Down and Out in Harperconia

Sweet tit-humping Christ I’m tired.

Tired of the chronic lack of accountability in Ottawa. Of a parliamentary press corps that been for far too long too prissy and timid to rightly ferret and call out endless examples Conservative corruption with tenacious vigour (see also: libel chill).

Tired of national apathy and cynicism understandably bred by a seemingly never ending barrage of brazen disregard for the collective values that have defined Canada for the past 40 plus years on the part of the Harpercons.

Tired of our national transition from innovator to regressive resource-based economy. Tired of corporatist Lysenkoism, capitalist force-projection masquerading as international development, and –especially — acts of self-interested international climate treaty sabotage to keep the tar sands safe.

And boy am I goddamn fucking exhausted at the prospect of having to subsidize this bright new CO2-saturated Tory blue future by having to slave the rest of my life in low-wage purgatory (Freedom 75, baby!) because the (quote) “entitlements” that allowed prior generations to achieve wealth and a general level of security are now somehow simultaneously unsustainable and morally suspect (because communism or something).

Ideologues who piss on the very concept of data-driven policy making and demonize those who commit sociology have no business redefining Canada to suit their self-destructive political nihilism. The next two years are (and no this isn’t hyperbole and it’s goddamn time Canadians stopped perpetually stifling ourselves for fear of seeming unhinged because the Tories already blew all the doors off this motherfucker ages ago) without a doubt pivotal to what Canada will look like for the next 20+ years. So much damage has been done that we are going to not only have to prepare for electoral change, but also for a long-term struggle to reshape an amorphous future.

But, most immediately, every vote counts, more than ever.

So keep watching this space; as they say, change begins at home.

Maude Barlow: “This is the most important human rights and ecological crisis of our time.”

by matttbastard

The December issue of that other venerable American left-wing periodical, The Progressive, features an interview with Council of Canadians national chairperson and water rights advocate Maude Barlow, in which the future of fresh drinking water is discussed in depth.  Barlow says access to clean water is “the most important human rights and ecological crisis of our time,” an assertion that’s hard to dispute after reading her sobering, well-reasoned and highly-detailed outline of what’s in store over the coming decades for both the Global North and South.  As Barlow contends, “[t]his crisis isn’t getting better; it’s getting worse.”

Some highlights:

Close to two billion people are now without adequate access to clean water, and most are living in the Global South. We in the Global North need to remember there is a Global South right here in our countries. The more water costs and the rarer it becomes and the more it’s owned by corporations, the more it’s going to be an issue of equity in our countries.

[…]

More children die every day of dirty water than HIV-AIDS, malaria, traffic accidents, and war put together. Half the hospital beds in the world are filled with people who would not be there if they could afford water. You go to many countries, and you will see the majority of people having no access to water and the wealthy having access to all the water they could ever want. It’s privatized. Sometimes it has to be trucked in. It’s all provided by corporations.

Water has become the most important symbol of inequity and injustice in our world, because you die from a lack of water. You may not die from a lack of education, but you will immediately die from a lack of clean drinking water.

[…]

We put something like 200 billion liters of water in plastic last year. That’s about 50 billion U.S. gallons. And 95 percent of that just ends up in landfills and is thrown into waterways. It’s not recycled.
The other thing about bottled water that gets overlooked is that when you decide to use bottled water as your water source because you’re rich enough to be able to do it, you stop caring what comes out of the tap. It’s the true privatization of water. If you stop caring what comes out of the tap, you’re going to stop wanting to pay taxes for infrastructure repair. You don’t care anymore because you don’t drink that stuff since you don’t trust it. And you’re not going to worry about whether it’s clean enough for poor people, because you’ve got your bottled water. It is really becoming a class issue, this notion of bottled water, being able to distance yourself from what we all need to have as a basic, fundamental human right and public service, which is good, clean water, guaranteed clean by our government.

[…]

There is a wonderful water justice movement here in the United States and around the world. We call ourselves Water Warriors. And we’ve taken the time to create a set of principles upon which we agree. We basically agree, for instance, that if you ask the question who owns water, we will say, “Nobody owns it. It belongs to the Earth, it belongs to all species, it belongs to future generations. It’s a fundamental human right and a public service and a public trust.”

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Mumbai Attack Resources

by matttbastard

Canadians concerned about relatives/loved ones in Mumbai can call the Department of Foreign Affairs at 1-613-996-8885 from inside Canada or 1-800-387-3124 from other countries. US citizens contact special State Department call center phone number set up for the crisis: 1-888-407-4747. UPDATE For Australians:1300 555 135 or +61 2 6261 3305 (DFAT) UK: 0207 008 0000 (Foreign Office) (h/t Brandy Betz)

Please add additional resources in comments and I’ll update accordingly.

– Indian dead tree media: Hindustan Times, Times of India, The Hindu, Outlook India, Deccan Herald, Indian Express

list of Mumbai bloggers liveblogging events as they unfold, comprehensive round-up from DesiPundit

– Vinu’s Mumbai attacks Flickr photostream UPDATE new sets from Vinu here and here, ashesh shah’s photostream (h/t Gauravonomics) UPDATE Boston Globe photoset (h/t dina)

Google Map of attacks

– regularly updated Wikipedia page

YouTube and VodPod videos, sorted by date (most recent first)

– Ongoing coverage from Neha Vishwanathan of Global Voices Online [UPDATE Global Voices special Mumbai attacks page) and from GroundReport.com

searchable list of injured/dead

– regularly updated emergency information at Mumbai Help

PinStorm information page

– Livestreams from CNN-IBN and NDTV

– Twitter content marked #mumbai, Colaba, Oberoi, Taj

Mumbai Tweetgrid (automatically refreshes)

– invaluable Twitter updates from MumbaiAttacks, zigzackly, vinu, gsik, chhavi, asfaq and dina .

SkyNews MicroBlog

Timeline of terror attacks in India, 1993-present

UPDATE public Google Notebook aggregating key points and facts (thanks, Anannya Deb!)

UPDATE Mahalo , Addictomatic and NowPublic pages

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Reuters: Iraq Parliament Delays Vote On Provincial Elections Law

by matttbastard

The elusive magical success pony in Iraq just got scared away (again):

Iraqi parliamentarians failed on Sunday to pass a law on provincial elections, putting the date of important polls in doubt and leaving unresolved a political standoff that has stoked ethnic tensions.

After struggling for hours to reach a quorum, lawmakers indefinitely postponed a special session they had called to pass the law, which has come unstuck over plans for the disputed northern city of Kirkuk and angered minority Kurds.

The delay may mean the elections, originally planned for October 1, could be put off until next year. Electoral officials have said they need months to plan once the law is passed.

So much for all those defiant assertions about how us dirty fucking hippies simply must admit that teh surge is TOO working!

Related: More from Elizabeth Ferris of The Brookings Institution on Kirkuk, “the next ‘powder keg’ in Iraq” (PDF).

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers