Monday, March 31, 2008

Liked it so much I'm makin' a Post of it ...

Why is there this perception that an election will bring a Harper majority?

It only exists because the Liberals don't have many substantive differences with the CONS.
They're two peas in a pod on Afghanistan. They're united on the SPP. They're united on missile defence. Dion dithered on Kyoto, while Harper is bought, paid-for, and deluded on it. The end results for the eco-system are the same.

The Liberal Party, of all parties, ought not to be terrified of the electorate. The Canadian people don't like the Harper agenda and it would be easy to demolish them but for the sad fact that, aside from some important social/moral issues, the Liberals HAVE THE SAME AGENDA.

The long and the short of it is that you can be a gay, married couple of federalists, living in Quebec, you'll have your social equality and a united Canada, but if you vote Liberal, you'll get to be unemployed and homeless and harassed by some FBI database of subversives by US forces on Canadian soil.

The NDP has good social/federalist credentials. T'would be a treat were the Liberal Party to simply die and stop muddying the waters.

What You Can Get From Reading Znet

A departed anonymous commentator gently chided me for getting my analysis from reading Znet as if that was to blame for my inability to understand the point of the latest insanity in Iraq (Maliki's bush II-approved assault on the powerful Shiite cleric, Sadr). But discussing all of this elsewhere allowed me to be directed by Rufus ("purple library guy") Polson to:

Understanding Latest Iraq Violence

Which is quite good.

As of this writing, Maliki's offensive has ground to a halt, and Sadr is calling for renewed negotiations. There's no doubt that US and British air support could pulverize Sadr's militia, but there are doubts aplenty that Maliki's forces are loyal to him. There's also doubts that the bush II regime (as indifferent as it is to public opinion, or any opinion contrary to its own) can sustain the renewal of constant attacks on US military personnel, on a scale proportionally larger than the attack waves of Sunni minorities. To avoid this, bush II would have his troops hide in the Green Zone, and on their bases, but that would subject Iraqi policemen and soldiers to these attacks, which would further weaken the shaky power of the government.

What's constant is that bush II has made a hell out of Iraq. And five years of hell is a terrible thing to conceive.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Why I Hate the Liberal Party

OMIGOD!! The politics of hate! Don't be a hater! You're blinded by your hate. Hate is a crude, dangerous emotion.

Anyway, ... I do hate the Liberal Party. And I need to write a post for today, and my deep hatred for the Liberal Party is always coming to the forefront when I'm trying to think of what to type.

I hate them because they obfuscate Canadians' political choices. In the first half of the 20th century, Liberals were better able to articulate their awareness of the changing needs of Canadian society as it transformed from rural-agricultural to urban-industrial. (That having been said, it was the Conservative Party that did most to create this urban-industrial society, and that at both levels of government created many noteworthy institutions such as Workers' Compensation, Ontario-Hydro, and others.)

But as the more forward thinking of the two main parties, the Liberals were better placed to learn the lessons of the Great Depression than the Conservatives, and were therefore more able to recognize the worth of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation's ideas, ... and, yes, ... steal many of them.

And you could get a lot done for the average Canadian by being a Liberal, voting Liberal, or working for the Liberals up until the 1970s when the economy was expanding and laisse-faire was greatly discredited. But they were always, first and foremost, a liberal-capitalist party, and when the chips came down in the late-1970s, this capitalist element made itself apparent.

But to this day, the Liberals continue to trade-off this illusion that they're the party of the welfare state. Chretien's claim that "Liberal times are good times," (as he said after his 1993 victory) was meant to harken back to the days of the Liberals in the 1970s, after two terms of the Mulroney Progressive Conservatives. But what did Chretien do? Together with Paul Martin, they dismantled federal housing, slashed financial assistance to the provinces for healthcare and education, signed NAFTA, destroyed Haitian democracy, took us into Afghanistan, and gave tax-cut after tax-cut, mainly to corporations and the wealthy, in order to whittle-away at the surpluses (always hidden until the last minute) in order to bring government's contribution to the economy down to 1950s levels.

That's why the NDP will spend at least as much time attacking the Liberals. Because while the Conservatives are now comprised of the most nauseating stew of blatant corporate con-men and thieves, and a hard-core base of fundamentalist whack-jobs and closet-cases, the Liberals don't present much different so far as ordinary Canadians' standards of living go. And it's the Canadians tempted to vote Liberal out of a lingering delusion that the Liberal Party will genuinely help them, who are the people who might vote NDP were their eyes truly open to the way things work in Canada and the world. The Conservative voting base isn't going to be persuaded to vote NDP as a result of being convinced by stinging critiques of the Harper government on the part of Jack Layton. (For the most part, they'll hear the critique and come up with a lame-ass response that will be incomprehensible to ordinary, sane people.)

The Liberal Party should die. It should get out of the way. There's a battle to be fought, and one-side is slavering with bloodlust (the Conservative Party of Canada/SDA crowd) and the other is being duped and deluded by these corporate Quislings standing between the bloodthirsty and the virtuous.

[I'm sure everyone will like my Manichean depiction of the situation!! :) ]

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Two-steps Removed

Thwap, describing Blogging Horse, describing the Ottawa Citizen.

But, yeah, indeed.

The reason Jack Layton pulled the plug on the Martin government was due to Martin's insulting reply to the NDP's call for a halt to the creeping privatization and gross under-funding of public healthcare.

But as Mr. Blogging Horse says, the Liberal charge:

"[Layton]would rather risk Stephen Harper's success than be faithful to his own party's principles. But even more than that, Mr. Layton has repeatedly pledged to work with a Stephen Harper government. You're either for progressive social and economic policies, or you’re not. Contrary to what Jack Layton apparently believes, you can not have it both ways.”

