Sunday, December 28, 2008
In other news, I intend to get a lot more politically active in the 3-d world when I get back to Canada.
Just look out, whoa nelly.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Run that through babblefish. Then this:
ಇಟ್'ಸ ಆನ್ ಮೈ ತಸ್ಕ್ಬರ್ ಆನ್ ಮೈ ಇಂಡಿಯನ್ ಸೈಬರ್-ಕೆಫೆ ಕಂಪ್ಯೂಟರ್.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
1.a person, esp. an orator or political leader, who gains power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people.
2.(in ancient times) a leader of the people.–verb (used with object)
3.to treat or manipulate (a political issue) in the manner of a demagogue; obscure or distort with emotionalism, prejudice, etc.
That last definition is what Stephen Harper did, thus making him the lowest form of demagogue. This is what right-wing corporate rule is reduced to; lying to the public and stoking up hatred of others, in order to mask their own thefts. Since his recent nauseating behaviour I have turned to refering to Stephen Harper as "harpo," in the same way that the diminutive "bush II" refers to his soul-mate in sleaze and stupidity.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
ETA: We Canadians had better get our act together, because fat harpo is entering bush II levels of criminality and illegitimacy and half of us appear so brainwashed, dumbed-down and apathetic as to let him get away with it.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The arguments that I've been hearing against the proposed coalition are so depressingly ignorant and/or stupid, that I'm often times at a loss for words.
We elect individuals to be our representatives as Members of Parliament. Technically speaking, we DON'T elect governments or prime ministers or parties. Realisitically though, we do vote for the party we like, sometimes because of the party leader, sometimes in spite of the party leader, sometimes because we like their party platform, or their general political outlook, because we actually like our local candidate, or some combination of those reasons.
But technically speaking we elect individual Members of Parliament (MPs) who then form a government. Party affiliation is a quick way of establishing what group has the best chance of winning and keeping the confidence of the House, but parties have no constitutional status.
At present, the harpo Conservatives have a MINORITY government. This means that they have won the largest single bloc of seats in parliament, but it is a MINORITY of the seats in the House of Commons as a whole. This turns out to reflect the popularity of the harpo Conservatives' share of the vote in the last election in which they received 38% of the vote. A MAJORITY of voters (62%) voted for someone other than a Conservative candidate.
I'll isolate this factoid: SIXTY-TWO PERCENT of the voters wanted someone other than the Conservatives of harpo.
For the record, I was dismayed with the harpo Conservatives' receiving a second chance at governing, just as I'm always dismayed that so many Canadian voters are so deranged, lazy, etc. so as to make both the Conservatives and the Liberals viable political entities. But regardless of my personal feelings, the Conservatives had the largest bloc of seats and so were entitled to form the government.
But, to govern, harpo had to reach out to at least one other bloc of MPs in order to command a majority of the votes in the House of Commons. As we all know, Harper did not do this. Instead, he actively, deliberately sought to alienate all three of the major opposition parties, who JUSTIFIABLY responded to this immaturity by deciding to form a government themselves.
Legally speaking, they have a right to do this. And unless one wants to have a revolution, right now, on this issue, that's the end of the story. That's how things work in parliamentary systems. There's nothing more to be said on the matter.
More importantly, the NDP together with the Liberal and Bloc Quebecois MPs command 163 seats to the harpo Conservatives' 143 seats. Together they represent the votes of 54% of the voting electorate to the harpo Conservatives' 38%. This means that the representatives of a majority of those who voted last election were going to work together to steer the country through what looks like it will be a major economic crisis, as opposed to stupidly poking each other with sticks as is the wont of the harpo Conservatives.
How anyone can label a coalition representing the MAJORITY OF THE VOTERS forming the government as "undemocratic" is completely inexplicable.
It is bad enough that in this country a party can form a majority government with the support of a minority of the electorate under our electoral system, allowing them to rule as if this country was a one-party state, but it is absolutely frightening to think that so many people in this country are so ignorant and confused as to believe that even a minority of the seats in the House of Commons represents a "mandate" to govern unopposed for a fixed four-year term.
One of the saving graces of our parliamentary system is that we can occasionally have minority governments that force governing parties to be respectful of opposing political views. The way some Canadians would have it, we could dismiss with parliament altogether between elections, since holding a government's feet to the fire is apparently "treason." They would remove completely the ability of the opposition to challenge the government and we don't even have the separation of powers or the veto that limits the power of the legislature or the executive branches of a presidential system.
Canadians who oppose the coalition would prefer a dictatorship, and, insanely enough, they would call it "democracy."
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
All three Canadian casualties – members of the Operational Liason and Mentoring Team, which trains members of the Afghan National Army – were from the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Petawawa, Ont., where Prime Minister Stephen Harper happened to be Friday.
He seemed close to tears as he offered his condolences – and admitted to often being at a loss for words whenever tragedy strikes those willing to give their lives in service of their country.
What's up with that? harpo's been able to drone out empty words about "ultimate sacrifices" and "protecting democracy" in the past without getting emotional. What was different this time?
I rather suspect that being entirely selfish and self-centered, harpo was channelling the stress, discomfort, embarrassment and the humiliation of the dressing-down he had to endure by his usually deferential caucus for almost losing the government as a result of his compulsion for bullying.
Because, when all is said and done, I don't think harpo gives one shit about "the troops." He's put them in harm's way to curry favour with the US-Americans, so that he can make mindless boasts about Canada's being a "player on the world stage," ... he's kept them there "until the job is done," but reveals how much he cares about the "job" by surprise announcing that we'll be gone by 2011, no matter what the conditions in Afghanistan are. In short, they're there to make harpo look good, and if they die in the process that's too bad, it's "regrettable," but it won't deter him from his selfish desire to act like a bigshot in front of monsters as stupid and disgusting as himself.
harpo is a psychopath who cares only about himself. I know that I tend to obsess about this one, but for god's sake; harpo was able to respond to allegations of child rape on the part of the Afghan army and Afghan interpreters in the employ of the CF with a bullshit two-year "investigation." Child rape. And traumatized Canadian Forces personnel. For harpo, those are problems of political optics, to be re-directed where they won't have any effect. harpo has lowered himself beyond redemption.
Monday, December 8, 2008
At the same time, I've said on numerous occasions, the ONDP was the best party the province could have had during that lengthy, Bank of Canada (and then Allan Greenspan)-caused recession. The plodding oafs in the Ontario PC or the Ontario Liberal parties would have been more than happy to impose catastrophic spending cuts, doing more damage to the province's social fabric.
However, to this day, the ONDP and its former leader Rae receive condemnation for their "disastrous economic record." I've never heard of any other party or any other leader receive such constant, perpetual mention of the economic conditions during their government. It's as if no other party ever had a recession; no other leader ever had deficits!
To see the unjust double standard here, just look at the media treatment of incompetent asswipe finance minister Jim Flaherty. He's the same bungling idiot today in Ottawa that he was as Ontario finance minister in the 1990s. During the middle of the Clinton prosperity (mostly a mirage, but with good economic indicators nonetheless) Flaherty managed to reduce the deficit, but only by breaking the backs of the municipalities, many major schoolboards, selling the province's assets to friends in business at fire-sale prices and through vast, cruel social service cuts. Even then his record was unimpressive compared to many other provinces.
