Sunday, August 31, 2008

What the Fuck is THIS Doing Here?!?!?!?

I can't explain it:



... it just sorta happened.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Don't Be Afraid

David Lindorff from CommonDreams: "The Land of the Silent and the Home of the Fearful"

It's about not worrying about the consequences of speaking out:

There is a remarkable and palpable fear abroad in this land-not a fear of terrorism, but a fear of speaking up, a fear of being labeled as "different" or as a "troublemaker."

People will lean over and whisper their opinions, if they think they are anti-Establishment, as though someone might be listening. People write me after some of my columns run, praising me for my "courage," though why it should be perceived as requiring courage to merely write something in America is beyond me.

The worst thing is that every time someone says she or he is afraid, or acts afraid to speak or write what she or he is thinking, five more acquaintances become equally scared and silenced.

The corollary, though, is that each time someone forgets or ignores or rejects that fear, five people gain courage the do the same thing.



But I especially like this last bit:

If you want to see where we're headed here in America, check out the workplace. There, we Americans have, through years of collective cowardice and unwillingness to stand together in organized labor unions, allowed our constitutional freedoms to be almost completely erased. Today, an American workplace is more akin to a police state than to a democratic society. Say what you're thinking on the job, and you're liable to lose it. Wear a shirt that says something the boss disagrees with, and you either remove that shirt or you are unemployed. Even that final refuge of free speech, the bumper sticker, can get workers in trouble if the wrong one shows up in the company parking lot. That loss of will and of freedom has in no small way contributed to the loss of jobs and the decline in living standards of American workers.


Indeed. If we spend most of our waking lives in servitude, how can we develop the desire to govern ourselves?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Scotian's Back!

Here. (In the comments.) Thanks for nothing people! [single, solitary person who reads this thing.]

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

King of Ruins?

Obama got a lot of people excited about his vague rhetoric for (apparently) progressive "change." A lot of young people, rightfully disgusted with US politics came out and said they'd vote for him. So too did a lot of older, demoralized, cynical US-Americans. With their help, Obama managed to win the contest for convention delegates and, therefore, the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

That over with, Obama quickly veered right, towards what those imbeciles who badgered him about lapel pins have established is the political center. He veered F-A-R right. Promising Israel an undivided Jerusalem, promising more troops for Afghanistan, and signing the nauseating FISA-immunity bill. Surprisingly [note: that was sarcasm.] Obama began to sink in the polls. [note: sarcasm continuing.] How could this be? Who was abandoning him? The undecideds who hadn't decided to support him yet? Angry Republicans? White racists? OH! Waitaminnit! Progressive and youthful idealistic US-Americans who had rallied to his empty words! What to do? What to do?

Obama quickly decided: Continue to pander to the ignorant buffoons who still think invading Iraq was a GOOD IDEA!!! Forget totally that this Washington beltway clique doesn't constitute any sort of voting bloc, and that their inane yammerings are pretty much ignored by the majority of US-Americans, and forget that they're pathetic, ridiculous hacks and creeps. Take to heart their murmurings about your lack of foreign policy experience and pick a guy who thought invading Iraq was a good idea until 2006. Pick Mister Bankruptcy Bill 2005 to be your running-mate. Pick the guy who remarked about how clean you were for being a black guy. And then agonize over your continued drops in the polls as the people you pursued in the spring realize you abandoned them.

I still think Obama's going to win. Because McCain is a stammering moron and because the people in charge know that he's not capable of managing the USA after bush II gets done mangling it. But it's going to be needlessly close as Obama's empty promises become distant memories and his efforts to live up to the standards of an insane chattering class alienate the last of the "new" voters he'd excited.

At the end of it all though, is it going to be worth it? The USA is embroiled in two quagmires. Its economy is tanking, it's currency is being sustained by other countries that are consciously averting their eyes from the reality that the world economy has become a Ponzi scheme. Isn't that just the way? When someone from the formerly dispossessed gets a chance to run things is when the machine is just about to fall apart anyway.

If'n I were a US-American, I don't think that I'd hold my nose and vote Democrat. The time for electoral solutions was in 2004. That failed. 2006 showed that even electoral victories mean sweet fuck all.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Michael Deibert Being a Bit of an Ass

Dodgy journalist, Michael Deibert wrote a gigantic review/critique of Peter Hallward's Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment which prompted a reply by Hallward. Deibert met this with his own follow-up adding:

Preoccupied as I am with reporting on the struggles of disenfranchised and disadvantaged peoples from often remote and violent locations (Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, India-administered Kashmir, Haiti itself), I confess that I haven’t had the time or inclination to keep up with every self-justifying bit of moral and intellectual acrobatics performed by the affluent foreign commentators that have comprised the bulk of support for Haiti’s disgraced former president since his ouster in February 2004. Given the array of very serious problems that confront Haiti these days - a dysfunctional parliament, spiraling food costs and attendant demonstrations, rampant deforestation and environmental degradation - the attention of those concerned with the country’s fate may indeed also be better focused elsewhere rather than on a protracted back-and-forth between two foreign intellectuals over a book of negligible interest or value to alleviating those ills.

Which would be, ... understandable on the face of it, if only just slightly; it's not out of the ordinary for an author to reply to a scathing review of his book. But Deibert's affected indifference to engaging with privileged Western dilettantes in this instance wasn't in evidence in his almost desperate attempt to get in the last word with Justin Podur following Podur's review of Deibert's own book: Notes From the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti.

