Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Okay; One More Time ...

One "anarchist" I know has the stupid notion that the way to victory begins with everybody deciding to stop voting. Then, there's apparently a black box wherein all sorts of wonderful, amazing things happen, and then, an indescribable utopia emerges at the end of this process.

It should go without saying that this "analysis" leaves me cold. Teeth-chatteringly cold.

Other anarchists and radicals believe that there will be a revolution and that it will be in the streets. So cool! Organizing via surveilled social media sites, empowered youth will head out against the cops, who only have body armour, shields, weapons, training, and ruthless brutality on their side.

"They can't shoot all of us!"

No. They'll just shoot enough to serve as an example for others.

So much for the radicals.

The moderates, as I've said, imagine that business-as-usual voting (except MORE of it), combined with petitions and peaceful protests will do the trick.

Elect the Liberals and get "sensible" liberalism. (Like Chretien and Martin disemboweling the welfare state, extending tax-cuts to millionaires and corporations, and paying for the latter with stolen EI premiums.)

Elect the NDP and get "sensible" social democracy. (Like Thomas Mulcair refusing to consider tax increases on wealthy people with more money than they know what to do with. Or Bob Rae deciding that people on welfare really are responsible for Ontario's deficits. Or the Saskatchewan and British Columbia NDP who can't seem to motivate voers to turf-out right-wing extremist/incompetent governments.)

Elect the Greens and you'll get green policies and corporate Canada will acquiesce because "the people have spoken."

And, of course, it makes perfect sense to petition murderous psychopaths to be nicer, and to protest by taking an afternoon off to demonstrate your mass impotence.

NO.

We have to look at our political system and push it to its most radical-democratic potential. Which requires first, taking our democracy seriously and deciding to improve it. NOT accepting it as is, and NOT stupidly imagining that it can be torn down by a tiny band of radical nobodies.

We have to be MILITANT in the defense of our alleged rights within this system. ALL OF US. MILITANT against abuses of our democracy. And, by "militant" I mean, we should not be afraid of using violence if our elites and their thugs abuse us too brazenly.

To threaten violence in the DEFENSE of our system of government is not the same thing as threatening to violently tear-down our system of government. People who believe (even somewhat) in our democracy will cheer police assaults on the latter. They cannot be so inclined with abuses against those doing the former.

We need to change the culture; first among the Left, then across the population as a whole, so that this mindset has been internalized.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Canada, ISIS and Assad

For critics of harper's joining the attack on ISIS, who say that in so doing he has made us an ally of Assad, ... I'm sorry but that ship has sailed. We (and the USA) made Assad an ally when we outsourced the torture of Canadian citizens to him.

If it really was the case that we're "allying" with Assad, not in a formal way, but as being enemies of his enemies, I'd be fine with that. Because as monstrous as Assad and his regime are (and they are monstrous) Syria will be better off under Assad than ISIS. Just as Libya was better off under Qaddafi and Iraq was better off under Saddam Hussein.

But the fact of the matter is that we have not allied ourselves with Assad in any way, shape, or form. Barack Obama (who wanted to bomb Syria last summer) has taken advantage of the war on ISIS to bomb Syrian oil installations, granaries and other props of the Assad regime. Because that's what this is all about.

There is a level of confusion and ignorance on Obama's latest adventure in the Middle East that affects everyone. It goes from people who start from the ridiculous notion that George W. Bush sought to build a democratic Iraq, all the way down to people who recognize that this region's sufferings are caused by its enormous oil reserves and their importance to the capitalist world system.

Given that fact, I see no reason why I should not provide my analysis, regardless of whatever level of ignorance or confusion I have about the topic.

Some people try to present Barack Obama as having inherited a mess from Bush 43, and that he is a reluctant warrior (or even "Obambi" as one right-wing doofus referred to him here) trying not to do "stupid shit." This is wrong. To the extent that he has been able to, Obama is continuing the policies of Bush 43. Because these are the policies of the USA's political and economic elites. These are not the policies of one man, or one party.

