Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Will a fundamentalist government in Afghanistan affect:
- My freedom to surf the internet in Canada? No.
- My freedom to travel in Canada? No.
- My freedom to type things on my blog? No.
- My freedom to join a union? No.
- My freedom to vote for the political party of my choice? No.
- My freedom to protest? No.
And on and on it goes. The idea that the nature of the government in Afghanistan or any other distant, impoverished nation will adversely affect Canadian freedoms is absurd. About the only real danger to the freedoms of wealthy country citizens is when corporate employers take advantage of corrupt puppet-regimes to transfer jobs and security away from those citizens and give them to people brutalized and oppressed by the capitalist system.
But, say the warmongering idiots, if Afghanistan becomes a haven for Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, we Canadians will be endangered. And you know something? There's a tiny bit of truth to that theory. Too fucking bad that the US foreign-policy geniuses allowed Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to inculcate fundamentalism among the youth of Afghanistan. Too bad that they overthrew a secularist [albeit tryanical] government in Iraq and replaced it with one that epouses Sharia Law and close ties to the theocrats in Iran (both supposedly bad things according to the warmongers). Too fucking bad that the corruption and brutality of the Karzai/Warlord regime in Afghanistan has produced an unending stream of Afghan males for the insurgency there.
To sum up: The claim that "the troops" (god bless 'em) are dying for my freedom is absurd. Particularly when the actions of the warmonger bush II and Harper regimes are the ones stirring up anti-Western hatred with their naked imperialism.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
The Republican candidate for leader of the most powerful country in the world is, when given the most basic level of scrutiny, appears to be an empty-headed moron. Oh, but wait, ... we already knew that about Republican presidential candidates. bush II, Ronald Reagan, ... never mind.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Perhaps they've been listening to their old pal Dick "deficits don't matter" Cheney. I doubt it though. Y'see, Cheney was arguing for more tax cuts and more spending on imperialism in Iraq and Afghanistan. Harper and Flaherty have a more substantial welfare state left to demolish. Therefore they'll decide that deficits do in fact matter and point to the results of theirs and Paul "I killed democracy in Haiti" Martin profligacy as evidence that the time has come for "hard choices" and "painful cuts" to OTHER PEOPLE'S entitlements.
The way to fix this insignificant problem is simple. Tax the beejeezus out of the sorts of pukes who vote right-wing, and spend the money on stuff that ordinary people need. Punish our enemies and reward our friends. Politics.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
"Harper's problem is that he's so closely aligned with Bush."
"Closely aligned with Bush." It's like they both have a rational worldview and they both complement each others. "Closely aligned with Bush." I thought that that was an overly-respectful way of describing two stupid jackasses with their heads together drooling and stammering: "Yahh!!!" "Unh-DAHHHH!!!!" "Blahblahblah!!"
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
First of all, your link to "muslims against sharia" clued me into the fact that you're a fraud. Yep, a fraud. I notice Checking on that later, I was amused to find a description of your whole modus operandi:
MAS' m.o. is apparently the following: post a troll/spam comment, troll some more and/or thereafter degenerate into spewing foul-language, profanities, insults and/or threats (6th Principle of Incompetence, anyone?).
The long and the short of it, my foul, stupid friend, is that your front group was a good idea, but like everything else produced by your political (bowel) movement [the invasion of Iraq, the "surge," your entire nitwit-hero president's entire administration], it's been a failure. That's because you're all so incredibly stupid. And because you're so stupid, I don't have to waste much more time on you.
Of all your deranged yammerings, I'm only going to respond to one. I pointed out that NATO has been killing more Afghans than the insurgency and you replied:
"As I might have mentioned before, when one dumbfuck repeats another dumbfuck's bullshit, it does not make it true."
How about Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan?
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
This picture is taken towards the end of our demo outside of the Prime Minister's Office, but you can still see that there was a fair bit of coverage.
And yet, despite this media presence, there was ZERO television broadcasting of this important event. Three men, Canadian citizens, arrested mysteriously while in Syria, and asked by their torturers the same questions they had been asked by Canadian authorities, ... combined with documentation out of the Arar Inquiry wherein Canadian officials discuss wanting these men to stay in Syria, and wanting the Syrians to extract information out of them, ... but there's nothing on the news about this?