Time and again, the clinching argument of a passage will be made by 'a member of the team', 'a veteran of international observer missions', or a seemingly ubiquitous 'OASUS official'. Further claims are attributed to still more anonymous sources: 'many said', 'most said', 'critics wondered', 'it appeared'; or simply to 'rumours', some of which were 'unusually detailed rumours'. Half a dozen interviews with prominent Haitian opponents of the Lavalas government: Andy Apaid, Evans Paul, Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, Hans Tippenhauer, Micha Gaillard, Pierre Esperance of the National Coalition on Human Rights and (in Manhattan) Michele Montas, widow of Jean Dominique, the radical radio journalist profiled in Jonathan Demme's The Agronomist: fill in the gaps.

Deibert submitted (originally to NLR), and Znet published, his reply to Podur, which ended with this stirring recitation of the importance of his work for the people of Haiti and, therefore, the urgency that he be allowed to correct Podur's errors:

With time, Haitians, along with their true friends abroad, whose loyalty and commitment to the country's poor majority goes beyond slogans to an actual long-term engagement with the people there, will change Haiti, finally realizing the political strength of its long-excluded peasant majority as well as the industry, honesty and fundamental decency of the huge majority of its citizens.

We who love Haiti will never give up the fight to make it a more just and equitable society for its long-suffering people, nor will we surrender a monopoly of dialogue on the subject to mercenaries, opportunists and novices, as there is just too much at stake: indeed, the fate of an entire nation. The Haitian people deserve nothing less.

Znet had Podur craft a reply to the specific counter-charges made by Deibert. You'd think it would have ended there, with Deibert being too preoccupied with ongoing campaigns for justice for the world's downtrodden, who are depending on him to save them from North American university students with only a shallow understanding of the history and politics of the rest of the world they want to meddle in, to bother staying in the fight with an ignorant outsider like Podur. Strangely, no! Deibert very much wanted to continue the "debate." Denied this privilege, he can lapse into the most enraged stream-of-consciousness ranting:

Ever since I was libeled in its pages by a wealthy, college-dwelling professional dissembler (York University Professor Justin Podur) and a convicted criminal and perjurer (Patrick Elie), and then denied the right of response, I have always thought that one had about as much chance reasoning with the crowd that populates the internet publication ZNet as one did of reasoning with a barnyard animal, though no doubt the barnyard animal would be less pernicious by nature.

Ah well.

ADDENDUM

In his original review, Deibert chastises Hallward for his scant treatment of Haitian history thusly:

These historical periods are viewed by Hallward as needless distractions from the task at hand, which is to rush headlong , very much in the manner of the novice though ultra-confident commentator that he is, into proving his thesis, but unfortunately for him, the periods of Jean-Pierre Boyer, Faustin Soulouque, Salomon and Estimé (as well as the tenures of more minor presidents such as Sténio Vincent and Elie Lescot) all left profound impacts on Haiti’s political culture, leading up to today. One scans the book’s pages in vain for any discussion, or even acknowledgment of Boyer’s 20 year annexation of the Dominican Republic, of Soulouque‘s arming of irregular loyalists known as zinglins (precursors of Duvalier’s Tontons Macoutes paramilitaries and Aristide’s chimere bands in later years), of Salomon’s virtual destruction of the commercial districts of Port-au-Prince in 1883 (and along with it the murder of at least of 1,000 of the president’s enemies) and of Estimé's ascension to the presidency in 1946 (breaking 20 years of mulatto hegemony of the office), but none is to be found.


I found this all a bit rich. Deibert loves to compare his own personal experience of 10 or so years in other writers like Hallward and Podur, plus their inability to speak the language of the country. Reading Deibert's brief history (which avoids even mentioning the twenty-year occupation of the country by US marines between 1915 and 1936 and the US-established "national guard" used to control the populace as such institutions did throughout the Caribbean and Latin America) within this context prompted me to think that Deibert ought not to talk about Haiti in the 19th century, since he wasn't even born yet, let alone in the country! The past is a different country!! We can't have such novices presuming to lecture us about it!

As well, I can't help but notice this gigantic lapse in honest argument. In this post, Deibert refers to "an ugly attack on the progressive journalist Jane Regan" for her documentary "An Unfinished Country." Deibert was helpful enough to provide a link to this horrible crime, where the level-headed reader can find some interesting analysis. The reviewer (one Shirley Pate) criticizes Regan's documentary for only focusing on the chaos in Haiti and the violence of the Aristide government and its supporters. It includes the following:

Another critic pressed Regan further about her omission of the US role in destabilizing Haiti and the kidnapping of Aristide. Regan provided a bizarre, but revealing response:

"It is true that the US government, and also the EU, Canada, etc., all do and did fund opposition groups, NGOs that were anti-Aristide etc., and that these were the ones who were involved in lots of anti-government demos. It is also true that it was a little convenient that Philippe and another 100 camouflage-clad men with guns were able to mass in the DR and come across the border... certainly there was DR government involvement and probably US, although I have never (not yet) found proof. But the film was not about that... If I had been the editor (WNET has final say) I would have put in more about US involvement in Haiti over the years, supporting Duvalier, funding what I call the 'real coup' against Aristide. etc. But in the end, WNET had the final say."

Which was it? Did she originally include footage about the imperialist web of deceit that facilitated Haiti's most recent descent into hell but WNET decided to cut it? Or, in hedging her bets about how to fund her film, did she make a conscious decision to omit this vital political background altogether?


