Who Benefits from an American Race War?

It almost blasé isn’t it? Another Black man is cooperating with the police and is shot for it. As routine now as sun rise, sun set, and celebrity gossip preempting it in the news cycle. It has been happening since The Emancipation Proclamation but it is getting harder for Americans to sweep it under the carpet. The KKK was outlawed so coopt the police, the prosecution services, the courts, and the prison industries to ethnically cleanse America of the undesirables.

Now that some Black men are fighting back, and the rise of white supremacy as GOP policy, we should ask the question: Who benefits from an American race war? In the Cold War the KGB targeted Black leaders, Dr King especially, because they were preventing a violent response to the treatment of African Americans. The Soviets wanted the US to tear itself apart in a civil war, and in many cases US government agencies were unknowingly assisting them in this. Seeing the peaceful leaders as a threat and targeting them nearly achieved Moscow Centre’s twisted aims.

Since the unfortunate, yet somewhat understandable, shootings of police officers I’m guessing US gun sales are skyrocketing. A race war would make arms dealers, and everyone else supplying the police industry, billions of dollars richer. The police themselves stand to gain from bigger budgets, more overtime, less public scrutiny, and cooler military grade gear. The tough love politicians will use a race war to pass laws that violate basic human rights, sadly to populist applause.

Not just internal US interests benefit from a race war. Smug liberal democracies can ignore their own racial problems by simply pointing to how much worse it is elsewhere. The preverters of Islam and other extremist terror groups will use a US race war to recruit more suicide bombers, terrorists, and raise more money. The world’s most brutal regimes will use a race war to question the west’s motives and cover up their affronts to humanity.

Some countries will use the distraction of a race war in America to bully their neighbours and expand their influence. Criminal syndicates will exploit the chaos of a race war to expand their petty empires and ruin more lives. Worse case scenario in a US race war is the US becomes a failed state that requires thousands, maybe tens of thousands of international troops to stabilize.

Whenever there are attacks by people claiming to be Muslim people demand all Muslims are to blame. I guess that logic comes from everyone in America is a criminal because a Black person stole a purse once. If we flipped that logic around and generalized all American police as racist, triggerhappy, untrained, power tripping, cowboys, would that be fair? No, but the police who say or do nothing about the corruption, racism, gratuitous violence, and mental instability are accessories.

Anyone who believes they have enough training is a threat to themselves and others. American police are in serious need of more training, away from gun ranges. All police services everywhere need to purge themselves of people who believe they are morally superior, or the hero in some action movie. If there are good police out there they should show us by arresting their rotten colleagues. The officer who shot the man in the above article should have been immediately disarmed by the other officer there. Maybe US police should go on half pay leave after every incident where they had to draw their firearm. Justify their actions with an automatic third party review. Or the victim’s medical bills have to be covered by the officer’s insurance.

The sensationalist, profiteering media who are another group ready to exploit a race war. Maybe they should be doing more stories of when police disarmed a situation without firearms. Or how about in depth stories on the relationship between police, politicians, and for corporations who supply the police. Why do police budgets need to rise at higher rates than inflation? Or ask why in other countries police shooting unarmed people immediately leads to public outrage, inquiries and police procedural reviews.

History is full of examples of police needing constant scrutiny and accountability or they become the threat to society they were meant to deal with. Every officer and police service must use the current attention to start a process of evolution. Instead of complaining about #BlackLivesMatter, complain the service has lax hiring processes that allow racists and sociopaths in uniform, or the poor support systems that have police doing the job of mental health workers or tax collectors. Challenge the orthodoxy of traditional policing, it appears to have failed spectacularly.

I doubt anything will really change in the US, Churchill said something about Americans only doing the right thing after they’ve tried all possible wrong options. Sadly a much higher body count will be needed before the wrong options are exhausted.

We Elect Humans #Ldnont #Cdnpoli

It is a sad time for democracy. The Honourable Jo Cox MP can be murdered consulting her constituents, when this sort of crime happens there are no parties or partisanship required. Yet, there are trolls and opportunists looking to capitalize on this tragedy, use it to score cheap political points and win the next media cycle. If we want to be outraged by something, how about violence like we’ve seen recently.