But even after his rock-headed economic statement, which is universally condemned as a disaster, there's no historical context for people, to help them understand that this stupidity is really the best that Flaherty can do.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
So, according to my ever changing moods, I say the coalition should fight on! Although there isn't much fire in my belly. (And I'm drinking Crown-Royal at 7:20 in the fucking morning!) ...
Friday, December 5, 2008
Then, after reading the principled determination of my fellow progressive and lefty bloggers, I started to think that dammit, our cause is just, it is legitimate, and the Canadian people might come over to our side, and even if they don't, it is the right of the majority in parliament to withhold its confidence, regardless of what the cynical, ignorant and deluded say.
But after reading about this EKOS poll on the CBC, I'm once again leaning towards just saying "fuck it." Let harpo keep his office. Let him hold on to power. Let him forget the humility that he's temporarily learned this week as he instead becomes capitavated with the mental image of how he managed to extricate himself from a crisis (which he'll forget was entirely of his own making). More importantly; let him govern Canada in what might be one of the worst recessions in decades. Let Flaherty, or whatever other talentless, brainless hack the harpocons puke up as finance minister, implement all of their discredited, anti-human economic policies. Let all those ignorant, confused Canadians (especially the aggrieved pioneers in the oil patch) suffer under the incompetent hand of their heroic harpo. Meanwhile, the opposition can abstain, malinger, yawn while in the House of Commons, and just say that they're following Michelle-Jean's instructions for the opposition. "Cooperate." "Play nice." "Give him another chance." ad nauseum.
If so many people are so clueless about how their government works and about how braindead "conservatism" is as a political philosophy, perhaps they need to be smashed over the head with reality?
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Seriously, she had no write to make that decision!!!
We have a separtion of powers and the LEGISLATURE GETST O make all the decisions!!!
This is all the work of those DIRTY FUCKING WESTERNERS!!! haPRER has made us a hv-not provence, ... AND I HATE people like him, sewing up regional animostities!!
Michell-jean: Sounds FRENCH tom me! No wonder she just surrendered!!!!
and so on, and such forth.
This was a stupid decision. But it was constitutionally legal. Therefore, I'm going to have to accept it. It was constitutionally legal, but it was constitutionally ridiculous. Since when does a government get to have a "do-over" after such a fuck-up? December 4th, 2008.
I was going to be so proud of Canada's political system. But we tolerate anti-democratic bullies as much as they do in the USA I guess. This could have been the last-gasp of Rovian stupidity in North America. Alas, Harper gets to fight another day. The fat, evil piece of shit.
Who knew that Germany, France, Italy, Israel and Japan (among others) are banana republics?
Canada will have to join the ranks of these laughing-stock nations and hang its head in shame. Most painfully, we will not be able to look our closest neighbour and ally, the United States of America (with its flawless electoral system and its sterling record of checks and balances) in the eye.
*Interestingly enough; according to the United Nations link above, the actual "banana republics" tend to imitate the US presidential system. (Of the nations listed above, France actually has a hybrid presidential-parliamentary system. What I'm referring to is the practice of changing governments without elections when the ruling group loses power.)
This coalition is how our political system works. Everything Harper said last night was garbage. If you don't believe that, you either don't know how the system works, or you're a stupid, brainless Harper groupie.
The coalition's proposals are better than anything we'll get out of fuckhead Flaherty. They have the constitutional right to replace him, they should not back down in the face of ignorant public opinion or freeped online polls, or the number of comments from right-wingers who have a disproportionate amount of time and energy to spend spreading lies on the internet.
They should do what is right for Canada.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Let that sink in for a moment.
It's amazing. Being a "conservative" means never having to say you're sorry.
Guess what "conservatives"? This blogger is proudly socialist and one of the reasons for that is because socialism compares so well to the disastrous results of YOUR economic policies. You guys are the dangerously incompetent ones!
Right-wing economics have been in the driver's seat of the leading economies since at least 1980. Even social-democratic ("socialist") and real socialist parties have drunk the kool-aid and were yammering about "market realities" since the 1990s. As a result, we have the economic mess that we have today. Labour markets are "flexible" which means widespread insecurity. Unions have been tamed, which is big contributor to the wage stagnation of the past four decades. We have free trade, lower corporate taxes, monetarist low inflation policies, ... all of these things were supposed to bring us social and economic nirvana. What's the results though?
A decaying industrial base. Deteriorating public infrastructure. Crumbling healthcare systems. Greater poverty. Greater homelessness. A ravaged environment. An increasingly indebted society.
This is your handiwork. Own it.
And where did this present economic disaster start? Well, the standard story is the US housing bubble. But what did that consist of? People who couldn't afford houses were getting mortgages that they couldn't afford, and some people were using easy loans to buy more expensive houses that they hoped to "flip" before their terms were renewed. When US housing prices declined, and when mortgage terms changed, all these people were stuck with assets that they couldn't afford and couldn't sell.
But none of that would have happened if there hadn't been people offering credit to people who shouldn't have gotten it. But why were they offering this credit? (Don't blame it on the Carter-era CRA. That nonsense has already been dealt with.) They did so because they knew that they could pass these toxic mortgages to other people who would have to deal with the mess. They were more than willing to con poor people into thinking they could become part of bush II's "ownership society" or to work with up-and-comers who thought that housing was a sure-fire way to make a quick buck because there were plenty of people willing to take the risks of default off their hands.
Who were these other people? The vangaurd capitalists of a newly deregulated Wall Street. The peak of the capitalist system. There were literally billions pouring in, looking for avenues of "investment." With the real economy stagnant due to falling demand (caused by stagnating wages and job insecurity) this capital sought any oasis of expansion, and, once found, further infusions of liquid billions would create a self-perpetuating bubble.
But why would Wall Street think risky mortgages was a good place to put money? Because you could take these, and other loans, carve them up and re-bundle them into complicated derivative products, and then use your AAA status, your reputation as a cagey Wall Street giant to convince the world's "investors" that these derivatives are sound investments (which pay a high rate of interest because they're still based on poor people being gouged in the subprime market or what have you).
Capitalists being what they are, the giant Wall Street financial firms never stopped buying these mortgages and repackaging them into "mortgage-backed securities" because the customers never seemed to stop coming. When the market peaked, when the "greater fool" theory again revealed its limitations, the Wall Street giants had enough garbage in their possession to threaten their own solvency. The size of the amount of garbage that they sold is being deliberately obfuscated.
There is the source of this massive financial crisis. Unregulated capitalism. But these imbeciles on the right-wing have the nerve to yammer about the damage that "socialism" could cause? There's a reason that I hardly seek out right-wing opinion anymore. It's generally stupid garbage.
But during the past few days, Canadian federal politics has taken on the same entertaining relentlessness. This is high drama, broadly painted, about important issues. If I had the time, I might have posted several posts a day. The important difference here is that it looks like the good guys (well, the least-bad guys) n' gals are going to win. Because this is Canada and our political system just isn't as fucked-over by corporate filth as is the US-American system.
Monday, December 1, 2008
1. Blogging Tories are all idiots, assholes, hypocrites and etc. so we're not really trying to justify ourselves to them. We're just having fun.
2. Coalitions are a feature of multi-party parliamentary systems. To call accepted political practice a "coup" is both illegitimate and childish.