... turns out to be complete crapola in light of the Liberals' fear of confronting the electorate.

Politics are polarizing all around the world. The Liberal policy of straddling the fence and pleasing the business community and diluted progressive values is fast unravelling.

I say, let the Liberal Party die, and let the "progressives" among its membership decide whose side they're on. And when they choose, they'll have to concede they have a lot to learn about the way the world works. You can't come down in the middle between corporate greed and democracy. It's one or the other.

(Obviously, the NDP needs to learn this too. But they've at least admitted there's an issue.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Maliki vs. Sadr

What the hell is going on?

From the BBC

Fresh fighting has erupted in the southern Iraqi city of Basra and elsewhere, as Iraqi security forces battle Shia militants for a second day.

Like, seriously, what the hell is going on in Iraq? I can never tell if this violence is beyond the bush II regime's control (a chaotic, bloody mess makes them look bad) or part of some Machiavellian plan to keep the country weak and divided (manipulate the groups into fighting each other), so far, I've been thinking it was the former; what with the shit-kicking the Repugs take domestically for this fiasco, and for the failure to get their oil-giveaway bill passed through the Iraqi Parliament.

This explosion of violence between the government and the Shia majority would appear to be a disaster for the occupation, since the Shiites control most of the country, including the lifeline to Baghdad from Basra on the coast.

But, from the article:

Sadrists are convinced the operation is an attempt to weaken them ahead of provincial elections due in October, but Mr Maliki has embarked on a risky strategy, says the BBC's Roger Hardy.

For one thing, it is far from clear that it will succeed.

The Sadrist movement enjoys widespread support, especially among the young and the poor, and is well entrenched in Basra and many other predominantly Shia towns and cities in the south.

For another, if the ceasefire which the Sadrists have largely followed since last year were to collapse, that would seriously undermine claims by the government - and by the Bush administration in Washington - that Iraq was moving from civil war to political reconciliation, our correspondent says.

It appears that Sadr is being goaded into a confrontation. Which is insane, but it might also mean that this is some deliberate effort of the bush II regime to foment violence, regardless of that undermining the propaganda about the success of the "surge."

I can't figure it out. Unless they're simply totally insane.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A New Band That's Okay By Me

"Murder By Death"

China and Canada

We'll ignore the non-starter about boycotting the Beijing Olympics. The idea of the United States boycotting China for its Tibetan atrocities while conducting its own brutal occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan would be a towering hypocrisy, and China is too powerful for the US to expect it to let that one slide.

I just wonder about the parallels between China's occupation of Tibet, and its manipulation and outright suppression of Tibetan culture, and Canada's treatment of the First Nations. Both colonizers say that they are bringing the gift of civilization to a backward people. Both colonizers say the colonized culture is better off in their embrace.

I wonder too, about those who would call for the OPP or the Canadian Armed Forces to simply "clear the Indians out" of whatever land occupation they're conducting (even though the last time that was tried, an innocent man was killed), whether or not they're appalled by China's ruthless disregard for human rights.

I wonder who else can see these parallels. For those who can't, or who deny these parallels, I wonder if they realize what it is about the nature of Canadian democracy that makes us less obviously murderous and brutal. It certainly isn't callous, racist brutes screaming for ruthless police action against people demanding their rights after having been exploited and then ignored for so long.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Why Isn't the Working Class Radical?

Why doesn't it organize and fight for the wholesale transformation of Canadian society in its own self-interest?

Why do so many members of the working class vote for political parties that seem not to have their best interests at heart?

Is it because they're all quite happy with the status-quo? (As was suggested by an anonymous conservative visitor here recently?)

Well, many of them are happy with the status-quo. The Canadian economy delivers to quite a few people. A lot of people feel that social mobility is a reality in Canada. They feel that access to education and opportunity is generally open and fair. They work, they get decent pay, they have decent communities to live in, and if their children invest in education, work hard, and have even a tiny bit of opportunities, they'll do well themselves.

For some people the system is working.

For these people, and others, there's also a degree of political manipulation and outright brainwashing. Many working-class people have been instructed to look beneath them for the sources of any problems that they're having. Taxes eating into your paycheque? Don't look at the corporations that are paying you less and less. Don't look at the Bank of Canada's expensive monetarist recessions. Don't look at the user-fees and reduced services. Don't look at the "free trade" deals that have devastated the manufacturing sector.

Look at single mothers on welfare. Look at immigrants. Look at crack-heads. Look at no-good teenagers. Look at protestors. Look at unions. Taken together, these awesomely powerful groups have somehow manipulated the system to see that hard-earned cash is hoovered out of ordinary working Canadians' wallets by the government (helpless before the might of immigrants and welfare recipients) and dropped into the ungrateful, shiftless hands of these groups.

These people would be happy with the system as they imagine it, were it not for the imaginary sins of these despised classes.

Other people simply aren't happy with the system. They're unhappy with longer hours, less pay, temporary work, EI premiums that give them nothing in return, etc., etc.

But it's a devilishly tricky thing to transform society. To bring-down the mighty and raise up the lowly. How does one bring down people who won't give up without a fight, without fighting (ie., violence) and losing one's soul? How does one pursue class warfare without declaring war on individuals, some of whom were only trying to play the game as they understood it?

The Left hasn't done a good job of presenting viable strategies for some time now. Why should people who work all day and are concerned with their daily lives be able to come up with a coherent plan for revolution?