The way we treat our elected officials would be considered harassment in any other job. Constant observation under media microscopes, unreachable high standards, constant belittlement, attacks of a personal nature, and pressure to satisfy opposing camps of voters. Makes me wonder why more politicians aren’t taking us voters to the Labour Relations Boards. Maybe we should replace them all with robots to avoid the faux shock that they are humans with flaws. Add the family as election props into the mix, like applying to Walmart you show up with your kids and give them prepared statements to smile through. That should be considered child abuse, any use of children in an adults professional career should.

Until the tragic news of a dead baby found in dumpster London’s biggest story was two consenting adults having sex. The outrage, the scandull, cue the hand wringing Victorian spinsters. Funny, the Mayor/Deputy Mayor situation will get more coverage in the next few news cycles than the homeless man who found the baby still being homeless. A couple having sex is not an embarrassment for London, homelessness is.

In the developed/G7 world it is ‘misuse of funds’, yet in the rest of the world it is corruption. Yoichi Masuzoe, governor of Tokyo, resigned for spending government Yen on himself and his family. That is what a political scandal looks like, now if one of the parties in London were a foreign agent baiting the honey trap then yes be concerned. I doubt the SVR or GRU are going to waste time trapping a local politician unless they can get them into Federal Cabinet someday.

Sex is not a crime, since the late 60s police have been told to stay out of the bedrooms. Yet with politicians we suddenly see people demanding Iranian style Morality Police. Are these two getting forty lashes each or buried in sand up to their necks to be stoned? Maybe we, the ones who pile so much pressure on our elected officials, drove them to this relationship. I could list, a very long list, of politicians who’ve had affairs, mistresses, and liaisons yet are remembered, rightly, for policy and results. Should this ruin either political career it will speak more about London’s backwoods provincialism than the individuals.

Corruption, the rise of right wing and religious extremism, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Climate Change, unrestricted global arms sales, terrorism, phobias, famine, forced migration, slavery, homelessness, and many other things are more important than who the Mayor has been sleeping with. Personally, I was more disappointed on Mayor Brown’s flip flop on the transit system, half a billion dollars to keep LTC in the 1940s is far more disturbing.

Here is Jo Cox maiden speech in Westminster. I’m going to escape into Black Adder.

Human Costs of BRT #Ldnont

So we have a smog advisory in effect today, meaning our air quality is potentially deadly, especially for children and the elderly. The focus of the rapid transit debate has been on financial costs. Yes, upfront costs may be cheaper with buses over light rail but the health and environmental effects of buses are similar to cars. From my scan of the business plan the financial data does not include prices on carbon, which the Ontario has committed to.

In March this year Health Canada released a study showing diesel fumes are significant contributor to pollutant levels. In 2015 diesel cost Canada hundreds premature deaths and billions in lost productivity. Using diesel also increases health care costs, reduced activity days, and chronic respiratory problems. Not just the Canadian government is concerned with this the UK, and the US are also moving to reduce diesel emissions and use. In fact the CDC has been concerned for nearly thirty years. With recent revelations about the auto industry falsifying emission results we will have additional costs of retesting emissions for accuracy.

Using natural gas provides higher infrastructure costs from production to consumption and the environmental impacts are not significantly better. Burning natural gas locally will be cleaner for London’s air but will lead to lower air quality along the production and supply chain. The European Commission and the Union of Concerned Scientists see little benefit in using natural gas for transportation.

Safety is another issue that is not found in the business, at least I didn’t find it. Road travel is the most dangerous ways of travel. The most recent statistics for Canada are for 2014, my rough math suggests we had almost a September 11th level of fatalities on Canadian roads two years ago. Transit has lower accident and crime rates than automobile usage as shown in this report.

LRT is more likely to attract new ridership than BRT, which reduces car usage. As analysis in this article suggests more transit use decreases the accident rate amongst other transit. With LRT’s lower operating costs service could be extended to last call, thus reducing drunk driving incidents. Having LRT track means trolleys could be used in off peak hours when bus service is more expensive.

Finally the quality of life benefits of LRT also need to be looked at. Efficient LRT service allows more money for better quality food, more encouragement to be active physically and socially, and decreases the levels of pollution exposed to. Buses to little to reduce the need to decide between filling the gas tank and filling the fridge. Faster LRT will lower people’s commute times and may increase London’s productivity.

London should remove BRT as an option because it does nothing for our role in reducing greenhouse gases, carcinogens, or the city’s overall safety. LRT is more expensive at the beginning but the financial savings of reduced health care costs and safety costs more than make up for it.