That's damned interesting I'd say. Unless Pate fabricated that quote, which I doubt.

A rather lengthy stay at Deibert's blog has compelled me to conclude that I'm at least 80 percent certain that Deibert is not a willing and deliberate apologist for imperialist murder. What he is, sadly, is a pompous ass and a pretentious bore. These qualities, combined with some other ones, has allowed him to become a journalist on international affairs for the "respectable" press, in this case Reuters. You won't write many articles for the mainstream press if you make constant references to Western imperialism or class warfare. What I think Deibert does is the result of his genuine preference for Western officials, Western-centered NGO's, and the well-funded local collaborators of same. This makes him prefer their analysis over any others, and Deibert's own pomposity and self-adulation shield him from becoming infected with the superior analysis of people on the left.

One more time, to be clear: Contrary to Deibert's assertion that we of the North American left are fanatical Aristidistes, who believe that Aristide could do no wrong, and etc., etc., what we're actually saying is that given the long history of Western imperialism in the rest of the world, the coup against Aristide was not motivated by altruism, but by baser motives. This is imperialism and it is wrong. We have been proven right in our criticisms by the way. Deibert himself has to admit that the human rights situation during the "interim government" period following the coup was abominable, and should he ever develop the introspection to honestly listen, he'd realize that whatever the case, Aristide's record was far better than his predecessors or successors. And, even if that wasn't the case (and it is), surely it is not Canada's place, or the U.S.A.'s place, or France's place, to topple a government and install another one just as brutal?

Finally, contrary to Deibert's professed hopes that Western imperialists stay to help Haiti in the long haul, the fact of the matter is that we have essentially abandoned that country (aside from UN missions to take weapons away from Lavalas supporters) and while, for instance, Canada's Stephen Harper gives tax cuts to the wealthy, the people in our "prize pupil" Haiti are reduced to eating dirt because of the world food crisis.

Still Alive ... Just Busy

Lotta shit to catch up on. I'll find something [pdffy!] for you to read, ... hold on:

A paper from N.A.T.O. about social revolution
!

Something about the Makhnovist alternative to Bolshevism
!

See you later. Happy reading!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Just Saying, ... it's getting to the point ...

Immigrants, racially-targeted and held without charges for seven years and counting, ... the complicity of state actors in the torture of Canadian citizens overseas, ... a seven-years and counting war in Afghanistan with no end in sight (where we're propping up a warlord-controlled puppet-government) ... let's not forget the international crime of the Martin government in Haiti, ... I'm beginning to question my apathy ...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Another Malalai Joya Interview

In case you missed it on CounterPunch:

The USA wants the things as they are.The status quo. A bleeding, suffering Afghanistan is a good excuse to prolong its stay. Now they are even embracing the Taliban. Recently, in Musa Qila, a Taliban commander Mulla Salam was appointed as governor by Karzai. The USA has no problem with the Taliban so long as it’s ‘our Taliban’.

I've been busy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

OMFG!! I Just Realized Something!!

I was over at "Crooks and Liars" where they're sadly transfixed by the Barack Obama campaign, and lately they're whining about how John McCain wasn't in "the cone of silence" during an event in which both he and Obama we're being interviewed. It was at some evangelical church. A whole buncha entries about McCain and "the cone of silence."

As if it fucking matters.

But then it hit me. This whole theatre of elections and the Democratic and Republican parties. The Democrats' role is to be the wrestling "good guy" who is always looking the wrong way as the "bad guy" approaches him with a folding chair raised above his head. "Crooks and Liars" and all those people who give a shit about whether it's "Imperialism A" or "Imperialism B" with "B" being the Democrat brand, with more eloquent lies and more exquisite betrayals, is for the voters who'd support the "good guy" and who need to be constantly manipulated into outrage as the "bad guy" continues to cheat while the ref ignores everything. It's a party designed for decent people. The Republicans are designed for ugly-minded cretins.

What needs to be done first is to get the decent people to realize that like professional wrestling, US Democracy is all an act.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Response Besides Laughter

For a long time, I've been saying what Lisa Martinovic says here in this CounterPunch article:

At the level of our media saturated group-mind, political jibes, by their very ubiquity, make familiar the unacceptable. The more familiar a circumstance, the more likely it is to become entrenched, and the harder it is to change. From this perspective, might the pervasiveness of political satire unwittingly serve to normalize the very practices it would condemn?

This line of inquiry started to gel a few years ago as I listened to my savvy ten-year-old nephew gleefully recount a scene from Scary Movie II. The protagonist, prowling through a dark, creepy basement, comes upon a pile of ashes: It's the Florida ballots! The presidency and entire course of history turned on this monstrous act of fraud and it's reduced to a sight gag in a kid's movie.

It's all very clubby when everyone's in on the joke. But if it's a joke, how can we take it seriously? And if we don't, why would the man behind the curtain?

...

On a deeper and more ominous level, the principles of neuroplasticity suggest that the more time we spend laughing at things like the tortured logic of torture memos, the more we come to associate such insanity with positive feelings: even as we hate the content of the news we're hearing, we love the comic delivery. These neural linkages are created below the level of conscious awareness, whether we like it or not. And, night after night we program ourselves-just as methodically as Pavlov trained his dogs-to salivate in anticipation of the next blistering critique from Comedy Central . . . and the physiological relief it will bring. Because a spoonful of humor does help the injustice go down. But indiscriminately applied it belittles the truth and robs atrocity of its full weight by making it a source of amusement.


