Tuesday, January 19, 2016

62 Bosses of Bosses

The chasm between the Have Yachts and the Have Nots has widened even more in the last 365 days. The richest one percent of the world has more money that the remaining 7 billion combined, says Credit Suisse Global Wealth Datebook.  Crunching even more numbers, a mere 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion on the planet, down from 388 just five years ago and 80 last year, according to a new report by Oxfam.

The eye popping figures set out in The Economy for the One Percent released by Oxfam illustrate how far reaching the numbers truly are. While the wealth of the poorest half of the world fell by a trillion dollars since 2010, the sixty two richest saw their wealth increase by 542 billion dollars during the same time period. 

What’s even more glaring is that offshore tax havens shelter 7.6 trillion dollars, meaning governments are not able to generate desperately needed tax revenues to pay for or enhance social programs for their society, in particular, poverty-related issues.

This year, just five Canadians have the same wealth as the bottom thirty per cent of Canadians – more than eleven million people. Canada's top five billionaires own 55 billion, while the bottom thirty per cent owns 54.97 billion, says Oxfam.

Is there not a more efficient means to which the wealthy elite can still horde their vast reserves, while allowing the rest of the world to work, to eat, to sleep in shelter? When a transit busload, literally, of (mostly) men control so much wealth in the world, the disparity should be discomforting to all, including those who control the purse strings.

This is why civil disobedience takes root, why violent clashes erupt, and why governments are toppled. It is why the Occupy movement exists, why private militias form, and why there are so many guns in the hands of ordinary people. This is why the corner grocery store is robbed, why addictive vices surge, and why we possess a worsening, perhaps even apocalyptic, disposition.

This is a recipe for revolution.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cops Seize Opportunity To Steal Guns

While the 12,000 residents fled their homes amid a mandatory flood evacuation in High River, Alberta, RCMP were busy breaking into their homes and stealing guns owned by law abiding citizens, trampling all over the Bill of Rights that grant us our freedoms.

The shameful actions of RCMP, who should have been helping evacuate stranded citizens, has not gone unnoticed in worldwide mainstream media, drawing criticism from all corners of the political spectrum, and forced the provincial and federal governments quickly into damage control mode. The RCMP, meanwhile, claim they have done nothing wrong.

High River is no stranger to floods or evacuation orders. Its location in southern Alberta that makes it such ripe and productive farmland also makes it a victim to frequent flooding not unlike those of the Mississippi and the Nile. However, this is the first time it was reported that members of the famed Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have broken into people’s homes to steal their guns.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Now Is The Summer Of Our Discontent

With apologies to Shakespeare, this otherwise apropos title may be an omen for Canada’s most tense season in its relationship with its First Nations. With more broken promises from Canada’s government in its dealings with First Nations across the country, the inevitable response will be in the form of confrontation – planned to be civil and non-violent, but almost inevitable to end vastly different.

Much of the mainstream media has focused on high profile acts of civil disobedience and propaganda from some of Canada’s more notable leaders in the aboriginal community, such as hunger strikes and the prolific Idle No More movement that brought long standing issues between Canada and its aboriginal people to the forefront.

Holding itself out as a peacekeeper in the global community, where civil unrest and strife fill the front pages of daily newspapers and lead headline television news, Canada stands to lose more than just face if it cannot cool down the boiling tensions on its own home turf. At stake is possibly the worst civil unrest Canada has ever experienced, paling that of Trudeau’s administration in 1970 when Martial Law was invoked during what is now known as the October Crisis.

Is that where we’re headed?

From broken treaties to environmental issues, from land use consultation to Bill C-45, from launching a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women to respecting aboriginal rights, these form the backbone to aboriginal demands of Canada as a nation. And what makes this summer so tenuous is the planned “non-violent direct action” by aboriginal communities across the country designed to “increase tension”.

As one monster power ballad of the early 1980’s screamed, “We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks”. We only have to look at America’s civil rights movement to see what kind of reaction governments spew on non-violent direct action.

It is time for Canada to act with honor in resolving legitimate concerns of its aboriginal people. Otherwise, with the summer’s planned unrest, what is now a clear collection of grievances easily has the ability to explode into full scale civil war, where we will all have to take more than just a moral stand.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Space, The Final Frontier

History repeats, this time as an opportunity presents itself as only it has once before in mankind.

