I don't wanna go fighting in the tropical heat

Imagine being a nurse in Alberta, sitting in the Telus Convention Centre, waiting to give vaccines for a deadly plague, and your chair is empty for hours because qualified boomers are just like “nah”. Today they had security guards at the doors keeping second dose LINE JUMPERS out while jab stations sat empty. I would steal some vaccines and start a pirate vaccination clinic. If any nurses reading this want to break some “rules”, smash that reply button, I have a family vehicle I can borrow. It’s a Honda.

Here’s what I’m saying because we’re in the middle of a global medical emergency and I genuinely respect the professionalism and skill of Alberta health care professionals: Thank you doctors. You’re incredible and you deserve our gratitude. We owe you an incredible debt.

Here’s what I’d be saying if the air didn’t threaten to kill us with a novel coronavirus: Alberta doctors are absolute fucking cowards. What the hell is the matter with you? I’ve seen less belly from dogs that trust me. Your shame will taint three generations of your bloodline. Imagine working this closely to nurses and through contact acquiring none of their courage. Embarrassing.

Alberta is losing doctors at a pretty impressive clip since Shandro slipped his tiny face into his current office. Most importantly my own family doctor is bailing on a practice I can only describe as extremely busy at all times and I assume lucrative. I saw her early in the dual plagues of COVID and Shandro and she was already upset at the changes headed her way. “What is your professional group doing? If you guys did some sort of labour action you could bring this province to its knees in half a day,” I said. She nodded and shrugged.

They all fucking nodded and shrugged and called moving trucks instead of each other. They expressed displeasure in press releases and bought plane tickets. Can you imagine anything so pathetic? Canadian general practitioners make somewhere around five times the median Canadian household income. Even with their student debt loads, the constant flagstone tied to the ankle of our poor, oppressed doctors wearing iced-out Rolexes, these are some of the most strike-proof people in the country. They can’t even summon the grit of their social inferiors, like hospital janitors and laundry service workers, and that should haunt them to the end of their days. If the guy washing the floor can risk getting shit-canned doing a wildcat you could probably stand outside the Rockyview emergency room doors and tell a reporter that “more is coming, fucking watch”.

These learned pillars of our community can’t see the the kind of elite worker caste they inhabit. If they as a bloc decided to stop seeing patients I think they could get Jason Kenney to kiss their bare feet within 48 hours. If their demand was that he massage their bunions, I think they’d have it, even if he was trussed with electrical tape and forced to knead those hard little buddies by MLAs with sick kids.

Do we want that? Probably not. We love to see labour gains by working class people but I’m not sure I want to open the whole armoury to the heights of the professional class, lest we become a strange medocracy with white-coated senators, chuckling as they leverage prescription pads to effect a coup. But you can’t help but despair to watch groups with great power just pack up their caravan and hit the Oregon Trail. Perhaps if they were dealt a real blow instead of a haircut they might be moved to action instead of just Kelowna.

Or maybe they’re just too busy and tired. I’d buy that, honestly. If you added clinic and research hours to my regular Playstation-based fatigue I’d probably fold too. Why push back against a strong plurality of people, your own patients, who vote in governments that see you as a problem to fix? Is Alberta beautiful enough to fight for? Is it enough fun? Will the schools be cut too? Public services as a whole? Why stay in a place slated, PROMISED, to get worse? Maybe it’s less that doctors don’t want to fight than they don’t have to and aren’t moved to bother. That’s a possibility that should scare the less geographically mobile.

😺Just because we have a cool, new form of social murder doesn’t mean we stopped doing the older, out of fashion forms of social murder.

🐉Gender is a construct but the wildfires are very tangible.

⛄️The boy king is pretty much bad at everything.

🍩Oil companies say symbolic thing they will caveat into meaninglessness by the time their grandkids go to college, maybe.

🌌Public money saved this film studio in Calgary, so now that success is in the offing it’s time to sell and make sure profits go to private pockets. Wait, what?

🔥Federal Green party laughably stupid, water remains wet.

🤟Appendectomy with Prime shipping, coming soon.

🎓We gave a failing airline a bunch of money, didn’t fully nationalize it, and you’ll never guess what they did with regards to executive pay! Seriously, you’ll never guess! I promise!

🎒Sex workers lack labour protections in Taiwan and it’s leading to outbreaks of COVID.

👻Don’t talk about black soldiers, they’ll cut your microphone.

🍖Be on the lookout for austerity knives coming out for libraries hit hard by the pandemic.

