Friday, September 28, 2007

Acknowldege the Need for Revolution (because "business as usual" only encourages them)

Jeeziz, .... "Death to Canada,"* that's what Afghan protestors are shouting outside Kandahar, where they accuse Canadian soldiers of killing two religious elders during a raid. Canadian authorities claim they were not involved. NATO spokespersons said that the protest was staged by the Taliban, who also inflate the numbers of civilian casualities. Of course, Canada and NATO exaggerate the numbers of Taliban they kill and underestimate civilian casualities, ... so take it all with a grain of salt.

The thing is, they're shouting "Death to Canada" somewhere in the world. FIVE YEARS after we defeated a not-too-very-popular regime, and have supposedly been working hard to bring stability and development to the region.

The point is, that you can't trust the fuckers for anything. The same politicians that created the federal public debt on the engineered unemployment of the workers, and who have used the debt to slash necessary public services for the majority, and who are blaming the people they themselves threw out of work for being "dependent" upon those social programs and therefore causing the debt, ... these are the same politicians who we trust to deliver on the best interests of the Afghan people.

The same people who harassed, slandered, and fired Shiv Chopra, Margaret Haydon and Gerard Lambert, the veterinary drug scientists who blew the whistle on the dangers of Monsanto's rBGH growth hormone, are the ones we trust to represent us to the people of Afghanistan and Haiti.

The system that allows corporations to produce dangerous products and intimidate the institutions our taxes pay to regulate them is not a system that should ever be trusted. It is not a system we should accept.

The system that sends two unelected presidents, and a duplicitous, unpopular prime minister, to Montebello, to "streamline" the regulatory framework of three supposedly sovereign nations, ... while a sampling of their corporate paymasters guide their hands, ... all behind closed doors and the prying eyes of the people, this is not a system that a free people would typically endorse.

People who are already skeptical about this system, people who vote left-wing, whether they are deluded left-Liberals or NDPr's, have to come all the way through and realize that a system that does these things, and that creates a wall of confusion which perpetuates the two corporate parties, and condemns semi-realistic ones to permanent minority status and irrelevance, is a sick system.

A system that deliberately kills people, and which gladly kills more people if there's a buck to be made, is not a system that can be reasoned with.

I believe in democracy and human rights, and, I think, more than many people. I believe they are the only principles that grant us some degree of security from the system. But they were won by people opposed to the system, ... they weren't granted by the system. They create a cocoon of complacency around the capitalist system though.

Our political-democratic movement has to move forward with the majority of the people, but first the majority of the people have to be convinced that the system has to go. It has to be dramatically changed. And before we can do this, we have to make sure that everyone who critiques the system understands how truly inhuman and monstrous it is.

I could go


* This news was brought to my attention by Alison in the comments section of the last thread. Thanks for the heads-up on this important (and depressing) situation.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

1/4 of Canada's Afghan Prisoners Unaccounted For

From the Saturday, September 22nd, 2007 Globe & Mail, we don't know where 50 of the 200 prisoners we've taken in Afghanistan are. We don't know what's happened to them. But Canada's New Government is tapping its toes and thinking happy thoughts:


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Canada still can't account for at least 50 prisoners it captured and turned over to Afghan authorities, several sources say, frustrating efforts to put to rest concerns the detainees were subject to torture.

Canadian sources offered a benign explanation for their disappearance, blaming the Afghans' shoddy record-keeping and suggesting the detainees have likely returned safely to their homes.

Canada's own diplomatic reporting has already warned of complaints that captives are sometimes killed inside Afghan prisons.

“Extrajudicial executions, disappearances, torture and detention without trial are all too common,” a report last year said.

The sort of thing that could be happening to prisoners we've turned over to the Afghans is reflected in the story of a wealthy Afghan farmer whose brother and another man were arrested in his fields close to a highway where a roadside bomb had gone off, killing one Afghan police officer. The surviving officers arrested the man's brother and the other man, and took them to an illegal prison (one of many, apparently) in Kandahar. The man was able to ransom his brother, but the other man, having no wealthy relatives to save him was found in a gutter, practically flayed, with his throat slit.