Despite the fact that they actually showed up and filmed our visit to the PMO demanding answers?
What Canadian news editor decided that this wasn't a story? What CBC executive decided that it was more important to discuss the story of the Tim Horton's employee fired for giving a customer's child a Timbit for the rotating news leaders the next day.
While there hasn't been near enough coverage of Omar Khadr, or while there hadn't been enough sustained attention on the Arar case while it was ongoing, eventually the Canadian media did get its act together.
Someone on the caravan pointed out that in the cases of Arar and Khadr, it was the US that was ulitmately responsible for the crimes committed against these individuals. In the cases of Abdullah Almalki, Muayyed Nureddin, and Ahmad Abou El-Maati, it was the ... it IS the Canadian government that betrayed these Canadian citizens. Therefore, too many powerful domestic interests are opposed to this revelation.
Hopefully, this upcoming documentary will shed more light on it than Canada's fifth estate:
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Their argument (such as it is) is that Khadr's family was only Canadian for convenience. Without believing in the professed values of Canada, they took advantage of its free healthcare system. Furthermore, the Khadr family have close ties to the monstrous Al Qaeda terrorist organization. Finally (and most absurdly) Omar Khadr himself is supposed to be a hardened and dangerous terrorist, with his act of terrorism being throwing a grenade during a fire-fight with US troops in Afghanistan. Because of all of this, Khadr's torture and indefinite detention at the US Guantanmo Bay should be of no concern of any Canadian and the young man well deserves such treatment.
I'll go through these points in order. First of all, there are no differing grades of Canadian citizenship. All Canadian citizens are equal before the law. As such, the Canadian government has an equal obligation to defend all of us and all of our rights, especially when we are being subjected to extreme outrages such as illegal arrests and torture. Were it the case that the government could pick and choose which Canadians it defended based upon whether it liked them or not, we would find ourselves in very dangerous territory. I'd certainly take great sport if I was the Prime Minister, in publicly disavowing any responsibility for the rights of Canadian Council of Chief Executives leader Thomas D'Aquino, or any of the Blogging Tory mutants who daily state their hatred of core Canadian values, or any of the Liberal or Conservative swine pushing for the Security and Prosperity Partnership. (Now, as in the past, right-wing dunces will interpret the sentiments as displayed in that last sentence as evidence of my leftist totalitarianism, immorality and disregard for the rule of law. The fact that I'm only illustrating the dangers of their own political beliefs will be completely lost on them, this clarifying sentence notwithstanding!)
Regarding the fact that Omar Khadr's sole claim to being Canadian is that he was born here, I can only respond: "So?" That's all that I had to do as well. There's millions of people in this country who enjoy the relatively high living standards and political freedoms of being Canadian while they're all the while the most unsavoury sorts of human beings, and they have a right to this as a birthright due to those born within the latitudes and longitudes of the political entity of Canada. End of story.
Continuing, there's the argument that the Khadr's had allied themselves with Al Qaeda. This is one of the most evil organizations on earth, responsible for the deaths of thousands of people and the immense sufferings of tens of thousands more. Al Qaeda espouses a vile religious-political philosophy that is a direct threat to our freedoms and our way of life. While all of that is true, the argument of the right-wing is that because Al Qaeda is bad, we are justified in physically exterminating them and torturing their children. Which is kind of a gigantic exercise in dangerous, self-righteous hypocrisy. Al Qaeda's greatest threat to our unevenly applied traditions of human rights and the rule of law is that it provides an excuse for the latent fascists among us to call for the abandonment of these values to expedite our suppression of it.
There's also the uncomfortable fact, generally unspeakable in our deluded and debased political culture, that Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda have genuine grievances against the world system dominated by the United States. In his statement immediately after the 9-11 attack, bin Laden referred to
Millions of innocent children are being killed as I speak. They are being killed in Iraq without committing any
sins, and we don't hear condemnation or a fatwa (religious decree) from the rulers. In these days, Israeli
tanks infest Palestine — in Jenin, Ramallah, Rafah, Beit Jalla, and other places in the land of Islam, and we
don't hear anyone raising his voice or moving a limb.