But if we're going to talk about the working class, in this era of globalization that means everyone. From the displaced manufacturing workers of the North, to the underpaid miners of Russia, to the sweatshop workers of Asia, to the oppressed plantation workers of Central America, to the displaced peasants of Mexico, to the exploited miners of Africa.

Every instance where the capitalist system uses its wealth and power to keep commodity prices low, via death squads and corrupt governments and invasions of oil-producing nations, ... all this has to be factored into the "success story" that is globalization.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Loose-ends post

I had an anonymous commentator who was taking issue with my characterization of a worthless book by a worthless writer, who pronounced himself a "conservative" and I dare say he/she/it might actually be smarter than me in most respects.

Which I always find to be a refreshing treat! A conservative with a brain! I guess I don't so much find it a refreshing treat as a remarkable oddity. A conservative with a brain really justs adds a veneer of respectability to a pot-luck dinner of insanity and ugliness.

Because to be a "conservative" generally means believing that your religious-philosophical delusions are universal truths which MUST be imposed upon the rest of the world and which MUST expel the other "false" delusions believed by "conservatives" from other cultures. Being a "conservative" tends to mean that ... bah, enough of this. The point of this "loose-ends" post is to simultaneously respond to the anonymous commentator's detailed offering from a couple of days ago, and put something up on the main page at the same time. Because time is a scarce commodity for me these days.

I just wanted to say though, that over the years I've found that I'm far down in the rankings for the category "smart people." I'm smart enough to have been nick-named "perfesser" at a couple of places where I've worked, but I'm actually slow to grasp things, I don't have a head for details, and I'm incredibly lazy. On the other hand, I've noticed that many "brilliant" people seem to be carried along helplessly by their ideas. Academics, left or right, humanities or sciences, can often whirl around and around in pointless circles, "perfecting" their elaborate theories and (especially in the sciences) causing all sorts of harm pursuing their ideas out in the real world, or (especially in the humanities) being completely ineffectual (thankfully perhaps) and disconnected from reality.

I'd place my anonymous conservative in that category. From the looks of things, he/she/it's a better writer than me, and appears to have a grasp on a subject that I could never approximate in my own areas of interest. But the guy/gal/thing becomes a twit when using these abilities to berate me for not giving a garbage book by a garbage writer a "fair" shake. And for saying that being a "conservative" means respecting the law of unintended consequences, when the consequences of taking a shit like Steyn seriously are thousands of people cheering for an illegal and disastrous war, poisoning the relations between the Muslim minority and the rest of society in the Western nations, and the perpetuation of a general "clash of civilizations" that is based to a large extent on utterly deluded beliefs on the aggressor side, but that all of these unintended consequences are supposedly not problematic.

So, without further ado, is the comment left by the anonymous conservative, interspersed with my replies:

Furthermore, you fall prey to the same rhetorical tendencies I identified earlier, specifically false attribution, straw-man arguments, and lack of nuance.

Anyone can look through the comments section of my recent posts about Mark Steyn to see that I've attributed nothing false to the dimwit's writings. It makes you wonder if reading the book is a useful exercise for comprehending it. My "lack of nuance" is an interesting notion, which I'll get to ...

It's pointless and, again, hypocritical to condemn an author for purportedly referring to a diverse group of people as a unified bloc while simultaneously telling your audience what "right-wingers" do and do not think.

Well, in this specific context, Steyn is clearly conflating "Muslim" with "Fundamentalist Islamo-fascist" which is clearly wrong, while I'm making more general claims about the war-mongering and racist beliefs of members of the political spectrum. General claims that are pretty much reflected in reality. Your own monumental efforts to correct a non-entity such as myself about the true meaning of Steyn's work appears to put you on the side of those who would revere Steyn, or at least take him seriously.

Indeed, you admit that you're categorically disinterested in exploring "the pointless nuances of their confused political beliefs."

That's about the size of it. There's a blogger called "Canadian Cynic" who I like because he takes the time to read through the products of bloggers from a collective called the "Blogging Tories" and who reports back on the sheer worthlessness of their output with suitably caustic commentary. Any honest look at what they write and what he writes about them shows that it's undeniable that these people are complete morons, and these people are the shock-troops of the right-wing movement. I've seen their ilk do their work in the United States, and it's clear to those with eyes to see it that the products of putting their stupid, ugly ideas into practice are grotesquely stupid and ugly, inhuman and cruel. From the illegal invasion of Iraq, to the bungling of the Middle East generally, to the ethnic cleansing of New Orleans to the faith-based "skepticism" about global warming, to their opposition to gay rights (from fear of their own sexual inclinations), from their destruction of civil rights via the PATRIOT Act and the PROTECT AMERICA Act, and the buffoonery of the Attorney General who implemented much of this and who corrupted the Justice Department so extensively, to gutless, doughy pro-war "Young Republicans" making lame excuses for not enlisting in the "cause of their generation" while the US military has been stretched to the limit for years on end forcing National Guardsmen to stay on "stop-loss" doing repeated lengthy tours of duty in Iraq, ... ugly, ugly, ugly, dangerous and stupid.

I'm simply not interested in sifting through their filth and spending my time debating with the "nuances" among what passes for thinking among these monstrosities.

What, then, are you attempting to peddle here beyond your own bias,

Not much. It's just my fucking blog. A little excuse to express myself in writing from time-to-time.

and where is the liberality we are supposed to expect of the left? As a conservative, what I find so ironic about some modern leftists is they display exactly the bigotry and intolerance they claim to despise while being thoroughly convinced they are open-minded people.