This happens to people arrested by underpaid police officers who most likely come from one of the powerful warlord groups that make up "Afghanistan's New Government," and which embody that culture of violence and criminality. The Afghan citizen had some final words for the reporter:

"These problems will belong to the Canadians in the end,” he said. “You have friendships with killers.”


On the very same day that this excellent, sobering reporting appeared, the Globe & Mail's editorial board (containing, I hear, the infamous Marcus Gee, a man whose stenographic talents rival those of the Washington Press Corps) produced a vapid, ridiculous lead editorial about how we have to "stay the course" in Afghanistan.

Why? Why must we continue to create enemies, capture some of them, and hand them over to be flayed alive? The Globe editors don't really have much to say:


There is a strong case for extending the deployment of Canada's troops in Kandahar itself. it is a dangerous place. It is also a place where this country, through the bravery and sacrifice of its soldiers, has been able to make a difference in the world.


I think somebody got confused. That's not a "strong case." That's a weak case. What? If I go into a roadside bar to ask for directions and I find it's full of cannibal bikers I should stay because I've found myself in a dangerous place? Maybe I could "make a difference in the world" by becoming a statistic or something. What the hell is this vague euphemism, "make a difference in the world"? Why don't these dimwits come right out and say what they mean?

Glenn Greenwald had a good critique of the purposefully vague nature of imperialist rhetoric. In one of his screeds, sorry-assed Jonah Goldberg had this advice for dealing with the increasingly stubborn Iraqi insurgency:


As a matter of analysis and prescription, I'm all in favor of the war in Iraq becoming less "liberal" -- as you folks are using the term around here -- and more realistic, i.e. ruthless. No fan of "liberalizing" Iraq can be against winning there first. (Greenwald emphasizes things differently.)


Happily, Greenwald had the time and the clout to call Goldberg on his bullshit. What did he
mean by the US being more "ruthless" in Iraq? Blasting entire civilian neighbourhoods to rubble to root out insurgents? Killing suspected insurgents and displaying their mutilated corpses as grim, graphic warnings to anyone seeking to resist the American occupation?

When pressed, Goldberg bleated the following:


But, what I mean by ruthlessness . . . is a single-minded determination to win.



That's it. He clarifies his gassy machismo with mewling cliche. Greenwald devastatingly rips this to shreds:


By "single-minded determination to win," does that mean we bomb more indiscriminately, forget about ethical restraints, break the law, re-instate the draft, raise taxes to pay for a larger military? Who knows. He won't say. They never do, because their real goal is to sound tough and avoid admitting error ("the Iraq War isn't a failure; not at all. We just need to stiffen our spines, take the kid gloves off, and commit ourselves to a single-minded determination to win").


Obviously, the Globe & Mail editors know they can't get away with that sort of shit in Canada (yet). Rick Hillier and the Harpercons have tried and failed. So they have to talk about what we can positively in vague euphemisms that don't break down to anything at all.

"We have to stay until the job is done." What job? How do we know it's done? What do we need to do to finish the job? How long is this supposed to take? "The long haul"? What the hell does that mean? Commit to something dammit! You're supposed to be the "personal responsibility" monopolists after all!

There are more pathetic rationalizations in the editorial. It remains the case that the above useless generalities was the core of the "strong case" for our staying; that Afghanistan is dangerous and that we can make a difference in the world by staying.

They also say that we owe it to our allies to stay. We started something, we should finish it. This is hypocritical bullshit. We violate the UN Treaty daily with impunity. We abandoned Kyoto. Military commitments (especially imperialist projects like this one) should have no higher standing than any other commitments. And we're only officially "committed" to 2008 anyway.

They say that we owe it to the Afghan people to stay. More nonsense. The implication is that we're staying there rebuilding the country and destroying the Medieval insurgency that is trying to frustrate these efforts. The reality is that we're spending only one-tenth of our resources on reconstruction. 9/10ths of our efforts are dedicated to fighting, to making enemies, to calling in NATO airstrikes that wipe-out entire villages creating more enemies. We've taken sides when there are no real good sides to take. Karzai is a weak US puppet. The warlords in his government have been given immunity for the past crimes against humanity, and they're committing new ones in the present. We've reneged on promised levels of reconstruction aid. We've conducted a disastrous anti-heroin crusade, destroying the economic hope of thousands of families. We turn over the people we fight to rogue police who hold people for ransom and who torture their victims to death.

