Saturday, May 31, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
What's neat-o-keen is that all of them, especially the disgraced New York Times, continue to misrepresent the 2000 election in Florida.
“In 2001 painstaking postmortems of the Florida count, one by The New York Times and another by a consortium of newspapers, concluded that Mr. Bush would have come out slightly ahead, even if all the votes counted throughout the state had been retallied.”
–Alessandra Stanley, New York Times, May 23, 2008 in a review of the HBO television movie, Recount
That’s not true.
The New York Times did not do its own recount. It did participate in a consortium. Here’s what they actually said:
“If all the ballots had been reviewed under any of seven single standards, and combined with the results of an examination of overvotes, Mr. Gore would have won, by a very narrow margin.”
–Ford Fessenden and John M. Broder New York Times, November 12, 2001
Why they'd prefer one imperialist to another is beyond me, but the end result is that the stupid fuckers don't do their fucking job. (The professed job anyway. Obviously, they don't really exist to inform the citizenry, but to control them.)
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I was going to say something about how this is the extent of the system's inability to cope with leftist criticism, when I remembered that CSIS and the FBI also have informants in far-right, neo-nazi hate groups. However, there's a world of difference betwixt outright nazis and vegan potlucks and religious peace groups. So, what I really wonder is if CSIS or the FBI have informants within pro-war groups like "A Gathering of Eagles" and pro-businesses, etc., etc., ad nauseum groups.
Plus: I like this librarian's blog, and I thought that I'd added The Vanity Press to my blogroll a long time ago.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
On the other hand, I recognize that there is important symbolic meaning to the fact that the Democratic challenger to the imbecilic John McCain will either be a woman or a person of colour. It's an important milestone. And, it's kind of a shame that the person who would first break one of those important barriers had to go up against the other person.
But what's really sad is that Hillary Clinton is evidently losing so gracelessly. I've despised Hillary Clinton ever since she said she'd do to Canada what Israel did to Lebanon on the flimsiest of provocations. Even still, I would have been happy had she won the nomination and the presidency fair and square. But that doesn't appear to be what she's doing:
Increasingly, Clinton is operating in a virtual reality programmed by her pollster Mark Penn during his downtime from working for the butchers of Colombia. Adhering to Penn’s fatal calculus, Clinton has endeavored to re-segregate the Democratic Party electorate into demographic segments and then pitted them against each other. The Clinton campaign has intentionally inflamed these simmering antagonisms: black versus Hispanic, black versus white, black versus older women, white collar versus blue collar, young versus old, under-educated versus college grad.
What was once coded is now explicit. Clinton openly talks about her appeal among “working, hard working, white voters.” The implication here is that blacks are lazy, shiftless and on the welfare dole and that perhaps only half of their votes should count. But shouldn’t someone remind her that her husband dismantled welfare? Perhaps her former mentor Marian Wright Edelman should make the call.
The Clinton camp has become so entrenched in their racial rhetoric that I’ve begun to wonder if they begin their morning strategy sessions with a screening of the Rodney King beating tape as a motivational tool.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
We need revolutionary change, but it has to come from the desire of the majority. You have to convince them of the justice of simple reforms (my own hobby-horse is the human rights of citizens within their workplaces), the necessity of this justice, ... and then when the system is unable to accommodate these simple truths, then the necessity of revolutionary action becomes apparent.
But that revolution shouldn't be a leap into the void. It should be a next stone across the stream, that they're able to test and see for themselves isn't a foolish leap of faith.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
"Tinkering, .... is a preliminary to large-scale change. There can't be large-scale structural change unless a very substantial part of the population is deeply committed to it. It's going to have to come from the organized efforts of a dedicated population. That won't happen, and shouldn't happen, unless people perceive that reform efforts, the tinkering, are running into barriers that cannot be overcome without institutional change. Then you get pressure for institutional change. But short of that realization, there is no reason why people should take the risks, make the effort, or face the uncertainty and the punishment that's involved in serious change. That's why every serious revolutionary is a reformist. If you're a serious revolutionary, you don't want a coup. You want changes to come from below, from the organized population. But why should people be willing to undertake what's involved in serious institutional change unless they think that the institutions don't permit them to achieve just and proper goals?"