3. Mere days ago the Blogging Tories were bragging about how they'd provoked the opposition with their elimination of public subsidies, in order to draw them out and prove to Canadians that they were only fighting to hold on to their entitlements. The argument was that the anti-stimulus package would stay and the opposition wouldn't put up a fight over that, thus showing that they're motivated by nothing but self-interest.
Since that brilliant scheme blew up in their faces (if it ever in fact existed at all), the coalition is now being presented as a long-standing scheme, which supposedly was in the works throughout the last parliament when the Liberals were hiding from the House of Commons on every important vote to try to avoid an election.
Once again; the brilliant scheme to provoke the opposition into challenging the government has been consigned to the memory-hole and now this proposed coalition arose from nowhere but a mad lust for power.
4. Stephen Harper signed on to the exact same sort of "back-room deal" to propose a "coup" in 2004 against Paul Martin's minority Liberals.
What's motivating the opposition. Both anger, and concern for the country. I'll confess to something here. Even Liberals care about the country. In a pro-corporate, empty-words, "gee-whiz, why can't we have 'flexible labour-markets' and good, steady jobs for everyone while capitalism goes untaxed and unregulated" kinda way. I believe that even CPC MPs believe in stuff. For the most part, ugly and stupid stuff, but there's a belief system there nonetheless. I believe that Flaherty thinks his anti-stimulus plan is what's needed, but I've said a zillion times that Flaherty is an absolute moron.
I think the opposition is generally nauseated with Harper's ugly, Rovian tactics AND they realize that Flaherty's idiotic "economic statement" is the last thing this country needs.
I was taken with "North of 49"'s comment on "Dymaxion World":
My take is that the Liberals, NDP and Bloc were galvanized into action initially by that last bit, but once they got looking at the economic update what they saw appalled them -- no stimulus, and Flaherty, the oh-so-trustworthy former Ontario deficit-hiding finance minister, claiming no deficit this time too. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that the Coalition partners actually care about Canada and Canadians, as they say they do, and want to take the reins of power because they foresee PM Harper and FM Flaherty's approach as a disaster.
Or if that's too improbable, consider that most of their constituents live in either Ontario or Quebec, and they see PM Harper's non-plan as likely to hurt the very people who voted for them. (Duceppe fits this model too: consider what he is asking for -- help for forestry and manufacturing, and some social-equality stuff -- all things that matter to his constituents.) So one could argue that they all are simply looking out for their base(es).
Another thing. When Harper said that this new Parliament was going to be a more cooperative forum than in the past two years, in light of the economic crisis, I believe the Opposition parties took that intention at face value -- but waited for proof. They didn't get it, did they? Harper just couldn't resist the chance to play the same crass and cynical partisan political games he's been playing all along. He dropped the only real ball that matters right now, the health of the country's economy, and picked up -- again! -- the political opportunity ball. He broke his word -- again.
The Opposition parties, I believe, were willing to give him a chance to actually lead, and he blew it. So they're going to try to shove him aside and get on with governing, and more power to them.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Stephen Harper violated his fixed-election law, deceitfully claiming that parliament was "dysfunctional" even though the Liberal Party, terrified of going to the polls had been letting him humiliate them on a weekly basis.
The real reason for his election call was to avoid going to the polls in the middle of what looks like the biggest recession in decades.
Having had no real reason to go to the electorate, and having nothing substantial to say, Harper was returned with another minority government.
Harper responds to the biggest financial crisis in decades by allowing his sub-normal intellect finance minister propose spending cuts, attacks on union and pay equity rights, and an attempt to knee-cap the opposition parties' for the next election by attacking their public financing.
[Idiot "conservatives" and other incoherent thinkers say that we should wait for the US-government to act first. The US government isn't acting because they're 50 days away from changing governments, not for any reason having to do with public policy.]
The opposition parties respond to this assault on their ability to afford election campaigns with rage.
Flaherty concedes this point and hopes his brain-dead spending cuts announcement will pass.
The opposition, sick of Harper's bullying, his immaturity, his partisan selfishness in the face of a grave international crisis, refuses to back down. Flaherty's moronic anti-stimulus package is a stinking piece of shit all on its own.
The opposition has a strong chance to get the Governor-General to turn power over to an NDP-Liberal coaliton with tacit support from the Bloc Quebecois.
Stephen Harper (who turns out to have feelings after all, when it's his own goose about to be cooked) appears before the Ottawa press corps and, on the verge of tears, announces that he's postponing the vote on his stupid economic statement and his psychopathic government for a week.
Harper returns to his office, cries s'more, masturbates dejectedly, cries, rolls around on the floor in convulsions, and then decides to prorogue parliament for at least a month.
His sycophantic fan-base of morons, fools and hypocrites cheers his latest stroke of tactical genius.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thanks for giving the opposition an entire week to hammer together the details of their coalition and their initial stimulus package Stevie. That was quite gracious of you.
The Toronto Sun newspaper headline this morning was "Worried Now?" I have to say, I really get a kick out of how these "conservative" morons never seem to comprehend that it's their parties and their policies that are the most destructive, stupid and inhuman, and how we should all "hold on to our wallets" when someone to the left of Herman Goerring takes power. Guess what Toronto Sun editors? You're complete fucking idiots, losers and ignoramuses and the vast majority don't give a shit what you have to say about anything.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thinking it was still sometime in 2005, Harper and Flaherty reached into a slimy, fly beswarmed burlap bag of filth called "CPC strategy" and tried to use the economic crisis to declare war on democracy.
Their bluff was called and Harper and his idiot MPs couldn't retreat fast enough. Like the pathetic bullies in an after-school special.
Tory MPs seemed thunderstruck late Thursday by the possibility that their second term might come to a sudden end. As some of them piled onto a parliamentary shuttle bus, they were heard incredulously asking opposition MPs if they're serious about a coalition.
They're still the worst government for the crisis. Ditch 'em.
H/T to Alison in this morning's comments for the link.
The Harper government is chopping spending and selling assets as part of a plan it acknowledges may not balance the books - but could trigger an early election.
Yes, Flaherty. Proving that you're just as stupid and incompetent as when you were allied to another repulsive excuse for a human being (Mike Harris in Ontario), you've decided that at the cusp of a major recession, during a crucial crisis of confidence in the economy, the thing to do is to have the federal government, one of the country's biggest employers, throw even more people out of work, take more cash out of the economy, and hope for better times.
No, wait, ... I get it. In some sort of pathetic, plodding, oafish way, you imagine that the sight of the government balancing its books will fill the private sector movers n' shakers with confidence and fortitude, galvanizing them to ... what exactly? Make goods and services to sell to people who couldn't get credit from a paralyzed banking sector even if they weren't already maxed to the tits?
And then there's Harper-Flaherty's despicable attempt to turn this crisis into an excuse for partisan advantage:
"There will be no free ride for political parties," stated Finance Minister Jim Flaherty after handing down his restraint package that inflicted pain mostly on the public service and politicians.
