Monday, April 30, 2007

Permanent Bases in Iraq

I've known about this for a long time, but it's always nice to remember some important fundamentals:

There is to be no withdrawal from Iraq, just as there has been no withdrawal from hundreds of places around the world that are outposts of the American empire. As UC San Diego professor
emeritus Chalmers Johnson put it, “One of the reasons we had no exit plan from Iraq is that we didn’t intend to leave.”


The United States maintains 737 military bases in 130 countries across the globe. They exist for the purpose of defending the economic interests of the United States, what is euphemistically called “national security.” In order to secure favorable access to Iraq’s vast reserves of light crude, the United States is spending billions on the construction of at least five large permanent military bases throughout that country.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Quck thought for the day

So, all the comfortable, sheltered Canadians who are willing to embrace torture and the summary execution of prisoners, out of anger over the killing of Canadian soldiers whom they don't know personally,* think that they're justified because our enemies are "savages."

Supposedly, the people of Afghanistan, having lived through three decades of almost constant warfare, and through grinding poverty under brutal dictatorships, ... if any of these people turn out to be cruel killers, well there's no excuse for that.

We can embrace torture and killing at the drop of a hat while still holding on to the claim that we're "civilized." But if people living under far more brutal conditions do this, they're monsters whose extermination is self-evidently required.

* I'll discount the fantasy that these Canadians are also outraged at the overall cruelty and oppressiveness of the enemy towards its own people. Were that the case, they'd have to call for the torture and summary execution of US soldiers in Iraq, Northern Alliance Warlords, death squads in Latin America, and etc.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Recent Readings ...

Well, I've finished Richard J. Evans's The Third Reich in Power. I really don't have a problem with it. He makes the case that the Germans were not brainwashed, nationalist fanatics, when they supported Hitler. He quotes Nazi institutions' own reports on public opinion at the time to show the half-hearted acquiescence to the government's policies.

For instance, when Hitler was threatening war over the Sudetenland, and it took Goring, Neville Chamberlain, Mussolini, and Daladier to get out of it by betraying the Czechs, German public opinion was verging on panic. They did not want a war. They were terrified. Hitler ordered a military parade in Berlin and stood at his office balcony window to watch it and rouse the people. Only about 200 people showed up to watch the soldiers march by. Hitler stormed inside in a rage. When war finally came over Poland, there was no mass celebration as there had been in 1914, but silent foreboding.

Evans doesn't focus on Hitler's treatment of the Jews in his book. It comprises one chapter out of seven, with references to the regimes anti-Semetic policies when they're relevant to his chapters on economic policy or foreign affairs. But the racist, pseudo-scientific sickness of the Nazi's anti-Semetism were an important element of their rule and so the references are many, and the chapter on "Creating the Racial Utopia" is extensive. And it's very, very, depressing, infuriating, and heartrending. The plundering, humiliation, cruelty, hypocrisy, sadism, of these boorish bullies against the Jews is not easy reading.

One of my other recent reads, The Great Mortality, by John Kelly, also has a section on European anti-Semetism in it. Numerous groups, including the bizarre, anti-clerical, anti-Semetic Flagellants, came up with the idea that the plague was being spread as part of a Muslim, Jewish, Leper (!) conspiracy. Something about the Muslims being converted to Judaism, taking the Holy Land but rewarding the original Jews with their own new homeland in France, ... or some crazy idea ... and the way they were going to get France was to poison all the wells in Europe, together with their agents, the lepers, who hated healthy Christians and wanted to kill them all.

It seems that after you torture people, they begin to respond positively to your questions (if that's what they think you want them to do) and so, enough torture victims [are you listening, advocates for torture in Afghanistan?] answered in the affirmative that they received packets of poison given out to them by a Rabbi in Spain, and that they were told to do things in a certain way, at a certain time, ... and, in the end, the Christians decided that the Jews were spreading the plague and in response they attacked them, robbed them, killed them in the streets, and often drove their entire community into large sheds built for the purpose, which were set alight, burning them all, men, women, and children. (Apparently attractive young Jewish females were given the choice of converting to spare their temporarily valuable lives. If they refused they were sometimes returned to their families to burn, or taken against their will.)

So, I've recently read two books documenting (among other things) the brutal treatment of the Jewish community in Europe. It makes my current reading all the more thought provoking. I'm reading Bitter Harvest: A Modern History of Palestine by Sami Hadawi. The long and the short of it is that I've never sat down and read a detailed history of the Palestine crisis before. I knew about the Balfour Declaration, and I've read bits and pieces of Uri Avnery's accounts of the events of the 1940s, and I've followed the news more closely since the First Intifada, but I haven't read anything systematic and sustained on the subject.

I picked up Hadawi's book at a library discard sale for two bucks. I'm going to try and find some reviews for it, and I'm going to check his references to validate many of his assertions. Hadawi is a Palestinian, and as such, his perspective might well be distorted. I say "might" because he provides dense, extensive references for everything that he writes, and if they check out, then the anger with which he writes is justified. Suffice to say, the Zionists appear to have been quite nasty and ruthless in their dispossession and mass murder of the Palestinian people. This book carries a strong indictment of Zionism and the Israeli state.

But reading it immediately following two books on the centuries-long sufferings of the Jewish people (in Europe) causes me to think about justified the ruthlessness of the Zionists was. Obviously it was directed against the wrong people, but by the 1940s Zionism had long ago selected Palestine as their new home. Events in Hitler's Europe only cemented their desire to get out of Europe and find a place of their own.

[Another recent read, David Fromkin's A Peace to End All Peace shows the start of the Palestinian problem with the fanciful notions of British imperialists to have the Jews serve as a European stronghold along a path joining British Africa with British India in the former Ottoman Empire. From Cape to Cairo to Caliph to the Raj. These delusions fell apart, but their consequences continue to torment us still.]

Europe doesn't have a monopoly on violence and cruelty. But Europe's worldwide reach has made European problems international problems, with the Middle East being the most evident example. If will focus for a moment on the children, ... the children who were never given the opportunity to find out who they were going to become, the children of plague-ridden Europe, Christian and Jewish, and then only the Jewish children, driven into a burning house with their parents, and then the Jewish children of Hitler's Germany, ostracized, tormented, humiliated, and many coldly murdered, and then I think about the Palestinian children, themselves murdered in their homes, shot in the fields, crushed by bulldozers.

This is the real tragedy of humanity.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Travelling Today

Perhaps a post later in the afternoon.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Paul Martin was WRONG

I bought a copy of the sorta-okay Canadian journal, The Walrus recently. There was a good story about the reporters who conspired in the demonization of Arar. But there was also a mewling, sycophantic piece of crap by Tim Murphy, Paul Martin's former chief of staff:

"Paul Martin Was Right"

Supposedly, Paul is either getting a bad rap or his very real, very stupendous "accomplishments" are being ignored:

The Paul Martin record is taking a hit these days, or it is being ignored. ... Now a backbench Liberal MP, Martin has heard the noise and felt the silence. He is not without a desire to set the record straight, even today.

