Quick Shots

From my 35mm camera for once.

© Mikailus

Nov. 16, 2013 Rob Ford Protest

© Mikailus

Factories, Not Condos!!!

Recently, I watched a documentary called Poor Us: An Animated History about the history of world poverty, and it got me thinking about what I’ve been wanting to say over the past few years.

In the economic heart of this fair “country” of ours, Toronto has a serious problem: there’s too many condos being built. These ugly buildings made of glass and steel are houses in the form of apartment complexes which, in turn, creates no profit for the owners of the building. This isn’t creating jobs either here, nor anywhere else in Canada.

The only solution to poverty is employment. Not just that, but employment with good wages, enough for a decent living. Maximize profit without it being at the expense of the environment or the rights of the worker or the needs of the state. But condos don’t create jobs. Factories do. Because once a condo’s finished, what happens? Do we just keep building condos for the imaginary broad number of affluent people out there? These condos, constructed entirely out of concrete and glass, won’t even last ten to fifteen years!

Toronto itself should either hire local companies who are in good standing, or form its own construction company, with workers who are able-bodied and of sound mind (even going as far as literally picking them from off the street and paying them in cash), and after vigorous training and organizing unemployed people into public construction workers, give them the task of building at least two factories and one apartment complex near them per year, and that the property of these factories are owned by the City. Not just factories, but also all public buildings within the City, be them libraries, schools, subway stations, hospitals, etc. Now, of course, schools aren’t actually public but run by the churches

The only way this can be achieved is with political willpower and public pressure, two things that Toronto lacks. Petitions, protests, even civil disobedience, should be only the beginning. Local elections are important, because it affects us the most directly. We need to organize, and not just elect active, energetic and dedicated politicians who represent the needs and interests of the people, but also be part of the political process, going as far as running for office. Those who don’t should either be bribed with the promise of re-election if they act (regardless of their conviction), or dump their ass and replace them with someone who would act on the people’s behalf. We need to remove those who are corporate whores out of office, and put in those who want things to work for the benefit of all.

If I were city councillor, I’d push for three things:

  1. Focus on building factories that would be owned by the city and rented out to companies who’d be willing to pay the rent of a fair rate per month;
  2. Slash TTC fares and passes down to affordable rates (for example: $2 adult, $1.75 senior; $10 day pass; $100 adult metro pass), then impose a requirement that in future, only raising rates of TTC fares and passes must be approved by at least two-thirds of all members of City Council; and finally
  3. Impose a luxury sales tax of one cent for every item of at least $500 sold, in exchange for Toronto to be given the right to allow stores here to sell their goods HST-free because, well, we’re the capital of Ontario.

This should be the bare minimum of any local politician’s agenda, and a realistic yet worthy cause to push for. Though more extreme ideas, such as scrapping the HST altogether, and providing free TTC, should be considered. Personally, I’d like to see the TTC fares (for adults as an example) be slashed down to $1, Day Passes to $5, and MetroPasses to $75, but we should be realistic in our goals. While free is tempting, we also got to be mindful of the problem of population control in the city, an issue I’ll get to at another time. In the meanwhile, let’s begin change at home.

My Take on Kony 2012

In the last few days, after seeing what I honestly thought was an obscure documentary about a nasty, brutish warlord named Kony/Kuny, word has rightfully been spread and raised online and in the media about the efforts to capture and bring to justice this man.

I actually like the film, and support the effort of bringing the delusional armed cult leader to justice. I also piss on the criticisms of the film, especially the classic “what about the other brutal warlords” criticism. First of all, to quote Abraham Lincoln, “One war at a time.” There may be other guys out there, but the focus here, right now, is capturing Kony/Kuny. Second of all, it appears that much of the criticism comes from folks who actually don’t want to capture Kony/Kuny. Their excuse? “Oh, it’s complicated,” or “Oh, what about the other guys?” or “Oh, you’re being neo-colonialist!” or “But what about the government that’s trying to capture him? Didn’t they do any bad stuff?” Do you guys even want him captured at all? Or are you championing apathy and inaction? Or just let him run wild and free at the expense of the children and the blood and treasure of other people? Or that you secretly support him?