"Free ride" indeed. Flaherty might be too dull to grasp this, but Harper knows damned well that public funds go to opposition parties so that they can do their job keeping tabs on the government, and financing studies into policies. We live in an advanced industrial society and crafting policies, informing constituents, and keeping an eye on corrupt, war-mongering, civil-rights shredding authoritarian monsters who are elected by idiots, takes money. Being the sort of war-mongering, etc., etc. monsters I'm talking about, the Harpercons would love to deprive the opposition of the money it takes to do their job.
I was depressed to think that because of the vagaries of our electoral system, Canada got stuck with the yahoos as our government, but after this blatant partisan display and the sheer stupidity of the rest of Flaherty's package, I'm angry. This is the aboslute worst government that Canada could possibly have in this serious crisis and it needs to be removed.
The time for an anti-Conservative coalition is NOW. Harper has shown he's too selfish, immature, too much of an asshole with too little respect for Canadian democracy, to enjoy power one day longer. And with Flaherty, Harper has also shown that he's too big an idiot to hold such an important position in such an important moment in Canada's history. Get rid of him. Get rid of them.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
So perhaps another negative lesson for America from Japan is that injecting even massive public funds is not in itself sufficient. The proper assessment of toxic assets via a close scrutiny of their value is clearly required, as is proposed by the FDIC (and appears about to become law). But perhaps more important even than that, there must be serious inquiry into management wrongdoing. Systemic failures require systemic solutions, lest the symptoms continue to fester and manifest themselves in periodic and perhaps increasingly large crises. In other words, if one is going to use the state, then its pecuniary as well as punitary arms need to be used with a comprehensiveness and intelligence that not only deals with the technical aspects of the crisis but also the natural political resistance to bailing out rich and irresponsible people whose actions contributed to the crisis. The latter clearly have to be made to pay, in the fiscal and legal senses of the term, lest the path to recovery be constricted by political fallout.
But to date, the American bailout and related policies are spectacular for their lack of transparency, accountability and consistency. As a result of various missteps and volte-faces, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's credibility is perhaps as low as that of the current President. At a September 23 Senate Banking Committee hearing, Paulson declared that "we need oversight...we need transparency," but he appears to have shifted his position considerably. ... Paulson's serial reversals of earlier positions are certainly rooted in the incredible flux of events. But his job is to craft pro-active policy and seek to stabilize markets rather than further roil the latter.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
This is directly the result of a series of hurricanes and tropical storms that have destroyed villages, crops and livestock. That these storms of increased frequency and savagery are the byproduct of global warming makes this another crime of our bloated industrial consumerist society.
But this is the desperately poor country that Canada's "leaders" both Liberal and Conservative claimed to care so much about that they toppled its government in cahoots with the USA and France and which they work so hard to destroy the Lavalas movement that represents the poor majority. They are working so hard to mutilate democracy in Haiti because they believe they know better what Haiti's place in the world should be than do the Haitians themselves. Supposedly, Canada's government and state apparatus and its NGOs care about the Haitians. That's why the Harpercons will give away billions in tax-cuts rather than spend the tens of millions needed to keep these people from starving.
I suspect my attempts at sarcasm are failing in the face of the stupidity and evil of Canada's actions in Haiti.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I'm reading James Laxer's The Undeclared War: class conflict in the age of cyber capitalism, it's from 1998, but I got it 2nd-hand maybe five years ago and always meant to get to it. So I'm getting to it. link
Laxer sums it up best when he states that: capitalism works best for a small minority of the world's people, condemns hundreds of millions to exploitation and a stunted existence, and leaves billions, particularly in the Third World, in a state of poverty or near poverty. And yet, the hoary idea persists that the pursuit of profit, regardless of the people who are in the way, is the best means to meet the needs of the human race and to broaden its potential for the future.I finished Stanley Aronowitz's False Promises:The Shaping of American Working Class Consciousness from 1974 (which I decided to read as an historical document) and it was pretty damned good. link
Aronowitz traces the historical development of the American working class from post-Civil War times and shows why radical movements have failed to overcome the forces that tend to divde groups of workers from one another. The rise of labor unions is analyzed, as well as their decline as a force for social change. Aronowitz’s new introduction situates the book in the context of developments in current scholarship and the epilogue discusses the effects of recent economic and political changes in the American labor movement.
Friday, November 21, 2008
*Obviously self-hatred can co-exist with self-adulation.
**Unless bush II's extreme disregard for international law and his imbecility on global warming really did offend their sensitivities and values?
Thursday, November 20, 2008
World stock markets tumbled Thursday, with benchmarks in Tokyo and Seoul losing almost seven per cent each, after recession fears sent Wall Street plunging and Japan suffered its biggest drop in exports in seven years.
The slide in Asian and European shares extended a global sell-off that accelerated overnight amid lowered projections for U.S. economic activity next year from the Federal Reserve and worries over the fate of America's Big Three automakers, which are pleading for emergency loans from Washington.
This seems to be the bitter fruit of decades of gouging workers and destroying democratically imposed regulations on the part of capitalism trying to rectify the crisis of profitability that's been around since the 1970s.
So far we've had trillions of dollars of citizens' money thrown at the banks and now industry. A strange state of affairs. Let's allow the banks to continue to loan money to over-extended consumers who are simultaneously losing their jobs. Now, industry can re-tool on the public dime, stop making cars that nobody wants and start making cars that people do want but can no longer afford.
We need to redirect wealth back to the masses and we need a new political-economy that is cooperative, not competitive.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
So, crazy Kadhr was raised with a head full of religious mumbo-jumbo, and a murderous attitude against the West (backed, of course, by some genuine grievances).
Therefore, the beefy stooges who have held Kadhr on mind-bogglingly stupid "war crimes" charges for over five years, in inhuman conditions, ... these pigs who have murdered hundreds of thousands either through immense ignorance or for lust for oil, who have tortured, poisoned, destroyed, now presume that they can "rehabilitate" Kadhr, teach him not to be an "extremist," or a "radical."
Says one idiot:
"Then you can turn the discussion around on them and put the Qur'an out on the table and then say, 'Well, look. Where in the Qur'an you find that it's OK to kill Christians and Jews?'" said Thomas Quiggin, Islamic radicalization expert and former Canadian intelligence officer.
Yes, and where are the asterisks in the Ten Commandments, especially the one "Thou Shalt Not Kill"?
If anyone is creating "radical extremists" it's these filthy monsters.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I'm busy enough as it is, so I tend to focus on the people who've almost always been right (and when wrong, at least had their hearts in the right place).
Because, if I'd been reading pro-war stuff, I'd have been having useless debates with myself and others since 2001. And here it is, 2008, and Afghanistan is still a mess.
If I'd been reading pro-war shit, I'd have been wasting precious minutes hearing from Rick Hillier, Stephen Harper, KKKate McMillan, etc., about how the Taliban is in its "last throes" for the past several years, when the fact that we're still there and insurgency is growing, kinda puts that delusion to rest. The fact that the fighting continues and the insurgency grows makes me trust this guy more than the previously mentioned imbeciles.
I'm glad that I don't have the time of day for absolute fucking morons. It saves so much time.
Monday, November 17, 2008
In this post, where Harper's reaction to seeing a young person being carried off stage after fainting during one of his speeches is that there is no reaction. He sips his water during a pause in his speech and turns to see what the commotion is. Seeing what it is, he doesn't even raise his eyebrows, but quickly goes back to his water, it's got nothing to do with him evidently.