So, it's telling that Murphy starts off his lists of Martin's achievements with the travesty of Afghanistan:

From Martin, Harper inherited a policy of purposeful action for the Canadian military in Afghanistan. It blended humanitarian aid, reconstruction, and security created by troops on the ground. It was consistent with our peacekeeping traditions and with the new Canadian-inspired “responsibility to protect” thrust of the United Nations. That precious balance has been forsaken by the Harper government, and Martin has said so.


Humanitarian aid has been insignificant in comparison with Canada's spending on "security," or, in other words, imposing acquiesence to a corrupt pupptet government. "Precious balance," ... I really have difficulty seeing the difference between Harper and Martin when it comes to the actions of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

Not only does Harper’s militaristic approach to Afghanistan preclude Canada from acting in a meaningful way in places like Haiti and Darfur, the absence of proper diplomacy has put us at odds with our nato allies and has our soldiers doing disproportionate duty in Afghanistan’s danger spots.

I have no idea what Murphy is getting at when he says that Harper is preventing us from doing "good work" in Haiti. If only it were true that we weren't able to fuck up more than one country at a time. But, it seems to me that any proper diplomacy that would have put Canadian soldiers in a less dangerous part of Afghanistan would have been absent during the Liberal's term in office, since it was under them that we got the troubled Southern provinces of Afghanistan.

More over, the cynical, hurried vote to extend the mission to 2009 represented an abuse of Parliament. Harper, seemingly anxious to let the Americans off the hook in Afghanistan, put politics above the national interest.

Certainly, Harper is more gung-ho to kiss American ass, but as far as we're talking about how boners for the US government translate into policies that contradict Canada's national interest, Chretien's decision to go into Afghanistan was a knee-jerk desire to make 'em happy. A totally mindless policy. Murphy then launches into some unseemly hero-worship:

Martin will pursue this matter, as he will pursue others. Nearing seventy years old, he is wiser now about the politics of politics, but the passage of time will produce a political epitaph that stretches far beyond the simple construction, “He lost.” Martin will not run for elected office again, and the federal Liberals will find him tough to replace.

Y-a-a-w-n!!! I'm sorry, were you saying something? Tomorrow, I hope to provide a little snippet about the section dealing with: "Paul Martin is a socially progressive fiscal conservative."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

UNICEF on Afghanistan

Afghanistan will need outside troops and aid for 20 years: UNICEF

OTTAWA — Canadian soldiers and increased aid will be needed in Afghanistan for at least another two decades, says the head of UNICEF Canada. Nigel Fisher says heated political debate in Parliament over the length of the Afghan mission is misguided. ... "What we should be doing is questioning why we’re there, and coming up with a rationale that holds water and that the Canadian public could understand — even if they don’t agree.”

Strong stuff. Although a little troubling. We should come up with a rationale, after the fact, to justify our presence in Afghanistan, and it's not important whether or not the Canadian people agree with the policy, just so long as they understand it? What if the Canadian people actually want to exercise their democratic right to end a conflict that they don't agree with? What then?

Anyway ...

"It’s when you give confused messages, or all we see is Canadian soldiers coming back in body bags, that we don’t see the positive side of what they’re doing.”


Well, the message is going to inevitably be "confused" when 1.) The Liberal decision to go into Afghanistan was done without much thought or consultation with the Canadian Forces, and 2.) Regardless of whether it's Liberal or Conservative, both parties will wish to go there to prop-up some Western puppet, regardless of the wishes of the Afghan people themselves.

But I take issue with the idea that Canadians aren't hearing about the good things that we're doing over there. Every couple of days there's a heartwarming story about Canadians building schools, handing out candy, building soccer fields, etc., for the Afghans. Canadians' confusion or ambivalence about the mission isn't due to an absence of reportage about the good we're supposedly doing. It's because at bottom, this whole affair feels a little murky.

MPs should be discussing ways to refocus and increase aid in ways that the Afghan people — and Canadian taxpayers — can measure, he said.


Well, sure. And, more to that effect:

But Canada’s help would be more obviously effective for people on the ground if it were less “thinly spread” among so many areas, he said.


I read something recently to the effect that CIDA is spending more time consulting with Afghans and trying to find Afghan contractors to build needed infrastructure, while the Australians are winning greater praise for just simply going ahead and building things themselves.

While there's room to discuss which form of development assistance has the overall advantage, the big picture about whether this aid is the main focus of the Western countries or not, and whether it will trump all of the violence and political cynicism of "The Mission" is another story altogether.

Keeping with Mr. Fisher's own proposals:

These include an urgent need to help more Afghan women survive some of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Much more could also be done to provide books and other basics for Afghan schoolchildren, he said.
Afghans are risking their lives in the most unstable parts of the country to keep classes open, and yet lack the most basic teaching tools, Fisher said.

...

Canada plans to spend about $1.2 billion over 10 years in aid to Afghanistan by 2011.
Fisher said micro-credit programs to generate local income are among funding successes.

...

Equipping schools and bolstering services for pre- and post-natal care would have an immediate impact with measurable results, Fisher said. He would like to see annual aid funding boosted to about $250 million, up from the $139 million spent in Afghanistan last year — an increase he says Canada can well afford.

“We could do much more if there were more resources.”



Well, that's just it, isn't it? All of the wealthy countries promised Afghanistan all sorts of reconstruction and development assistance following the country's needless pummelling at the hands of the US military. But when it came time to pay up on those elaborate promises, the rich countries mysteriously fell silent. What aid did come through, was (as I've said elsewhere) spirited out of the country again by dubious contractors from those same wealthy countries.

It's not some mystery why Western leaders didn't pony up the dough like they said they would. The reason for this lack of genuine commitment is because Western leaders really don't care about the people of Afghanistan. It's why we make a hash of things wherever we go. These poor people just don't matter.

If you hope to do some good with Canadian resources, the first thing you're going to have to do is take power away from the arrogant pricks who currently hold it.

I wish I could say something more eloquent, but I'm off.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Responsible for our own prisoners

Well, here's a lot of right-wing nutbars saying of Afghanistan, "It's their country" (and therefore they can torture anyone they like).

Right, ... and Castro is an abomination who must be removed because .....?

If it's "their country" why are Canadian soldiers running around shooting at people?
Oh yeah, that's right, ... our puppet government is unpopular, to the extent that the dreadful Taliban is making a comeback.

Let me repeat that for you: The government that we're propping up is so bad that the Taliban is actually rising in popular opinion over there.

The welfare of our prisoners becomes Canada's business when we get ourselves into the position where we have captured people and have to turn them over to someone.

Regarding the general tendency of right-wing scumbags to cherry-pick international law in a desperate attempt to justify torture and murder, only forces that obey the laws of war merit the consideration of human rights.

By your logic, US soldiers attacking hospitals, raping civilians, etc., ... actually, engaged in the entire illegal invasion of Iraq, are therefore not lawful combatants and have no human rights that need to be respected.

I'll repeat: That is according to YOUR logic.

(What follows is an excerpted portion of my debate with someone from that hate site.)

You people are ridiculous. You cannot hold Canada up as an example of "civilization" on the one hand, and then dismiss allegations of torture and violations of human rights with the other.
It's really high time that you all realized your monkey-brained limitations, lowered your heads in shame, and renounced all claims on our political discussions. Because you truly are revolting.