The petroleum sector (and that includes all the industry that rely on it and have built themselves up around it) is an enormously important sector of the US economy. More important is the access to Middle-East petroleum for the USA's allies in Europe and Japan. That they continue to enjoy this access at the pleasure of the US and its oil-exporting allies in the region, is a major prop to the US-dominated world system. Depriving rivals such as Russia and China from allies in the region, and, for China, from secure access to petroleum, is yet another important element in the USA's control of the world. Finally, maintaining the US $ as the currency for pricing and the buying and selling of the world's oil is of enormous important to the all-important financial elite in the United States.

The confusion that bedevils everyone (including those supposedly in the drivers' seats) about the "ISIS-CRISIS" arises from the fact that the Obama administration is trying to do a multitude of evil, fucked-up things at once. And it is trying to do much of this by using allies who have their own evil and fucked-up agendas.

Who here thinks that Israel and Israelis like Hamas? Who thinks that Hamas are Israeli puppets? Nobody? Who knows that Israeli agents helped Hamas grow as a way to weaken and embarrass the PLO? Who can see that cynical policies pursued for one specific purpose can take on a life of their own in the case of Israel and Hamas?

It is my belief that corrupt, decadent, Sunni Arab princelings, export their angry young men to fight secular or Shiite regimes, out of genuine sectarian madness and as a way to get these young men out of their own countries where some of them might have turned their anger against them. I think they honestly believe that they can prevail against the secularists and the Shia, but that they will never turn their guns on their former paymasters. Because the next logical step for a Sunni fundamentalist fighter who has exterminated the secularists in Lebanon and Syria, and the Kurds and the Shia, would not be fellow Sunni states (however corrupt) but Jewish Israel. And then, they would all be killed. And there's no way that they could attack Israel (or Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE) without the United States stepping in.

It is my belief that the leaders of the ISIS movement have some understanding of this. But they might believe that if they last long enough, and gain access to enough oil and enough of the markets for that oil, that they can build a society in line with their blinkered religious delusions, and thereby build up their strength so that it will be impossible for the US to dislodge them, and, perhaps they will be able to attack Israel, or, surprise their corrupt former paymasters and conquer at least some of them.

Presiding over all of this is the United States corrupt ruling elites. Syria is one of the last bastions of semi-independence in that part of the world. An actual ally of Russia (which has a naval base there). But it is not a major oil-exporter. It can go to hell for a while, and collapse in complete bloody anarchy, so long as Assad is gone. Libya was much more important as a source of oil and while the chaos there might be worse than the US might have wanted or anticipated, the loss of its oil on world markets hasn't been too terrible to bear. (The sufferings of the Libyan people, as their country's infrastructure falls to pieces, and they become the subjects of deranged, warring fundamentalist, sectarian fanatics, is of entirely no consequence to Washington's policy makers.)

Iraq's Shia-dominated Maliki government had ruled by violence. He tortured and murdered. That wasn't much of a problem for Washington. What was a problem was Maliki's closeness to Shia-ruled Iran. Iran is a problem because it rebelled against the USA in 1979 and demands to act as an independent regional power. Did Bush 43 seek to provide Iran with an ally in Iraq? No. He wanted to eliminate the semi-independent Saddam Hussein. Which was part of a long process beginning with his father, Bush 41 and then Clinton, the president between them. Continuity. So, Bush 43 got rid of Saddam and wound up with Maliki. How convenient then, that ISIS was allowed to mass its forces on the Iraqi border and then plunge-in (with the assistance of disaffected Iraqi Sunni leaders many of who had been military leaders under the Sunni-dominated regime of Saddam Hussein) and conquer the western portions of Iraq, leading to the destabilization and eventual fall of the uncomfortably independent Maliki.

ISIS is, for all intents and purposes, a tool of US foreign policy. In the same way that Hamas was a tool of Israel's policies. And in the same way, ISIS is no more a puppet, or an invention of the USA.

So, why is harper signing-up for this? Well, for starters, sucking up to the USA is a huge issue for our military, political and economic elites. So there's that. Also, harper knows that wars create opportunities for mindless patriotism and boosts in domestic support levels. harper is a shameless militarist anyway, and the many conflicts we have been engaged in have been good for Canada's military-industrial complex. That's about it. harper knows that Canadian support for further military quagmires is razor-thin though, so he's only committing to safe, non-committal things like air-strikes against ISIS in Iraq. Things could spin out of control though. Especially if Washington sees the need to make demands of Canada (which they probably won't).