London Bus Grid #Ldnont

The current London Transit system is not very effective unless you are getting downtown. So with a Google map of the city and some knowledge of where work is located I came up with a rough grid/point to point system that should solve congestion on the current routes. I’ve been told by LTC that London is ill suited for a grid system but I disagree. Tallahassee Florida has already made the conversion which was more effective and cheaper than using rapid transit on existing routes that leave much of the city uncovered.
The city’s shift plan has given us various versions of the status quo without telling us why the status quo must be kept. I’ve heard the downtown arguments, I’ve also experienced a mass of people on narrow sidewalks waiting to leave downtown whenever the connection bus arrives. How does it benefit downtown to have sidewalks blocked by waiting transit riders?
  • This should put the vast majority of city within 500m of transit
  • Many connecting routes and local loops would only require a single bus during non-peak times
  • Requires more transferring but should increase overall speed of travel
  • Local loops connecting Malls, Fanshawe, University, industrial parks etc
  • Timetables should reflect shift work, rail, air arrivals, etc
  • Regional service should eventually be added to replace loss of for profit service
  • London can learn some lessons from Tallahassee and other cities to better make a transition
  • Tried to have single routes connecting airport to main hotel districts
  • Express routes adopted as needed, the grid my point to routes being needed that aren’t envisioned here or with shift
  • This would have been easier if I could find a population density map of the city “Service unavailable” at StatsCan’s GeoSurvey
Potential Express and/or LRT:
  • Gold Line: From Masonville Mall along Fanshawe Park Road to Wonderland to White Oaks Mall
  • Grey Line: From Masonville Mall along Richmond Street to Central to Wellington to White Oaks Mall
  • Green Line: From Masonville Mall or airport along Fanshawe Park Road down Highbury Avenue to Bradley Avenue to White Oaks Mall
  • Red Line: From Byron Baseline Road along Boler Road to Sanatorium Road to Oxford Street to London Airport
  • Blue Line: From Byron Baseline Road to Springbank Road to Horton Road to Richmond Street to Dundas Street to Clark Road to Oxford Street to London Airport
  • Pink Line: From Boler Road along Commissioners Road to Highbury Avenue
Main Routes:
  • Wonderland from Fanshawe Park Rd to Southdale Rd
  • Oxford St from Commissioners to London Airport
  • Richmond/ Wellington from Fanshawe Park Rd to White Oaks Mall
  • Riverside/Dundas from Sanatorium Rd to Veteran’s Parkway
  • Springbank/Hamilton starts on Byron Baseline connects main routes along Horton ends at Clarke
  • Highbury from Fanshawe Park Rd to Wilton Grove Rd
  • Commissioners main from Oxford St W to Jackson Rd
  • Commissioners alternate from Oxford St W to Warncliffe, Baseline to Thompson to Pond Mills
  • Adelaide from Fanshawe Park Rd to Commissioners and Wellington
  • Western/Warncliffe with Masonville to Lambeth and Masonville to White Oaks Mall options
  • Fanshawe Park Rd from Hyde Park to Highbury
  • Southdale Rd from Boler Rd to Pond Mills
  • Clarke Rd Huron St to Hamilton Rd
  • Hyde Park Rd from Fanshawe Park to Riverside
  • Sarnia Rd from Hyde Park to Western University Hospital
  • Windemere Rd from Medway Heights to Kipps Lane to Huron and Highbury
  • Regent St to Huron to Clarke Rd
  • Cheapside from Richmond to Clarke Rd
  • Veteran’s parkway from Airport to Bradley over to White Oaks Mall
  • Talbot/Rideout Oxford to Bradley, looping behind White Oaks Mall
  • York/Wavell using Florence, Egerton and Brydges to end at Argyle Mall
  • Trafalgar from Adelaide St looped to Hamilton Rd to Veteran’s Parkway
  • Colonel Talbot Dr from Byron centre to Lambeth
  • Colborne from Western University Hospital looping through downtown using York and King
  • Pond Mills from Hamilton Rd to Wilton Grove Rd
  • Whatever I’ve missed

Attawapiskat State of Emergency #Cdnpoli

So it was revealed today Attawapiskat is having another emergency, this time a wave of suicide attempts Saturday and today. This is far too common in Canadian First Nation communities. The previous emergency that made global headlines, the shelter and food crises, ended up with its own Tragically Hip song. Back then everything was supposed to improve for these remote communities.