You are cut from the same cloth as the Taliban fanatics.

[I've edited this to encompass a mini-exchange between myself and someone who has a relatively firm grasp (though I think an incorrect one) of the Geneva Conventions. I'm as unimpressed with his wider ravings and his nonchalant use of the word "leftard" but it's one of the better uses of the "we're allowed to execute or torture illegal combatants under the Geneva Conventions" that I've had to deal with.]



http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/War_Terror/2007/03/08/3715494-ap.html
http://www.hrw.org/press/2002/11/afghan1114.htm
By all means, torture anyone who disagrees.
Show them (your own twisted vision of) Canadian values.



The Geneva Conventions are what delusional leftards use to try to justify their fantasies with some thin veneer of authority when they think something should happen according to their opinion.

The Conventions are clear, unambiguous and clearly unread by the left. But then the facts are not the point. Lefty judges "read in" stuff into our constitution deliberately left out so there is certainly precedent to what these people are
doing. What is irksome is that they get away with it. No only are they adding stuff that isn't there, they're manipulating, distorting and rendering ineffective the reasoning for what IS there.


The GC's were for the protection of Civilians and legal militaries in that order. They were set up to enact swift and severe punishment to the violators for not obeying the rules of war. If combatants are allowed to hide amongst civilians and fight out of uniform they get civilians killed (and it's the ones hiding in civilian areas that are responsible for the deaths, not the legal combatants firing on them. In last year's Lebonon war, that would be Hezbollah that was committing war crimes not the Jews.) Therefore, It was clear that illegal combatants lose all
protections when they violate the conventions. This is not up for debate. It
couldn't be more clearly outlined in the documents. It could also not matter
less to the leftards who rely more on their feelings than the facts they can't
be bothered to learn.


Taliban prisoners are subject to whatever they get. They have NO rights under the GC's. None.


They DO have protection from the UN Treaty Against Torture. So, if you leftards want to thank me for taking the 20 seconds it takes to do your homework for you, I can proceed to draw the conclusion that although Taliban terrorists should not be tortured, they should just not be taken prisoner to begin with. Yes, that means shoot them on sight.


That's legal for terrorists under both treaties (GC's specifically condones it
and the Treaty Against Torture is silent on the matter.) Now if you're a
retard lefty who wants to dish out their usual idiot opinion, at least spend the
20 seconds required to get your F'ing facts correct. Or better yet, kill
yourself for being too stupid to live.


As for why someone would be for war, it's the wrong question. The correct question is why is there nothing important enough for you to fight for? Is your life that small? Do you have so little to defend that you don't value anything? Is there no one you care about that you'd defend?

Am I for war? Depends on who's on the menu. I'm against war with Haiti cause there isn't a point to it. They aren't a threat. I'm for the war against islamofascism cause they want to destroy my culture, country, family and aside from that I'd like to keep my head if at all possible. If that means some of the people doing the threatening lose theirs instead, so be it.


Funny, the leftards are now silent on the GC's.
I guess they've been properly educated. They've moved on to more base sophistry and petty insults and stopped trying to apply a thin veneer of credibility to their
stupidity.


At least its progress.



Well, "Warwick," thanks for the non-lesson. You do a good job of spinning for someone with zero-credibility.
The Geneva Conventions state that if there is any question as to the status of a prisoner, a competent tribunal should be formed to judge on their status.
Not, you p-o-m-p-o-u-s oaf, that the soldiers involved get to summarily execute everyone they capture, to explain it away later that all of the dead were "illegal combatants."
Furthermore, d1mw1t, as I already pointed out to you, ... by your own hateful, can't-wait-to-torture, tortured logic, all troops that have violated the laws of war have rendered themselves "illegal combatants" as well, and therefore, have no human rights whatsoever.
Way to dig your own grave.


Thwap,
Re the taliban, there are no questions as to their status under the GC's. None. They are subject to summary execution under GC rules as illegal combatants. This was routinely carried out prior to the baby boomer generation bastardizing society in the west. The status of the taliban is crystal clear to anyone with at least rudimentary reading comprehension skills.

Troops that violate the GC's but are otherwise legal combatants are subject to military discipline (including by the opposing army) as they would have committed a war crime. There is a difference here as well. If you torture a legal combatant or civilian and you yourself are a legal combatant you can be court martialled or held to account in a military tribunal such as in Nuremberg. War crimes necessitate a trial. Illegal combatants do not.


Taliban do not get protection against torture or execution under the GC's. They do get protection against torture under the UN Treaty Against Torture. As I stated earlier, the taliban should not be subjected to torture (see UN Treaty mentioned above.) They should be executed under the rules of the GC's. In other words, by taking prisoners, you are allowing these people to return to the community at some point to kill again. Why put the people of Afghanistan through that?
The other thing is that while we can be expected to be humane, we can't be expected to do the impossible. We don't have the troops to run a jail. We have to turn the taliban over to someone. If some other party is running jails in Afghanistan I'm all in favour of sending them there if it'll make you lot happy. Other than that, if there's no where else to send them, the Afghan government will have to deal with them. We can send them complaints if they're torturing people like the UN sends off all the time. It isn't Canada that is doing the torturing.


Part of the reason that the people of Afghanistan are loosing patience with the UN mission there is that they don't see that we have the balls to do what is necessary to keep them safe. They see all the fighting as futile as long as we lack the ruthlessness to eliminate the threat and allow their communities to be safe. If you think that our presence is just delaying the inevitable and you think that the taliban will be allowed to take over once the west loses interest, you can be forgiven for cynically calling for the troops to get on with it and leave. There's no point dying for a loss.

The taliban can read. They can see that support for the Afghan war is weakening.
They know that their attacks are what is weakening it and can see that the west
is now unwilling to do anything that is hard. They (rightly) see our society as effete and weak and our people as quitters who lose interest as soon as the going gets hard. We didn't learn the lessons of Vietnam, Rwanda and Somalia but they did. They know that they don't have to win a war, be able to win battles or keep territory like armies used to have to do to win. They just have to survive long enough and to inflict enough damage that we lose our will to continue. They don't have to earn victory, the just have to have the staying power to let us hand it to them. Defeatism earns defeat. Simple really.

Dig your own grave.

There's no spinning here. Just facts.



Warwick,

I will extend to you the compliment that you appear to be blessed with at least half a brain.

Obviously, I'll prefer to go with this interpretation of the GC's rather than with yours:

"The Geneva convention also makes it clear that it isn't for Rumsfeld to decide whether the detainees are ordinary criminal suspects rather than PoWs. Anyone detained in the course of an armed conflict is presumed to be a PoW until a competent court or tribunal determines otherwise. The record shows that those who negotiated the convention were intent on making it impossible for the determination to be made by any single person. "

from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/comment/story/0,,632303,00.html


I cannot believe that there is a document that states that soldiers can unilaterally execute anyone they see, so long as they offer uninvestigated claims that those killed were "illegal" or "unlawful combatants."

Besides, as you, yourself point out, the torture violates a UN Treaty, if not the GC's. But let's continue ...

Regarding your contention that the people of Afghanistan are losing patience with the UN mission because we're not ruthless enough to keep them safe, I beg to differ.