In that situation, Harper's coldness is laughable. But the point is that he functions this way at all times, and it's not funny. You can imagine the same blank stare as Harper is faced with an honourable public servant trying to do his job, as in the case of Peter Tinsley, Chairman of the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) investigating the Canadian Forces' turning over of prisoners to torturers in Afghanistan. Tinsley is trying to determine if Canada is complicit in war crimes, in the hopes of doing something to correct this problem. Stephen Harper has no moral centre, and for him, the war in Afghanistan is popular with his drooling bloodthirsty base, so war crimes or no, this investigation is inconvenient and must be obstructed. "Canadian values" (whatever they really are, "values" in general being alien to Harper) can be crapped upon and flushed away.
A last example is Harper's vile response to CF personells' complaints about individuals among our Afghan allies (their soldiers, police and interpreters working for the CF) raping children. At first, CF brass tried to ignore these complaints, but they've persisted and some CF soldiers are in need of counselling due to the trauma of witnessing a child being raped and later seeing the child lying dead with his intestines hanging out. Harper's response? To cynically launch an inquiry into this affair (which reflects badly on the state that we're constructing, fighting and dying for) and giving it TWO YEARS to investigate and report, by which time, Harper's out-of-his-fat-ass 2011 deadline will have arrived and presumably Afghanistan's corrupt, unpopular warlord establishment can continue to rape children with impunity.
This is beyond sickening. These are the political fruits of late-capitalist political culture. There are far fewer capitalists than there are workers. To get worker/voters to support an elitist political movement that is antipathetic to their own self-interest, you first target the fucking stupidest people among the electorate and toss them red-meat like war, homophobia, racism and police brutality against minorities, get them all excited, and they'll not notice that their pockets are being picked.
We need a political culture that stands up to stupidity. We'll never be free of these imbeciles, but we should stop kow-towing to them, we should stop pretending that they're people whose opinions should be respected. Human garbage like Harper is what human garbage like the Blogging Tories vote for. Two-thirds of the electorate is at least redeemable and that demographic should be targetted with the waverers shamed into rejecting even considering throwing in their lot with the yammering jack-asses on the far-right.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I must say that the RCMP and CSIS come out of it looking like knuckle-dragging imbeciles. Perhaps that's unfair. Perhaps there's awesome, mind-blowing stuff that these guys have that will show that they weren't complete idiots who told foreign governments that four (and there's more) Canadians were terrorist masterminds, based on nothing but racial profiling and a desire to make up for their past blunders.
But, if Maher Arar, Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El-Maati and Muayyed Nurredin had to pay through torture while they were innocent, then our "super-cops" ought to be able to live with insults from the internet for their seemingly massive incompetence.
I'd like to say more, but I'm swamped.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
It is important to separate Clinton-era mythology from the real economic record. In the mythology, Clinton's decision to raise taxes and cut spending led to an investment boom. This boom led to a surge in productivity growth. Soaring productivity growth led to the low unemployment of the late 1990s and wage gains for workers at all points along the wage distribution.
At the end of the administration, there was a huge surplus, and we set target dates for paying off the national debt. The moral of the myth is that all good things came from deficit reduction.
The reality was quite different.
Kinda puts it all into perspective. And since I'm posting links about Clinton, Jonathan Schwarz deals with a myth that Clinton started out governing from the left, but that reality forced him to become a sensible "centrist." Didn't happen.
You see, Bill Clinton began his presidency by giving into his wild-eyed leftist instincts. But the wise American people rejected his class warfare! They punished him and the Democrats by giving control of congress to Republicans in the 1994 midterm elections. So Clinton sobered up and governed from the center. Obama better not repeat Clinton's mistakes by giving into the left! The End.
In reality, of course, Clinton knuckled under to the center right—much of which was located within the Democratic party—from the very beginning. Following their advice, he went all out to pass NAFTA, then failed to pass universal health care. People who'd been desperate in 1992 saw no economic improvement by 1994. And with the low 45% voter turnout in the midterms, the Democrats lost control of Congress (mostly via the defeat of center right Democrats).
Have a super day.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I have no problem respecting the memory of Canadian men who were sacrificed as soldiers in wars from 1914 to the present day.
I'm not so sure that Canadian freedoms were truly threatened in World War I. Obviously, Prussian militarism would have become a much stronger political force had the Germans won that war, but aside from a radical rearrangement of the balance of power in Europe, British imperial strength would not have been greatly affected. Democracy would surely have been diminished as an international force.
Aside from all that though, there's the reality of the horrible conditions that soldiers in that war were forced to endure, living and dying in squalor and terror. When Canadian soldiers did fight in that conflict they displayed noteworthy valour as even non-Canadian historical sources attest.
A Nazi victory in World War II would have been terrifying for the world however. A fanatical, nakedly racist, war-worshipping sect would have control of all of Europe and much of Asia, including all of its resources. To the soldiers who died to contain this monstrosity we owe undiluted gratitude. Canadian soldiers here also displayed heroism; in Italy, on D-Day, and in Holland. For the political masters in the West who aided and abetted the right-wing freak-show of Hitlerism, we owe undiluted contempt.
Korea was a political cluster-fuck from the beginning. The South was ruled by an authoritarian madman and a cabal of collaborators with the Japanese Occupation. The North was ruled by another authoritarian, though perhaps, one who might have had more credit with a larger proportion of the Korean people. Evidently, Canadian soldiers again proved themselves as brave and worthy soldiers in that conflict as well. (I say "evidently" as I've not read or heard of much about that conflict.)
At the present day, Canadian soldiers are fighting and dying in Afghanistan. You can search this blog for my opinions on that conflict AND about Canadian soldiers fighting in it. For those soldiers who honestly believe that they are doing good for the people of Afghanistan (and perhaps their responsibilities include defending a school where girls are getting the first educations that female Afghans have received in over a decade, or perhaps they're fighting genuine Taliban fanatics massacring innocent farmers who are merely cooperating with whatever force happens to be the power at the time) I can only say that I respect their opinions, but the wider picture to me appears to be one of US geo-political, imperialist strategy and overall arrogant indifference. To those Canadian soldiers traumatized by having witnessed the rape of children by our noble warlord allies, my sincerest regrets for what Liberal and Conservative governments have subjected you to. To those Canadian soldiers and their families who have suffered death or grave injuries, my deepest respect.
I would also like to mention one soldier, who, if not forgotten, his death did not receive the proper official response from the Harper government: Maj. Paeta Hess-von Kruedener was killed by an Israeli bomb during that country's illegal invasion of Lebanon. As a UN observer of the Israel-Lebanon border Hess-von Kruedener was in the thick of the fighting and his post had radioed Israeli forces several times warning them that their bombs were falling near them. These warnings were disregarded and Hess-von Kruedener and three other UN observers were killed. In response to this outrage, Harper could only make excuses for Israel and stupidly ask what the UN observers were doing there, observing, in the first place.
Finally, when we remember the war dead on Remembrance Day, we are also supposed to remember how terrible war is. The original Remembrance Day was not meant to reflect upon Canadian youth sacrificing their lives for foolish causes, but over time, a sense of the stupidity of war and the stupidity of the (mainly) old men who start them, has also taken root, and we are supposed to remember so that we do not lightly enter into destructive conflicts in the future.