I think Colbert's address to the White House Correspondents' Dinner was brilliant and brave, and I even continue to appreciate the humour of "The Daily Show" which occasionally succumbs to stupid liberal attempts at "even-handedness." But if their humour isn't directed towards something more than entertaining people, and earning a pay-cheque, then more and more of what flows from it will be empty and meaningless.

Satire is supposed to serve a purpose I'd say.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Really, ... what happened to "Scotian"?

He used to write these long, informed comments on several people's blogs, and while I read most of them, I was often too tired to post a reply much of the time. But now I don't see him anywhere. Is he still around? Did he retire? Is he okay? (I'm not surfing and reading so much these days so it's entirely possible he's around.)

Where are you "Scotian"?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Like Some Snot-Nosed Whining Brat

That's what the Conservative Party of Canada and it's brain-dead fans sound like in response to their getting their comeuppance for their election spending violations. Here's some typical responses from some of their zombies on the ["LIBERAL!!!"] Toronto Star:

We can see why the left-wingers enjoy this so much. Liberals won't let the Tories speak and they won't them call witnesses. This is a kangaroo court that would have made Stalin envious.

Clearly this is nothing but a partisan witch hunt. The opposition members blocked any and all witnesses who would shed light on the fact that what they are attacking the Tories for doing is actually standard procedure for ALL parties. Shameful but then again, the Liberals have no shame.

If they are truly trying to get to the root of the issue, the accused have the right to question the charge against them. You do not get to protect witnesses from being cross examined. If Mr. Finlay is not available for the time the committee has chosen for him, arrangements should be made to accommodate his schedule. Probably it will be after the date chosen, not before as he attempted. It seems as if the Opposition is trying to use this to their advantage rather than seek the truth. Whether you like the Conservatives or not, Canadians should be concerned about the way these committees operate. If they are guilty, let it be found out the right way, not because you have manipulated the proceedings to get the response you want.


Right. Remember the axiom here folks; "conservatives" are generally the stupidest people in the country.

It's a "kangaroo court" because their jeanyuss leader Stephen Harper said it was. And because Doug Finley wasn't allowed to show up and testify when he wanted to, as opposed to when he was scheduled to, even though he'd sent an unacknowledged letter saying that his boss wouldn't give him Wednesday off. And because the committee majority wasn't interested in hearing from every Canadian version of Alberto Gonzales that the Tories attempted to insert into the proceedings, supposedly this is "PROOF" that those witnesses would establish that "they all do it." Even though nothing happened. Even though former Conservative Party of Canada candidates testify that the election spending rules were violated.

As of this writing, you stupid "conservative" idjits, t'would appear that all the other parties AREN'T doing this, unless Elections Canada turns out to be an extremely corrupt institution and our elecctoral process is as debased as you're now trying to say it is. But then again, you refer to the NDP members of the Ethics Committee as "Liberal cronies" which is the most laughable conspiracy-theory imaginable.

No, ... your party cheats because it's incompetent. It cheats badly because it's incompetent. It tries to bluster it's way out of its predicament because it's incompetent, and it would attempt violence because nothing else will work, but it can't get away with that.

You're going down you bunch of stupid chumps. And you're going to go down hard.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Canadian Liberals in Opposition

It's always nice to see condemnation of the machinations of crooked Canadian governments. Unless, that is, it's coming from "conservatives" when they're in opposition. For two reasons: 1) There's the reality that the "conservatives" promise us far, far worse when they call for the end of a Liberal government, and 2) The intellectual level of "conservatives" is generally very low, so that the blog-o-sphere ends up sounding like this: "The Liberals are failing because they're socialists and homosexuals."

Liberals do a better job of criticizing a CPC government than vice-versa. And it's been fun reading all the Liberal bloggers trashing the Harper mal-government for its sleazy violations of election financing rules. Harper's gang of idiots are as entertainingly evil and stupid as the bush II regime down south, which they revere and adore. It's also been fun to read the steady stream of liberal ("Democrat") condemnation and exposes of bush II's thuggery and incompetence.

On the other hand though, it's frustrating. Yes, McCain is a clueless asshole, unfairly and incompetently bashing Barack Obama, but Barack Obama is just another corporate/imperialist shill. Can we stop paying attention to the sufferings of poor Obama and start thinking about what US-Americans can do to restore democracy to their country? And, yes Canadian Liberals, what "conservatives" do to the electoral process is dangerous and disgusting, ... just as shameless and disgusting as giving money to Liberal advertising firms under the guise of fighting separatism and using it for electoral propaganda or funneling it back to Liberal Party itself.

Yes, Liberal Bloggers, you're intelligent, generally decent people, and the Harpercons need a tight leash and a quick political death, but your party is almost as bad and isn't the answer to the malaise that's been growing in this country for over two decades. Get your heads out of your asses and abandon that corrupt institution and help us improve this country.

"Kangaroo Courts"

No, not the weird nonsense going on in bush II's gulag Guantanamo Bay, but moron Stephen Harper's characterization of legitimate House of Commons Committee hearings.

This idiot has just revealed his lack of respect for Canada's political system, it's parliamentary traditions.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Just Like Paris

Police relationship with Montreal minorities provokes rioting. Just like in Paris. I wonder if some local economic analysis can establish that the problems leading to the confrontation in this neighbourhood are similar to those behind the rioting in Paris.