Certainly we owe something to the people of Afghanistan. It certainly isn't what we've been doing up to now though.

They argue that we need to stay in Afghanistan for our own national security. This is laughable garbage. Control of Afghanistan does not a world power make. The Globe knows this. They mean that we have to defeat "terrorism." But terrorism is a response to something else. And the truth of the matter is that since the Taliban has grown in strength because of the anger created by our broken promises and violence, it's actually the case that we're LESS safe the longer we stay in Afghanistan, because we've created more individuals who might get it into their heads that Canada is their enemy.

This should all go without saying. This Globe & Mail editorial was one of the most miserable pieces of utter stupidity ever to grace its pages. And that's saying a lot after all.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Federal Report Critical of Harper's Kyoto Plan

From the CBC. The National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy issued a report that was harshly critical of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

The report said that Harper's forecasts for the impact on greenhouse gas reductions of many of the plan's initiativies were wildly overestimated, with most all the rest of the conclusions evidently groundless and probably pulled out of somebody's filthy ass.

Harper responded with the monotonous, condescending drone of his, saying: "Like Elections Canada, we have yet another government bureaucracy overreaching its mandate and inventing reality simply to punish Canada's New Government and keep us from coming into the promised land. Hallelujah, and praise George W. Bush."

To which some unidentified backbencher yelled: "Shut the fuck up you lying sack of shit!"

Friday, September 21, 2007

Why I Hate "Conservatives"

Actually, there's probably some people who call themselves "conservatives" that I wouldn't mind. But there's also a group of people who apply that name to themselves who are positively loathsome.

These are people who vote for morons like Mike Harris, Stephen Harper, Stockwell Day, and bush II. And who remain proud of that fact long after the vast majority of people have decided that such a decision was a stupid, destructive one indeed.

I don't really have the time to say anything profound, positive and new these days. So, like many leftists, I'm spending my time bitching about US "conservatives" and this particular story just sticks in my craw that I can't help myself.

From "Sadly, No!" I find out about this doughy pant-load named Jason Mattera, who has bravely opted-out of the war in Iraq (where, if you've been following the news, the US troops are stretched to the point of exhaustion) to fight the all-important "culture war" for "conservative values" on US college campuses.

In other words, Mattera is a chicken-hawk and an idiot, and a hypocrite, and all manner of disgusting things.

On the "Sadly, No!" entry, it's related how Mattera has responded to the dropping of charges against four of the eight marines implicated in the Haditha massacre, by taking a camera down to the US Senate building to go after US Democratic Congressman John Murtha who had said the following at the time:


"Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood, ... This is going to be a very, very bad thing for the United States."

Murtha is a former marine, who had served in Korea and Vietnam. He's a hawk on defence appropriations, and he retains close ties to the US military. I probably wouldn't like him. But the thing is, he's at least consistent and honest enough and human enough to acknowledge when US personnel have gone bad, why they did so, and to recognize that this is appalling, shameful, and tragic. It's really a no-brainer.

I recall some massacre apologists on the now defunct http://www.tacitus.org/ whining that Murtha's outburst had damaged the marines' chances for a fair trial, which was basically their trying to sweep the whole thing under the rug. ("Can't talk about it because of the trial." "Wait for General Petraeus's report." "There's an ongoing investigation, so I can't comment on it." -- more stalling bullshit.) But that was the most restrained criticism of Murtha on the right. "Shit Skidmark For Brains" (AKA Michelle Malkin) attributed a burning hatred for "the troops," "America," and everything else that the "Gathering of Eagles" human garbage pretends to hold dear.

So, again, now that charges against four of the accused have been dropped (God knows why), our doughy chicken-hawk Mattera waddles down to "confront" Murtha, and, ... well, watch the video:



It's difficult to really know what to say, isn't it? Murtha never accused specific marines. He said that some marines killed civilians in cold blood. Murtha blamed their stress and exhaustion due to their impossible "mission" in this misguided invasion.

As should be well-known, the marines went berserk after a roadside bomb exploded under their humvee, killing their driver. The surviving soldiers went on a rampage:

Aws Fahmi, a Haditha resident who said he watched and listened from his home as Marines went from house to house killing members of three families, recalled hearing his neighbor across the street, Younis Salim Khafif, plead in English for his life and the lives of his family members. "I heard Younis speaking to the Americans, saying: 'I am a friend. I am good,' " Fahmi said. "But they killed him, and his wife and daughters."