Bin Laden is referring to the murderous UN Sanctions against Iraq, supervised and enforced by the US and UK leaders Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, which (all duplicitous objections to this truth aside) were responsible for the deaths of one-million Iraqis, half of them children. One-million is a lot of people. I don't know about you, but I don't have one-million family and friends, so that would be me plus everyone I know and love. He's also referring to the ongoing oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli state, which has continued to descend to every level of barbarism. Some idiots, when unable to argue against the truth about these crimes, have tried to argue that bin Laden is merely using our own atrocities as an excuse for his violence. Evidently, like bush II's conception of Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden is a "madman" interested in murder and violence simply for their own sakes. [Given his own shaky grasp on reality and his enthusiastic embrace of military violence, I'd wager that bush II is the craziest of all three of these monsters.]
The justification for this explanation of Al Qaeda's motives is this: If we in the West can click our tongues in condemnation of anyone allying themselves to the violent, inhuman Al Qaeda, why the hell shouldn't we do the same thing for people who join the US army or who support the US government? Among other things, bush II renewed the legal immunity for "Blackwater" mercenaries in Iraq, even after they'd shown themselves to be incompetent, trigger-happy goons with a horrifying disregard for the lives of Iraqi civilians. Legal immunity!! What do we expect to happen when one gives mercenaries legal immunity? Wholesale slaughter is what did happen and what will happen, as bush II well knew when he pressed for continued immunity. Just because most of the people in the West are too ignorant and too debased to grasp the extent of our own inhumanity in the Middle East, doesn't eliminate the fact that some people from that part of the world are aware of our crimes and therefore don't see joining Al Qaeda as all that insanely evil a decision. We bomb people indiscriminately. We rob them. We shoot them in the thousands. We torture them. We trade images of their mutilated corpses for pornography from "nowthatsfuckedup.com" We create millions of refugees. But 3/4's of us are incapable of identifying any genuine grievances anyone could have against us.
Now we get to the individual Omar Khadr himself. At the age of 15, after a lifetime under his father's tutelage, and years of contact with Al Qaeda, he was at a house in Afghanistan that came under attack by US soldiers. At some point in the fight, the Americans believed that all in the house had been killed and there was a momentary lapse in their defenses. At this point, a grenade was thrown from the house, killing one Sgt. Christopher Speer. I don't know anything about Sgt. Speer. I know that he was at the very least, somebody's son. It must be difficult to lose a child and I sympathize with whatever grief his passing has caused. But at the same time, it has to be acknowledged that there have been a million excess deaths as a result of Western rampaging in Iraq, as well as uncounted thousands dead from starvation and violence in Afghanistan. As well, Speer was killed in a military action. To charge Khadr (whom recent evidence suggests might not have even thrown the grenade that killed Speer) with a "war crime" for throwing a grenade during a fire-fight goes against even the logic of hyper-hypocrite and torture advocate John Yoo .
Alas, it's not beyond the denizens of the Canadian right-wing blog-o-sphere, or the leaders of "Canada's Shittiest Government" who are all fine-and-dandy with Khadr's being beaten, tortured at Guantanamo Bay and his upcoming prosecution at the hands of bush II's illegitimate kangaroo court system there. Khadr deserves no rights and no sympathy because, ... well, apparently because he was his father's son.
At 15 years of age, Khadr should have known that Al Qaeda was an evil organization, even though such clarity of thought is beyond impressionable North Americans in the cases of their own militaries and governments. Khadr should have realized, out in the wilds of Afghanistan with probably zero sources of alternative information that his father was an evil man. That's what your average North American boy realizes when he hears that his father the business man owns sweat-shops, or is a slum-lord, or who denies people medical coverage, or who slaughtered peasants in Vietnam or who overthrows poor country governments or whatever.