The riots have a very strong class dimension. They have occurred in France's ghettos by some of the most marginalized French citizens: the unemployed and the poor. For example, while the national unemployment rate is around 10%, nearly 30% of the French of North African descents are out of work.

The French economy's ability to create jobs has declined in recent years. Unemployment has progressively increased from an average of less than 2% in the 1960s, to 4.3% in the first half of the 1970s, 8.9% in the 1980s, and nearly 12% in the second half of the 1990s.

In other words, the bitter fruits of neo-liberalism, failed imperialism and racism. Well, let's see what the job prospects for Montreal Haitians are:

Labour force participants4 of Haitian origin are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as their counterparts in the general population. In 2001, 16.4% of labour force participants of Haitian origin were unemployed, compared with 7.4% of all Canadian labour force participants.

Young people of Haitian origin, especially young men, experience particularly high unemployment rates. In 2001, 24% of all male labour force participants of Haitian origin between the ages of 15 and 24 were unemployed, compared with 14% of all Canadians males in this age group. At the same time, 20% of female labour force participants of Haitian origin between the ages of 15 to 24 were unemployed, compared with 13% of their counterparts in the overall population.


Hmmm. How about that? Anything else? What about racism? Hunh. Turns out that I just can't decide which hit to feature from my google search.

I don't have anything really hopeful to say about this story.



Sunday, August 10, 2008

Blame it on the black guy ...

All that I can think to say this morning is that it's a great thing for US-American women that Hillary lost the nomination thingy. Because, 1. If I was a lady, I'd want a better candidate, less of a war-monger, to be the first woman, AND 2. bush II (white frat-boy type) wreaked the economy and has created a gigantic mess to have to clean up with that damaged economy.

And you just know that all the good old boys who cheered merrily while bush II was busy destroying stuff will have no compunction about blaming the consequences of his stupidity and incompetence on Obama's presidency.

[ETA: Oh yeah, as per the title of this entry, the good old boys will blame Obama for presiding over the results bush II's destruction and say that all the problems are because Obama is black.]

That having been said, here's Phil Phillips' and Cat Power's renditions of "Sea of Love." Just because.



Saturday, August 9, 2008

They Called It

Numerous leftist commentators stated that one of the goals of the Paul Martin/Jim Flaherty tax cuts was to eventually cripple the fiscal capacity of the Canadian state to impact positively on the economy. [Kinda sick how the great liberal progressive Paul Martin Jr.'s policies flow so seamlessly into the terrible, retrograde Tory Jim Flaherty's 'eh?]

"Tut-tut!' Said Flaherty. As the folks at PEF quote him in January 2008:

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Monday that there’s no substance to worries that the country will head back into a deficit situation if the economy slows. Flaherty was responding to a new report by the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), which warned that the federal treasury could easily record a deficit if economic growth slows more than the government expects.

“If [the CCPA] had been paying attention they would have noticed that in the autumn we were anticipating some slowing in the Canadian economy, as a result of the quite significant slowing in the U.S. economy,” Flaherty told reporters at a Vancouver news conference. “For that reason, in the fall economic statement on Oct. 30, we made dramatic historic tax reductions — business tax reductions — in Canada,” he said.

“We will keep spending within the rate of growth of the economy, and quite frankly, I hope to do more than that,” he said. “I want to make sure we keep the budget in surplus.”


Here it is, July-August and:

The federal government has started the new fiscal year in a rare deficit position, announcing yesterday it was $517 million in the red after two months as tax cuts and a slowing economy sliced into revenues. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said revenues fell $1.6 billion combined in April and May, 4.1 per cent less than the same period last year. Ottawa’s take from the goods and services tax fell $876 million, or 20.9 per cent, with the GST’s percentage point cut in January. Last year, Ottawa took in $2.8 billion more than it spent during the April-May period.


Marc Lee of PEF awaits his apology. You won't get it. After Flaherty gets done weeping tears of nostalgia (the current deficit reminds him of his destructive days under the Harris regime in Ontario), Flaherty will begin casting around for some extraordinary, totally unforeseen (except by the witchcraft of the CCPA) exigency to blame for his stupidity.

But, once again, ... as with so many other things, the left called it.

Friday, August 8, 2008

"Conservatives"

It's that time again folks! Yet another installment of explaining why "conservatism" isn't anything like a genuine political philosophy as it is the putrid mental excretions of the lower end of the bell curve. In other words, it's a jumble of incoherent ideas, agglomerated from the intellectual struggles of tragically stupid people. Sometimes these ideas are invented by "conservatives" themselves, to rationalize their confused rage at a world that passes them by. Other times their rage is directed at targets provided by their cynical political leadership, who know damned well that "divide and conquer" is an efficient way of maintaining their control over their stupid chump followers.

Even so-called "smart" conservatives are actually quite limited. Former Nixon speech writer/comedian Ben Stein is a good example. He gives off this professorial air and he might be good at trivia (I assume he genuinely knew all of those answers on his game show), but he's saddened many of his half-hearted admirers for his participation in his brain-dead movie "Expelled."