My only problem with the film is it is meant to make Kony/Kuny famous. Seriously. It’s as if the filmmakers (including talking heads like George Cloony) don’t know what the word infamous or infamy even means, if they ever heard of the words. This poorly worded (if not a typo) goal is causing problems like people throwing rocks during screenings (perhaps those throwing stones know the damn difference between famous and infamous, unlike Invisible Children and the youth groups that support them), and getting people, who don’t understand English that well, to confuse the words famous with infamous. A simple check in the dictionary would do so many wonders!

Commonwealth “Reforms” ~ a blurb

For the royalists, yesterday was a celebration. The Commonwealth had resolved that any first-born child, regardless of sex, can succeed the throne. This certainly was celebratory among the “liberal” royalists, who pose as champions of democracy and equality while ironically supporting an institution that was, is and will remain neither. To make things even more hilarious, they also allowed members of the royal family to marry Catholics. Despite these “changes”, what remains is the same: a monarchy, and that of Britain’s. Don’t get me wrong. Even if we had our own monarchy, I would still oppose it. It also is bizarre to have the matters of the head of state of one nation be determined by other nations, including those with a republican form of government. According to reason, never mind law, something like that would be called an international incident, to meddle in the affairs of another country, like Harper did during the American presidential election in 2008, when he leaked information on what Obama said about NAFTA, costing the Obama a primary. That’s meddling in the business and politics of another country. Why should the matters of the head of state of one country be determined by another? How the hell is that independence?

Lineup Before Layton’s Funeral

Took me a while, but it’s here. I didn’t have time at the time to join the funeral. I had my few qualms against him respecting the senate (I think it should be elected) and the head of state (I want an elected president, not a Governor General), but I would’ve most likely voted for him anyway.

Enjoy, indulge or endure.

All images © Mikailus 2011

Why You Should Not Vote for Dalton MacGuinty

In the days preceding, during and after the calamity called the G20, one man who has been behind the entire fiasco has been rarely mentioned in the press. Right now he’s running for re-election, and so far the press has done nothing of the sort to hold him accountable or question him on his role in the G20.

In June of last year, in secrecy and without consent of the provincial legislature, the Cabinet of Ontario’s government imposed a law in order to beef up security during the G20, which happens to be an utterly useless organization of twenty major economies from around the world. They sat for three days as the city burned, and came up with a few resolutions that did nothing for anyone. The police, for the sake of providing security, were given broad, excessive and even unnecessary powers in contempt of the Charter and reason, assaulted and arrested innocent civilians, journalists, hippie trash and peaceful protesters because they were too pussy to deal with the real violent threat — anarchists who were given the downtown for almost two hours to trash and wreck property including small businesses; assaulted innocent bystanders, photographers and journalists; and went as far as burning a police car. In other words, the secret act had failed. So did the months of intelligence by the police prior.

And yet over a year later, people seem to not have noticed that they’re still living under emergency rule that was imposed by an unrepentant tyrant named Dalton MacGuinty. Canadians, who are already used to being under the tyranny of monarchy, seem to accept this and make no noise about it, as do the political blogs that scarcely deal with Canadian politics. Even groups attacking the G20 and demanding inquiries and such seem to overlook this fact, apart from the law itself being tyrannical and that it was imposed without consent of the Provincial Parliament or awareness of the people. It’s not being retracted and MacGimpy isn’t sorry for it.

This is one of the reasons why people shouldn’t vote for this evil tyrant. Not just because he also showed contempt for democracy when he imposed the HST in 2010 despite opposition by 74% of Canadians in Ontario (who had even before the HST suffered from the highest Provincial Sales Tax in the country at 8%), then dismissed the people’s calls for a referendum on the matter for reasons unknown.

The other options in the upcoming election are the Cons and the NDP. It’s obvious and odious that the Cons are going to do things no differently than the Liberals. Why? They’re conservatives. Period. Thus the only choice left is the NDP.

Meanwhile, thanks to a few screw-ups of my own, I had to re-schedule the shoot for next Sunday.