But our participation in this debacle only implicates us in all of the scuzziness described above. That is why our default response to calls for Canadian participation in crises overseas should be, must be, rejection of those pleas, until such a time as Canada has a genuinely democratic government. Which will be a long, long time from now.

 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

More on harper and his Brain Farts

Yesterday, I talked about harper as a narcissist, a sociopath and a profoundly superficial thinker. I think the roots of harper's censoring of science; hiding from the press, addiction to propaganda and lies, hatred of democracy, are in his dim understanding that he's a deluded half-wit, and his fear of the unknown that would result if his intellectual house-of-cards were to collapse under the pressure of contrary viewpoints.

Today I'll continue going through the harper quote that I started dissecting. There we discovered that harper opposes "socialist morality," which is to say, attacking social inequality and replacing it with social equality, so that everyone has food, shelter, dignity and worth. Next he accused the left of "moral relativism" ignoring the fact that he practices it on a daily basis. Then he demonstrated that he didn't know what the word "nihilism" means, by equating it with rejection of hoary traditions and uninvestigated conventions. He threw in the term "Post-Marxism" as a meaningless non sequitur. Next, Mr. Contempt of Parliament told us that this caricature of socialist morality leads to a hatred of western democracy. Think of that.

It's not as if young stephen harper from 2003 did not know about the monster he would become after 2006. No. The 2003 stephen harper barely understood what he was saying at the time, hardly believed what he did understand, and easily abandoned any pretense of believing in his platitudes once he seized power.

Make no mistake about it. Stupid people can be dangerous. You wouldn't trust major surgery to a drooling imbecile. In the same way, stupid stephen harper has been an utter catastrophe to the uncertain political project that is Canada. For more evidence of his incapacity, I present paragraph two in his ramblings on socialist morality. Here it is:
This descent into nihilism should not be surprising because moral relativism simply cannot be sustained as a guiding philosophy. It leads to silliness such as moral neutrality on the use of marijuana or harder drugs mixed with its random moral crusades on tobacco. It explains the lack of moral censure on personal foibles of all kinds, extenuating even criminal behaviour with moral outrage at bourgeois society, which is then tangentially blamed for deviant behaviour. On the moral standing of the person, it leads to views ranging from radical responsibility-free individualism, to tribalism in the form of group rights.
Now, it's already been established that the premise the first sentence rests on brazen hypocrisy. It is "conservatives" who cheered on the death-squads policies in Central America throughout the 1970s and 1980s. It was "conservatives" who provided cover for Saddam Hussein throughout the 1980s. It is the "conservatives" in Canada who tried to rationalize Canada's sickening descent into the immoral practice of torture. On and on it goes with them.

harper is right about one thing though. his own moral emptiness is not a sustained, guiding philosophy. We can see this by observing his lurching from one foul act of corruption to the next. We can see it in his cowardly refusal to face-up to and defend his craven service to corporate greed-heads and US and Israeli imperialists.

"It leads to silliness such as moral neutrality on the use of marijuana or harder drugs mixed with its random moral crusades on tobacco."

Here harper is really pulling out all the stops! Marijuana has proven itself to be 7,000X safer than harper's own drug of choice, alcohol.It would be the height of silliness to continue to waste billions of dollars suppressing a drug enjoyed by the majority of the population, diverting policing resources from more necessary tasks and ruining thousands of lives every year. As far as harder, dangerous drugs go, ... I think one would be hard-pressed to find many socialist moral relativists who are "neutral" about these issues. You'll find leftists calling for treating addiction as a disease, not a crime. You might find leftists calling for the decriminalization of drugs, and their subsequent regulation by the government, to take the industry out of the hands of criminals. harper, and his moronic supporters, appear to prefer keeping the drug-trade in hands of gangsters, and maintaining the system of misery and deaths by overdose and police corruption and brutal (and expensive) prison system, over the "moral neutrality" of the left.