Monday, May 19, 2008
If it was the latter, his move paid off (by certain measurements). Yoo was rewarded with a job at the soon to be totally debased US Department of Justice. It was there that he penned the infamous torture memos, providing rationalizations (illegitimate regardless) for the bush II regime's fondness for torturing people. These memos reflected the sterling commitment to human values that Yoo displayed in this interview:
Cassel: If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?
Yoo: No treaty.
Cassel: Also no law by Congress. That is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.
Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.
Again, for emphasis: Yoo's opinion is nothing more than the ramblings of a very sick man. Legally speaking, they're garbage.
Pretty much everything that Yoo says is garbage. Which is why is was a sad thing that he'd managed to wrangle a tenured position teaching constitutional law at UC Berkeley, and why it is an abomination that he was allowed to return there following his stint as an enabler of torture and other war crimes.
Other people think so too, and they showed up at a UC Berkeley graduation ceremony to protest this offense and to (quite reasonably) ask that this war criminal be suspended and tried. Happily enough, many attendees of the graduation ceremony agreed with them.
Other people disagreed:
William Upshaw of Oakland, who was at the event to see his wife graduate, was unhappy with the hoopla outside the theater.
“It’s interesting, but unexpected,” he said as he filed past the protest, carrying a bouquet for his wife, “and, actually, I don’t think it’s appropriate.”
To which, I must reply: "Who cares what you think?" For goodness' sake, the man would grant the "Commander-in-Chief" the right to torture children! Which is less "appropriate"? That a turd like this is educating a member of your family or that there are decent people protesting this obscenity?
Yoo is not likely to be fired for his political views, Boalt Dean Christopher Edley Jr., wrote in a memo last month. ... “My sense is that the vast majority of legal academics with a view of the matter disagree with substantial portions of Professor Yoo’s analyses, including a great many of his colleagues at Berkeley,” Edley wrote. “If, however, this strong consensus were enough to fire or sanction someone, then academic freedom would be meaningless.”It's not that people disagree with him you stupid fuck! It's not about "academic freedom" you half-wit! Yoo has aided and abetted war crimes! The past reputation of your institution is meaningless if you hire a man who is both a monster and a dunce. If he's protected by tenure (a worthy defense of genuine academic freedom) then, as Dean of the law school and as a human being, you should have said: "I'm all for him being dragged off to prison, and I wish these activists well on their mission, but I'm legally obligated to allow him to keep his post." But to conflate providing an official document defending bush II's right to crush a child's testicles in a time of war, with "academic freedom" is sheer nonsense.
Finally, some self-important, self-pitying drivel from the moron himself:
Yoo could not be reached for comment Saturday, but he has defended his positions in several newspaper opinion articles.
“In wartime … attacking members of the enemy is not considered assassination or murder,” he wrote in a Chronicle essay in September 2005. “Killing the enemy is legal in war.”
He’s also said he’s unfazed by protests.
“I’m a conservative professor, so I’m used to people objecting to my views,” Yoo said in a 2004 interview with The Chronicle.
Oh, poor baby! The big, bad liberal media and the Marxists in academia, "the man" in other words, always conspiring to keep you down 'eh? No, you idiot. You're not a "conservative." You're a totalitarian radical. You're a war criminal. That's why people are disgusted by you.