Alas, when the final page is written on our Afghanistan adventure, it will be seen that yet again, too many Canadians allowed themselves to be deluded by the pseudo-humanitarian claims of politicians (politicians they would otherwise not trust as far as they could throw them) and by fantasies of military glory and killing "detestable murderers and scum-bags" and Canadian soldiers and innocent civilians have paid the price.
Monday, November 10, 2008
1. Rising consumer debt has been caused, to a great degree, by the need to maintain consumption levels in the face of stagnant or shrinking wages and decreased job security. While some Canadians have been frivolous, it seems the vast majority of us are just making the mortgage, buying the groceries, maintaining the car and the work wardrobe and etc. Whatever one thinks of Canadians' spending habits, bear in mind that without this "living beyond our means" the economy would have probably been in a recession long ago.
2. Canada's financial sector isn't in as catastrophic shape as the U.S.A.'s financial system, and this seems to be due to greater regulation here.
1. is worse than 2. and that appears to be the area where "free market capitalism" has had greater sway, subjecting workers' incomes to the "market" where power and politics have as much to do with the capitalists' victory as anything else. Where things aren't as bad appears to be where rational regulation has been used. Go figure.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
This article says a tiny bit about that. Probably some other stuff too. Didn't read the whole thing. Gotta work.
Friday, November 7, 2008
The excuse for it is that I think the same explosion of activity that governments can get to when there's a war on ought to be mobilized to deal with the fact that our present economic course is unsustainable and there's no "Plan B."
It's going to take a major effort to transform a world full of 6.5 billion people to raise living standards and lower resource consumption. Modern science and technology will play a big part, but they need to be harnessed by democracy, not profit.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Lack of demand they say. People ain't buying houses n' cars the way they used to. 'Course, all that home-buying n' [why'm I talkin' like Jim-Bobby? That's his shtick!] car buying was often done on credit in recent years.
Also, our consumption levels are unsustainable. To think that we're supposed to be models for China and India to emulate, it's ridiculous.
But what should we be doing as a society? Where will the jobs be?
What I do know is that we don't have any viable politicial parties up for doing anything more than tinkering with a system that is killing us.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
[conspiracy theory]The American ruling class has been engaging in naked brutality and theft because their's is a dying empire and there's no more time for the luxuries of compromise and generosity. Plus, their right-wing counterattack has been much more easy and more successful than they'd imagined it would be when they started in 1980. However, after two stolen terms for bush II, they realize that they shouldn't push their luck. They also realize that they have to give the sensible majority of their subjects a reason to care about politics again. So they pick the charismatic representative of the oppressed minority and then even cynical US-leftists can think it's an important moment. They buy it hook, line and sinker. But then it's back to business as usual. The Repugs will make out all right. They've got that $700 billion and then some to spend as they see fit.[/conspiracy theory]
But I don't think the US ruling elite is that smart. For one thing, a lot of the storm troops of the repug administration were bible-college law school grads who fit right in on the idiot right-wing blogosphere.
It really just is the case that Barack Obama is an African-American who has managed to play the game so well that he won the Democratic nomination and then went on to defeat the candidate from the party that screwed the country over for 8 long years.
In other news, Ontario has become a have-not province. D'you suppose all the lefties who said that manufacturing jobs were important and that they'd be threatened by free trade will get an apology from the assholes at places like the C. D. Howe Institute? (Answer: Of course not!)
It's 19 degrees Celcius on November 5th. In all honesty, I really can't enjoy the weather all that much when I realize that it's all a part of global warming.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
I'm extending credit where credit is due to the Ontario Liberals.
And, truth be told, it ain't much credit.
I've been down on the provincial Liberals because, aside from the Greenbelt, they haven't done a whole helluva lot for the province besides not being kro-magnum (sic!) Harrisites.
In one post I trashed the Ontario Libs for
So it turns out that they're finally going to reverse some of these destructive downloadings.
Hamilton will save upwards of $18 million after the province announced it will take back the costs of court security and Ontario Works
But don't celebrate yet. This sounds like typical Liberalism, talk nice but act scummy/scuzzy. Observe:
Court costs won’t start returning to the province until 2012 and Ontario Works costs won’t be uploaded until 2010.In other words, one year after 2009 (when a major recession is expected to hit) the Liberals "promise" to begin uploading expensive welfare obligations. Whatever. I'll still believe it when I see it. But it was known before Harris legislated this nonsense that it was disastrous for municipal finances.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
But then I thought, the office of president is only to be revered for these people if there's a fellow Repugnican in it. The Starr Report's humiliation of Clinton showed that. Obama's skin colour obviously does rub the Repugs the wrong way, but the extent of their boorishness doesn't start there.
I also thought that US-Americans are famous for their marketing and advertising schemes, as well as their whole entertainment industry. If the noble Obama vs. the angry, ugly McCain-Palin campaign really wasn't designed by the marketing department of some shadowy cabal of puppet-masters (and I don't believe it was), it couldn't have been done any better. Just like a Hollywood hero, Obama looks good and says nice things, but doesn't really say all that much.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
What hard-right ideologues mean when they say "conservativism" can be best summarized as rank stupidity. These are clueless idiots, unaware that everything they believe in is garbage, because their brains are garbage.
"An American Carol" was supposed to be a comedy. It failed at that, because "conservatives" (who can do non-political comedy evidently) don't understand what the joke is when it comes to politics, ... because they're the joke.
In the scene with the Angel of Death in "American Carol" Michael Malone (a parody of Michael Moore) asks to go to Hollywood, because it (like Paris) is felt to be "cool" by the liberal-elitist, anti-American Moore. To his utter dismay Malone/Moore is shown a Hollywood totally dominated by Islamic fundamentalism, which is made even worse for Malone/Moore by a statue commerating his services to the Jihad that brought about this sad state of affairs.
The acting and dialogue in the scene is stilted and flat, but even aside from that, the premise simply isn't funny. A friend of mine said it would've been funny if it were done by leftists parodying "conservative" delusions, but that's something else entirely.
Presenting Michael Moore that way says more about "conservatives" than it does about why Moore deserves to be lampooned. Contrary to "conservative" conspiracy theories, Moore isn't a dupe for Al Qaeda who hates America. That's why the scene isn't funny. What would be funny would be taking off on things like the Republican "family values" Party having prayer breakfasts officiated by pastors high on crystal meth, or fake journalists getting into the White House Press Corps despite their second jobs as gay prostitutes. (Not because homosexuality is funny, but because the Repugs' delusions and hypocrisies about it are.) Similarly, it's funny when bush II is presented as an absolute moron, because he is. Just as most jokes about Bill Clinton being a sex-maniac are funny, because there's an iota of truth in there.
In short, "conservatives" don't just barf your paranoid theories up in front of people and imagine they'll get laughs just because you call them "comdey." Best to just stay out of politics in general, altogether.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
One measure of this policy's impact can be found in the demise of the leather goods industry, a key pre-invasion sector of Iraq's non-petroleum economy. When a government-owned tanning operation, which all by itself employed 30,000 workers and supplied leather to an entire industry, was shuttered in late 2003, it deprived shoe-makers and other leather goods establishments of their key resource. Within a year, employment in the industry had dropped from 200,000 workers to a mere 20,000.