And then there's the reality that most of these "tough-on-crime" "zero tolerance for drugs" right-wingers, from Rush Limbaugh to Rob Ford, all turn out to be the most pathetic, total hypocrites. Then there are former Conservative MPs like Rahim Jaffer, whose charges for cocaine possession were dropped as part of a very lenient plea-bargain.  Jaffer and his "busty hookers," along with complete scum-bags like Bruce Carson and Paul Calandra. (I don't know if either of those two have used hard drugs. They just came to mind as examples of immoral sleaze while I was building my list of drug-using hypocrites.)

"... mixed with its random moral crusades against tobacco."

Priceless. Presumably drugs are bad because they destroy lives. But the enormous human suffering caused by the tobacco industry (documented as increasing the addictive nature of their product) is fine with this simpleton because, "Duh! They're legal!" and because "Freedom!" or some other equally vacuous "argument."

Earth to harper! Anti-smoking movements aren't necessarily Post-Marxist moral relativists. And they don't want to throw thousands of people in prison. They want to prevent people from starting a deadly habit. Help people break the habit. And reduce innocent people's exposure to having to inhale health-injuring second-hand smoke.

"It explains the lack of moral censure on personal foibles of all kinds, extenuating even criminal behaviour with moral outrage at bourgeois society, which is then tangentially blamed for deviant behaviour."

I think the dimwit meant "moral backbone" or something. Otherwise he's saying that it's individual failings that produce a lack of condemnation of drug-use and addiction. Which is completely bizarre. I think he meant to say that the absence of a moral compass allows drug-users to explain away their miserable moral failures as the result of a rough childhood, or a propensity to addiction, or some other set of circumstances, and he extends this to the Post-Marxists who also make up any excuse for addicts besides moral failure. The Post-Marxists are so stupid as to blame bourgeois society for the addicts' personal failure. This, harper finds ridiculous. Why should a society that uses people as expendable resources in the service of personal greed drive people to use drugs? Why should a bourgeois politician like stephen harper be blamed for drug-overdoses just because he would rather see people locked-up as criminals if they go for help, and he'd like to shut-down the award-winning InSite clinic, that lets addicts use their drugs in a setting where they're encouraged to get help and there is medical assistance in case they overdose? Why should bourgeois society be blamed for the drug industry, just because its governments have aided and abetted drug-dealing gangsters decade-after-decade?

By  the way; where was the "moral censure" for Rob Ford's gross display of hypocrisy, in consorting with gangsters, smoking crack cocaine, and making a public spectacle of his intoxicated self? Did harper, or Jim Flaherty come out swinging against his disgraceful moral failure? No. As usual, these moral titans did the exact opposite of what they want for everyone else. Flaherty tearfully hoped that Ford would get help. And the cowardly harper simply went without commenting on the horrible example of the politician he once saw as a member of a triumvirate that included himself, and Tim Hudak.

stevie-boy! How are young people supposed to learn to stay off drugs when their drug-abusing mayor is so coddled by the politicians and the courts????

"On the moral standing of the person, it leads to views ranging from radical responsibility-free individualism, to tribalism in the form of group rights."


I think it's already been well established here that harper cares not a whit for personal responsibility when it comes to his friends and allies. And when one thinks of all the cover-ups and blatant refusals to accept consequences for bad decisions of this government, harper's 2003 words start to become nausea-inducing.

One more example: How did harper respond to Peter Penashue being forced to resign for his complete and total disregard of our election finance laws? Simple! harper allowed him to run again as the harpercon candidate for that riding. (And accept Penashue's idiotic claim that his "inexperienced" campaign manager only made honest mistakes when filing his accounts.)


harper leaping from how moral relativism encourages individual moral failure to the seemingly unconnected swipe against "tribalism" and "group rights" is just a final example of the superficiality of his thinking. Like most "conservatives" harper has a laundry-list of grievances and bogey-men, that are all imagined to be connected in an incoherent sort of way.


I made these two posts because I was genuinely surprised to have read harper stepping out from behind his fortress of platitudes and outright lies, and actually trying to connect his thoughts long enough to make a coherent statement about what he really believes. And, not surprisingly, harper doesn't believe in anything in any genuine or rational way.


It's a testimony to our failure as a democratic people that this idiot has imposed himself upon us for so long.


