimum wage.

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This isn’t rocket science, but it’s pretty obvious that most of us are not paying attention to what’s going on.

Entertainment is the lube used to get us in the mood to fuck ourselves in the ass, all the while thanking big brother for looking out for us against the terrorists in the world.

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The fact of the matter though is that we’ve never paid attention. It was announced in 2005 that for the first time in human history more people now live in cities than in rural areas.

Almost no one heard the news, and even amongst those that did, few cared. A fundamental shift had happened in the History of the human race, and most people yawned.

The news was released during the height of a professional sporting season, so you can see how the people were indifferent.

The United Nations says that a species goes extinct every 10 minutes in the world – did you see any headlines about that today?

How about the fact that an entire indigenous community (and their language) goes extinct every year in Brazil, and has been doing so every year for the last 150 years?

Statistically speaking – on average, over the past ten years – one environmental activist is murdered every day in Central and South America – do you know any of their names? Have you ever seen any of their faces in the news?

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It’s not easy to accept that we don’t pay attention – but I believe that the Internet – if it gets to stay anywhere near its current incarnation of information sharing (by no means guaranteed) – will go a long way to countering our inattentions.

Look at how many more people now realize that there is global warming – than believed this 10 years ago. My physics teacher talked about the coming climate instability almost every day in my Grade 11 Physics Class back in 1976. Many parents thought he was daft in the head.

When my grandfather said that the earth was no longer holding water and minerals the way it once did, he was told to use more fertilizer.

Look at what happened to Rachel Carson when she published Silent Spring back in 1961. She was branded a communist, and blacklisted in the media.

We’ve come a long way in that regard.

But we are still dead stupid when it comes to understanding economics.

Pro-corporate capitalist bullshit is fed into our eyes and ears 24/7/365 and we still eagerly take it in like well-behaved 2nd Graders.

“Fuck those greedy union bastards! Wanting to keep their pensions while I work a $17-an-hour job with no benefits! What a bunch of clueless bastards! They deserve to be locked out!”

P.S. And did you hear, on the second day of the lockout, CBC Radio revealed that Irving Oil had swung a secret sweetheart deal with Nova Scotia Power (our provincial electric provider, sold off by the government, and now privately owned by Emera Incorporated) that resulted in Nova Scotia Power giving Irving Oil about $5mil a year – under the table – in an agreement that is to extend another 11 years?

And did you know, that Nova Scotians pay the highest home energy rates in Canada?

Probably just a coincidence…

Fucking unions…

 

 

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