To hear torture advocates like Raphael Alexander present the case, neither Khadr's youth, his upbringing, his Canadian citizenship, or the fact that his alleged crime appears to have been defending himself in a fire-fight, qualifies him for our sympathy or our government's obligation to defend his rights. Which is complete nonsense. As I hope I have established.
For god's sake; Khadr asked that he be killed when he was captured. Instead, for reasons known only to themselves, the psychopaths in the US military took him prisoner, chained him to the floor of a plain, forced him to soil himself on his journey to Guantanamo Bay, kicking him repeatedly, and they've held him for five years of abuse, to, evidently try him by a military tribunal that has no legitimacy and, therefore, will produce a "conviction" that nobody beyond the insane bush II regime and its equally insane and dismally stupid fans will believe in.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
The ongoing investigation into the dodgy-looking Conservative electoral advertising financing just might bring down Stephen Harper's attempt to copy stupid ugly Karl Rove's putrid practices to Canada.
You see, in the USA, there is no opposition party, just some compromised shmucks called the Democrats, who couldn't stand up for democracy if their lives depended on it. Because of this, the Repugnicans have been able to get away with every manner of crooked politics and political arrogance. The most blatant, insulting scams imaginable get a pass and there appears to be little that any institution can do about it.
But here in Canada, we have a less debased political system, and therefore the natural ruling party is the less obviously rotten Liberal Party. Because of this, Harper and the CPC's attempts to obviously violate election financing rules aren't getting the free pass that their fascist brethren get in the USA. And they're hating it!
Fine then. Let's hang that party, and the whole political movement comprised of dupes, dweebs, and fuck-ups with it. Grow the fuck up you losers. You're not in the USA, you're in Canada.
Remember, Karl "turd blossom" Rove LOST both his presidential elections, AND the 2006 Congressional elections. He's not a genius. He's an idiot. Adopting his methods in a country where you don't hold all the cards is political suicide.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
On the other hand, we should stop being stupid chumps, offering our skulls for all the abuse that the corporate state holds out for us.
When the system breaks its own rules and violates our rights, we should condition ourselves to mete out a proportionate retaliation.
I think it will be more effective than an angry letter to the editor or an article in a small circulation magazine.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
You can't blog or anything else much under these conditions. Any other family types who blog?
And whatever happened to "Scotian" anyway?
Here's a YouTube clip until I get time to think ...
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Of course, right-wing deluded imbeciles will condemn my use of "schoolyard insults" and "ad hominem attacks," but really, by this point, that's all a piece of shit like Harper deserves.
Who is the hero who the third-rate corporate shill so idolizes?
I was about to go through a laundry-list of bush II's monstrous crimes and fuck-ups, but we all know the drill by this point. Further recitation is becoming pointless.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
I'd said yesterday that if what Mike Davis (and numerous other scholars) says is true, then that genuinely puts us all, the USA, Great Britain, France, etc., up there with Nazi-level or Stalinist human rights atrocities.
By that I mean that when we watch our World War Two (the "good" war) movies wherein the British and Americans are the good guys and the Nazis are the bad guys, we have to remember that these ideas are incomprehensible to people from India, or China, or the Philippines. For people from these and other countries, WE are the actors that are the equivalent of the servants of Hitler or Stalin.
Here's an article on the US pacification of the Philippines during the years 1899-1902:
The American reaction was swift and the slaughter by US forces is legendary. Philippine scholar Luziminda Francisco refers to that brutal imperial American war that launched the 20th century as the "first Vietnam War" in which estimates of from 600,000 to a million Filipinos died. She states that the estimate of up to a million deaths might "err on the side of understatement" as one US congressman, who visited the Philippines at the time, was quoted as saying "They never rebel in Luzon (Philippines) anymore because there isn't anybody left to rebel...our soldiers took no prisoners, they kept no records, they simply swept the country and wherever and whenever they could get hold of a Filipino they killed him."
