Category Archives: Morality

Note to TransLink: Your Riders Are Not Customers

I went to the TransLink website just now to search for the word “customer”. I found 376 references.

I also have noticed that in recent days a canned announcement pops onto Skytrains regularly asking “Skytrain customers” to not leave their lame faux-news free daily newspapers [Metro, 24] lying all over the trains cluttering them up and creating a slipping hazard for most everyone.

As part of the large trend to commodify all things public and common, riders are no longer riders, we are customers purchasing a service: mass transit. As customers we are told the class of our existence on what used to be public transit.

Now the new TransLink board is being appointed by a gang of mostly business-folk, a board not accountable to the token Council of Mayors who will be “consulted” on decisions. Public money spent by unaccountable directors appointed by mostly business interests.

If you resent being classed as a “public” transit customer instead of a co-owner of a commonly held public “public” transit system, you had better start paying more attention to the Campbell neoLiberal government’s agenda to sell us [and everything held in common] down the river.

And it would help to read Naomi Klein’s new book to get a primer on the last few decades of rationale behind the premier’s manifestation of neoliberal cancer. And if you don’t have time to read it all, you can get the 6 minute primer here.

And a few facts to make you wonder just what price we pay for a privatized, deregulated world.

Maybe John Edwards Has Been a Progressive Democrat All Along?

[Doesn’t he look a little bit like early Elvis here?]:

I’d like to think he’s been progressive all along. I’d like to think the 2004 run was a time when he had to be just the running mate.

But now that Edwards is sounding all anti-Republican-Lite and anti corporate cronyism, I can’t help but think that the Hegelian dialectic of thesis-antithesis-synthesis is at play…from Dennis Kucinich.

Kucinich’s messages of peace, multilateralism, progressive values and anti-graft…populist among a jaded American public…have been anointed by ABC’s recent attempts to censor his airtime.

The messages are resonating and Edwards is sliding left to pull them to the media-designated top tier of candidates, perhaps only as a wedge to use against more establishment Democrats like Clinton and Obama.

Imitation may be the most sincere form of flattery, but not when you’re running for president, I think.

Gay pride versus the mayor of Truro…by Daniel Peters

As a change of pace from the usual west coast madness on this blog, I present a bit of madness from the east coast.

This weekend’s Gay Pride parades and other activities in Nova Scotia’s Pictou County have been in the news for the last week. It seems that the city council of Truro decided not to fly the Pride flag.

That decision, in and of itself, would not have drawn a comment from me. I don’t know what the precedents are. I don’t know what it means for a city hall to fly, or not to fly, a flag. Must they fly a flag for every little event that happens in their city? Nah, not worth commenting on.

Except for one thing: the way the mayor explained the decision.

It boils down to this. Truro mayor Bob Mills is a conservative, traditional Christian. According to him, it’s simply not OK to be gay, and that’s that. He won’t pick on gays in any illegal way, but neither will he do anything that expresses approval of their lifestyle.

Predictably, there has been a lot of noise (on both sides) in our local (Halifax) paper. Here’s my contribution (just now emailed):

– – – –

To the editor:

How curious that Truro mayor Bob Mills has raised the spectre of a slippery slope from the acceptance of homosexuality to the acceptance of pedophilia. I wonder on what basis he worries about such a thing as pedophilia, since the Bible has nothing to say about it. For that matter, the Bible never condemns rape, or even recognizes a distinction between rape and seduction. The fact that we are all horrified by pedophilia (and by rape) is a legacy of the very same modern, secular, humanist moral trend that has brought about our society’s greater acceptance of homosexuality. It is modern humanist morality, not Biblical morality, that emphasizes the importance of consent, and of the power balance that makes consent meaningful. The more secular and less Biblical our public morality becomes, the safer my children will be.

Daniel Peters

The NPA Union-Busters: an Open Letter to Vancouver City Council

If you agree with this posting, I strongly encourage you to email the Vancouver Mayor and City Council with a letter explaining just what you expect of them. Feel free to even copy this letter, sign it and send it to them at mayorandcouncil@city.vancouver.bc.ca which will forward to each of them.

Dear Mayor and Council,

For those of you who have no interest in vindictively punishing your highly valued staff in your 3 unions, I commend you. I encourage you to continue to lobby the others of you, the NPA I assume (correct me if I’m wrong), to bargain fairly.

I don’t know if you NPA union-busters are trying to save enough money from wages to pay off the Wilcox consultants or if you just like watching people suffer, but your refusal to meet your workers for more than 5 hours over THE LAST 6 DAYS is abhorrent and offensive to me.

I am ashamed that I live in this wonderful city when our “leaders” sink to this level of crass disrespect for the workers who support our social fabric, the workers you speak so highly of.

Your behaviour will not go unpunished in November 2008 when citizens wielding ballots all over the city will remember each one of you NPA social pariahs.

“Sam’s Strike” can only exist with 5 NPA councillors continually supporting him.

17% over 5 years for workers in neighbouring municipalities is a fair settlement. As a citizen of Vancouver I would support those kind of numbers. Pay equity for library workers who suffer from gender discrimination IN THE 21ST CENTURY, IN CANADA, is due. We should be ashamed to delay it any longer.

This is the end of the NPA in Vancouver: your obvious desire to corrode our civil society is your undoing.

Your offense is obscene.

It is time to bargain a contract, not rewind our labour culture to the 19th century. Get to the table and do your job!

The Futility of the Left-Right Political Spectrum

The left-right spectrum is pretty obsolete, what with right wing w.Caesar running crazy deficits to undermine government’s ability to meddle with individual freedom to become rich and free from social regulation and left wing governments pledging to balance budgets: typically the reverse of the old Cold War Keynesian days.

In November of 2002 a friend sent me a link to a site, Political Compass, to do a survey to see where I would live on a two-dimensional spectrum consisting of left-right and authoritarian-libertarian, like so:

The next two images show estimates of where other well-known people could be on this spectrum.

Currently:

So 2.5 years ago I did the survey and ended up in the bottom left quadrant:

These days, as I get older and wiser and parental and more mature and more committed to the establishment I did the survey again to find myself–shock–even more radical:

Ultimately, I think everyone ought to swing by this website, Political Compass, to see where they are. The sooner we get more and more people releasing themselves from the tyranny of a 1-dimensional political spectrum, the better. The next task will be to create 3 and 4-dimensional models.