Read the whole thing, and then think about these couple of unrepentant dumb-fucks who helped make it all happen.
Friday, October 24, 2008
If true, that's ... okay, I suppose. But this all sounds very bizarre. It's certainly incompetent public relations to announce a massive cut in funding right before a recession when that funding is needed more than ever, and to then say that something else, undescribed is going to be "announced" in a few weeks to make everything better. Why not wait until the new uploading process has been decided and then announce the cutbacks and the new spending simultaneously?
Given the McGuinty government's constant droning about how they're abandoning their anti-poverty initiatives and there's no money in the jar and there's already going to be a $500 million deficit, what are people supposed to think when they announce a $12 million cut to social services for Hamilton?
I'll beleive it when I see it.
(Note, the Spec's website keeps crashing my browser. No links.)
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Ted McMeekin, Ontario's Minister of Government Services, has informed Ontario's municipalities that in the coming economic downturn, the McGuinty government will continue to benefit from the Harris government's downloading of responsibilities from the province to the cities.
McMeekin said there will be no social-service bailout on the day his government announced it was tightening up spending because of the impact the world economic crisis is having on its finances.
Ontario has provided the city with $75.6 million since 2004 to offset social service costs. It has come in the form of annual grants and began as $19.5 million in 2004. The city received $12 million this spring.
In other words, cities (such as Hamilton) will have to find millions of dollars in the middle of a recession by either raising taxes or slashing programs that the poorest depend upon, again, in a recession.
McMeekin added cryptically that in a few weeks there'll be an announcement from the Ministry of Child and Youth Services that will mitigate his announcement. It remains to be seen if that's not part of some smokescreen to defuse anger at his government's short-sighted, mean-spirited and stupid decision.
I went to the Ministry of Child and Youth Services and wasn't hopeful of anything substantial coming out of it:
We’re calling on you to help us tackle poverty.
Maybe it means supporting a local food bank, volunteering at a homeless shelter or building a compassionate business that provides job opportunities.
We need you to tell us.
Here’s your chance to make a difference.
If this isn't a textbook example of Liberal hypocrisy I'll be surprised.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Leftists should focus more on communicating the absolute monstrousness of our system. From the Liberal Party of Canada's perpetuation of absolute poverty and misery on Aboriginal reserves, to the overthrow of democracy in Haiti, to increased homelessness and hopelessness for most Canadians, to the present Harper-Cons ...
In the news today, the Iacobucci INTERNAL Inquiry into government actions that point to Canadian government complicity in the torture of three Canadian citizens, Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin is to be released today.
It's probably going to be a thin gruel of rationalizations and stupidity. It's testimony to the cowardice of the Canadian state, covering its incompetence for sending three Canadians to hell.
Also, the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into Residential Schools has resigned, citing betrayal and disrespect from the two other commissioners. I don't know the history there, but Harper's treatment of the Commission has been abominable. He's deliberately restricted its funding, making it almost impossible to do its job.
This is about the Canadian state creating mass graves people. Harper's cynical bullshit is intolerable.
Monday, October 20, 2008
But all snideness and sarcasm aside; what the hell kind of monster is our re-elected Prime Minister? How cold and cynical do you have to be to respond to accusations (from your own supposedly beloved troops) of child rape with a bullshit public relations exercise??
And how stupid do you have to be to continue to support this imbecile and to type drivel such as this:
The timing of this article and it's [sic] graphic nature makes me suspect that it is meant to upset us rather than seek resolution. I can tell by the emotional responses of anger and shock. Afghanistan was a failing nation, the society needs to be rebuilt and reformed. Atrocities and rape may go back centuries and though abhorrent to our sensibilities, we need to try and stop all of the abuses; from chronic heroin use, domestic abuse, rape and a whole host of others through helping this country lift it's self [sic] up. We don't need to abandon this mission to a draconian regime that will occupy it and probably exact worse abuses that we can imagine. Remember the graphic executions of women in the soccer field played on our televisions before the war. Our military has performed amazing change in southern Afghanistan and we need to publish and promote more of this positive activity before condemning the mission and our military because of a very graphic disturbing article .
[That turd was dropped in the comments section of the article.] Yes, that's right. We mustn't leave because then the Afghan army that we're building and allowing to rape children with impunity will never learn that raping children is wrong, because they won't see the results of the investigation that we're conducting, which will report in 2011, ... I'm being sarcastic again and I can't find anyway to fully convey the insanity of this moron's position.
Seriously, all you Harper-Wargasm supporters, shut the fuck up, now and forever more.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Basically, Stephen Harper is going to have the investigation into allegations from CF personnel in Afghanistan about Afghan army and interpretors raping young boys take TWO YEARS to complete.
Because, our troop-supportin' Steve-O apparently thinks that CF fellah's might all be totally stupid or something, seeing things like Afghan soldiers raping children when they're really just playing some strange Afghan sport or something.
Whatever the case, if children actually are being raped by our noble allies, it's going to continue for another two years, until 2011, by which time (as pogge points out) it will be meaningless for public support for "the mission" (tm). Oh yeah, that and Harper's political grave will have been dug by the economic crisis for which both he and "Fuck-head Flaherty" are gravely unsuited to deal with.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
The Tyee has some interesting surveys in their response to Harper's accusation/fantasy/whatevah.
Also, in today's episode of thwap's schoolyard: Lesbian Robots!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Tom Englehart's "Living in the Ruins: My depression ... or ours?"
Basically he's asking if this financial crisis signals "the big one" and if so, what does that mean?
In these last days, I've thought some about my parents, about their whole generation which lived through the Great Depression, those fathers and mothers who had a "depression mentality" for which we, the young growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, had no patience, and about which we had next to no curiosity whatsoever. I sure didn't anyway. That was so past. Despite the good times, they feared otherwise.
It's unnerving when history becomes yours, when no one can tell you where the bottom is, or what life will be like after that bottom is reached. It's one of those moments when you discover why overused phrases -- I think here, for instance, of "through a glass darkly" -- were overused in the first place.
There is so much, much more.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Now that he's been safely, if needlessly re-elected, Harper is back to form, stealing policies he derided, and putting "the troops" (tm) back into combat now that there's no election and Stephen Harper electoral fortunes that their deaths could jeopardize. Harper can also sign-on for any further US American imperialist fantasies, and he can also break his promise about 2011 if he chooses, because the Liberals are all up on such murderous nonsense.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Right off the bat I'd like to say that this might be the best of all possible outcomes. The Harpercons didn't get their majority, so all their Cromagnon social legislation fantasies are going to be put on hold until forever, A-N-D, the same sort of vapid, selfish ignorance that prompts a Canadian voter to put an "X" beside a "Conservative" candidate is the same sort of mentality that produces the knee-jerk impulse to blame international economic recessions on the party in power. You're going to own this one Stevie, and all your droning and yammering about how the opposition isn't letting you respond effectively isn't going to go down well outside of your hardcore supporters of the stupidest people in Canada.
But what about "strategic voting" or "voting smart"? It might come as a surprise to some people, but I'm all for it. I recognize that the Liberals aren't as bad as the "Conservatives." I still think the Liberal Party of Canada should die a quick death, but I feel that way about the "Conservatives" as well. But on social policy, they're much more tolerable, and they're more apt to throw life-saving crumbs to the bottom half of the population in a crunch. So sure, to defeat a Con, elect a Lib if the Lib ran a strong second last time. I have no time for the Liberal Party's self-interested portrayal of "strategic voting" as meaning "vote Liberal or die!!!" but genuine strategic voting would've been a good idea.