Next, there's this fellow (or lady) who first showed up trashing me for unjustly, or undeservedly trashing mark steyn and to whom I extended all sorts of qualified praise but then he or she typed this dreck, about how the US was justified in going after Sadr as a way to punish Iran for its "titanic heights of meddling" in Iraq, as if the USA isn't meddling there! He or she then finished off their screed praising the bloody, ham-fisted US policy in Iraq with this paean to the bush II regime's alleged promotion of democracy in Iraq:

I'd earnestly like Iraq to become the Middle East's first non-Israeli democracy. If it can happen there in spite of ethnic antagonism and civil war, it can happen in all of the other illiberal rights-violating excuses-for-states in the region.
Which is, of course, the most laughably deluded bunch of crapola that one could hope to produce. And at this point, it doesn't even deserve a refutation it's so self-evidently insane.

I guess the origins of my need to type this post today comes from my finally checking out some information on the US-American "conservative" who shot up that Unitarian church out of hatred of its "liberal" values. I wasn't really all that excited by this story. Sure, it's a tragedy. Every single day is filled with horrible tragedies though. Yeah, the guy was spending money he couldn't afford reading the dreck put out by fascist buffoons like Bill O'Lie-ly, Shameless Hannity and Michael Stupid Savage, and yeah, that was no doubt a big contributor to his homicidal rampage. But for a nation of 300 million people, saturated with that right-wing murderous, bullying propaganda, one guy killing two people every ten years or so isn't really going to alarm the rest of the country. I guess what I'm saying is that the left blog-o-sphere is getting all excited about this guy and being able to point to O'Reilly, Coulter, Savage and all the rest of their ilk and shout: "This guy is YOURS!!" and the response is going to be underwhelming. Yeah, he's "theirs" and theirs only one of them and he was probably a little crazy to begin with, just like those legendary impressionable youngsters who let their "Dungeons & Dragons" obsessions get the better of them. "What are ya gonna do?"

Don't get me wrong. I agree that the right-wing has fostered a climate of murderous, bullying, intolerant hatred. I just don't see that this crazed, lone gunman atrocity is going to be the canary in the coal mine that progressives see it as.

What got me motivated to post was finding out that the gunman was an unemployed ex-trucker who was running low on food-stamps. That made me think, holy-shit! This guy is a poster-boy for Stupid Right-Wing Chump if ever there was one! The guy has been fucked over by a corporate system maintained by BOTH the Democrats and the Republicans [It's kinda neat to have the awareness to know that the whole game is rigged! It keeps one from perpetually pinballing from one corrupt corporate party to the other in the futile hope of realizing genuine "change."] and who does he take his anger out on? Progressive Unitarians for their feminist-promoting, anti-racism and anti-homophobia ways! Some of the sweetest people on earth, who are to be credited for their ability to resist a lifelong exposure to the garbage of US corporate propaganda, and, furthermore, people who have nothing to do with his economic predicament.

Jim D. Adkisson, you are a stupid chump. I sure hope you got those fucking books from those millionaire con-men at a discount, or handed out for free by some wingnut welfare foundation . Because buddy, Hannity, O'Reilly, Coulter, Savage ad nauseam are laughing at you all the way to the fucking bank. Like "driftglass" says at the link above, their motto is: ""Keep 'em stupid. Keep 'em scared. Feed 'em lies." and brother, you are one stupid, scared, lied to motherfucker. Yeah, your wife left you and you don't have a job because women stand up for their rights and the Unitarians welcome gays as human beings the same as everyone else. Actually, I rather suspect that your wife left you because you too successfully incorporated the intolerant, macho he-man bullshit that pathetic viagra-swilling losers who travel to impoverished countries that have a huge sex-trade operation and cowardly draft-dodging hypocrites told you was awesome. And I suspect that your economic prospects are more the result of what passes for the "free market" you've been brainwashed to worship and adore than they're the result of homosexuals being treated like human beings somewhere.

You see, O'Reilly, Hannity and all those guys have a pretty sweet deal. They get to cheer-lead for the home team, and it doesn't matter how many times they screw up, because the home team always wins. The home team owns the referees and the stadium and everything else. And the owners don't want the Jim D. Adkissons of the world to succeed. The Jim D. Adkissons of the world are supposed to shut-up, work (if there's nobody who'll do it cheaper) and buy tickets to the games and subsidize the sky-boxes for the patrician class (probably on credit since they refuse to work at slave-labour wages. And the Jim D. Adkissons of the world aren't supposed to be able to think critically about their situation. No sirree. If they did that, there'd be a whole mess of trouble for the home team. That's where moronic shills like your heroes O'Reilly and company come in. They're not the owners. But they've got some talent for shouting and bullying. They genuinely believe in the con-job, in the scam. And why shouldn't they? It's working for them. They got in at the beginning of a big pyramid scam, so why shouldn't they celebrate the way the scam is working? (I notice that I've moved from talking about a corrupt sports team to a pyramid scheme. Ah well, ...)

The point is, that those right-wing demagogue stoops know that they benefit from the capitalist "white, male, Christian power structure" and that the way to preserve it is to keep the non-white, female, non-Christians in their place. The people to do that are the Jim D. Adkissons of the world. Guys who have basically been worked-over by the system and who really have nothing to claim but their alleged superiority over minorities and women and who take it as a personal affront when a woman or a person of colour gets elevated above them in the social pecking order. Then you can blame feminism, affirmative action, or whatever recent phenomena that emerged to counteract the blatant favouritism of the white, male power structure as having given these presumptuous lesser beings an "unfair" advantage. You call any attempts to redress the injustices of sexism, racism, imperialism, capitalism as "un-American" or "un-Canadian," you tell your knuckle-dragging devotees that democracy is radical extremism and you encourage these frustrated bullies to attack these movements for justice and decency and thereby dispel any threats to the status-quo.