🥞It’s very easy to predict the future.

🦾Cryptocurrency is awesome for doing crimes of every sort!

🍄Surveillance is making bosses shittier and more racist.

🦸‍♂️China and the U.S. measuring their missiles will set back scientific progress.

🦷Perhaps a human resources for…humans.

👺Peruvian man enters the zone of success that watchers of history refer to as the “High Risk for Assassination” zone.

🥽Frank Magazine made people read distressing things, which Canadians hate, but it needed to be done because an asset of the RCMP drove around murdering people while the Mounties fucked around like they were in an episode of Reno 911. Not complicated.

📉What has cake and gills and is in Alberta? No, not a trout who ate a birthday treat, it’s the Alberta Federation of Labour! The AA podcast crew breaks down some doings.

🎧Sweater Weather! Good! Watch! Do it!

🔇Good socialists build halls and host punk shows there. Half Past Capitalism is on it.

🎚️Canada has always been bad, you just haven’t paid attention. This week on 49th Parahell.

A Quick Note: if you want us to include an article, petition, link to an event, or just want to drop us a quick line, reply to this newsletter or reach us at albertaadvantagenewsletter [at] gmail [dot] com. We’d love to hear from you! If you want to send some old timey mail, grab those stamps and send tributes/cake/not anthrax to Alberta Advantage Podcast, PO Box 52167 Edmonton Trail, Calgary, AB, T2E 8K9.
Our editor is Clinton Hallahan. Newsletter subject lines are stolen from these songs.

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I was born into this now I'm dying because of it.

Congratulations to everyone. We did it. We beat COVID. Everything is back to normal. Please don’t look behind this curtain. Yes I am aware you can see the hospital behind the curtain. Yes I am aware it’s full. Yes I can see the line of hearses. Yes I can see all the doctors leaving the province. Yes I can feel that nurse stabbing me in the kidney. You are fearmongering. Everything is going great. We did it.

Did you hear the one about the giant parkade that can turn into condos if they are “needed”. Of course not, it’s a stupid premise for a joke. But it gets you thinking about some of the stupid shit landlords will do instead of building things people need at prices they can afford.

Landlords know that governments are toothless they just sit and wait on empty units and never, ever, ever lower the rent on commercial property. It’s in their best interest for a lot of reasons and some desperate party will always come by with a bag of money. Oops, it’s your turn, intrepid Calgarian.

The owners of downtown buildings and units typically have a lot of options they can take before lowering rent to market prices to attract tenants. They can open another fucking bank branch, look like creative social philanthropists, or just sit on the space and watch the value go up on a spreadsheet because it’s 2021 and bubbles are profitable if you get out before it pops. This is a problem, however, for parties who depend on the proliferation and success of businesses that rent their space. Oops.

In 2021 you don’t need to have many, or even successful businesses; they just need to be big and keep revenue moving. Every corporation is a game of musical chairs, and so long as your bonds get paid out, or you find a new job before the holes you bore in the hull take on water, well, fuck em’ if they can’t take a joke. The ripples to the public purse from business not having to make products or profits travel far.

If there aren’t a whole lot of businesses in downtown buildings paying taxes, landlords know someone will pay them to take no risk pulling some bullshit that should be undertaken by a state acting in the best interest of its citizens using the power to nationalize. Calgary will shell out half a billion dollars saving our precious landlords from risking their bottom line converting dead office space into residential properties. We’ll accelerate the building of hated bike lanes, maybe build some parks and, hell, suck the toes of someone at Loblaw’s to open some sort of groceteria in some of the shittiest, most corporately desolate areas of the city to get the money flowing again. Their property will never be expropriated for the public good because everyone is afraid of angering some phantom “ma and pop landlord”, who represent a tiny fraction of the total landholding population, to say nothing of the political influence of the corporate landlords themselves. Is there anything more disconnected from the lives of typical Canadians than landlords that can make more money letting units sit empty than lowering rents to usher in new tenants?

Calgary won’t be the last city throwing wads of cash seasoned with politician tears at these people, begging them to change format from “empty carpeted ballrooms with leftover cubicle parts” to “something, anything, please fucking god do something that makes revenue”. Nobody can afford housing, nobody is downtown past 6 P.M., and they all know they have us by the balls. All they have to do is wait in their office in Raleigh or Manchester or Singapore until we’re put on our knees by our own tax models and political weakness. The demand is there, the structural cracks are as wide as your palm, but they won’t blink before a suitcase full of money clicks open.

🏹New whistleblower line open to report UCP corruption.

🎻If you mix together a bad government forcing through drafts, a bunch of people who couldn’t and didn’t do the reading, and a weird rush to release supportive statements despite not, actually, supporting the latest drafts as they are, you get the Very Competent Alberta Curriculum Rollout, Baby (VCACRB)!

🏍Imagine 99% of your employees voting to say you suck ass at your job and they hate you and NOT crumbling into a pile of writhing viscera and hiding from public life forever. Only idiots would stick around.

🛸Alberta energy was good case study why “self-regulation” is pretty bad. The industry runs on a shocking amount of honour system reporting. California didn’t get the memo.

⛲️A new wave of gentrification will be defeated by an unlikely and powerful foe - the previous wave of gentrifiers.

Australia, as usual, is trying hard to be as shitty as Canada.

📡The Brazilians are threatening our national unity under donuts.

💉Canadian pension plans should, as a rule, try not to immiserate other people by investing in dogshit.

🪒They hate to see a girl boss droning weddings.

🧼Less of a “cease-fire” and more of a “don’t shoot at us while we continue to fuck up your shit”.

🧉The B.C. NDP sucks so bad.

🧸The wildfires are starting pretty early this year.

📯A beautiful PR maneuver will make this “tiny” fund run by ex-Blackrock executives the first name in “green” investing. They’ll lose this bid to change Exxon and reap the dividends for decades to come but making a little flap will make them look like they’re standing up for some invisible little guy. Fun to watch in real time.

🧉Eli Valley does not miss.

📵“Essential workers” and “social reproduction” are colliding in a post-pandemic landscape.

☢️Remember that time black people in the United States were lynched for being too successful?

📉Soviet internet? Sign me up! I will not listen any further to what actually happened.

🎧Big Shiny takes talks about Tristan Hopper. Is he the one who beat up the raccoon to save his family? Who can keep track of raccoon murder.

🔇I personally want to teach kids that I invented Funko Pops. The Progress Report says that might not be good.

🎚️Alberta Advantage boys showed up on Kino Lefter to talk about a smokejumping mother of six, and the Smart Crew made podcasting history by getting mad on the internet about idiots. They did it the best out of anyone, believe me.

🍲Sign this petition so we can, uh, learn about how we helped do a coup in Haiti.

🍷Time to soup up your car.

A Quick Note: if you want us to include an article, petition, link to an event, or just want to drop us a quick line, reply to this newsletter or reach us at albertaadvantagenewsletter [at] gmail [dot] com. We’d love to hear from you! If you want to send some old timey mail, grab those stamps and send tributes/cake/not anthrax to Alberta Advantage Podcast, PO Box 52167 Edmonton Trail, Calgary, AB, T2E 8K9. Palestine will be free from the river to the sea.
Our editor is Clinton Hallahan. Newsletter subject lines are stolen from these songs.

Support us on Patreon

Heed the threat and awesome power of the mighty Pentagon

You know who sucks? Customs goons at the CBSA. Tell me they make sense in 2021. They’re goddamn Stuff Cops. They just look at mail all day and determine how much it will cost to ransom your shit. If you were a huge Canadian corporation you’ve probably greased enough palms to pay no duty or tariffs on industrial inputs or equipment. Are you a working sucker who bought an iPad from the wrong seller on Amazon? Fuck you, pay your government $55 dollars or no iPad. Stuff Cops are worse than regular cops, I will stand by this forever.

For the use of future peoples, I have invented the most significant intellectual academic philosophical tool since Derrida discovered that being abstruse makes you seem smart: I call it the McNamara Quotient.

In one fell swoop I have solved political science. I’m submitting myself for the Nobel Peace Prize. Like Barack Obama, you all don’t know that I’ve really done anything at all and I don’t have access to Hellfire missiles so I feel good about my chances. Here’s how it works:

In any conflict your average international bystander wants to know who the baddie is. This is important because World War 2 had a pretty clear antagonist (sorry about Dresden) and people think better in binaries. The problem with modernity is that we have a lot of information, and a lot of that is planted for our consumption to one end or another. When it comes to Israel trying to trample Palestinian territory into dust anyone living in North America has by ideological ambiance absorbed stories of Hamas atrocities. They fire rockets! They kidnap! Suicide bombings! It complicates the narrative when the Israeli Defense Forces topples an apartment building filled with kids. We called ahead, they shrug. Maybe the Palestinians asked for these dead kids?