Yawn! You just dropped about five happy points in my estimation. (I'm sure you're heart-broken! [You're probably not even reading!]) But that's such a tired clee-shay. Yes, we on the left are intolerant of the right-wing's intolerance and stupidity. You haven't really produced very much that deserves being taken seriously. Deal with it.

ps: whether or not your shit is delicious is rather peripheral; whether or not you've read the book you've now twice used as a cudgel to beat down one of your fantasist stereotypes seems substantially more central than that.

Not when we're talking about two pieces of shit! My own actual defecation and the ideas splattered across the page by Mark Steyn. If by "fantasist stereotypes" you're referring to my characterization of right-wing opinions about Arabs and/or Muslims, there's plenty of sources for you to find the most nauseating forms of extreme racism, and you know it. And, seriously, go read the CounterPunch/Brian Cloughley piece demanding an apology from Steyn for cheerleading the invasion of Iraq. There's a lot of bigotry, and murderous racism that you're trying to explain away, and it's simply not worth it for me to read a book that is, anyway, just as I've described it. And, as I've said elsewhere; even it was not just as I've described it, another one of its defenders came to my blog and agreed with my characterization and defended the book as such: a call to arms against a Wahhabist Muslim population boom in Europe out to destroy liberal, Christian civilization there.

Like I said before, couldn't you write about real issues instead? We want to know why the working class can't radicalize itself (hint: they're happy with the status quo).

I assume that's a joke? You take me to task for not having read one shitty thinker's shitty book, but then you presume to speak for millions of people without providing any evidence?

I was going to deal with that very good question in this post, but I guess that'll be tomorrow's post. I've already spent too long blogging today.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Post for the day ...

A recent anonymous commentator asked me a very good question. But I don't have time to do it justice.

So, instead, I'll provide a link to something I'm reading these days.

Maybe I'll get stuff I want to do accomplished by the time I'm 45.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Belated Reply to the Stain Supporter

[Note: Blogger appears to be fucking-up at the moment. I'm unable to change fonts or save recent changes. So, I'm posting this as-is, and will come back and make changes later.]

Whoa! Seem Mark Staiyn has a huge internet presence! I typed a toss-off post linking the right-wing's hysterics over "Islamo-fascism" with the eugenics-mirroring drivel from armchair-warrior, full-time racist Mark Stain, and my references to his book were picked up by some program his website: "Staiyn Online" as "reader of the day" (quoting me as saying his book was a piece of shit, written while he pissed in his pants) and I got hundreds of hits to my blog.

(I guess I was steered wrong. It's "Stein," not "Stain." A blog critic of his said it rhymed with "stain.")

Anyway, I don't mind the occasional debate, but I'm not a full-time internet presence, and I can't spend hours a day arguing with people. Especially not now. So that's why I've been writing Staiyn (or when lazy "Stain") and will continue to do so for the remainder of this post. I don't need the hits, especially from the sort of people who treat a pathetic toad like Staiyn seriously.

But, I am going to reply to one of my visitors from that day who I didn't have the time to address then:

Rod Blaine said...

"Racist, eugen[ic]ist", eh? Let's put thwap's criticisms to a reality-based test.

Suppose Europe's Middle Eastern immigrants started converting to Christianity - or Buddhism, or even atheism, for that matter. They all decide to abandon any desire to require their whole society to live under Sharia law.

How do you think Steyn and his supporters would take that?

Let's try another thought-experiment, shall we.

Suppose a lot of white-skinned Europeans convert to Islam. Not just the mild Brunei/ Indonesian/ Malaysian version, either, but Saudi-style Wahhabism. And they put it into practice.

Women are banned from driving, indeed from most professions. They are left with no options but to get pregnant and have lots of children. Lots of little pink-cheeked Nordic babies who believe strongly - strongly enough to "kill and die for" their belief - that Sharia Law is the will of God and that everyone in the world must submit to it, willingly or not.

Surely Steyn and the Steynians would cheer that, right? I mean, they're racists, and these are not brown people but light-skinned Europeans?

A few moments' reflection will show that thwap has completely missed the point, and made a fool of himself over the Internet, as a lot of Steyn's critics do.

There are plenty of legitimate grounds to refute Steynians, but pretending that they care two figs about a baby's race or skin colour - as opposed to whether a baby is going to grow up being taught that liberal democracy runs the state, or Sharia Law - is missing the point.

Second-grade-standard analysis like this blog's shows how the Left has grown altogether too lazy intellectually - much easier to throw the "racist" tag at conservatives and libertarians, rather than analysing dissecting what they actually believe. The current Obama/ Clinton implosion shows where this leads to. You don't win supporters by thwacking the crap out of a straw enemy.

Now, let's go through this apologia for Staiyn's stupidity and racism in detail:
Suppose Europe's Middle Eastern immigrants started converting to Christianity - or Buddhism, or even atheism, for that matter. They all decide to abandon any desire to require their whole society to live under Sharia law.

Who really cares? It's not going to happen for a number of reasons. (I harbour hopes that in time, Muslims, like all religious people, will realize that their hocus-pocus stories are limiting delusions and embrace agnosticism or atheism, but that's certainly not going to happen when scum like Staiyn and his ilk besiege their cultures and place them under direct attack.)

I just realized something. Rod Blaine's described his little thought experiment, his speculative fantasy, as a "reality-based test." Normally, I'd give something like that a pass, but Blaine, and my other anonymous adversary, and one "Mark," were all quite sticklers about words and terms, and you've got to credit their shamelessness given their own sloppy use of language.

But taking Blaine's hypothetical seriously on its own terms, it's still pointless because all the Muslims in Europe aren't Wahhabist fundamentalists. Rather than reading Staiyn's garbage, Blaine would do well to read Haroon Siddiqui's Being Muslim. There are many kinds of Muslims, and Islam isn't necessarily a guide-book to violent obscurantism. Staiyn's contention: That Europe is being swamped by an Islamic sleeper civilization, taking advantage of European socialist softies, multiculturalist morons, pooping out babies who will democratically bring about the end of Western Civilization, is grounded on the erroneous (and racist) notion that this diverse group of people all think the same way, and are all dedicated to our destruction. This is how Blaine himself has described Staiyn's thesis you'll notice:

"They all decide to abandon any desire to require their whole society to live under Sharia law."

Staiyn, and Blaine, and others on the right-wing (I guess, and I don't really care to explore the pointless nuances of their confused political beliefs) are essentially saying that Staiyn is not a "racist," but a "culturalist" (by which they mean "cultural chauvinist" or "bigot") which is a fine distinction that I don't really care to take seriously. It's no doubt also a lie. ("Oh, thwap, there you go tarring your opponents with a broad brush again, lazily blah, blah, blah." To which I reply "Fuck off and go cry to your mothers. Assholes.") Because there's simply no important difference between blasting "sand-niggers" to pieces in the thousands because you think their culture is degenerate and that they're universally afflicted with "violent" tendencies towards martyrdom, and blasting them to pieces in the thousands because you think they're sub-human "crazed" animals.

All of this nonsense is of being "out-bred" is ridiculous anyway.

One of my favourite condemnations of Staiyn comes from Brian Cloughley, a former soldier and a genuine human being, on Mark Staiyn

So Steyn proudly and fatuously writes that he is a "Warmonger Still Fighting". Against whom have you fought, Steyn? You have never heard a shot fired in anger you septic fart. If you had, you would not be so lip-smacking about bloodshed. (You have never had to go to a house to tell a friend that she was a widow, have you, you little monster? You have never heard the sound of bullets whipping by your ear. It is frightening, Steyn. Really frightening, I assure you, but you will never know how frightening it is because you encourage and relish war while staying safe at home.) And your comment that atrocities "happen along the way" is worthy of an apologist for the holocaust.

In its racism and paranoia are part of a pattern of hysterical right-wing thought, another exhibit being the laughable Gates of Vienna

Staiyn's book is apparently a joke from start to finish, One reviewer:

If you were going to give it the knocks it deserves, maybe you should have looked at the math (shoddy), the evidence (anecdotal) and the style (journalistic, does not translate well to monograph length).

Right-wingers like to pat themselves on the back for both standing alongside Israel (albeit from continents away) as it brutalizes the Palestinians in the occupied territories (again, because they're eager late-comers to anti-anti-Semitism) and for their opposition to Islamic fundamentalism. It never dawns on them to note that the supporter of the worst dictatorships in the Middle East is the United States of America. It never dawns on them that the regime that rules the country that espouses the most fundamentalist wahhabism is Saudi Arabia, which is a government protected by the United States of America. The United States props-up and protects the source of their greatest nightmares.

The half-wits are being had, and they're totally unaware of it. They're enthusiastic dupes.

Furthermore, and finally, if you check out this review, you'll see that Staiyn is very much a racist fuckwad.

But number-crunching and mockery are not a sufficient response; it is hard to comment on Steyn's work without noting its raw racism. Throughout his work he uses openly racialized language, albeit with a post-ironic smirk. He talks about "the Yellow Peril" and "gooks". He notes nostalgically that "in the old days, the white man settled the Indian [sic] territory" whereas now the savages are settling us. He describes as "correct" a friend who talks about "beturbanned prophet-monkeys." Of course, Steyn denies this is connected to race, writing, "To agitate about what proportion of the population is "white" is grotesque and inappropriate. But it's not about race; it's about culture."

Yet it quickly becomes clear that for him, culture is merely a thinly veiled homologue for race - and then the mask slips entirely. He writes: "Those who pooh-pooh the the United States' comparatively robust demographics say they reflect nothing more than the fecundity of Hispanic immigration... In fact, white women in America still breed at a greater rate - 1.85 or so - than white women in Europe or Canda." So after saying it is "grotesque" to count out "white" babies, he does just that. "White" is not a culture; it is a skin colour, and there Steyn is, relieved that more babies have his pigmentation than the brown and black varieties.

It's difficult today for racists to come right out and say that they're believers in the genetic superiority of one group over another. Or to call for mandatory sterilization of lesser breeds. Not "politically correct" they'd whine. But occasionally, even with our hero, Staiyn, the mask slips. And his strident defenders end up looking like the biggest morons and chumps and exposed Klansmen in the world.

You know, by the logic of these people, I could demand that they eat my shit, or else they'll never know whether my claims that it's delicious are false or not. To which challenge they'd probably say: "Who cares if I'll never be able to prove that? Why must I feel compelled to accept your challenge and go along with it?" Which is precisely my feelings about having to read a moron like Mark Staiyn. It's simply not worth it and not necessary.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Otto von Bismarck - Socialist

My recent foray into the fascist sentiments of present day "conservatives" brought me a specimen of the "NAZI = NATIONAL SOCIALISM=NAZIS WERE LEFTISTS AND LEFTISTS ARE FASCISTS" school of thought.

This sort of simplistic, garbage thinking can lead to all sorts of confusions.

It occured to me this morning that the 19th-century "Iron Chancellor" who devoted his life to preserving and increasing the authority of the traditional Prussian monarchy (and who did so brilliantly) would be described as a "socialist" by these yahoos.