The marines went into three houses, one after another, and shot everyone inside. Three houses, simply unfortunate enough to have existed near a planted roadside bomb. Three innocent families (and towards the end of it all, four male students and their taxi-driver, who turned a corner, saw the carnage, and attempted to flee only to be fired upon by a barrage of bullets. One house, right after the other. No fire was received from these houses. Each house was found to contain only innocent men, women, and children.

Who does Maretta think killed those Iraqis, now that the charges have been dropped against four of the eight? Did they kill themselves? Did little fairies do it? No, Maretta, you pathetic, pathetic fool, ... US MARINES killed those civilians. Murtha at least can accept this reality.

You, Maretta, are just some smirking, useless, stupid piece of shit.

Check out those comments at the original youtube site for the Maretta/Murtha video:

Murtha is an old fool. Done. Insanity and hate is what drives that mean senile old fart. His hate of Bush incorrectly gives him an excuse for calling our troops murderers. Murtha should be imprisoned for sedition.

fucking coward Murtha! just another DEM traitor!

Murtha is a terrorist loving moron

Murtha's a pussy. Even if the charges were not dropped he shouldn't besmirch our troops. This is war.

Murtha should be shot. He has no right to hold the office he has.

Excellent slam dunk!Jack Murtha should be stood down from congress immediately and should now be tried for treason!



What happens to the "marketplace of ideas" when there's garbage like this in it, screaming louder than all the rest?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

September 15th Rallies Against the War ....

They didn't end the war did they? They haven't registered with too many Democrats.

My guess is that elites have learned to ignore crowds of people standing around shouting for an afternoon. Ignored, or abused them, with no penalties.

A rally has to lead to something. It has to have a specific purpose. It has to make a specific statement, and it has to represent people prepared to do something else if they continue to be ignored.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

An Oldie But A Goodie (for the mentally and morally challenged

From Scott Neigh's blog, lawyer Andrew Orkin on "the rule of law":

It is far from clear that the Iroquois Confederacy members re-occupying their lands are legally in the wrong.

If they are, why has the federal government spent the last 20 years or so frantically evading having to account to the Six Nations Band Council in Court for the Crown's (mis)handling of the vast Haldimand Grant that it holds in trust for the Iroquois people?

It is time that Canadians remind themselves of ALL of the applicable law, not just the bits that seem to justify our occupation and takings of others' lands.

...

Respect for the law is not a one-way, natives-only street. Non-natives and their governments must respect the law too, and all of it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

No New Info on our Prisoners in Afghanistan?

The NDP's ten-days to find out where General Hillier got the idea he was empowered to censor access to information on Afghanistan have long past. I haven't heard back from the NDP about what they plan on doing next.

And we Canadians have been pretty quiet about this. Too busy expressing outrage about the US in Iraq.

Speaking of which, I wonder if any antes are being upped with the US protests against the war today?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Two-Tier Justice Again?

A couple of nights ago, my partner and I (and the new one!) were coming home on the bus, and there were two guys sitting across from us. I will mention that one of them was a security guard who made $8/hour because that's actually going to be relevant later. He was also at least in his late forties. His friend was a little younger and looked to be of similar economic standing.

At first I was mildly interested in listening to them, because even though they were talking about baseball and baseball players' personal lives, the older fellow had a pleasant radio announcer's voice and he sounded a lot more intelligent than his lime-green track pants would have indicated.

They went on to talk about his security-guard job, about smoking in the guard shack not being allowed, about how someone got promoted to management and up to $12/hour with no union dues, and about how they could watch movies and cable-tv all night, with the drawback being that the money wasn't that good.

Then, they started to talk about the Natives in Caledonia. "Did'ja hear about those Natives beating up a guy in a new housing development?" "Yeah."

So, my ears picked up on this. The older guy went on:

"So what do you think the OPP is going to do?" He asked rhetorically. "Hunh! Nothing!" Said his friend. "You got that right."