A bad way to pursue "strategic voting" and political alliances (if that's what you're really all about) was Stephane "Kyoto?" Dion's cynical promotion of Elizabeth May in Central Nova. The Liberals came in a distant third in 2006. If you want to display genuine generosity, as opposed to promoting a party solely to create another rival for third place that will destroy the NDP, give her a riding where the Liberals came second last time.
As it is, and I can't emphasize this enough, I think under the circumstances I'm happier with the airhead incompetent Peter MacKay back than Elizabeth May with her thoughtless gutter mouth.
What's that you say? "thwap" complaining about a gutter mouth? Well, I'm prepared to grant May a lot for her social activism, for her brains, for her sincerity or whatever else you want, ... but her bullshit outburst about Jack Layton preferring to negotiate with the Taliban and not with her, ... when her and her party were so clearly being cynically used ... was right up there with Stephen Harper's garbage talk about anti-Semitism in the House of Commons. I'm all for hard-hitting criticism, for instance, Layton's holding Paul Martin Jr. responsible for homeless deaths, because in cases like that, IT'S TRUE.
But to make underhanded insinuations of "treason" and "terrorist sympathizer" so breezily, or to fart out self-satisfied claims that not conceding to the Greens pointless vote-splitting means you hate the earth, that's garbage talk. Grow the fuck up May. You'll have plenty of time to do that now that your political career is finished.
Speaking of finished, Stephane Dion's caretaker role of Liberal leader until the Anglos Rae and Ignatieff solved their problems is also at an end. The Liberals will be in "disarray" (like they haven't been wandering around like sleep-walkers since Paul Martin Jr. took over) as they have their leadership convention. This will supposedly make them unable to challenge Harper's economic and foreign policies. That and the fact that they didn't challenge Harper when they had a newly-minted leader last Parliament. There were two reasons they didn't challenge Harper: they didn't have a platform to take to the public to campaign on, and, they AGREE with Harper's policies to such an extent that they didn't want to vote against them. We don't need a united "left" in Canada that includes an enthusiastic imperialist, neoliberal bunch of vermin like the Liberal Party.
Speaking of scams, is it all a scam anyway? Why didn't the NDP say much more about the bipartisan Lib/Con "Security and Prosperity Partnership"? What the hell kind of country is this anyway?
Ah fuggit. I've got work to do.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Given our archaic electoral system, there's simply no reason that we should have to sacrifice any more ridings in order to support a party whose very existence jeopardizes the chances for the pro-environment policies they champion.
Monday, October 13, 2008
To sum up that confusing paragraph, ... the circle of bullshit has run into a bump and the charade is over. But since it was all a charade to begin with, why don't we just invent a new charade, ... a more durable one?
And the bit of reality that crash-landed into the financial speculation based on a housing bubble based on unsustainable debt levels? Let's pretend it was like that episode on "Dallas" where they couldn't figure out how to resolve some plot-lines and so they decided to make the entire season turn out to have been one character's dream so that they could pick up back where everything went wrong!
Remember, it's all an illusion anyway.
Now watch this.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Just read it, and then picture the stupid faces of bush II, Rummy, Rice, Cheney, Martin, Harper and Hillier and other assorted scum.
Friday, October 10, 2008
The internet has changed the nature of media, reporting, and what-not. It's changed the political culture of the United States. If you go to places like CounterPunch, commondreams, or Znet, you can find out about all sorts of nefarious US-government and corporate schemes while they're a-borning. Progressive Canada doesn't really compare to that level of analysis as a collective. I'm trying The Tyee and rabble.ca's homepage, but really meaty stuff is few and far between. For my money, Alison is consistently on top of the machinations of the Canadian corporate state. She's been doing a lot of heavy lifting by herself and I don't know how she does it, but she MUST keep on doing it.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
And our country was disgraced. And our putrid government belched out an apology. And our putrid RCMP went to Poland to "investigate" their own brutality and incompetency by trying to dig up dirt on Dziekanski's mental health. And our country was disgraced again.
And then we moved on.
But I don't entirely move on. When the concept of "Canada" which is a country where I live, and which contains a culture that has shaped me to some degree (for better or for worse and I think better) disgraces itself, it gnaws away at me.
I don't like our continued oppression of Aboriginal Canadians. I don't like our continued imperialism in Afghanistan. I don't like that we destroyed democracy in Haiti. I don't like the way our mining firms behave in Colombia. I don't like that our "tar-sands project" is the world's biggest single source of pollution. I don't like that our RCMP killed Robert Dziekanski.
I wish there was some way that I could make it stop and then make amends.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I said earlier, that it was a shame that a woman and an African-American had to go up against each other in order to break their respective barriers. I also said that I would extend good wishes to either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama if they won the nomination. As well, I said that I didn't really like either of them. Hillary has said and done some things that just appalled me and Barack says a lot of empty rhetoric with very little substance. At the same time I recognize that this is the nature of the system. You generally can't simultaneously break social barriers AND political-economic barriers, even if you want to.
The importance of the symbolism of an Obama victory can perhaps best be understood in the story of this black man in London, England, whose Obama t-shirt produced an unhinged tirade of racist abuse and three shots (to the face, shoulder and hand) from the lunatic's pellet-gun. Of course, that's London, England. On the other hand, in the USA, these meth-addicted fools (who no doubt blame affirmative action or something for their lot in life) weren't out to volunteer on the Obama campaign when they showed up in Denver for the DNC. They hoped to assassinate him. And then there's this guy: Florida "teacher" Greg Howard.
A Marianna middle-school teacher has been suspended for 10 days without pay after he wrote a racially charged interpretation of a commonly used phrase in the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama.
It said, "C.H.A.N.G.E. — Come Help A (N-word) Get Elected."
I'm going to go out on a limb here, and speculate on the source of Howard's irrational and ugly racism. [I started on a bunch of nasty insults, but then my fears of legal action got the better of me. It's a shame, it was pretty funny.]
The thing about Obama and his undeniable abilities to play the game is that it might end up making him no more than a symbol. And, given that he listened to the sermons of Jeremiah Wright for so many years without storming out of his church in a snit, and only abandoned him during his race for the presidency, I can't believe that Obama really believes all the shit that he's saying. There's a glimmer of knowledge there, and Obama might as well use it. Because the shit-heads in charge of that country have done nothing but ruin it. While they talk about flag-pins and terrorism and WMDs and nation-building and free markets and all their other empty rhetoric, they've brought nothing but failure. I wish him well, do what you have to do to win, but once that's over, give your head a shake. You fucked up on FISA and you fucked up on the bail-out, and so many other things. You must know that the world view you're pandering to is nonsense. America doesn't have the resources to play stupid anymore.
Last thought: If some stupid racist needle-dick does successfully take a shot at the first black President of the United States, there really should be blood in the streets. Nobody should stand up and call for "law-and-order" and "forgiveness." And non-racist whites should take the lead in taking any white, racist, repugnican Klansman who shoots off his mouth and drag him behind a truck for a while.