Bismarck picked the brains of an imprisoned socialist, and from these conversations, developed a system of social welfare that he believed (rather soundly) would win a qualified loyalty from the German working class for the new German state, and dilute their loyalty to genuine socialism.

To sloppily apply the label "socialist" to Bismarck because of his social welfare program would render the term meaningless. I don't even want to address this Hitler stupidity.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thinking About Mark Steyn

Which is always unpleasant, I know.

But I get a kick out of the "conservative" movement's Crusade against the inane concept "Islamo-fascism." I'll tell you why ...

It's always been my contention that the best "conservatives" (that'd be the "red tories" in Canada for instance) are just people frightened of change who need other people to allow things to happen for a few decades, so that they can be certain that the sky won't fall in on them, before they're willing to embrace these changes.

[The worst "conservatives" are just insane asswipes with emotional problems galore. Fuck 'em.]

Case in point is the right-wing's belated turning against anti-Semitism and fascism.

In the past, conservative ruling elites were rank with anti-Semitism. To the extent that peasants and the working classes were anti-semitic there were economic reasons for this, and, furthermore, they weren't exactly being "progressive" when they were being anti-Semites.

T'was the socialist movement where you found the most cosmopolitan attitudes towards the Jews. That's why so many socialist activists and leaders were Jewish.

And fascism, however much intellectual porridge-heads like Jonah Goldberg attempt to link it with liberalism in their deranged scribblings, was very much a "conservative" movement, appealing to victims real and self-perceived of urban-industrial-capitalist society, and brought into power in both Italy and Germany and Spain by threatened conservative elites who thought they could control them.

But decades have gone by, and the evils of Nazism have been ingrained too deeply into the psyche of Western Civilization. And so, many of today's "conservatives" naturally, genuinely feel that fascism was a bad thing. Even when they practice it themselves under the guise of "supporting the troops," and even when their even more loopy "conservative" brethren slap on swastika arm-bands.

And Israel, having shown itself to be a useful tool of US foreign policy, has received tens of billions of dollars in assistance, and is threatened by people that we've all been trained to despise, so Israel, the home of the Jewish people (the victims of fascism) are also to be supported. (Even if a lot of this "support" is based on the notion that Israel must provoke a war with the Arabs, get slaughtered, with the tiny survivors converting to Christianity.)

But here's the kicker: While imagining that they line up against anti-Semitism and fascism, these dim-wits revere the writings of Mark Steyn. Who himself is one the most strident alarmists about the incoherent concept of "Islamo-fascism." And the fact of the matter is, Steyn adheres to the same racist theories that were so much an important part of the Nazi's whole shtick (much more so than Hitler's vegetarianism or environmentalism) this being the racist pseudo-science of eugenics.

In his piece-of-shit book America Alone, Steyn pisses in his pants about the dangers of the high birthrates of Muslims in Europe and the simultaneously low birthrates of traditional white, Christian Europeans. He is mirroring the fascist-era yammering about the propagation of the unfit, and the declining birthrates of the superior classes, and he obviously isn't even aware of the irony of it all.

Mark Steyn is a propagator of racist, eugenic, fascist drivel, yet he's an opponent of a mythical "Islamo-fascism."

This is the intellectual level of the opposition people. Go out and kick their asses. (Don't let reality have all the fun.)

The Working Class Must Be the Agent of Its Own Emancipation

What the heck is that supposed to mean? How is that supposed to work at a practical level?

Certainly there's cause to reject some political elite, some "vanguard party" that imagines it knows better than the working class(es) what the working class(es) really wants and needs, but how is the working class supposed to free itself? Seems to me that working after being educated in our systems creates only docility and confusion. How are people who work all day supposed to arrive at an understanding of the whole picture of our society and how to overthrow it? Workers can rebel in the face of immediate injustices, but it seems impossible to be able to conceptualize how to destroy this system and replace it with something else. You need to have the time to think about this stuff in detail, and some sort of material independence to be able to plan a course of action. Finally, there's the possibility that workers, by their daily subordination to bosses and machinery, are the most unrevolutionary of classes. In the great revolutions of the past, it was peasants and intellectuals who led the way.

Maybe this present system of capitalism has done its job too well?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More About Canadians' Debt Levels

From StatsCan:

Debt load, measured by the ratio of total debt to disposable income was almost the same for Canadians and Americans at the beginning of the 1980s. After that, they parted ways: Americans had the greater debt load between 1983 and 1991 and Canadians between 1992 and 2000. From 2001, debt grew steadily in both countries and by 2002 had surpassed disposable income. By 2005, for each dollar of disposable income, Canadians owed $1.16 and Americans $1.24.


The increase in mortgage debt during this period in Canada was largely due to baby boomers purchasing their first home. However, the increasing use of consumer credit since 1992 is likely due to a combination of factors, including stagnant incomes in the 1990s, easier credit in the early 2000s, and changing demographics and lifestyles. With Americans also experiencing stagnant incomes in the 1990s, their use of consumer credit rose between 1992 and 1996.

Remember though, how important consumer spending is to the economy:

Consumer spending is a key contributor to a country's economic health. Consumer spending as a percentage of GDP is much lower in Canada, ranging from 52.8% to 58.9% over the last 25 years, compared with 61.4% to 70.0% in the U.S. In other words, consumer spending has boosted the economy more in the U.S. than in Canada.

What this means, if you can clear away all the self-serving neo-liberal bullshit, is that this economic system fails, even when judged by its own standards.