At the same time that I was reading about that chump Adkisson, I came across this. It's supposed to be some sort of "conservative" battle-cry, but to me it represents the very sort of vague, incoherent, oppressive gobbledy-gook that I've been talking about.

I AM CONSERVATIVE! There, I said it! I feel better. It's something I don't say often enough, to people I know. Even in Alberta, Conservatives are quiet. I have been in meetings where some Liberal has been spouting off about how wrong the provincial conservative government is on some issue, and I say nothing. Maybe that's why I blog, I can be the one spouting off, and you can listen or not, it's up to you the reader.
I'm not going to deny this woman her personal experience, but for me, it's always been the right-wingers who feel that you're obliged to hear their outbursts about how great right-wing politicians are, or how much they hate unions, feminists, socialists, etc. Usually always with a "Am I right?? Am I right or what??" But let's continue:

This is where the Liberals have an advantage, they proudly declare they are Liberals and therefore we should listen to them especially about Canadian values. We have been brainwashed for years with the Liberal agenda, we have been made to believe that Canada is a liberal country. That's just not true. Canada is a conservative country.

At this point, one doesn't know whether to disagree or not. The terms "liberal" and "conservative" haven't been defined yet. There's obviously a vague sense of what she's talking about, but since "conservatism" is such a debased concept, it's impossible to say. Nevertheless, going out on a limb, I'm going to have to say that she's probably wrong.

The true heart of Canada, is not the swingers clubs, the drug sites, greenhouse gas spewing environmentalists, the easy on crime liberals, we have been lead to believe. It's the loudmouthed Liberals/lefties telling us that, with the expert help of the media.

OMFG!! What a stream of insanity! Yeah, I was talking to Stephane Dion the other night, ... we were snorting coke out of the ass crack of some other guy's wife down at the swingers club. It was hard to hear each other, what with all of our spewing of greenhouse gases after our vegan enviornmentalist meeting earlier that afternoon. Right before we robbed a bank.

Right there, I knew I wasn't going to like what I'd read in the rest of her post. Vague "family values" rhetoric, coupled with retrograde notions about political-economy. "Canada is about fucking one person for the rest of your life, in the missionary position." Excuse me lady, but fuck right off. And while you're doing that, ponder the fact that your whole conservative "law and order" shtick is built on bullshit. You see, contrary to your simplistic authoritarianism, your "conservative" economic policies create the conditions for crime, and your prison systems only create hardened criminals. If anyone is "soft on crime" it's the fucking "conservatives." Because they're imbeciles.

Anyhow, what [according to our fearless "conservative"] is the true heart of Canada?

The true heart of Canada is our families and our land.

Stop and ponder just how inane that is. "Our families." What the fuck is that supposed to mean? All of our families? Like the work-a-holic father who's porking his secretary while his wife responds with alcoholism and his kids sell drugs at high-school? No, obviously she's got some vague Norman Rockwell kinda image in her head, of the working, white, heterosexual father, the stay-at-home, white, "pure" mother, the football captain son and the chaste, cheerleader daughter. Oh yeah, and Christian, don't forget Christian. Now there's an outside chance that this person would also be accepting of families from any other ethnic group or faith, so long as they were patriarchal and socially conservative. Still, it's a highly exclusionary standard.

But "our land"?? What the hell are we supposed to say about this? What is it about our "land" that makes Canada "conservative"? I can't even begin to speculate. It's a meaningless statement. Which is significant. Think about it. At the heart of defining what her country is, what it means, she farts out "our land" -- a completely meaningless concept -- and therefore reveals the emptiness at the core of what she believes she herself should be.

Environmentalists can praise Suzuki all they want, but they do nothing to actually help preserve the land, they don't plant trees in the summer, they are too busy protesting in some far off land I will never be rich enough to see. They are not there when a hurricane hits, they are too busy protesting in Washington. They do nothing, they serve only themselves and their own agendas. It's the Christian organizations helping in Africa, while environmentalists yell about stopping DDT, which could stop malaria cold, but can't be permitted because a bird egg might get harmed? They offer nets, anyone here been bit by a mosquito at anytime other then bedtime?

Boy! Can we get anymore self-righteous and deceitful? "Liberals" do nothing to preserve "the land"? Any links to back that claim up? No? I didn't think so. So fuck you. A-n-d your incoherent babbling about tree planting.

We're all "too busy protesting in some far off land [she'll] never be rich enough to see"? What absolute drivel. Are Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City all in some far off land? What?

We're not there when the hurricane hits??? What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Last time I checked, the right-wingers were condemning the poor of New Orleans for NOT LEAVING when the hurricane was coming!! [Forgetting of course that they had no means of escape.] What hurricane is she talking about anyway? Does she drive around looking for hurricanes so that she can volunteer her services? No? Then what the fuck is she talking about? And why are Canadian liberals busy protesting in Washington when hurricanes hit? I've never been to Washington. Waitaminnit, ... is the USA the far off land she'll never be able to afford to visit? If so, then how can she be there when the hurricanes hit? There aren't many hurricanes in Canada.

The rest of that section is similarly full of groundless accusations and incoherent yammerings. Let's continue:

Feminists cry: "It's my body, my choice!" as they kill those little ones that would support them in their old age. They might have killed the only person in this world who would have loved them, without conditions. Yet, they want our children in day cares with unionized workers, not with their Mom or Dad. They do not want their own children, but they want ours.