 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

stephen harper Surprises Me

I've long held that stephen harper is a psychopath. The only thing he really cares about is himself. (he doesn't know why.) I also happen to think he's a very shallow and superficial man. As a young man in Ontario, he was a Liberal. The callow youth then heads off to Calgary to study economics, and (wonder of wonders!) becomes a right-wing extremist.

It's no doubt that harper's mind has calcified and is therefore not going to be as easily molded as it was when he was a youngster. Were he to be immersed in the culture of some British Columbia hippy commune, he would become, first, a cranky contrarian, and then a sullen misanthrope. But harper, not being a profound thinker at all, is obviously insecure about his belief system. This explains his intense aversion to facts and alternative ideologies. he's dimly aware that the crusty shell of his brain offers only weak protection to the airy mists of half-formed, half-understood, half-baked theories that sail lightly about within the relative expanses there.

harper senses, in ways that animals sense, that something is wrong. Prolonged exposure to alternative views would eventually bring about a painful, disorienting mental crisis, as his defences cracked and his pitiful world view escaped and dissipated in the wind. Whatever he would become following this is unknown and therefore terrifying.

Here we have one of the primary reasons for harper's contempt for Parliament. It's fear. harper prefers to hide from parliamentary debate, blatantly lie when forced to say something, and hide behind empty platitudes and character assassination of his opponents in lieu of argument. Luckily for him, such mental
 vacuity is more than enough for his cretinous voting base.

I used to see harper speaking with signs around him saying how Canada had to be "strong" in the world. "Strong in our values, strong in this, strong in that." Meaningless twaddle. That's why I was genuinely surprised when reading this post at Montreal Simon's, to come across harper speaking about a subject with a degree of specificity that almost approached having genuine thoughts on the matter:
"This descent into nihilism... leads to silliness such as moral neutrality on the use of marijuana or harder drugs mixed with its random moral crusades on tobacco. It explains the lack of moral censure on personal foibles of all kinds, extenuating even criminal behaviour with moral outrage at bourgeois society, which is then tangentially blamed for deviant behaviour."
Stephen Harper  Report Magazine 2003
This is no doubt (as some commentators mention) a symptom of harper's deranged (if lightly held) fundamentalist beliefs. Having drunk the kool-aid at the University of Calgary's economics department, harper obviously wandered into a fundamentalist church at some point, and, being an impressionable lad with no original thoughts of his own, came to absorb a hazy interpretation of their deluded beliefs into his shallow person. As with all things, harper sort of believes this drivel, with all the intensity that a superficial narcissist is capable of believing in anything.

Aw hell! Just for shits n' giggles, let's dissect the entire quote from this mental and moral half-wit!
Conservatives need to reassess our understanding of the modern Left. It has moved beyond old socialistic morality or even moral relativism to something much darker. It has become a moral nihilism - the rejection of any tradition or convention of morality, a post-Marxism with deep resentments, even hatreds of the norms of free and democratic western civilization.

This descent into nihilism should not be surprising because moral relativism simply cannot be sustained as a guiding philosophy. It leads to silliness such as moral neutrality on the use of marijuana or harder drugs mixed with its random moral crusades on tobacco. It explains the lack of moral censure on personal foibles of all kinds, extenuating even criminal behaviour with moral outrage at bourgeois society, which is then tangentially blamed for deviant behaviour. On the moral standing of the person, it leads to views ranging from radical responsibility-free individualism, to tribalism in the form of group rights.
"The old socialistic morality ..."

What could Herr Harper have meant by that?

Presumably, the fool is trying to talk about the SOCIALIST morality of society providing everyone with food, shelter, an education, and dignity. Being an idiot, harper has embraced the idea that respecting the humanity of all humans is contemptible and doesn't require elaboration to be despised. Also, being an idiot, harper probably thinks that the right-wing meme that socialists were just jealous of the 19th Century rich for living lives of privilege and leisure, is true, while the fact that they gamboled while people starved to death within walking distance of them, as the self-deluded, self-satisfied, self-righteous, hypocrites that they were, entirely eludes him.

Do you see how much shit harper pours upon himself with only the first phrase in his stammering idiocy?