Maybe a picture of a child suicide will motivate Canadians to help First Nations the way a dead toddler motivated Canadians to help Syrian refugees. Not that a quick, sensational headline and picture is going to fix anything. Perhaps a mandatory look at the inhumane conditions we keep people in will wake people up. Coincidently, my iTunes library started playing Midnight Oil’s Beds are Burning, a song written in the 80s about injustice towards Indigenous Peoples. My how little has changed in three decades.

The current crises is a mental health crises, but how can you fix the mental health crises without dealing with the physical health crises, or the economic crises? The fact this whole situation is artificially created by our indifference, our failure to live up to our side of the Treaties, and our active policies of genocide. Seriously, the Reserve system of North America inspired the British concentration camps in South Africa which lead to Nazi death camps. Throw in the abusive residential school system to reprogram and Canada has nothing to be proud of.

Maybe this time we can get past our failed policy and try something radical, like developing a national mental health strategy with maximum wait times for treatment and shifting resources across the country as needed. We shouldn’t care which level of government is reaching into our bank accounts to pay for it as long as people get the help they need. How much is the current system costing Canada for such terrible results?

The cost of eating healthy in remote communities makes junk food cheaper than healthy foods. Instead of keeping remote communities hostage to oil prices and other air or shipping costs let’s build each community a hydroponics facility. We could use it as a model for space exploration. Heating these facilities with geothermal, and powering the communities with wind, solar and other renewables could help Canada’s remote communities be the first to evolve past the primitive fossil economy. At very least it will create a few jobs. Throw in 3D print on demand technology and the corresponding training and these communities will become more independant.

A greater use of remote technologies to access education will also provide hope and economic activities. For places like Attawapiskat having a terabyte internet service for $25 a month could transform the local economy. Let’s set a deadline of June 2022 for every remote community in Canada having such a service available. That gives us six years to do it, any longer it will be neglected, any shorter it will result in over payments.

It isn’t a coincidence that Germany has free education and is usually one of the first economies to recover from economic downturns. Easier access to higher education will do more for Canada’s economy than million kilometres of pipeline or road. Remove the tuition barrier once and for all in Canada and the small minority who would abuse such a system are not enough to justify punishing everyone else with ever increasing fees that leaves people a hostage to creditors.

We don’t need another round of reports, commissions, tribunals, or discussions in Canada, we need to read the results of all the previous ones and actually implement recommendations. It is a Canadian failure that we discuss things to the point where the status quo is all we’re left with. Then another crises gets noticed and we rehash the discussion points again until the herd loses interest.

It is easy to feel hopeless when malnourished, inactive, ignored, and trapped by barriers created to divide and rule society. Unfortunately the chances of this crises changing anything is slim to none. We’re so encultured to focus on the short term fiscal bottom line we seem to have lost the ability to count the costs in lives.

Shift or Shifty? #Ldnont #Ldnpoli

Full disclosure, I do not live downtown, nor do I live in one of the proposed satellite hubs. I am however a fan of a light rail transit system (LRT) for London, just not the proposed one. Slapping a rapid transit facade on London’s current public transit system transform the city, magically or otherwise, into a Twenty First Century player. To use Nineteenth Century theory and Twentieth Century technology will damage London Ontario. The hub and spoke approach is what London needed a hundred years ago, express buses are what London needed thirty years ago.

How about a hypothetical London by-law that told motorists travelling from one end of Commissioners Road to the other end that the must change cars downtown? Good idea, Commissioners is too insignificant to go straight through, right? Think of how downtown businesses would benefit. This same by-law could make any travel around the city go downtown before the final destination. In fact the Province and Federal Government should help insure such a system of travel couldn’t be altered regardless of requirements.

I suspect any politician that proposed the hypothetical by-law would be laughed out of office and have to emigrate from Canada to run again. If such a transit design is laughable for motorists, then why does London insist transit users take such meandering routes? Are transit users second class residents? Many of London’s existing bus routes look exactly like what not to do in the Provincial Guidelines for Transit.