The answer to the doubt is the McNamara Quotient, or McQ Score. The McQ is based on the amount of NATO and American military aid, in adjusted U.S. dollars, purchased or granted in total to a nation-state. To keep things simple these will be publicly reported dollars, not CIA black dollars funneled to whomever might stir the pot to support continued military aid to whomever or whatever country. Just take the Billions, lop off the zeroes and you’re done, you have the McQ for a country.

To stay topical, take Israel. According to the Congressional Research Service the government of Israel has received $146 billion USD in military aid since 1948, so their McQ score is 146. By comparison, the state of Palestine has received, to my knowledge, none. No M1 Abrams tanks, no Predator drones, no AGM-86 ALCM cruise missiles. No training, cash, or bullets. So their McQ score is 0.

On the ground the result is obvious - a Palestinian throws a rock at a concrete wall, their head explodes from a round fired by a H-S Precision Pro Series 2000 HTR sniper rifle. A Palestinian fires a rocket from Gaza into an empty field, Israel blows up a school with a M109A6 mobile artillery platform firing a 155mm shell. This has been the case for some time, but now you have a McQ score to see who is in the wrong.

See, comparing casualties is nothing compared to comparing capability. High casualty rates between McQ comparable nations or groups could just be one side being very good at war! But with McQ, you can get a great idea of whether the fight was fair, one-sided, or a complete and total mismatch between an advanced first-world military and a group of prisoners fighting with literal sticks and stones. If there is a gap of 50 McQ or more, the stronger side might be doing war crimes!

My hope is that the McNamara Quotient - named for that hallowed thinker that vaulted war into the modern world of statistics and number-crunching quantitative analysis - will lay to rest false and stupid appeals to nuance. Anybody with a boot on their neck will be inclined to pry it off. If you respond to fingernail scratches in the leather with a burst from a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) machine gun, your sense of morals might be flawed! With a clear scoring system you never again have to trust your senses, your facts, or your principals. The score will set you free to never consult those parts of your personality ever again.

🥃Stay the fuck away from Banff.

🤠The UCP is imploding but, as our local equine comrade pointed out, the NDP is focusing on Kenney as the problem, not conservative policy. After his ouster the UCP will be darlings again.

🍧I’ve been reading about the Hydrogen Future for 20 years. It wasn’t true out of Popular Science Magazine then and it’s not true now out of Suncor. Get that seed money out of Kenney though, I won’t shame a hustle that will work.

🎺Sean Chu remains an ignorant moron.

🏉Your family might have been impoverished and more layoffs are on the way, but Cenovus was able to report strong earnings and value for shareholders. You should all be proud.

🍿CNRL makes a shit-ton of money, took almost $200 million in federal COVID subsidies, and still can’t stop hundreds of their employees from getting sick.

🚦Just ignore the byline and send this to your parents when you talk about wellsite cleanup and unemployment in Alberta. Just glaze right over it, hold your nose, and paste it into the group chat. It’s good to convince them using the words of a boomer cosplayer.

👺A statistic to keep an eye on: physiotherapy engagement in various jurisdictions. Long COVID sufferers seem to be heading to them in droves.

⛳️Kaycee Madu should resign.

🚨Turns out selenium does not give you the talent and vocal range of a Mexican-American tejano singer.

🎻Brazeau County man flies flags demanding his neighbours commit acts of property damage on his home whenever possible.

🕹RCMP officers? Folks, they’re nuts.

🎥Climate change will open up new and bigger areas of the planet for vampires to fuck up.

🪔Like police unions, police time theft does not get our support. Respect the effort but, you know, cop. Sorry.

💋Greyhound is dead, and just before electric busses and automation might make the century-old business a bit more viable again. Maybe. Perhaps if we put the busses on tracks and made them very fast?

🎎Doug Ford is still much better at being a bastard than our local hucksters.

🧸Keir Starmer is an M15 op. What an absolute loser. The man is pure Cream of Wheat. Whoever voted for him to be leader of the Labour party should have their marriage instantly annulled. There is no way they contain actual blood or a pulse. They’re dead! Just declare it! In better times Keir (fake name, good God) would open his belly with a katana and have Russell Brand cut his head off if he lost his nerve.

🧛‍♂️Do you think one bridge falling down on a major highway in the U.S. will make Infrastructure Week actually accomplish something? What about the closure of a major bridge over a huge fucking river? No?

✒️Joe Biden will definitely support open-sourcing COVID vaccines and will aw-shucks with his whole body when it’s blocked by this or that bullshit body. NAFTA court? Some UN shit? Somebody will spike it and he will be SOOO sad!

🎴The collected mercenary hires of Canadian mining companies could probably just roll the Canadian Forces and take over the country.

🔉The Modi government is engaging in genocide on the poor and using COVID to do it.

👾Long Live Scabby.

🦺Billionaires should become un-billioned, and pronto.

🙀I can’t remember if I posted these before, but Alberta Advantage comrades have been in the pages of Jacobin recently writing about Canada’s carbon tax and the Nova Scotia coal industry. Both are great pieces by beautiful people and they deserve your eyeballs. Give them to us, to add to our Eyeball Vault, so that we may trade retina futures.

📉Have you ever dreamed about nuking Alberta? The government of Alberta has. A great new episode on the pod.

🎧Harbinger has added three brand new shows and you are a Grade-A patoot if you don’t subscribe and support Canadian leftist media!

🔇Never buy a book written by a neocon dork and never watch the movie adaptation. Kino Lefter has your back.

🎚️The relationship between Doug Ford’s Conservatives and Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board should probably not be a thing! This month on Harbinger Society Presents.

🧶Go protest the murder of Palestinians in a city near you over the next few weeks.

👢If you have a moment, send an email to Alpha House and tell them to stop union busting for one damn second.

A Quick Note: if you want us to include an article, petition, link to an event, or just want to drop us a quick line, reply to this newsletter or reach us at albertaadvantagenewsletter [at] gmail [dot] com. We’d love to hear from you! If you want to send some old timey mail, grab those stamps and send tributes/cake/not anthrax to Alberta Advantage Podcast, PO Box 52167 Edmonton Trail, Calgary, AB, T2E 8K9.
Our editor is Clinton Hallahan. Newsletter subject lines are stolen from these songs.

Support us on Patreon

I don't care about spots on my apples

My friends had their dog neutered today and it still has more balls than Justin Trudeau. Imagine being the leader of a country and just watching sub-leaders turn their provincial citizens into a fine paste by the dozens and you just keep cheerleading for things the way they are. Even embarrassing them from the pulpit would be better. What a dope. Here’s a newsletter that is doing more to help Canadians survive their provincial governments than Justin Trudeau.

When you sit back and watch, I don’t know, a coyote running at you from across a field, you would probably move to avoid it. Some sort of animal with a look of ill intent, if it runs at you, and there are people around saying “hey, that thing wants to bite your thigh right off, you should run or move or something”, you would probably run or move or something. If a person didn’t do that you would probably think they were stupid!

Okay so now the coyote is gnawing on the person. The person didn’t run or move so the coyote has taken liberties with their limbs, making chops and roasts of our dullard friend, Realman McMetaphor, while we watch. We’re pretty close and the coyote is doing that dog thing where they chew on something, head down, but their eyes are looking and wary and, you think, for just a second, looking at the next course. “Oh,” you might say to nobody in particular, “I should be careful of this fucking coyote.”

But then the coyote is finished or put his leftovers in a doggie bag (heh) and he runs toward you because you haven’t moved or run or anything so now the coyote is eating you and others are around and they’re, I don’t know, they’re concerned and making moves as if to do something or run but maybe they’re a little interested? Who can blame them, you rarely get to see bad things happen in some parts of Canada if you’re upper class and educated and maybe these people want to see some carnage. They would probably text their spouses if they saw even a little bit of a car accident because, woah, you so rarely see it happen, just the aftermath or you hear about it from friends. A non-lethal car accident would be interesting to watch, just once, if nobody got hurt.

Okay but now the coyote looks confused like, why is nobody running from me. I’m a predator. I’m scary! I think I’m scary. Now the coyote is wondering if all this human meat is a trick. The coyote is supposed to be COVID and the dumb shit people who are now dinner, lunch, and dinner tomorrow, are supposed to be the Alberta government, the voting public, and the public at large somewhat respectively. I have to be honest this one kind of got away from me. I think I was making a point about how responsibility is diffuse in representative democracies and Canada is too big for violent riots to have much impact because the people in power are too few and far away to feel threatened.

Anyway, things are very bad in Alberta and I am here, you better believe, to tell you that maybe they should improve, especially when you see the threat coming to chew on your kidneys from a couple rods/leagues away. Some preventative steps should be the low bar? How do you state the obvious when obvious arrived and started killing your friends and still get into it? That’s what this is, I guess. Christ.

🪁The quality of scholarship coming out of the University of Calgary has already dropped precipitously ahead of murderous funding cuts. (Though their sociologists are already of suspect quality, except my wife who is world class and very hot).

🦖Lots of union jobs going in the shredder for rounding-error savings. Those savings will evaporate with overages and billing increases in about a year. But hey, at least dollars can go to shareholders instead of union members. That’s all that matters.

🎬Federal finance minister declares that oil is the Blood in our Soil and the industry is very, very important!

🕊Local idiots don’t realize that housing is plentiful and cheap in Calgary. Idiots.

🍨Truck-sized boil spews money-pus into the Forgiveness Chest, will face no further investigation or irritation of his sac.

🛴Canadian industry isn’t even world-class at ruining the planet.

🕸Tyler Shandro lied about parentage, new research shows.

⛲️People working at COVID-bathed abattoirs (literally) got jerked around for months but are now getting vaccines delivered to them, a symbolic gesture that lets Cargill off the hook for killing employees with apathy.

🌝Alberta’s answer to Tim & Eric is the funniest show on the internet and they actually have the balls to commit and get COVID.

🏉School boards are begging to go online so they can stop dying of plague and the province is just ushering them back into Death Clouds.

🦔Defunding police is good, but a great short-term goal should be uncoupling local police assets from military and intelligence mass surveillance.

⛅️Families separated by COVID, a couple kilometers, and one bridge.

🌬They made fun of your pottery major but who will be laughing when people need containers to store home-pickled nettles and pinecones for winter?

🐹Keeping vaccine doses to yourself (looking at you, all the Americans in the timeline getting vaccinated at rates that boggle the Canadian mind) will probably get you killed in the end.

🍯Buy guns, get in your car, kill people, it’s fine, just do it, this is America, killing rules, have fun.

🎸Jair Bolsonaro fully just pointing a gun to the lungs of the planet and demanding random now.

🥨Don’t go on boats with Canadian men.

🐀Soccer is boring as hell, despite certain podcast colleagues insistence to the contrary, but the meta-game is hilarious.

🥐David Cameron still gets mocked online every day of his life, as he should.

🍻Protected speech or no, it’s imperative you fart on cops at every opportunity.

🍩Solidarity with the army of psychotherapists forced to respond to climate change anxiety with shrugs and “yeah we’re probably fucked at this rate”.

🎭It’s an honour and privilege to get owned and embarrassed with compassion by the Blackfeet Tribe out of Montana.

🪐Thailand did a pretty good job with COVID and has better soup overall than Western nations. Why?

🏹It’s official - Bill Gates is a huge fuckface.

📉I was on The Mind of a Skeptical Leftist some weeks ago for a great conversation with Cory Johnston. Check it out and listen to my dulcet tones.

🎧Alberta Advantage had some banner episodes this month talking about the origins of the CCF and why corporate feminism is bad feminism.

🔇Big Shiny Takes subjected the Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs guy to some Canadian op-eds, which seems cruel. The man wrote “Radio Kaliningrad”, he deserves better than this shabby treatment.

🎚️Tech Won’t Save Us talks about the Amazon union drive(s). Can’t hear it over my crying.

🦾Just because our governments have ruined our lives and turned them into an endless hamster wheel of anxiety and GDP-juicing drudgery doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ring in May Day with local leftists. Speakers, solidarity, mutual aid, and revelry online on May 1.

🐍VTAG in Victoria is calling on the city and province to get off their west coast liberal/NDP asses and do something to support the unhoused.

A Quick Note: if you want us to include an article, petition, link to an event, or just want to drop us a quick line, reply to this newsletter or reach us at albertaadvantagenewsletter [at] gmail [dot] com. We’d love to hear from you! If you want to send some old timey mail, grab those stamps and send tributes/cake/not anthrax to Alberta Advantage Podcast, PO Box 52167 Edmonton Trail, Calgary, AB, T2E 8K9.
Our editor is Clinton Hallahan. Newsletter subject lines are stolen from these songs.

Support us on Patreon

There's no brawling with the strategy of energy

Listen up young people, you go out and have too much fun too often. You leave your detached home, your retirement fund, and your 2.4 children and go out and party without a mask all the time. You drive around getting COVID by choice and I’m sick of it! Millenials have had it way too easy with cheap housing, high wages, inexpensive education, and a functioning politics for TOO LONG. It’s time to grow up and deal with this pandemic our way: go to work, then go home and watch Wandavision. GET WITH IT, YOUNGS.

“Cried. Let it out.”

This is the “free” center square in the Self-Care Bingo Card, shared on Twitter by the Government of British Columbia in February 2021. It was deemed "insulting to everybody" in the words of one community advocate. Was the state really encouraging crying? Had it come to this?

Clearly, the dashed-off infographic didn’t match the scale and seriousness of the COVID-19 crisis. Nearly a year into the pandemic, people knew that more material supports were required rather than lifestyle advice. Other bingo squares suggested reading a book or making a blanket fort, useless tips for those putting working hours into the service economy or, worse still, living in tents.

This misguided move at least warranted a public conversation. Fewer opportunities for feedback present themselves, however, as self-care steadily seeps into workplaces, leisure spaces, social media, and pop culture, used to sell personal products, services, classes, and books. Ubiquitous almost to the point of meaninglessness, the term/concept has leapt out of the leftwing activist realm, where it was once contained, to seemingly everywhere else.

“Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health” according to PsychCentral. This definition is broad enough to encompass the stereotypical candles and yoga approach plus the World Health Organization’s emphasis on maintaining physical health “with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”

For many situations, it’s assumed to be “without”. As in the B.C. example, self-care is the frontline response in places where most folks know, deep down, it shouldn’t necessarily be. After all, a political leader, public health officer, or manager telling you to relax and work out your own issues might not engender the grateful feelings they expect. Practices purported to comfort us, strengthen us, and unlock our best, individual selves feel forced, arbitrary, and generic offered in place of substantial improvements.

Sometimes, self-care is simply a lie. Is the mandatory “wellness seminar” actually a performance review? An invitation to snitch on colleagues? Can recommending “inner work” become an easy way out? Cynical takes are well warranted.

The thing is, self-care falls down when taken on its own merits too. Much as mindfulness can be wrestled from corporate control and used to consider the world around us with its complex contradictions, redirecting our time and attention can put us back in touch with one another and our full range of needs and capacities.

In 2019’s How To Do Nothing, Jenny Odell writes, “It is with acts of attention that we decide who to hear, who to see, and who in our world has agency. In this way, attention forms the ground not just for love, but for ethics.” Odell sees value not in small acts of self-indulgence (usually involving shopping or others’ labour) but in genuinely not being “productive” in the sense that hustle culture would have it. It’s sufficient, sometimes, to be present.

Odell’s calls for awareness bring to mind the work of Andre Lorde, the black lesbian feminist whose second cancer diagnosis in the late 1980s spurred her to define self-care as a radical act. To her, self-care was “self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” This sentiment led to self-care’s widespread adoption in activist circles in the ‘80s, persevering into the current decade.

There’s a key distinction between the pervasiveness of self-care among leftists and its popularity in mainstream society. Self-care was originally meant to counter activist burnout and get one back in the fight — the fight to change mainstream society into something less difficult, cruel, and alienating to live in.

In 2020’s Comrade, Jodi Dean writes that self-care might not have been truly serving leftist goals well either. “The discipline of collective work on behalf of a shared goal has been replaced by an individualist rhetoric of comfort and self-care.” Comrade, an extended essay printed as a slim hardcover volume, points the way to understanding each other as, well, comrades, a relationship distinct from friends, family, or neighbours.

That’s good to hear since, in Western Canada, most types of relationships now seem vaguely defined and strained. In the early pandemic days, and into the summer of 2020, narratives around neighbourliness abounded, pushed by public health agencies. Designated “cohorts” or “bubbles” kept one safer than associating with strangers. Yet from November onwards, banned “indoor gatherings” include visits from anyone outside your home, for those not living alone. The formula keeps sites of commerce humming while private lives wither. You can see your boss and coworkers, but not friends or family: an economic rationality applied to relationships.

A key insight in self-care is distinguishing between what’s not within your control, and what is. In “normal” circumstances this still leaves individuals little room to maneuver, since you usually don’t have control in your workplaces or the actions of governments and companies, let alone other people. In the circumstances of COVID-19, what’s under your control seems to change and diminish, daily or weekly. Choices you have to make, you wish you didn’t: judging whether or not public locations are safe, whether an activity is necessary or optional, whether leaving the house lifts your mood, or causes more stress and anxiety. 

Those in positions of authority love to pretend they’re just like us: doing their best and looking for anything to feel optimistic about, but utterly incapable of doing anything but sighing and wishing things were different. Alberta Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw had her own “bingo card” moment during the 2021 Easter weekend, tweeting about egg hunting with your household (the only in-person type of relationship left) and following restrictions as an “an act of kindness”. A fine filler tweet, if she hadn’t left Albetans hanging on details of a significant P.1 variant outbreak two days before.

Dr. Hinshaw and her colleagues in the six Canadian provinces that have yet to adopt “#CovidZero” policies must stop discussing “individual responsibility” and offer effective public solutions to public problems. Governments can act swiftly to actively suppress the virus — this is the humane act of "self-care” for society. There’s no “balance” to be had between the science and the fringe conspiracies, and it’s absurd to direct state resources to recommending dinky consumer-based responses as a placating trade-off. The tools to reach #CovidZero are ready to use: PPE, contact tracing, mass and rapid testing, streamlined vaccine distribution. Mental, emotional, and physical health remain impaired as long as deadly outbreaks continue.

Those in power need to take responsibility for our care. The rest of us simply need to decide how to spend our free time.

-Karen, Team Advantage

🕷Preacher dickhead tests behaviour that would get a person of colour shot by cops, does not get shot by cops.

🥃Nenshi is done with Calgary politics, and who can blame him. At first the high water mark of institutional progressivism in Calgary, the (good, smart, handsome) world passed him on the left as he realized the limitations of his activism from the mayoralty. The steel in his spine slowly dissolved by years of harassment from sprawl developers, he leaves as a cautionary tale about liberal electoralism - it’s working as intended, and if you want to change it significantly you misunderstood the job.

🦾Local man forced to conclude that contact tracing might have been a good idea.

🐱Facebook comment dorks always love to say “we didn’t just hand them a bag of cash, idiot” like tax breaks and removal of obligations isn’t some kind of subsidy.

🐬We’re just going to keep talking about vast Albertan unemployment for decades without preparing anything until it’s too late, eh?

🌝Ontario is now the Fury Road, Canada is becoming a planet-worst plague ship, people who stay at home and work are getting vaccines while people go into work as essential are forced to wait and die, stores are allowed to stay open if they stop selling crayons and sprinklers. It’s all going very well.

🍘The University of British Columbia blazes trails in sucking ass once again (SFU rules, losers, woooo). Also John Horgan is a moron trying to distract from his failure.

🐔Houses are for MONEY TO LIVE IN.

🏹If Jair Bolsonaro doesn’t face charges at The Hague there is no point to having The Hague.

🌟Large book advances are, I think, one of the things that protect a democracy. It’s very hard to do a conspiracy when the cash from the book deal is really high! You can just rat, be a hero, and collect the spoils. The trick is to kill people publicly and get the book deal before people notice.

🛸120 units per hour.

🥩Wanting to get sick and die usually means you love Hitler. I don’t make the rules.

🌶The proliferation of American militias can only be a good thing, right?

🍰Silicon Valley is absolutely going to get you evicted.

🥜Doing violence for America, then having violence done to you by America.

📽This is my “where’s the catch” face but hesitant support for a Toronto non-profit trying to keep a building affordable for 99 years.

📡Oh word if you pump public money into research you get unexpected positive benefits? Fucking crazy I am very surprised.

🥏The People Walker.

📉The popular kids go long on the National Energy Program and Universal Basic Income. I hope to sit at their table someday at lunch.

🎧Are NFTs good? Probably not, is what I say about everything new.

🔇Habibti Please talks about the probably dreadful NDP convention where all the contributions from the members will be ignored because lmao.

🎚️Harbinger Network is adding new shows and you can help! Check us out and grow Canadian left media.

🎲Edmonton folks should sign this BLM YEG petition to cut the police budget by the appropriate amount. Which turns out to be a lot!

🗿The bookstore at the University of Calgary is a good job for students and is well run and maintained. Naturally the gargoyles in management want to privatize it! Tell them to get fucked.

🚬Justin Trudeau will be remembered in history for his blinding stupidity at folding on electoral reform. Help Fair Vote remind him that he’s a wuss and an idiot.

✒️Boilermakers are still locked out at Cessco (not a weed store) in Edmonton. If you’re close by you should visit their pickets and bring them a coffee.

A Quick Note: if you want us to include an article, petition, link to an event, or just want to drop us a quick line, reply to this newsletter or reach us at albertaadvantagenewsletter [at] gmail [dot] com. We’d love to hear from you! If you want to send some old timey mail, grab those stamps and send tributes/cake/not anthrax to Alberta Advantage Podcast, PO Box 52167 Edmonton Trail, Calgary, AB, T2E 8K9.
Our editor is Clinton Hallahan. Newsletter subject lines are stolen from these songs.

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