As has been reported, and as I've stated, we're losing the popularity contest with the Taliban because our reconstruction has been a joke and because Karzai's government is brutal and corrupt.

If people over there were sick of our failure to destroy the Taliban, JOINING the Taliban seems like a strange way to express their anger at us AND them.

"Today the rural and lawless south has become the perfect hideaway for the insurgency and a breeding ground for future Taliban recruits. "The alienated tribes in the southern region have been subjected to bad governance, which has increased the difference between the tribes," said Koenigs. "This has created a huge discontent in the region." Disappointed with the Karzai government and the international community, the peasants in the south have begun to look to the Taliban for strong, trustworthy leadership. Koenigs stressed that this is an insurgency "with support from the people in the region." The consequences of ignoring it would be dire."

These are the "terrorists" we're fighting. You can find other sources for this. Very often, the foot-soldiers of the Taliban are Afghan peasants, moved to take up arms in anger at the government we've imposed upon them.

You might want to summarily execute these men, or carelessly toss them to the torturers, ... I do not.

We aren't losing because we're "effete" and "weak," or anything. We're losing because we have failed those people. And if the job was too big and doomed to failure, what did we get involved with it in the first place for?

For that matter, why did the US, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, work so much to create this nightmare so many years ago?

Nothing Will Change Until We Change Society

Over on EnMasse, the intrepid TS directed our attention to a Globe & Mail report about how Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan knowingly handed prisoners over to torturers.

This apparently comes as some surprise to the G n' M editors, that a cynical imperialist venture would produce such nastiness. This is evidence of the high level of self-deception amongst liberal elites. It's not exactly rocket-science. We on the left anticipated and feared such behaviour from the beginning.

"Big deal. It's 'WAR.' Get over it." ... say the fascist wannabes.

None of this is going to change unless we radically change the direction our society is going towards. We have to change the political-economy, we have to change the culture, ... we have to change the philosophy.

I've got a big critique of an article from The Walrus in the works. But now, I have to finish my coffee.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Moving Against Sadr

When analyzing the historically significant crimes of the bush II regime, it's important to differentiate between evil intentions and stupid incompetence. While few important figures in the bush II regime are as imbecilic as their figurehead leader, none of them very bright. At the same time though, they do have decades of experience about how to get things for themselves at the highest levels of power, and they're all advised by people with more functioning brain cells.

So, sometimes they'll be doing things that seem very evil, nasty, and corrupt, and you'll think that perhaps they want Iraq to be a nightmare, to justify the presence of US troops and mercenaries, but other times, it might appear that they've lost control of the situation, and none of this is what they'd anticipated.

I would have to say that the present campaign against Moqtada al-Sadr falls into the moronic category. bush II was already having difficulty justifying the steady drip, drip, drip, of wounded and killed US soldiers during the battles against the Sunni minority's insurgency. As many commentators pointed out, the oil-rich southern part of the country, being Shiite, was relatively peaceful. But the bush II regime, unable to tolerate the slightest dissent, has decided to move against Sadr, the most popular Shiite leader in Iraq. For this reason, Sadr has pulled his politicians from the cabinet of Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki. He has instructed Shiite police and military to resist the US forces.

The surge of troops to Baghdad was supposed to finally bring a modicum of order against the Sunni insurgency. If the heretofore acquiescent Shiite community rises up against the Americans, the casualty figures are going to double, or triple, and supplying the Green Zone in Baghdad will become even more difficult.

In no way, shape, or form, can intensifying the conflict assist bush in his efforts to show some semblance of achievement in Iraq. The extra troops that he's putting in are simply going to die in greater numbers than before, which is going to be political poison for bush. This is delusional madness, this is Caligulan incompetence, arrogance, and stupidity.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

May vs. Layton

So, as I understand it, Greens and Liberals are criticizing the NDP for planning to go ahead and field a candidate against Peter MacKay, and not give Elizabeth May an open field and a better chance of winning the seat?

And Jack Layton is being criticized for not even wanting to meet with May to discuss the issue?
Is this the scenario?

Because if it is, on the face of it, a 3-party cross-Canada scheme to cement the centre and left votes to expel the CPC might seem a good idea.

But the NDP conceding a riding where they are the strongest local opposition, in order to maybe defeat a CPC cabinet minister by electing someone who loathes the NDP and who pines for the PC party, doesn't seem like it has a whole lot to offer.

Especially since the Greens have agreed to be a juinor partner in a Liberal Party that has an atrocious environmental record. There's nothing to be gained for the environment by conceding something for nothing to such a political force.

Oh yeah, and with all that having been said, May's comment was the lowest form of gutter politics. One could reply this way:

"You're right Ms. May. Jack is prepared to talk to the Taliban in order to bring peace to the region and its people, to prevent further deaths, and to bring Canadian soldiers back home safely. Your political aspirations are just not at the same level of importance."

Friday, April 20, 2007

Alberto Gonzales and Larry Sanders

Well, I watched a tiny bit of US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's testimony before the Senate yesterday.

I must admit to being disappointed that he was allowed to walk away from the thing looking like an incompetent and a liar, as opposed to being a deliberate liar, covering up his partisan manipulation of the Justice Department.

When Gonzales repeatedly would say "look at the documents," "if you look at the documents," "if you look at the evidence," ... etc., etc., ... the Senators should have said "Which documents?" They should have said: "You've had over a month to prepare for this, what documents are you referring to?"

This was especially the case with the Carol Lam case. Lam was the US attorney who brought in some big convictions of Republican politicians. It's claimed by Gonzales and crew that she was fired for not pursuing illegal immigration cases diligently enough. But Lam was never told she had to improve her record on pursuing such cases. Gonzales is hanging his dubious claim on the existence of a couple of pieces of correspondence about Lam and illegal immigration, one of which only says that since she's in a border state (California), immigration concerns can be used as an excuse to fire her and any other attorneys from border states.

Gonzales should have been hammered at far greater length on this one. As it was, he still looked like a lying idiot, but the glaring inconsistencies weren't pursued.

In other news, a compilation DVD of the great Larry Sanders Show is coming out. Apparently Gary Shandling isn't such a happy guy now. Oh well, I'm sure things will turn around.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Oh Yeah, AG Gonzales is Testifying Today

It's just getting going on C-Span .

This is big stuff. Y'see, the bush II regime is not comprised of particularly intelligent individuals. In their hubris, they neglected to account for the possibility of any oversight of their blatant partisan criminality.

Gonzales, besides being a monster, is also one of the dimmest bulbs in the bush II firmament. He's been desperately trying to avoid this testimony and for good reason. He's toast. And, because they were all so blatant and careless, the whole shoddy crew is going to go down after this.

Caledonia, again ...

Pathetic moron Gary McHale is apparently going to be at it again. (He's still at his racist, idiotic website, which apparently went down for a few days.)

From what I gather, he's planning yet another of his stupid rallies against "two-tier justice" in Caledonia.

I'm really fired-up about the stupidity, hypocrisy, moral blindness, of McHale and his fan club. Especially McHale, a professed "Christian," who doesn't seem too concerned about the very real problem of greater police harassment of First Nations, of higher sentences, and harsher treatment in prison, suffered by First Nations people.