The writer is obviously being willfully ignorant of the fact that many women have always wanted this choice, and that if they did not have it, they would risk anything to take it themselves. Sugary fairy-tales about unconditional love notwithstanding. Beyond that, I've got two kids. One from a confident, no-nonsense, pro-choice feminist. Come down to the Skydragon Centre in Hamilton, Ontario and you'll meet all sorts of family-friendly leftists or "liberals" as right-wing yahoos tend to put it. Furthermore, progressives demand unionized, subsidized daycare not because we support union-driven make-work programs. But because daycare workers ought to earn a decent wage and because difficulties in obtaining affordable, quality childcare are the prime culprit behind the high levels of unemployment among single mothers, and, therefore, child poverty. And you can take a survey if you want to, but I'm pretty sure that all the guys who leave their "baby mommas" and all those women themselves aren't necessarily "liberals."

The end result of all of this "conservative" rhetoric is to increase women's suffering, child poverty, and social injustice. Isn't that just like everything else?

Judges let sexual predators off with time served, or juveniles who kill someone get house arrest, this is the liberal way. Punish the victim, coddle the criminal. Is it any wonder that criminals voted for the Liberals in the last election?

It's already been established that "conservative" policies create the conditions that increase crime. They therefore have no credibility from which to argue for an increasingly expensive, brutalizing US-style penal system.

Then we have terrorists, "Bring Khadr Home" they yell, he's a Canadian, he was only 15, the nasty Americans are not letting him sleep! Bullfrog. He's a terrorist.

I've already dealt with this insanity here.

I Am Conservative. I am not heartless like the Liberals want you to think. I donate more time and money to charity than any Liberal I know, I do it because I care.

I Am Conservative because to the roots of my soul, I believe in family, in community and in helping others.

Now, here' the thing: I'm sure this person is a real sweetheart one-on-one. But as has been established with only this cursory look at her facts and arguments, she doesn't have a clue what she's talking about, and her simplistic, yet still incoherent, ideas end up only increasing the suffering and misery she's so concerned about ending.

I'm sure that many people of all political persuasions feel that way as well. My question is, why aren't you a Conservative then?

I'll say it as plainly as I can: It's because we don't have our heads up our asses.

Trog69 gave a hearty endorsement of Mentarch's "Eight Principles of Incompetence," and I said that while I was initially at odds with his whole ascribing to incompetence thing to whit: "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence " due to the systemic and malicious nature of the bush II regime's crimes and the bloodthirsty nature of their right-wing attack dogs, it's also the case that I don't believe in good and evil, and that I believe humanity is stupid. It stands to reason then, that all this bloody, ham-fisted monstrousness is the unavoidable result of the stupidity of the "conservative" political movement. Observe the Eight Principles:

Zeroth Principle: Incompetence is driven by intellectual sloth.
First Principle: Incompetence surrounds itself with incompetence.
Second Principle: Incompetence is ethics-impaired.
Third Principle: Incompetence abhors transparency and accountability.
Fourth Principle: Incompetence does or says anything to defend itself.
Fifth Principle: Incompetence always supports incompetence.
Sixth Principle: Violence is the last refuge of incompetence.
Seventh Principle: Incompetence is nothing but consistent with itself.

Notice how violence is their last refuge. They're stupid, so they need to cheat, but they're bad cheaters so they try to cover it up. Their cover-ups are incompetent so they first attempt bluster, then violence. It's pretty much the career stories of the entire bush II regime. This stupidity then, has terrifying consequences. So, they're not just deplorably ignorant and insane. They're whole movement is unavoidably bound for bloody crimes against humanity.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Afghan Refugees Fleeing Violence

Just a heads up from the discredited NYT but also from CommonDreams about refugees from the violence in the war-torn south of Afghanistan:

He, like many of the displaced people, complained that villagers found themselves trapped between Taliban fighters, who used the villages for cover to attack foreign forces, and NATO and American forces, which would often call in airstrikes on village compounds where civilians were living.

“We left our houses because we had no power to resist the Taliban or the government,” said Mr. Muhammad, the representative who brought families to Kabul from villages in Kajaki.

“Anytime the Taliban fired a shot from our houses, then the coalition, the government and the police came to the area and hit us.”

“The government comes and arrests us, and then the Taliban come and arrest us as well,” he said. “We are under the feet of two powers.”

As a civilian plane circled above the city, Mr. Muhammad and the crowd of men around him all looked nervously upward. “We are in trouble with these things,” he said, pointing at the plane. “There was fighting in the village a hundred times, roadside bombs, bombardment, firing and shooting.”

His strongest complaints were against the Taliban who, he said, had accused a relative of being a spy for the coalition forces and executed him. “I absolutely know he was not,” he said vehemently.

“The Taliban are coming during the night, with heavy weapons, riding on vehicles, and we cannot even dare ask them to leave, because if they see someone at night outside they will slaughter them and accuse them of being spies,” he said.

But the heavy reprisals by NATO and American forces was what drove them from their homes in the end, he and others said.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Depiction of American Empire's Military Infrastructure

I've still got a big rant in the works. But no time to get to it today. So my post is just a recommendation of Brian Cloughley's CounterPunch article: "Baleful Imperial Power."

Friday, August 1, 2008

New Oist

Internet was down for over a day. Working on something. Here's something quick: