Friday, January 13, 2023

F-35's, Outside Consultants, and Capitalism

 


So all of the outrage about the expensive white elephan F-35 fighter jets that the Liberals engaged in when it was the harpercons lying and hiding turns out to have been just for show.  (Not surprised.  Just pointing it out.)

Also, recently, I saw the pea-brained parasite Pierre Poilievre yammering about the Liberals having hired the scumbags from McKinsey to do nothing for tons of public dollars.  Poilievre conveniently forgets how his harpercon crew were unprecedented in hiring outside consultants (generally friends of the party) for government work.

It's the same phoney outrage all the time.  It's the nature of capitalist pseudo-democracy.  The oligarchy always gets its demands.  The two parties play-act outrage when they're in opposition and wounded innocence when they're in power.  

And when the NDP becomes the contender at the provincial level (British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) they become almost indistinguishable from other provinces' Liberal parties (with a few differences here and there).

Nothing will change so long as our society is ruled by a philosophy that puts profits over people and democracy.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Brief Thoughts on the Recent Chaos Over Speaker of the House of Representatives

 


I don't know much about the guy who finally won the vote to be the Speaker in the now Republican controlled House of Representatives.  Lemme look up his name again.  (I think it's "McKnight.")

...

I was wrong.  It's Kevin McCarthy.  As I understand it, despite his enthusiastic support for Trump's contention that he only lost his re-election for President bid due to Democratic corruption of the electoral process [a claim that is obviously untrue and extremely hypocritical], McCarthy is [I think] seen by a small group of extreme-right-wing populists as a representative of the "soft-on-the-'globalists'" establishment.

Anyhow, the Republicans have a very small majority in the House.  Just as the Democrats did in 2020.  As Nancy Pelosi, in 2020, needed the vote of every Democratic Congressperson, McCarthy needed every single vote he could get in order to be elected.  For that reason, a small group of renegades had the ability to block his election either to utterly confound him or in order to extract policy concessions.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Thwap's Post Wherein He Shall List the Books He's Reading in 2023

 

Apparently there was a series called "The Librarian."

In October 2021 I started a post: "Latest Reads."  About a month later I decided to make it my one-stop shopping post for all the future books that I'd read.  The post's title was amended to "Latest Reads: [NOW THWAP'S GIANT BOOK DEPOSITORY!!!!] I continued it into 2022.  But that eventually became too unwieldy to edit.  By Autumn 2022 I decided to start another post for the year's book readings in 2023 and here it is.

2023-01-01

I finished a collection of short stories from Kurt Vonnegut Jr. a day or two ago.  Welcome to the Monkey House.


There's a story about a right-wing Republican loudmouth who hates the Kennedy's.  There's a story about decent, upstanding US-Americans being forced to be human chess-pieces with a deranged Asiatic warlord and his amoral, inhuman Russian overseer.  Seems Vonnegut was something of a Cold War liberal.

There were a few stories similar to the one novel of his I recently read (Cat's Cradle) about a breakthrough scientific discovery that goes causes unforeseen outcomes.  There were a few stories about people learning to let their hair down.  I found it entertaining.

2023-01-20

I'll post some titles, links and images of covers and then maybe say something later.

The Hero's Way: Walking with Garibaldi from Rome to Ravenna by Tim Parks (2021)


I really enjoyed this book.  Parks has an eye for important details.  Both for human behaviour and the physical landscape.  As you would be able to tell if you'd seen my Giant Book Depository post, I've been doing some reading about 18th and 19th Century Europe.  Italian Unification was one of the big things I wanted to know about.  And my hazy knowledge of Garibaldi's importance to that subject made me want to learn more about it.

In this book Parks and his wife follow (as best they can given the scanty source material and the changes to Italy's roads since the 1860's) to follow Garibaldi's retreat from the failed Roman Republic to eventual escape from the Austrian, French and Naples forces chasing his small band of followers.  You really get a sense of the desperation of the flight as well as a sense of the changes that have happened to the world since then.

Twelve Stories by Emmet Grogan (2018)


For all I know the BMV employee who recommended the book (since I was already buying Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle) was Emmet Grogan himself.  It's available at BMV outlets.  It's about a guy who grew up in the 1970's in small town Northern Ontario.  Lot's of drinking and weirdos.  The protagonist's transformation from drunken ne'er do well to successful gallery owner and seller of counterfeit Native art seemed a trifle hurry.  As was his transformation from drunken imbecile to sensitive Torontonian man of the world.  Still, the stories never let up.  The mystery of where him and his friend were the weekend that "Star Wars" came out had a totally unexpected conclusion.

Oliver Cromwell and the Rule of the Puritans in England by Charles Firth (1900) 


I was surprised that my e-book from the Toronto Public Library had actually been written in 1900.  Anyhow, I pretty much agree with the review.  Firth's was one of the first scholarly reevaluations of this controversial figure.  Cromwell genuinely thought that he was doing the work of his imaginary God.  He was a bizarre figure in many respects.  He was also an impressive military man.  Leading charges against enemy counter-attacks personally while in his mid-fifties.  He made England a major European power.

2023-01-22

I forgot to add that I've been reading The Stories of John Cheever.


I'd read his famous short story "The Swimmer" in college and read an interesting article about him in Harper's, so when I saw this book on the shelf of a beautiful, smart, funny and talented young lady who I'm crazy about I asked if I could borrow it.  That's when I found out the pages were on very thin paper and that there are more than 50 stories in it.  I've only read twenty and the book is starting to fall apart in my hands.  So no more.  These are mostly sad stories.  Some of 'em are damn tragic.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The Failures of Patrick Cockburn

 


If you search for the name "Jeffrey St. Clair" at this blog you'll probably find a few posts where I criticize him for his puerile sneering at anyone who doesn't think exactly the way he does. "CounterPunch" is an institution and it has long been a source of vital analyses for myself and tens of thousands of other left-wingers.  But it is also a deeply flawed site with a deeply flawed editor and many deeply flawed, if not absolutely useless, contributers.

As of late, writer Patrick Cockburn (a British-born journalist) has been grinding my gears with his constant ignorant, deluded refrain that Vladimir Putin's goal with the invasion of the Ukraine is to recreate the Russian Empire.  In spewing such garbage he has a great deal of company.  My faith in the collective intelligence of humanity took another serious blow when I saw so many otherwise intelligent people babbling about how Putin was a "thug" and a "madman" but he could simultaneously be provoked, his stated concerns for Russia's security ignored with impunity.  This despite the fact that Russia has one of the two largest nuclear arsenals in the world.  Enough weapons to obliterate human civilization.  Supposedly we can provoke the "madman" with the nuclear weapons and rely on his self-control to not do anything rash.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

There's This ...

 I hadn't been following this.  So this video was really my first exposure to it.



Friday, December 2, 2022

That beautiful moment

 That beautiful moment when your sadness at losing someone you loved is replaced by remembering how much you loved them.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Good Riddance To Humanity

 


As I said in big post about my book readings for 2021 and 2022, I was reading David Suzuki's and The Big Picture.  It's from 2009.  He's describing crises building in 2009 and now it's 2022 and we not only haven't mitigated our behaviour, but we're actually behaving worse.  And there are still idiots denying the reality of global warming and yammering about how expensive it would be to cater to the delusions of global warming fear mongers.

Rain forest depletion.  Mass extinctions.  Massive droughts.  Shrinking glaciers.  Methane bubbles.  Pakistan under water.


Then there's the COVID-19 pandemic.  Stupid assholes from the left and right sides of the political spectrum have decided that since governments lie and pharmaceutical companies do too that the pandemic is a fraud.  It's a "PLAN-demic."  The virus is just the common flu that was invented in a bio-weapons lab by the Chinese to destabilize the West (which is why the Chinese government released it in China first).  Or, the virus (that is no more dangerous than the common flu) was invented in a bio-weapons lab by Anthony Fauci so that he could get rich by not killing everybody.

Nothing really happened!  All those deaths in the old folks' home; all the over-crowded emergency rooms; all the cancelled surgeries; all the burned-out hospital workers; all the scenes of mass death in India; ... all business as usual.  It's a hoax goddammit!  Didn't you know that when John D. Rockefeller sat down with the House of Rothschild and Woodrow Wilson and Margaret Sanger to discuss their long-term plan to smash capitalism and human freedom, it was decided that, after Climate Science, the best place for activists to worm away the vitals of society from the inside was in public health management.

That's why EVERY hospital administration and EVERY local public health official is IN ON THE SCAM!!!  It is a vast, terrifying conspiracy.  Lots of moving parts.  Lots of "crisis actors."

Apparently that is the logic of a significant number of people.  The sort who think they sound intelligent when they say: "I would rather die of COVID than live in fear of it."  Yes genius.  Dying from not protecting yourself from something that you knew could kill you really puts you in your best light.  Too bad you can only die once.  I'd like to see you drive a car without brakes down a hill with no seat-belt on.  Then I'd like you to walk naked through a bear-infested forest smeared with honey.

Apparently wearing a mask over your nose and mouth ["Duh! The nose TOO???"] during a pandemic featuring a respiratory virus is a major infringement on one's freedom.  Gad!  It's just so fucking stupid!!!


Then there's the absolutely inexcusable rah-rahhing for World War III and a nuclear holocaust by shit-heads astonishingly captured by the USA's ridiculous narrative for the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Apparently mad-men with one of the world's two largest collections of nuclear weapons can be safely ignored when they say: "Don't make that large country right on my border a member of your military alliance against me!"  Apparently, right before they're going to rebuild the Czarist Empire, mad-men with gigantic arsenals of nuclear weapons say; "Look!  Let's sign this agreement whereby I agree to respect the Ukraine's autonomy if you'll guarantee it's neutrality."

Apparently the country that launches coups in Honduras, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Haiti, and which destroyed Iraq, Syria and Libya [killing millions], and which is helping the corrupt, misogynist, obscurantist regime in Saudi Arabia conduct a genocide in Yemen, is just passionate about the lives and the freedom of Ukrainians that have been endangered by this UNPROVOKED Russian attack!

This is GOOD vs. EVIL, RIGHT vs. WRONG.

Humanity is too stupid to survive.  We don't deserve to.