But everytime I start to write something pointing out the foundations of the situation, it always seems so obvious that I can't continue. Here goes nothing:

"You can bet that if white people tried to block a road or occupy a site, the police wouldn't let us keep it up for a year. We'd be arrested right away."

Well, DUH, you stupid shit, maybe you should ask yourself WHY white Canadians hardly ever seem to block highways and occupy sites in pursuit of land claims. Maybe no land has ever been STOLEN from you! Maybe you've never had lands that were clearly set aside for you and that weren't supposed to be sold to anyone, given away to people decades ago, when your people couldn't even think of getting justice through the courts. Maybe you've never been in the position of the First Nations at Ipperwash, whose land was simply appropriated by the federal government in World War Two with a promise to return it after the war, but who never got it back until both levels of government in Canada fucked them around until they simply moved in peacefully in 1995, only to be attacked and shot at by the police?

Ah, fuck it. This is the bottom thirty-percent of knuckle-dragging morons, ... at least I hope it is. This mentality is depressingly pervasive. I know that Gary McHale is a total shit-head, all the time, ... I wonder about the people who show up to support his rallies.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

An Issue of "The Walrus" Part I

I bought an issue of the Canadian semi-alternative monthly The Walrus, and it was pretty good. They sent me a subscription offer in the mail because I subscribed to US mags, Harpers and Z Magazine last year (when I was flush with cash) but I had to turn 'em down because 1. I don't often get $80 free ones these days, and 2. They print a lot of boring shit that I disagree with and so won't even engage with.

But the one I had was pretty good.

There was a story about journalists' complicity with the smearing of Maher Arar, by the writer Andrew Mitrovica. It points out the (in retrospect, obvious) fact that while the RCMP and politicians were slandering an innocent man, there were journalists who were relaying this dubious information, and relaying it with suitably leading innuendoes, in order to paint the picture of a dangerous man apprehended by intrepid law and order public servants.

Mitrovica says that we ought to be hearing apologies from them, and wondering what sort of price they're going to pay for their role in the affair.

I conclude with this: There are still right-wingers out there who say that "We'll never really know just what the wiley Maher Arar was up to." Curiously enough, these are the same goof-balls who get indignant at the suggestion that their wet-dream of a politician, george w. bush, ever lied, even once, about anything.

Which is pathetic. Political executives with a documented contempt for the rule of law, and who refused to testify under oath, shit, even refused to speak to legislators without smarter (still stupid) guys with them, ... they get a pass, but an ordinary citizen who was sent to another country to be imprisoned in a box and routinely beaten, ... yeah, let's be extra-skeptical about him.

Anyone who says "I'm still not sure about Arar" should be forced to read the Arar Inquiry Report, in a Syrian prison cell, and they can tell us all about their doubts when they're finished.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Recommendations for Haiti

Here's a list of recommendations for Canadian policy towards Haiti from the House of Commons Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development:

RECOMMENDATION 1
As part of a clear policy framework on Canada’s role in fragile states, the Government should set out concrete objectives, focusing on the Millennium Development Goals and anti-corruption activities, for Canadian “whole of government” interventions in recipient states. Thereafter, the Government should table in Parliament annual progress reports detailing by country the funds expended and results achieved in the stated objectives.

Well, whatever. Here's a link to the UN's "Millenium Development Goals." All quite wonderful, seriously. My bitterness is that this hypocritical gang (excepting Alexa, who has said some sensible things) puts out these recommendations when they clearly have been acting in such a way as to deprive Haitians of proper development. Annual progress reports to Parliament, sure, whatever.

RECOMMENDATION 2
The Government should, as part of its long-term assistance plan for Haiti, table in Parliament a report on Canada’s assistance to Haiti at the end of the current extended mandate of the Interim Cooperation Framework in 2007. The report should provide concrete details on all actions taken to correct flaws identified in donor evaluations — such as the 2004 CIDA study for the OECD — and should also provide concrete details of results from Canadian aid to Haiti in terms of meeting the Millennium Development Goals, in order to develop the future model for parliamentary reporting.


So, in other words, now that we devastated the country's economy by withholding crucial aid in response to a bogus electoral crisis, sent the democratically-elected president packing and replaced him with an interim regime of thieves and murderers, tried desperately to destroy the base of the party with the widest support across the country, and tried desperately to conduct a fraudulent election of our own, ... we're now going to list our "accomplishments" annually, and provide mention of our occasional screw-ups. ("We tried to fund some innocuous 'civil society' groups but they turned out to be pro-union activists, so we had to shoot them all.")

RECOMMENDATION 3
In the area of security, the Committee agrees that MINUSTAH must have clear authoritative direction and a clear mandate to disarm criminal gangs. Canada must work with international partners and Haitians to facilitate the preeminent need of Haiti for normalization and security in all areas. Canada should also consider increasing its contribution to the UN Mission during the period of its renewed mandate.


In regard to police reform, Canada should make a greater contribution over the next two to three years to the establishment and training of a professional politically neutral national police, taking into account lessons learned from its past Haitian police reform
program.

MINUSTAH must be given even clearer authorization to enter Haitian slums and kill anyone who has armed themselves against us, MINUSTAH, criminal psychopathic killers armed and funded by us, and the newly trained Haitian police. Regarding the Haitian police, ... "taking into account lessons learned from its past Haitian police reform program," I'd really like to be a fly on the wall in such a meeting. We seem to have done a miserable job of training a politically neutral police force in the past. Absolutely miserable. God knows what the fuck we've really been trying to do.

RECOMMENDATION 4
In the area of justice and corrections, considering that impunity still prevails across the entire country, Canada should work closely with Haitian authorities and international partners on putting an end to impunity, on establishing a national system of human rights protections, on the training of judges and on the reform of the prison system.

Yeah. When Hell freezes over. I recall that Aristide's alleged behaviour required putting Haiti through the wringer and financing a coup against him. Our interim government's arbitrary imprisonments, and murders have produced no such similar actions on our part. Complete and utter hypocrisy. I take it we'll remove the non-existent "immunity" of Aristide's supporters, perhaps to give MINUSTAH and the "Little Machete Gang" carte blanche to go after them with extreme prejudice.

RECOMMENDATION 5
Canada should work with international partners and the new Haitian government to ensure that the establishment of an economic plan, job creation and tangible improvements for Haiti’s poor are an immediate priority of development plans. Overall development strategy should also pay particular attention to: rural and local development, including agricultural production and food security; basic education for children; the empowerment of women; the formation of strong civil society and labour organizations; and the creation of a climate conducive to private-sector investment.


In view of the degree to which the environment in Haiti has deteriorated, Canada must work with its international partners and the new Haitian government to ensure that priority is also given to solving the serious environmental problems Haiti is facing, such
as deforestation causing severe flooding, shoreline pollution and the accumulation of garbage in the streets of towns and villages, to name just a few.

Interesting. "Establishment of an economic plan," ... that must mean neo-liberalism. "Job creation," ... that must mean neo-liberalism, tax-cuts and deregulation of labour markets. "Tangible improvements for Haiti’s poor," ... that must mean whatever sweatshop jobs are created under a neo-liberal economic plan.