The first thing that came into my head was that every single rumour or statement about First Nations violence was reported in the media as proven fact, and that the conspiracy-nuts and racists at sites like SDA would obsess and enlarge them so that they could create a gigantic Indian-Islamist conspiracy to destroy Western Civilization that only bush II and Stephen Harper can save us from.

I told my partner that the whole story was probably complete bullshit, and that somebody in Caledonia had just made it up and it was circulating through the grapevine. In the background I heard the younger guy make some disparaging remark about how stupid it was to respect old treaties or some other rot, while the older guy then started talking about how he'd just send the army in and clear them all out, hydro-towers and road blocks and such, until the usual canard came out:

"What do think would happen if people like us tried to do any of that?" "Hah! They'd shut us down in a day!"

Oh my fucking god. Why do all these white people think that this is somehow profound? Do they ever fucking wonder why it never enters into their heads to conduct a land occupation? Like perhaps they've never had lands stolen from them? Written promises violated? Like there's a difference between what the First Nations experience as reality and what members of the settler society do?

We were getting off the bus at that point, just in time to hear the younger guy say: "Two-tier justice."

"Two-tier justice," I thought. Wow. How deep. Gary McHale's constituency. The self-described Canadian Martin Luther King. Does the dipshit care about two-tier justice against the Natives? There's certainly enough of that, isn't there. I mean ISN'T THERE?

I said this to my partner, and she replied: "What does he care about developers in Caledonia for? He makes $8/hr. Is he ever going to buy any of those houses? Does he know any of those developers? It's got nothing to do with him!"

And, you know, she's right. That's where the guy's socio-economic status becomes relevant here. I've made $8/hr myself. If it wasn't for some very lucky turns in my life, I might be making that amount myself, and if things turn sour, I could very well end up making something similar later. But the social-economic disconnect between a guy making minimum wage in North Hamilton siding with wealthy suburban developers on this issue, ... this issue that for all intents and purposes doesn't affect him at all, is mind-boggling.

Now of course, defenders of this fellow will say that he's taking a stand for universal human principles, for timeless legal principles, for equal treatment for all, ... "single-tier justice" for instance .... but that's nonsense. If he and his friend truly believed in these principles, they wouldn't be so scornful of ancient treaties, and more graphically, the abominable treatment handed out to First Nations by our governments and law-enforcement agencies in the modern era.

No, the reason these two guys making $8/hr in the depressed industrial neighbourhoods of Hamilton north care about the housing developments in suburban Caledonia, and their builders, is because they're racists, pure and simple.

They don't care about police brutality. They don't care about corrupt bands and the corrupt politicians who bribe them. They don't care about broken treaties. They care about their own racist stereotypes about Natives and the jury-rigged political-legal philosophies of stupid windbags like Gary McHale that rationalize their hatreds.

NOTE: Reading the paper the next day (which was before I wrote this), it turns out that the story about First Nations' violence they were talking about is inarguably true. I'll write about this and some broader implications tomorrow or the next day.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What Was John Tory Thinking?

Polls show that John Tory's Ontario PC's numbers are tanking, mainly due to his announcement about how he would fund religious schools if elected.

Who the hell was John Tory anyway? Some Toronto, Bay Street cable guy or something?

Anyway, he was supposed to be slick, but the thing is, the aging, indolent "whiz-kids" who brought Harris one genuine majority based on lies, are still sorta in control of the party.

What I'm thinking is that in their reflexive adulation for the nauseating Republican Party USA, they have told Tory to pander to the "religious right-wing" that serves as a firm base for the politics of fear and loathing in the USA, but which doesn't have any substantial power at all in Ontario.

Too bad, so sad.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What Death Squads Mean

More and more, as the years go by, the books get read, the evidence continues to come in, ... it seems to me that it is just simply that our international economic system requires death squads to keep prices of commodities low, in order to maintain and expand the profit-driven consumer societies in the wealthy countries.

Death squads affect "the periphery," which is a strange way to describe places where tens of millions of people live. It seems ludicrous to talk about economic development and raising living standards when it's been proven time and time again that we will torture and murder and mutilate anyone who calls out for higher wages or better living conditions or more political power for the poor in the very same countries that we're claiming to "develop."

Here's something to read.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Book Review From "The Cylinder"

Okay, ... to be clear, "The Cylinder" is only linking to the book review in question: Dahr Jamail’s Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq.


The review is by Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, and I especially like the last part that


More than anything, the book is a sad reflection on the state of our society which in its complacent inaction is complicit in the horrors perpetrated abroad. Its feeble protestations, often inspired by a need to relieve guilty conscience, are far outweighed by its willingness to tolerate the most horrific of crimes, so long as they are accompanied by the appropriate high-minded rhetoric. Its capacity to allow civilizational myths, faith in its constitutionally benevolent disposition, to supersede reality inspires both shock and awe. It is also a reflection on the deep-seated malaise that produces the porno-torturers of Abu Ghraib or the moral rot that manifests itself in the butchery at Haditha. The inescapable conclusion here, one summed up a long time back by I. F. Stone in his pithy aphorism, is ‘governments lie’. Let no one be deceived by fatuous oxymora such as ‘humanitarian intervention’ and ‘benign occupation’ any more. (emphasis
added)

For the record, I don't protest that much because I don't think present protest tactics are effective. (I want to post on this in the near future.) But more and more, I become amazed when Westerners express the opinion that somehow we're different in the West. We're not "evil" or "crazed" like the Muslims, or the Chinese, or the communists, or the Kazakhs, or whoever it is we're supposed to be attacking next.


This is part of the reason why most Westerners are so apparently incapable of constructing any sense of why we might be hated in many parts of the world. We see some videos of terrorist-kidnappers beheading people and we think "monsters," but US soldiers, or NATO bombers can blow hundreds of villages to smithereens, US Marines can rape a teenage girl and burn her and her family to death, innocent civilians can be shot to death in the hundreds at road check-points, innocent civilians can be kidnapped, tortured and sexually humiliated, ... but somehow Western airheads "know" that our victims will appreciate the "real" story of our presence in their country (presumably from flag-waving cretins like Michael Yon), and all the atrocities, murders, rapes, and thefts, the cold cynical cruelties, will be forgotten, and they'll love us.

Finally, let's consider the part about our governments lying. Yes, they lie. And they kill. And for me, Vietnam was the last excusable democratic war. And people woke up during that conflict and naked Western imperialism was discredited. But along comes Haiti, and Bush Sr.'s Gulf War, and Kosovo, and Afghanistan, and we're back believing fairy tales told to us by lying, anti-democratic leaders, while the usual suspects suffer and die.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Should the Democrats Disappoint ...

Liberal and mainstream USians are becoming glaringly upset with the Democratic Party USA. The Democrats were given control of both houses of Congress in an unprecedented electoral victory (no sitting Democrats were defeated, while many incumbent Repugnicans were) that was intended as a clear message from the American people: "End the war." Upon receiving this power, the Democrats have miserably failed to end the war. Instead, they have cravenly (or cynically) given bush II everything he needs to keep the war going.

Pro-peace Americans are now asking themselves: "Is it cowardice or something worse that is causing the Democrats to ignore and betray us?"

I have to say, that part of me wants the Democrats to end the war immediately, like the American people want. The Iraqi people want them out, who knows what evil mischief the US, its military, and its uncontrolled mercenaries are up to?

I suppose that I'd be more happy to see the Democrats throw off whatever it is that is preventing them from making the right decision about Iraq, than that they conform to my expectations of who they are and do what I expect them to do, which is to put control of strategic resources such as Iraq's petroleum reserves ahead of international law, human rights, and the blessings of peace, and to attempt to preserve the occupation of Iraq permanently, with delusions about their ability to oppress the Iraqi people more sensibly than the uber-moron bush II and his cabal of extortionists, insider-traders, and closet-cases.

But, alas, I was prepared to eat crow had Canada and the NATO powers done the unexpected and actually rebuilt Afghanistan and made a better country than they had found, and, unfortunately, Canada and the NATO powers stayed true to their imperialist agenda and have simply installed a friendly puppet, and have devoted vastly more resources to crushing resistance than to reconstruction. (As a result, even outside of the Pashtun-Taliban stronghold, happiness with the NATO regime is weakening, while corruption, continued poverty, and NATO violence are increasing resistance in the Taliban's region.)

I believe that the Democrats are, and always have been, and for structural reasons, always will be, a party of liberal-capitalist imperialism. As such, they will seek to maintain and preserve US capital's control over the wealth of the world. They will do this to the best of their abilities given the necessary self-delusion and incoherence such a worldview implies.

And here is where the silver-lining might lie. I believe that the continuation of the degenerate political culture of the US, with their content-free attack ads, their mainstream media's celebration of the biggest, crypto-fascist simpletons, their media-stars' clueless arrogance about the rest of the world (including their fellow USians), and their all-capitalism-all-the-time mindset is a bad thing.

If the Democrats, along with the hapless, ridiculous, frightening, super-corrupt, super-stupid, super-hypocritcal Repugnicans, reveal themselves to be so disconnected from the views of the majority in the US, that majority (with the assistance of the admirable, wonderful, US left and progressive movements) will be forced to admit that this political system doesn't work for them, cannot work for them, is, in fact, opposed to their own best interests, and might rise up and reject that political system.

Ah, but then, who knows?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I Support the Troops

Somebody else blogged this today, forget who. But it's so great, I thought I'd link to it too.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Good Paragraph ...

From Stan Goff at CounterPunch:


The opposition to the war has not only decimated Republican power, it has driven the Democrat establishment into a retrograde operation against its own leftwing. The war is political plutonium. And the outcome -- even as Sadr challenges the pro-Iranian SCIRI and reaches out to Sunni nationalists, as the aspirations of the Kurds provoke the Turkish Army, as Pervez Musharraf watches his own security forces fracture and shift against him, as the Russians court Central Asia with the promise of a Gas OPEC, as the Sino-Russian SCO threatens to undo the strategic outcomes of the Cold War, and as the fictional-value crisis triggered by the sub-prime nosedive creates alarming tremors under the global economy -- will be that Iran is now and will remain a significant political actor on the world stage. This is inevitable, even with the occasional ill-considered shennaigans of President Ahmadenijad.


I don't agree with everything in that article (for instance, while I used to think that Cheney was using the threat of an attack on Iran as a diversion from his current atrocities, now I'm not so sure), it's got a lot of compelling logic.

Apparently bush II is a Fucking Moron

That seems to be the consensus of previews of this biography Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Another Haiti Story

So, now that we've liberated them from the criminality of Aristide, how are Haitians doing now?

On Wednesday 2 May, a 25-foot sloop set out from the northern Haitian city of Cap-Haïtien, headed for the neighbouring Turks and Caicos Islands. US and UK officials estimate that it was
crammed with around 160 people. These were people who had finally decided to abandon the certainty of crippling destitution at home in exchange for a one-in-a-million shot at a precarious low-wage job abroad.


...

Around four in the morning of Friday 4 May, the Cap-Haïtien sloop was intercepted by the T&C Islands’ police launch Sea Quest, about half a mile south of Providenciales Island. What happened next is the subject of some controversy. A reporter from the Associated Press spoke to half a dozen of the survivors, finding that ‘they all gave the same story’. The survivors say that the T&C launch rammed the boat, and then tried to tow it further out to sea.


There's more. All very depressing and sickening.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Book to Look For

A Brief History of Neoliberalism.

I first read about it in a George Monbiot article.

These problems appear unrelated, but they all have something in common. They arise in large part from a meeting that took place 60 years ago in a Swiss spa resort. It laid the foundations for a philosophy of government that is responsible for many, perhaps most, of our contemporary crises.

When the Mont Pelerin Society first met, in 1947, its political project did not have a name. But it knew where it was going. The society's founder, Friedrich von Hayek, remarked that the battle for ideas would take a least a generation to win, but he knew that his intellectual army would attract powerful backers. Its philosophy, which later came to be known as neoliberalism, accorded with the interests of the ultra-rich, so the ultra-rich would promote it.


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But as David Harvey proposes in his book A Brief History of Neoliberalism, wherever the neoliberal programme has been implemented, it has caused a massive shift of wealth not just to the top one percent, but to the top tenth of the top one per cent(4). In the United States, for example, the upper 0.1% has already regained the position it held at the beginning of the 1920s(5). The conditions that neoliberalism demands in order to free human beings from the slavery of state -minimal taxes, the dismantling of public services and social security, deregulation, the breaking of the unions – just happen to be the conditions required to make the elite even richer, while leaving everyone else to sink or swim.