"or even moral relativism"

This is where a lot of right-wing simpletons attempt to cudgel "the left" and fail utterly. Whereas people on the left try to say that an entire people should not be dehumanized because of some objectionable beliefs, or, when a left-wing revolution is brought about by violence, right-wingers like harper masturbate themselves in their moral clarity. This moral clarity instantly dissolves when they are asked to condemn the torture and murder of (today at least) Arabs by Washington or Ottawa. Tell them that Sir John A. Macdonald was a drunken, murderous racist who starved hundreds, if not thousands of the First Nations to death, and they'll come up with excuses, especially that he was a product of his times. harper and his ilk are walking, talking parodies of moral relativism without even knowing it.

"It has become a moral nihilism - the rejection of any tradition or convention of morality, a post-Marxism with deep resentments, even hatreds of the norms of free and democratic western civilization."  

Being a plodding dullard, harper has (not surprisingly) gotten ahead of himself here. "Nihilism" means the rejection of any and all human morality as meaningless. It does NOT mean any philosophy that condemns any "tradition" that respects the right of wealthy people to own so many homes they haven't seen all the rooms in them, while at the same time it shrugs its shoulders at mass homelessness; Rejecting the bigoted "tradition" that love can only be shared between a man and a woman is NOT "moral nihilism."

"A post-Marxism"

If one were to ask the oafish stephen harper what he understands by the term "post-Marxism," one should be prepared for a rambling monologue approximating the half-remembered ravings of David Horowitz. Mackenzie-King attempting to rationalize his occultism would make more sense than whatever the boy from the mail-room at Imperial Oil could attempt.

"with deep resentments, even hatreds of the norms of free and democratic western civilization."

Please note; these words were uttered by the ONLY prime minister in the history of the Westminster-style system of parliaments to have been found guilty of contempt of Parliament. Those words were spoken by a man who stole a majority government via electoral fraud. As is true throughout history, when "conservatives" cannot win at the ballot-box, they have no qualms about taking power via fraud or even force. And their "moral relativism" helps them in their insanely hypocritical tirades against those who would likewise use force to expel them from their stolen offices.

harper has a deep-seated hatred of freedom and democracy. Again, this is due to his ever-present fear of having his half-understood certainties exposed for the crap that he's vaguely aware that they are. FEAR. That is the answer to all of the conscious policies of stephen harper. Fear of challenge. Fear of change. Fear of exposure. The policies of sniveling cowardice.

Ask harper to get down to brass-tacks about what it is about "western civilization" that he loves, and you'll find yourself in a miasma of disconnected inanities about capitalism, Winston Churchill, and traditional marriage. You'll soon become disgusted with this gibbering mediocrity before you and walk away. harper will take this opportunity to try to convince himself about his beliefs, and continue talking to himself, only to give up after a minute or two in confusion and disinterest.

Speaking of disinterest. I think I'll tackle the second paragraph of harper's strained attempts at intellectual clarity for tomorrow's post.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Robin Williams with Louis CK

I guess this might have been one of the last things that Robin Williams did. Robin Williams was "on" a lot during his career. Sometimes he crashed. But I'm going to miss the guy.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

So Much For THAT Idea!

We never even pretended to start to try!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Power

Yesterday's post was just a cathartic exercise for me. I was just flabbergasted to hear that Nestle was still pushing its infant formula on women with no access to clean water for at least 15 years after they'd signed an international code of conduct saying they'd stop doing so.

Now, I just want to say again, that the left mystifies and bewilders me. Why do we no longer want to gain power? What's the point of all of our activity if we really don't want to achieve anything by it?

If our lack of resources (including access to the media) is preventing us from getting our message across, ... why do we not then think seriously about how to go about GETTING some resources?

Do we imagine that we are the angel sitting on society's shoulder, talking into one ear as the voice of conscience, while a red devil stands on the other shoulder appealing to society's basest instincts?

Because the hour is late and our voice hasn't been having much effect.

If we're waiting for a cataclysmic revolution to sweep away all the rot and leave humanity purified and ready to face the 21st Century, ... what are we doing to bring this about?

From where I''m sitting, it looks a lot like nothing.