In my limited research on hub and spoke transit systems the term Single Point of Failure came up. Or as London calls it Dundas/Richmond or Dundas/Clarence. North America’s cargo rail has a hub in Chicago which can take container six to twenty-six months to go through. I suspect under the Shift plan there are no promises that accidents, power outages, crime scenes, fires, or any other blockage will occur at London’s hub.

Another term I came across, also connected to Chicago, is Transit Desert. These are places where if transit exists at all it is slow and means commuting times are long. Inevitably as transit becomes the favoured option in a community the transit deserts become places of poverty. With transit unreliable these poor require cars to get around the city, not only adding to their costs but adding to the city’s congestion problems.

Without knowing the routes to feed the proposed plan in London it is difficult to say which areas will be left out. This lack of information is another reason to reject this plan until we see the full plan. My suspicion is they will be meandering routes that lengthen commutes, increase congestion for cars and buses, and are inconvenient to use. Is there a map that shows London’s jobs in relation to London’s transit routes and London’s underserviced areas? An example of what it would look like is here.

It is easy, and fun, to be critical but let’s be a bit constructive. As Chicago is cold this time of year let’s head to Tallahassee Florida, where in 2011 they replaced the entire hub and spoke system with a grid. When London does the same we should do it in the summer when students are gone. My suggestion is for six LRT lines in London, maybe not fully flushed out to begin with but covering the busiest sections of each area. I’m using colours based on the current, closest routes.

  • Gold Line: From Masonville Mall along Fanshawe Park Road to Wonderland to Exeter Road to White Oaks Mall
  • Grey Line: From Masonville Mall along Richmond Street to Central to Wellington to White Oaks Mall
  • Green Line: From Masonville Mall along Fanshawe Park Road down Highbury Avenue to Bradley Avenue to White Oaks Mall
  • Red Line: From Byron Baseline Road along Boler Road to Sanitorium Road to Oxford Street to London Airport
  • Blue Line: From Byron Baseline Road to Springbank Road to Horton Road to Richmond Street to Dundas Street to Clark Road to Oxford Street to London Airport
  • Pink Line: From Boler Road along Commissioners Road to Highbury Avenue

With these six trunk lines it should be relatively easy to add local grid systems to feed them and bypass them when needed. The hubs are still there but the system loses the single point of failure. In non peak times only six trains need to operate, one per route and they won’t have to go the full distance. In fact the outer north south lines could be looped together to reduce the number of trains even further, such as the last call specials.

Institutional orthodoxy tells us the Shift plan is the only plan that will save London and get people back downtown. That any other plan will hurt London and is anti-downtown. The downtown is my favourite part of London and bordering on agoraphobic I definitely do not want it to become one of those American hub airports full of frustrated travellers and lost luggage. Being a pessimist I suspect London transit riders will see more of this:

Random thoughts for the New Year

So, the standard calendar change over look back, look ahead, look up, look down, look all around post. I didn’t read as many books as I would have liked but I started writing a few, estimated completion date being 24 hours after the universe closes for lack of interest.

I finally have a LEGO Wolverine figure, he came with X-Men1, a Sentinel, Magneto, Storm, and Cyclops who is now wearing the hotdog suit. Now to find my favourite Star Wars characters; Rey, Sabine, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Asoka, Storm Troopers and General Organa. Han Solo and Admiral Ackbar have actually stolen X-Men1 for the Rebel Alliance.

Still playing Flames of War and placed second on the second which is my highest tournament result. It has been a couple of years since I got a new computer game and Medieval II: Total War is finally out for Mac after ten years. I finished the tutorial and am playing the English in a campaign. I need to get a general to command the Genoa garrison.

In February I’m told the Tea Party will be having a writing session, which is good news for me. Nine Inch Nails is supposed to be releasing a new album, I can’t remember what other music is due out but it sounds like a good year ahead. Not that my 2015 play list is disappointing, I did get an autographed Edges of Twilight Deluxe edition re release.

Thanks to Shomi, Netflix, and bootlegs I have been binge watching TV shows over the last year. This won’t change as Shomi finally has season 3 of Vikings up. As you can see my life isn’t really blog worthy.

Politics and current events are things I still follow, occasionally to a point bordering obsession. The year ahead looks messy, even without the overpriced spectacle Americans claim as elections. Hopefully we don’t see more obstacles thrown up against progress on climate change and other major issues.

Anyways I resolve to be more something and less something else this year. I hope to get a writing project finished, ADHD permitting.