"Agricultural production and food security," ... shit, here's a no-brainer you evil-minded fuckheads: stop dumping subsidized rice on the Haitians, while forbidding democratically-elected governments from subsidizing their own farmers. Actually, ... par for the course with everything, ... I wish the shit-heads who wrote these recommendations could just shut-the-fuck up and leave the people of Haiti alone.

All of this crap about helping the poor, building labour movements, or empowering women would be deluded crapola, if it wasn't for the fact that the evidence from our past actions has conclusively shown that we what the exact opposite for the people of Haiti than the lovely words that are printed here.

RECOMMENDATION 6
Canada should ensure that the voting infrastructures put in place are maintained and consolidated. With that in mind, it should provide more support, both financial and logistical, in order to ensure that the municipal elections, including those scheduled for December 2006, go ahead. These elections are essential in safeguarding all the work that has been done and ensuring that the government is not tempted to appoint mayors and thus perpetuate a situation that in the past was one of the biggest sources of corruption in Haiti.


Beyond continued electoral assistance; the Committee strongly supports long-term Canadian involvement in building sustainable institutions of democracy and good governance in Haiti. In particular, Canada should strive to strengthen Haiti’s parliamentary system to help enhance true voter representation of constituent communities in the national Parliament.

Bullshit. We helped ensure that the Presidential Elections were fraudulent. We worked to disenfranchise the people of Haiti, not empower them. Our past actions reveal these words to be lies.

RECOMMENDATION 7
As part of the policy statements called for in Recommendations 1 and 2, Canada should formally commit to a “whole of government” strategy for Haiti that envisages involvement for at least 10 years and that indicates long-term funding — beyond the five-year allocations already announced in July 2006 — will be available to fully support this strategy.


Consideration must be given to the cancellation of Haiti’s multilateral and bilateral debt, which totaled some (US) $1.3 billion in 2005, of which the Haitian government is faced
with payments of some (US) $60 million per year. Canada should work with other countries and international organizations towards the objective of canceling Haiti’s debt, in conjunction with the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.


Canada should also work with and lend support to civil society organizations. A long-term aid strategy for Haiti must include both government and civil society.

Now that Aristide is gone, now that MINUSTAH is there to continue to suppress popular action of the Haitian people for their own autonomy and dignity, ... now we can supposedly start thinking about cancelling the foreign debts of a country that's been abused and exploited for over a century. Either that, or as in so many other things, we're lying.

Consenting Adults

So, as I said earlier, I'm reading this book by Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power: 1933-1939. I've just finished a section where the Nazis are going after the various religious orders in Germany, trying to stamp out anything that constituted an alternative center of power.

Anyways, they went after the Catholic minority, and one of the ways they tried to weaken and discredit the Church was to print lurid accounts of priests sexual abuse of boys. And, well, what with all the recent notoriety on this subject, it was hard to muster much sympathy for the Catholic Church on this subject.

But then, Evans started talking about how the Nazis started to try to indoctrinate the population towards their own ideology, through various groups. An important institution for youth indoctrination was the Hitler Youth. Evans describes it as a very top-down, rigid, bullying, stupid organization, and I've no reason to doubt him. And, relevant to the discussion on child-molesting Catholic priests, it seems that some of the lumpish thugs who led Hitler Youth clubs weren't opposed to doing a little child-abuse themselves. Not surprisingly, the Nazi regime didn't print lurid accounts of this rampant problem in the government press.

There was also the tragic account of some Hitler Youth members whose bullying of another lad ended up becoming sexual abuse, which then led to knifing the boy to death to prevent his accusing them later. When the boy's mother complained, she was arrested to keep the whole story covered up. (Anecdotes like that make you wonder why we bother asking what purpose we were put on this planet for, don't they? Like, what was that boy's "mission in life" supposed to be? Ah, I get depressed.)

So, yeah, the Church molested kids, the Hitler Youth molested kids. The Nazis made a big deal that one of the Brownshirt SA's was found in bed with another male during the "Night of the Long Knives." And then there's the stories about how Hitler had his cousin urinate and defecate on him, before having her killed when her ability to keep quiet about it came into doubt.

It seems that there's a lot of stuff going on, all the time. We're a pretty fucked-up set of animals, twisting our mammalian sexual urges into all sorts of crazy shapes. Repression only turns us into complete psychos, like Ted Haggard or the Taliban. It seems to me that we should all stop trying to believe that sexuality is an "evil" (one of the reasons why I hate that word "evil" is because it is so utterly useless as a descriptor) and look at it for what it is: a means of reproduction that also has loads of side benefits [no doubt thrown in so that we'll eagerly pursue it] and that can manifest itself in ways that sometimes have little to do with the act of reproduction but with something else altogether.

The sexual urge isn't a completely innocuous, wonderful, unproblematic thing that's been deformed by religious repression. Unrestrained, it can lead people to force their sexuality on others, and it can lead people to use others solely to gratify it.

But we can usually restrain all our other appetites so that we're not being greedy, selfish, hurtful, destructive, towards others. If sexual urges are shared between consenting adults, that is, human beings in an equal-enough power relationship, then it seems to me that if anything comes to mind that upon a little honest reflection isn't destructive, then go to it.

[I've spent over an hour on this post looking for decent links. You'd think there'd be something from a respectable source (as opposed to some bushloving right-wing propaganda site) about sexual repression under the Taliban, ... evidently not.]

So that's my post for the day.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Fantino on Caledonia Rallies

Apparently deluded hypocrite Gary McHale is planning another one of his useless rallies in Caledonia.

Gary McHale is the fellow who believes that Canada is being ground under by the iron heel of First Nations Peoples, and that unless we "wake up" soon, we'll all ... well I can't actually be bothered with trashing McHale's stupidity at length.

So, Julian Fantino e-mailed some Caledonia politicians and told them that if they continue to encourage these sorts of rallies (which needlessly endanger OPP officers he says) he will consider not renewing the OPP's contract to provide policing for Caledonia.

Two sources: Liberal Party organ Toronto Star, and lying, anti-medicare, cowardly asswipes National Citizens Coalition. (I forgot to add "misnamed.")

Mayhap Fantino is justified in this stance? He's an old-fashioned, ostrich-like police chief, but he seems to have been brought up to speed surprisingly quickly on handling these land protests. As head of the OPP, does he have this authority?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Wow, nothing since Tuesday?

I'm going to have to do something about that. But I want to work on a cartoon today. And lots more stuff to take care of.

I think the May-Mackay-NDP contest will be pretty interesting. N' meaningful.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Six Canadian Soldiers Killed

All at once. All on the same day. Killed by an "Improvised Explosive Device" placed near the side of an Afghanistan road. Between the time I started this entry and today, two more soldiers have died. Military spokespersons are denying that this spike in IED hits is indicative of a renewed spring offensive in Afghanistan, but we'll get to that later.

I don't like militaries. Most people on the Left don't like militaries. Militaries are intensely hierarchichal, authoritarian institutions, and they generally mould the minds of their prisoners into thinking that some asinine "way of life" (ie., "let ambitious businessmen rape the environment and get rich doing so") is worth fighting, killing, and dying for.