You're also an incompetent. Your legal opinions are all worthless trash. You know this. You should have thanked your lucky stars for your teaching job, and never made the disgraceful grab at fame and power that led you to produce those memos, the legal consequences of which will haunt you to your dying day.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Just as the Soviets would have never been able to impose their way of life on the United States (even if the USA had maintained a purely defensive military build-up and had foregone the mass indoctrination of its own people), so too, the fractionally powerful Arab/Islamic terrorism apparatus is not going to be able to impose itself on the West. Neither will the Arabs or Muslims among us. Muslims comprise two percent of Canada's population. When they start getting even close to imposing their values on us, don't worry "blogging tories" ... we'll notice.
The pants-wetting fear exhibited by the right-wing bottom feeders would be comical if it weren't for the fact that their fears lead to government policies that produce secret trials, indefinite detentions, and torture, ... and war.
These wars are about oil. Israel is protected because it is a regional watchdog for US control of oil. Iraq was attacked for its oil. Iran is targetted for its oil. Venezuela's Chavez is a target for Whitehouse concern trolls because of oil. Most of the known terrorists are Saudis or Egyptians. Both countries receive massive amounts of US military and political assistance. The countries most involved in spreading fundamentalist obscurantism are Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The country most guilty of proliferating WMDs or the capability to make them is Pakistan. Pakistan is another regional ally of the US. It isn't about democracy, because Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan are all dictatorships and are under no pressures to reform from the bush II regime.
To think that we must all live in thrall to this stupid contraption of a policy. It's disgusting.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Now, mocking somebody's physical attributes isn't generally an effective debating tactic. It's often a dangerous one. God knows that I'm not capable of being immune to ridicule about my looks. But in Harper's case, he's got one particular attribute that seems to reflect his ugly, cold, amoral approach to politics.
Somebody on babble once referred to Harper as a "dead-eyed cipher." And I have to agree, in some pictures, Harper appears to have the eyes of a corpse. They just sort of stare, coldly, blankly, thinking of nothing at all, whilst his body uncomfortably wobbles around in some inappropriate cowboy vest or flak jacket.
Like his eyes, Harper doesn't seem to care about very much. It's like he's going through the motions, or some sort of "process" (like decaying).
I don't think Harper is very smart. But I don't think he's as monumentally stupid (like, say a Stockwell Day or a Jim Flaherty is stupid). I certainly don't think that he's as stupid as his asinine comments about criticism of Israel made him sound.
I think that in that case, Harper was merely trying to poison the political climate. In typical Karl Rovian fashion he's trying to put the most toxic ideas he can out there, in order to establish as a given, the gutter-level politics that 21st-century "conservatism" increasingly finds unavoidable.
I don't think Harper particularly gives a shit about Israel, one way or the other. That's for the fundamentalist nutbars like Stockwell Day and his US-American counterparts among the religious right. Israel is just a political symbol for Harper. I'm not sure that it's within him to understand how this works deep down, .... he just knows that it works. It helps him by giving him red meat to throw at his political supporters ... who he doesn't care about either. And this is all to help him get and keep power in Canada, a country which he also doesn't give a shit about.
Oh, I could go on. But I won't.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
We have a media system that utterly fails to do what a genuine media system would do. Which sees fit to print the musings of every empty-headed racist when it comes to the First Nations, and which saw the story of a woman fired over a "timbit" as more significant than three Canadian citizens trying to find out why our government had them tortured by a dictatorial third country.
Friday, May 9, 2008
In Ottawa, we stopped at the PMO and presented a petition from thousands of people on our route that the men who were Canadian citizens, yet somehow not the concern of the Canadian Embassy in Syria, be given a public inquiry into how they found themselves tortured in Syria and asked questions provided by the Canadian government.
Each of the men gave a speech, as did I, and three other members of our caravan. Global News was there, along with the CBC, Reuters, Associated Press, and others. The guy from Global said we'd be on the 5:30 news, but since we'd be driving home at that time, we all thought it likely that we'd see it on the 11 o'clock news.
No such luck.
We watched the CBC National. Nothing. But, one story that got repeated play was the story of a Tim Horton's worker who was fired for giving a customer's baby a Timbit.
Arggh. Busy night. More tomorrow.