In response to a massacre of 54 Americans by the Filipino resistance in Samar, Francisco describes how US General "Howling Jake" Smith launched a "reign of terror" on the island. "Kill and burn..." Smith said "the more you kill and burn the more you'll please me." When asked the age limit for killing, he said, "Everything over ten." The order from Smith was that Samar becomes a "howling wilderness" so that "even the birds could not live there." The Americans had begun to utilize the deadly "water torture" against Filipinos - forcing huge amounts of water into their stomachs to then gather information - and Smith insisted on its use in Samar.
According to Davis (who mentions that the Filipinos' original campaign for independence from Spain was originally inspired by poor harvests in 1898) the US campaign led to the deaths of one million out of a population of only seven million. Not only do 99 percent of Americans fail to comprehend that this makes them Nazi-level villains for the Filipinos, 98.99 percent of Americans probably have no knowledge of their nation's place in the history of the Philippines.
[And obviously, Canadian government mass graves for residential schools victims shows that we'd be no better if it were our place to conquer heavily-populated parts of the world.]
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
I'm two-thirds through Late Victorian Holocausts, by Mike Davis about massive famines in the period from 1870-1914. It's a monumentally depressing read, to think of those tens of millions of doomed souls. They were doomed by a combination of weather pattern fluctuations, but, more importantly, by the perverted societal responses which were themselves conditioned by imperialism, racism, and neo-liberal fanaticism.
The same neo-liberal dogmatism was responsible for the appalling suffering of the Irish Potato Famine. In Davis's book, the process worked thusly:
Lytton [believed in free trade. He did nothing to check the huge hikes in grain prices, Economic "modernization" led household and village reserves to be transferred to central depots using recently built railroads. Much was exported to England, where there had been poor harvests. Telegraph technology allowed prices to be centrally co-ordinated and, inevitably, raised in thousands of small towns. Relief funds were scanty because Lytton was eager to finance military campaigns in Afghanistan. Conditions in emergency camps were so terrible that some peasants preferred to go to jail. A few, starved and senseless, resorted to cannibalism. This was all of little consequence to many English administrators who, as believers in Malthusianism, thought that famine was nature's response to Indian over-breeding.
For the record though, there's far too much repetitive quotations of accounts of the devastation and sufferings of the numerous famines in India, China, Indonesia and South America, and not nearly enough in-depth descriptions of the structural and political factors that made these natural crop shortfalls into devastating famines. Given that the latter is the subject of the book, Davis would have done well to have focused more on it.
Also, I'm going to investigate the historians' consensus on Davis's book. I'm not naturally disinclined to doubt Indian or Marxist historians and privilege mainstream Western historians. It's just that I'm not prone to discard what I'd previously believed as soon as I read something new that appears to contradict it. Reputable Western historians haven't mentioned these holocausts at all, and I'd read them first. It wouldn't be the first time that the West hasn't noticed its own crimes, so I'm not going to be floored to find out that this legacy has been overlooked either deliberately or unconsciously.
The fact of the matter though is that if this book is on target, then every single Western country has a moral inheritance equal to that of Nazi Germany of the Stalinist USSR.
The other book (which I'm almost finished) is Anarchism and the Mexican Revolution: The Political Trials of Ricardo Flores Magón in the United States by Colin M. MacLachlan. I bought this book a long time ago when I was desperate to learn more about anarchism as a political philosophy.
Magon was an anarchist opponent of late-19th century Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz. During one of the dictator's early crack-downs Magon fled to the United States where he set up his newspaper Regeneracion and enlisted the aid of other leftists, both in the USA and around the world, into supporting his cause. As a result of these broader alliances, Magon eventually began to write about international working class issues as well as for political revolution in Mexico.
In any event, none of his interests were amenable to the capitalist political system of the United States. Magon was jailed several times by the US authorities, either to placate the Diaz dictatorship, the hyper-reactionary California capitalist class (who were enraged at his efforts to elevate the status of exploited Mexican workers in California), or as punishment for his anti-war writings during Wilson's World War I jingoism. He would eventually die in prison at the age of 49, worn down by depression, repression, and the consequences of diabetes.
The book is useful for analyzing the political weakness of radicalism at the height of its influence, and for some tactical thoughts that I had but will have to put off until tomorrow.