Of course, some can argue that militaries are also highly egalitarian institutions. They accept pretty much anyone, regardless of social status, and once inside, everyone is treated pretty much the same. (There's a debate in the US about this very issue. An example is the contention that black soldiers were placed in dangerous environments far more frequently than were white soldiers, during the Vietnam War. People on the Right, within and without the military dispute this.) Furthermore, rising through the ranks is supposedly based on merit, as opposed to the outside world, where social class has more impact on a person's prospects. That might very well be true. A lot of the leftists who were former military personnel mention that they saw the military as the one way out of the hopelessness and meaninglessness of poverty in Canada or the US.

That might very well be true, but they are still organizations dedicated to warfare and to advancing the aims of generally inhuman states. And they still seek to tear down the psyches of the people who join them, to make them effective killers for the state they serve.

Many people on the Left have a visceral dislike of military people as a group and as individuals. They see them as all as mindless cogs and thugs, at the very least complicit, if not actually enthusiastic about the atrocities their institutions engage in. While I disagree with this perspective, I see it as more understandable than the idol-worshippers who believe that all of our soldiers are a class above ordinary Canadians, and that we should all drop to our knees in gratitude for the "freedom" that our soldiers have somehow or other won for us, and which they continue to defend for us, threatened as it is, by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Curiously, the same people who worship "the troops" (up and until it's discovered that their favourite politicians have been found to have been cheating them, or have been carelessly wasting their lives in futile missions) and who decry the negative generalizations against them by some on the Left, enjoy very much making stupid generalizations about the Left.

Personally, I think that the individuals in the Canadian and US militaries (at least - that's the extent of my personal experience) are almost just like ordinary individuals anwhere else (perhaps there's a slightly more pronounced "conservative" trend among this segment of the population), and I will treat them as such. I know friends and relatives in the CF (mostly the Reserves) and they're all basically decent people. I knew two gentlemen in grad school who were CF, and while I never got to know their deepest, darkest secrets, I nevertheless came away from a couple of evenings of casual drinking thinking they were generally agreeable companions.

From some of my younger friends, I've noticed a greater confusion about what they want to do with their lives, and that is what directed them to the military. These were young men who were bored and unremarkable students, undisciplined and unfocused workers, who imagined that somehow, some way, the military might help to "straighten them out." (One of these fellows found that his attitude problems were greater than the CF could solve. I'm hazy with the details, but they seem to have expelled him and washed their hands of him.)

Basically, I regard members of the armed forces as decent individuals until I'm given a reason to think otherwise.

Which is why I deplore politicians who mindlessly, or stupidly, put Canadian soldiers in harm's way to curry favour with an off-balanced, crazed US government. I also deplore the fact that the politicians not only put these people into combat for such a lame reason, but also because they have made Canadian soldiers the protectors of an incompetent, thuggish regime that loses the loyalty of its people and which invites protest and rebellion.

Several people, researchers and NATO officials, have pointed out the miserable job the Karzai government and its Western backers have done at rebuilding Afghansitan. It is the thuggishness and incompetence of the Karzai regime that is bringing about the Taliban's resurgence. I have described this process several times in earlier posts. Western governments have been appallingly indifferent to the sufferings of the Afghan people due to our violence and thoughtlessness.

Who can dare say that they "support the troops" by mindlessly supporting this mission? Our "mission" in Afghanistan has condemned millions to starvation, hopelessness, and despair. If as a result, some Afghans join the resistance and attack Canadian soldiers, it is the mindless Canadian stooges who refuse to face up to the reality of the situation, who refuse to rationally see the connections between their political choices, the arrogance of Western imperialism, and the explosions that rip apart Canadian soldiers bodies, who are to blame.

"Canadian soldiers chose to do this job" is one of the groundless arguments made by supporters of blind loyalty to Canadian imperialism. It's not based in fact. Canadian soldiers agreed to be Canadian soldiers. Nobody who joined the armed forces in the year 2000 ever said: "If I get sent to Afghanistan to impose a puppet government on the people there I shall do so in full, enthusiastic agreement." They are in the military and they've agreed to go wherever it is they are sent and to do the job they are paid to do. If some, even many of them, think that the mission is sound, that's their business and they're welcome to it. But even if Hillier thinks it's his job to "kill people" first and foremost, he should be disabused of this idea. It's his job to follow orders. If the people of Canada, through a government more reflective of the actual opinions of Canadians comes to power, he will be told to bring the boys home and that will be that.

A visitor to this site has repeatedly accused me of demonizing Canadian soldiers. I have done nothing of the sort, and I don't expect that I ever will. What I have pointed out is that there are allegations of our soldiers beating their prisoners. This should be investigated. If it is true, the perpetrators ought to be punished. As I said recently in the comments section, we cannot pat ourselves on the back for being decent, humane, and wonderful, if we brush off allegations of beating prisoners, either because we want to believe it just can't happen, or if we don't care about the human rights of our enemies.

Furthermore, any shit-head argument that our enemies are inhuman and should therefore be abused is only evidence that the arguer is cut from the same cloth as the "inhuman" enemy. They act brutally because they think we're brutes, infidels, oppressors. We act brutally because they're "savages," fanatics, and terrorists. And on and on it goes.

The main argument against what Canadian soldiers are doing is the fact that they're forced to turn over prisoners to documented torturers (the US military and the Karzai government). Who can claim to "support the troops" when they wish to keep them in a situation where they have no other choice but to turn prisoners (who, remember, might have been simple peasants desperate to protect themselves from a rapacious, criminal regime) over to torturers. Contrary to what the imbecilic Gordon O'Conner says, the Red Cross has NOT been monitoring the treatment of prisoners. His ignorance or duplicity on this subject is testimony to his utter indifference about this serious crime.

This has been the deadliest week for Canadian soldiers in over 50 years. I dispute the claim that these two explosions are not signs of a coming, intensified spring offensive. Somebody has to plant these bombs. That they were not planted in the past, but are being planted in evidently greater numbers now is indicative of the growth of popular feeling against NATO and against our troops. Despite the warnings from many quarters about this growing ill-will, our governments have done nothing to improve Karzai's policies or even his ability to improve them. Those who profess to "support the troops" had best prepare their defences if the spring offensive turns out to be as bloody and fatal for Canada's soldiers as it seems to be shaping up to be.

If Canadian soldiers think they are doing good in Afghanistan, if they have actually done some small good at times, that's entirely possible, but it is also working against a tide of Western arrogance and indifference and, in fact, antipathy to the best interests of the Afghan people. Whether we like it or not, Canadian soldiers have been made into targets by Western governments that show by their actions that they do not care for the people of Afghanistan. The longer we leave them there the more will die. And I "support the troops" in my way, by calling for them to be brought home, and to never again be sent on such dangerous, futile "missions."

For an insider's account of the mess we've made in Afghanistan, and of the popular anger against it, check out this speech by Malalai Joya.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Six Canadian Soldiers Killed

I'll be composing my thoughts about it over the next day or so.

CBC Link

Saturday, April 7, 2007

What,economy, for an?

Very quickly, ... people live in groups, ... and some people emerge as leaders. And it's often a very organic thing. Somebody is in charge so long as they're the best at organizing the group for the group's purposes.

Left alone on this planet, we try to figure out what's going on, and also rationalize the things we do with some sort of morality. Some leaders try to rationalize the permanence of their leadership with some sort of religious mumbo-jumbo.