Canadians' Indebtedness

When one considers the anemic levels of economic growth that we've been enduring for the past two-plus decades, one really gets a sense of the miserable failure of neo-liberalism when one also realizes how much of this growth was reliant on consumer spending that was itself based on rising levels of individuals' household debt.

Here's a link to the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada study, "Where Does the Money Go?" that has some interesting statistics:

  • Canadians’ personal saving rate has been declining since the early 1980s dropping from its highest level of 20.2 per cent in 1982 to its lowest of 1.2 per cent in 2005.
  • Household debt has been increasing annually by 4.7 per cent for the past 30 years outpacing gains in personal disposable income, assets and the GDP.
  • Consumption rather than asset accumulation is the primary cause of rising debt.

The CGA offers some suggestions for the causes of this increased indebtedness, some plausible, some seemingly pointed to suggest that people get themselves the assistance of an accountant. The relative contribution of these individual factors isn't provided, but there's one in particular that I think should be investigated further:

  • Slower pace of growth in personal income that leaves lesser funds after personal consumption
I think that has much more importance than government transfers and low interest rates. People are simply trying to maintain consumption patterns of the 1960s and 1970s, and this is impossible under the work and income regimes imposed by the geniuses of the Liberal and Conservative Party under the orders from the CCCE, and their "think-tanks."

Were Canadians to take the CGA's advice to heart and get their spending under control, the result for our consumer-based economy would be calamitous. Certainly we have to consume less, for the sake of the environment, but it has to be within the context of stability for income earners.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Public Inquiry Whose Time Has Come

The Military Police Complaints Commission is launching a public inquiry into our prisoner transfer policies in Afghanistan.

Contact them and give them your support.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Twats, Retards, and Cocksuckers

Just a few basic principles.

I wouldn't call anyone a "twat" or a "cocksucker," because, well, gosh darnit all, I like both of those things. Obviously, that holds true for the big "C-word."

Depending on the person, and the circumstances, assholes can be kinda cute or kinda revolting. When I call someone an "asshole" it's an insult, refering to the revolting form of the term.

I don't tend to call anyone "retarded" as the term describes generally wonderful people, a couple of whom have been near and dear to me.

Friday, March 14, 2008


While I hate the use of the term "The Mission" in the context of our presence in Afghanistan (to the extent of sometimes putting a "tm" beside it), it's been effectively sold as just such a thing.
A "missionary" activity, bringing the benefits of Western liberalism to the starving and oppressed people of Afghanistan.

We're not at "war" with the Taliban. We're supposedly suppressing a medieval insurgency while assisting the elected government of President Karzai, in his heroic attempts to modernize and democratize his backward land.

Truth be told, I don't think that even the elites see Afghanistan as all that strategically important at a geo-political level. That's why bush II has generally neglected it.
Iraq and Afghanistan help to surround Iran, and project power out towards Russia, Pakistan, and China as well, but I don't think it's crucial to pacify the country, just prop-up a government that permits airbases.

Canada got into this to curry favour with the USians, and now, as was pointed out recently on a lot of Canadian defence contractors have seen the lucrative possibilities of a war without end.

It's certainly red meat for the slavering morons who gravitate towards the Conservative Party.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Well, it's been almost a week since I posted anything. I've never intended for this blog to be anything other than a place to do some writing, provide some unfiltered opinions, and debate with whomsoever traipsed onto the site (slightly less intimidating than a formal discussion board) and if necessary, be able to insult and ban any right-wing trolls who I'd otherwise have to endure on my main discussion board.

So, I never wanted it to be an institution, like some other personal websites. All that having been said, my week-long hiatus (due to baby and work concerns) has probably lost me what tiny readership I had. My apologies to anyone who kept coming here and finding nothing new.

At the moment, I still don't have a lot of time. But I'd like to mention two stories:

Amnesty International's case that our Afghan prisoners have rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has been dismissed by a federal court today.

In a decision released yesterday, Federal Court Judge Anne Mactavish said detainees do have rights under the Afghan constitution and international law -- but not under Canadian law. The case was brought by Amnesty International Canada, which argued the prisoners should be protected by the Charter. Amnesty raised the matter in an attempt to stop the transfer of detainees to local Afghan authorities after reports of torture.

In other news, it's recently come to light that a high-ranking US politician has been found to have "links with a prostitution ring," which, as somebody somewhere mentioned, makes it sound like the dude is a partner in an escort service, a pimp. In actuality, he's a john. And the story is rather meaningless. More important is bush II's actual work in making Syria a favourite hotspot for wealthy Saudi exploitation tourists.

That's right: George W. Bush has links with a prostitution ring!!!

Bush's invasion destroyed the Iraqi government and unleashed a wave of political and sectarian violence that has killed over 1 million Iraqis and forced 4 million to become refugees, according to the UN.

Facing starvation, as many as 50,000 women and girls have been forced into prostitution in Syria alone, according to Hana Ibrahim of the Women's Will Association. "70 percent to 80 percent of the girls working this business in Damascus today are Iraqis," 23-year-old Abeer told the New York Times. "The rents here in Syria are too expensive for their families. If they go back to Iraq they'll be slaughtered, and this is the only work available."

According to the Times, "inexpensive Iraqi prostitutes have helped to make Syria a popular destination for sex tourists from wealthier countries in the Middle East. In the club's parking lot, nearly half of the cars had Saudi license plates."

Personally, I've nothing against trading sex for money, per se. But at the present time I'd never consider using the services of a prostitute because there's so little guarantees that they're not working under economic coercion, or genuine physical corecion. They have so little rights and protections. There are so many vile monsters willing to prostitute women who have addiction problems. (How could any guy knowingly take advantage of someone like that?)