Pillaging every square inch of territory it could land a ship on, exterminating every culture and heritage that would not conform, and spreading untold disease and destruction in its path, now doors opened with heavy front end investment by taxpayers are being kicked down by the private sector.

In the days of colonial Europe, it was seen as ‘exploration’, unless you were the ones being explored, or more precisely, exploited. Voyages funded by monarchs and business groups alike, set sail and marched armies to plant their flag on new territories in the name of insert-deity-or-monarch’s-name-here.

With America’s mighty military budgets being directed largely to corporations who successfully dismantled NASA into a former shell of itself, the invitation has been laid at the feet of Wall Street to fund explorations (there’s that word again) to Mars and beyond. With government blessing in place, corporate greed is fuelling plans to harvest the bounty which Mars may possess, with major emphasis currently being place on mining for minerals thought to exist in unimaginable quantities.

Of course, the exploration (again?) for minerals will benefit us on Earth at the cost of destroying every ecosystem we touch on Mars. Truth is, nobody knows about the exact status of life on Mars, although the prevailing thought seems to lean toward the current existence of some simple mosses and plant life. Regardless, we will plop our equipment and resources wherever it suits us and dig until the money runs out or the project no longer provides enough fruit for our labor.

Then, after considerable time has elapsed, some rogue historian, scientist, or eccentric baron will stumble across the inevitable eureka moment when we realize we destroyed yet another planet. Only this time, it will have taken mere decades. We do seem to get better with practise, don’t we?

Interestingly enough, while wealthy nations with power are downgrading their space programs to mere facilitation status, Canada, on the other hand, has just appointed its recently retired top army officer to head up the Canadian Space Agency. Yes, an army guy to run a space program.

Now, we here at The Aphelion Times are no fortune tellers, but you must be thinking the same thing we are. Why would Canada be bucking the world trend to reduce the taxpayer’s burden for its space agency and signal a complete change in its mandate with the appointment of a military big-wig as its director?

It’s a move that the departed Ronald Reagan would be thrilled to see and probably tried to install during his administration in the White House. Could this be the rejuvenation of a space war agency for the western powers?

Only the puppeteers can know for certain.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Justice in Saskatchewan

All Hail Saskatchewan Justice!!!

In a decision that can only be described as courageous, warranted, overdue, and monumental, Judge M.D. Acton awarded Luciano Branco, a Saskatchewan welder, five million dollars compensation after insurance mammoths AIG and Zurich failed to process his claim for 10 years.

Judge Acton called the actions of AIG and Zurich "reprehensible" and "abhorrent" in their dealings with Branco. The Judge further admonished AIG and Zurich characterizing their actions as "outrageous", "cruel", and "malicious".

Let us all remember this as our insurance policies come up for renewal. If it can happen to Luciano Branco...

Margaret Thatcher. 'Nuff Said.

She gave safe passage to Pinochet, rather than send him to a war crimes tribunal as he should have been destined, commenting that the UK owed him and his henchmen a debt for Chile’s part in aiding England during the Falkland’s War in the early 1980’s.

She was outrageously outspoken, publicly chastising those who did not agree and conform to her ultra conservative principals.

She reigned over British politics with the fortitude and single-mindedness that earned her the moniker The Iron Lady. Some say she destroyed the country’s economy. Others claim she rescued it.

She is reported to have called Nelson Mandela a terrorist. And certainly, she had few friends among the Irish.

Yet, tributes poured in for Baroness Margaret Thatcher upon her recent passing at 87 years old. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper even went so far as to comment that she was a “giant among leaders”. Many would likely agree that she was indeed a giant, but would use the term as an adjective, rather than a noun, preferring to add a rather disagreeable noun of their own instead.

Obama released a statement saying, “The world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty”.


So, who were her friends? Not labor unions, not the working class, and on balance, nobody who truly cares for liberty and freedom.

Like when they discover the next door neighbor was a serial killer, the sound bites only hear what a normal person he was, so it is true of Thatcher, remembering her political reign as somehow beneficial to the world at large.

Thatcher’s embrace of her ideals is nothing short of heroic. She did for the 1% what none before or since ever could, advancing policies domestic and foreign that were purposely designed to deflate hope in the vast majority while inflating the coffers of her contemporaries.

And as a final kick in the groin to Britons, she will receive a state funeral with full ceremonial honors without the benefit to the Brits of a competitive private sector bid.