But everyone on the planet has a right to whatever they can win with the power of their own body.

Until we invent settled agriculture, and property. Where long terms of work go into production and passing strangers aren't free to devour the fruit of this labour like passing locusts.

But then, some get it into their heads that this stationary group of beings can be extorted into turning over the better part of their production, and wealth without labour can be accumulated.

And the idea of an huge expanse of geography wherein everything is owned by some individual or some ruler, this artificial notion, ... it creates people without an accepted claim to anything but what they can beg for, or work (for someone else) for.

And this idea of dispossessed, dependent individuals is based on gangsterism. The capitalist labourer is in the position he or she is in because of the gangsterism of the "warrior caste" over the millenia.

We can come up with more social rights for individuals than this residue of criminal social relations.

Friday, April 6, 2007

What's an Economy fOr?

Human beings need to eat. That's true. Human beings make other human beings. It's instinctive. Or "instinctual." It's something to do as our planet spins around the Sun, and so-on.

Human beings try to make things easier for themselves. But they also try to create things that make existence seem better.

And the work that we do to stay alive and to avoid unnecessary suffering, and to do something worthwhile, ... that's the economy.

Two things seem crucial: Growing enough food to support everyone, and controlling our population so that this continues to be feasible.

How we decide to do this, ... how we grow food, distribute it, purchase it, earn it, ... how we do that and everything else, is "political economy."

Where am I going with this? Nowhere. I'm too busy.

Here's a link to an article.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Only Have Time For Mockery and Scorn Today

Via Canadian Cynic, we learn that Canadian blogger Brian Lemon, via KKKate Macmillan - (who got her info from empty-headed hack Matt Drudge or some other useless shithead who got it from Drudge) .... [everyone still here?] ... that CNN Iraq War correspondent Michael Ware behaved disgracefully at Senator John McCain's press conference in Baghdad.

McCain, who had contemptuously told the contemptible Wolf Blitzer that (thanks to bush II's new influx of tired, wounded soldiers) it was now quite safe, in many Baghdad neighbourhoods, for an American to enjoy a pleasant stroll. Immediately after that, Blitzer spoke to Ware, and Ware said that McCain was delusional, living in Never-Never Land.

Well, McCain was on his way to Iraq and he decided to put his words into action, ... so after the US military scoured an Iraqi marketplace for bombs, snipers, anything and everything that could be a threat, McCain strolled in and spoke to some ordinary Iraqis (who had nothing else to do since the market was locked-down basically) about all the wonderful progress the US invasion has made, or some other inconsequential garbage and puke.

Oh yeah, ... McCain was accompanied by 100 extra soldiers, 5 helicopters, and enough other military back-up to make the whole thing a ludicrous travesty.

Now, here's the "story." When McCain gave his press conference, Matt Drudge (quoting an unnamed source) says that Michael Ware heckled the ridiculous, pathetic McCain during his press conference.

Ware's heckling of the lying senator had the right-wing internet battalions in an uproar. Showing disrespect to a politician is evidently beyond the pale. Especially if that politician is lying about the world in the same manner that you are. Hence Brian Lemon, KKKate, Instapundit, LGF, and etc., etc., ad nauseum's fury.

But, not surprisingly, it turns out that Drudge's source (if there even was a source) made the whole thing up. McCain didn't say anything about being heckled. Ware denied it. And then, Ware produced video-taped evidence, ... the entire press conference, ... showing no heckling, with McCain taking questions, until Ware raised his hand and the conference mysteriously ends.

Ah shit, as I'm composing this entry, I notice that KKKate has provided a sequel to this non-story: Get ready for this. Apparently, according to a reporter rightly contemptuous of McCain's buffoonery, a journalist at the press conference "giggled." As you can see (and as KKKate herself has emphasized) the tone of the report is harsh towards McCain. ... ... ... ...

...

...

Actually, I can't be bothered with further commentary on KKKate's stupid update.


...


Any-hoooooo, .... I thought of a joke about who Matt Drudge's source was for this story. Sunni Baghdad police captain Jamail Hussein. The guy who the right-wing was in an uproar about at the time I first started this blog. Supposedly he didn't exist, and therefore all of AP's stories about the violence in Baghdad were lies.

Aside from the fact that the if AP was lying and Bagdhad was quite safe, it would make bush II's need for adding troops to restore order in Bagdhad quite incomprehensible, the unfortunate reality for the right-wing was that Jamail Hussein turned out to be real. So, these bozos then moved to doubting the accuracy of his testimony. Which again, turns out to be nonsense since their hero, bush II, still felt that conditions in Bagdhad required an extra 80,000 or so troops.

But their main point was that the MSM cannot be trusted. We can however trust the right-wing. Which gets its stories from Matt Drudge, who smears his shit all over his bathroom floor and then licks letter in it at random until he vomits, ... and then makes up a story completely at random.

Ah, fuck it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Ontario Citizen's Assembly On Electoral Reform

The Star reports that it's considering the German system of proportional representation. McGuinty says it needs 60 percent support from the electorate. (The Citizen's Assembly will still be deliberating.)

Monday, April 2, 2007

Some Mothers Do 'ave 'em ...

Not much time to post today. Nor much time for reflection. But I'm posting because i'm so excited to have a blog. ... and i don't want this vehicle for reflection to fall to the wayside like my trips to the gym ... so to post ...

You think that reason, and studying, and basic human sanity will eventually redeem the world. Like, through honest debate, people will eventually see the truth.

Then you see people like this guy.

I’m sick and bleeping tired of the absurdity of the “no WMD” argument, the failure of the Mainstream Media to read their own news reports over the past two-plus years our forces have been in Iraq (and the 7-plus years since The Clinton Administration made the same WMD claims–See Updates 4 and 5 below), and the failure of this administration and the congressional majority to defend itself on the topic.

I was looking for a discussion-board acquaintance's blog when i googled "No WMDs 'eh?" and there were all sorts of hits, and on a lark, I decided to check this one out.

This is old news, and it isn't meant as a startling revelation on anything topical. I'm presenting it as evidence of the folly of imagining that anyone capable of tying their own shoes can be convinced that up is up, right is right, water is wet, etc.,

I didn't bother to check out the evidence that this fellow has gone to so much busy-work to compile. True-believer David Kay's admission after an exhaustive search REALLY should have sealed the coffin of Saddam's WMDs for all time. I read the comments section almost all the way through and evidently he's amassed drivel from like-minded right-wing shitheads with no credibility, and found news about the same piles of junk that loser Rick Santorum and forgotten pal dredged up a couple of years ago.

What's startling is that this guy is evidently articulate, and knows how to read and research (to an extent anyway) but he's still compelled by some sort of blinkered fanaticism, to see what isn't there and to make the connections that not even the imbecile [p]resident he worships can make.

Evidently there really are WMDs in Iraq. Significant amounts. But the TRUTH can't get through the media filters don't you know. Not even FOX News, a Congressional majority, and the Whitehouse can get through to Americans that Saddam Hussein had tons and tons and tons of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Actually, my brain is boggling trying to convey the extent of this person's delusion and paranoia. I'd better stop right now.