It's certainly the case that Iraqi women, fleeing violence and death in their war-torn homeland (torn up by the drooling idiot bush and his similarly afflicted fan-base) are not by any stretch of the imagination, engaged in the sex-trade voluntarily. No doubt, given what I understand about the social norms in the area, these women, all 70,000 of them, are probably dying inside, several times a night.

So, it's quite a shitty feather in bush II's cap, the sufferings he's imposing on millions of people, each and every day. What a piece of human garbage.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Israel's US-American Friends

I went to the link Glenn Greenwald provided for Matthew Yglesias's commentary on the twisted nature of Pastor John Hagee's "support" for Israel.

In the comments section, somebody referred to the Book of Revelations (which describes a last battle or "Armageddon" that will usher in the Second Coming) as a "Jewish Book." It is not. It is a loony-tunes, wing-nut book. There are challenges to its even being included in the New Testament, and, people who fell asleep in religion class can tell you, as could probably anybody else who thought about it for a second, the New Testament is NOT a Jewish Book.

Somebody else said that Israeli's can accept real, material support from loopy Americans who believe crazy things. The money and gun will be real enough. That the Second Coming of the Christian Fundamentalists will never occur will be for the Fundies to whine about. In other words, it's smart for Israel (and fans of Israel like Senator Joe Lieberman) to champion the support of these deluded saps.

I'm not so sure. Is it really in Israel's interests to have the United States political class (Israel's pay-master after all) to be dedicated to advancing the leadership of the most chauvinist, militaristic, inhuman, megalomaniacal expansionists over Israel? Leaders who will conform to the fundies' desire to provoke a full-out war with the Arabs? Leaders who will continue to shame Israel and betray the reasons for its origin by indulging in behaviour similar to much of what they suffered in Europe over the centuries?

The United States of America might well go bankrupt. Even now, its ability to project power is crumbling. European foreign policy is not based on the nutbar Book of Revelations. Europe is far more dependent on Arab oil and therefore Arab goodwill than is the USA. And China and Russia have no reason to ally themselves with an attack-dog in the area either.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Glenn Greenwald Phenomenon & the Last Gasps of "Conservativism"

I've probably said it before, somewhere'z else, that I'm a big fan for the quality of writing and analysis of American blogger/columnist Glenn Greenwald. But what I find remarkable about him is his unfathomable ability to make his targets in the mainstream media respond (usually poorly!) to his criticisms and to actually expand the terms of the debate.

As this article: "The Inky and Me" by Znet's Edward Herman shows, the mainstream media (in this case the Philadelphia Inquirer ["Inky"]) routinely disregarded left-wing critiques, disparaged their left-of-centre readership, and actively solicited right-wing shit-heads to contribute letters to the editor when the ratio of sane (left) to insane (right) letters was getting too unbalanced to be ignored.

This is standard practice, well beyond just an aberration practiced in the Inquirer. If you read the link about Joe Klein's error-filled criticisms of the Democrat's position on the FISA Bill, TIME even refused to publish letters of correction from Democratic senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

[Information that might come as a bit of a surprise to the morons attacking the media from the right.]

Perhaps its Greenwald's national presence via the magic of the internet that gives him a broad readership that can deluge arrogant institutions like TIME and etc., pointing out their obvious and undeniable errors.

Whatever it is, it's working. Its latest manifestation has been Greenwald's pointing out the nauseating double-standard between John McCain's seeking and boasting about the endorsement of Christian-fascist-lunatic/moron Pastor John Hagee, and Barack Obama's being grilled for the unsolicited endorsement from Louis Farrakhan .

Racist moron Tim Russert made Obama jump through numerous hoops before allowing him to sign-off on the unwanted support from Farrakahn. Russert (who considers himself talented for being able to find clips of obvious lies from people like Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney that contradict the lies they were spewing on his tv show at a later date) obviously thought something like: "Duh, Obama is black. Farrakhan is black. So is Harry Belafonte for that matter! They're obviously working together to take over our country and fuck our women."

Whereas Obama rejected Farrakhan, McCain has gone out of his way to boast of the idiot Haggee's support. Hagee is an anti-Catholic, anti-gay, anti-Arab racist. McCain likes him mainly for his "support for Israel." This support, as Greenwald points out, works out thusly:

As has been noted many times, most recently today by Matt Yglesias, Hagee's so-called "commitment to Israel" actually means that he wants Israel united so that the Rapture can happen and all Jews, including Israelis, will be slaughtered and sent to hell.

The nice thing about this, besides evidence of the further implosion of the witless McCain's candidacy, is that the Christian fascists are finally being held to account. Mainstream media outlets are reflecting the changing mood in the US; that noxious bigotry, inspired by religious delusions, are an even greater danger to what's left of their society than even the elites had believed possible.

And, to bring an end to a long post, the Conservative Party of Canada, is, as I've always said, the remnant of the "conservative" tide that crested long ago in the USA. Harper is living off the dregs of a now-bankrupt movement. As such, his cynical pandering to Canadian Christian-fascists like this Dr. Charles McVety person, who violates Canadian tax laws by using his tax-exempt religious institution's resources to help fellow snail-brain Stockwell Day get elected, and who has been instrumental in getting the government to attack the tax credits of Canadian artistic productions that violate his closet-case, repressed moral standards.

If we're not careful, lunatics like McVety will do considerable damage before they dwindle back to obscurity and powerlessness, but take heart brothers and sisters, ... this movement of stupidity and delusion is dying.