Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I'd decided that nobody is that smart. No group of people in the USA is that powerful. I decided that Obama is just what he appears to be at first glance. A charismatic African-American politician who has learned how to play the game (which for him includes soaring, but vague, rhetoric and a devotion to the status-quo of an outsider wanting to get in) who has found himself in the right place at the right time.
But I've been confounded by the mindless absurdity and excess of his latest behaviour. Most notably his stated desire to go around Congress and to justify "preventative [or prolonged] detention" through an Executive Order, and thereby assert an expansion of presidential power that even bush II couldn't have dreamt of. This desire to create a dangerously powerful, practically lawless emperor out of the office of president seems especially bizarre given the rag-tag, relatively tiny threat of terrorism.
Obama is not so stupid that he shivers in fear at night, worried that he might find himself surrendering to Osama bin-Laden in the Oval Office one day. He's smart enough to know about the excessiveness of his claims to power for the USian political-legal system. Why should he pursue this? He must know that the majority of the US-American population is opposed to this. He must know that the "serious" political-media class in the United States are the same tiny, unrepresentative nitwits who yammered stupidly about flag-pin lapels during the election. Why would he pursue this (among other) absurdities?
I asked this of my partner "ephemeral" and she speculated that he's a weak man, beholden to others and indifferent to how stupid or unpopular their desires are with the voting public. And that actually seems the most plausible thesis. Their is a corporate elite in the USA that desires bailouts for the private sector, continued health for the private insurance industry, oppressive laws against protest and terrifying powers of suppression ("first they came for the Muslims") and on and on, and they've picked Obama to continue to shove this down the throat of the US-American electorate. "Brand Obama" is just that, and he's done a good job of fooling millions of people into believing that politics matters and that they have a (potential, at least) friend in the Democratic Party. They picked Obama out as an attractive package to sell a very toxic product and allowed him to win the presidency. In return, Obama is beholden to them, and he's more a fanatical game-player than an idealist, so he's willing to do these nauseating things to please the power-brokers even if it obviously antagonizes the people he played (the voters) to get the actual votes that won him the presidency.
Can he wake up? It doesn't matter. Electoral politics in the USA are completely bankrupt and useless anyway. The only good Obama is capable of doing is exposing this truth so that even more USian voters learn to abandon their vain hopes and think of some other way to redeem their country.
Monday, June 29, 2009
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/06/28-10 Reese Elrich says that it was and that the protests are spontaneous
http://counterpunch.org/kozloff06292009.html Nikolas Kozloff on the build-up of tensions between Honduras and the USA.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Only in the minds of right-wing doofusi are the rights to know the charges against you, and the evidence against you, and the other inalienable rights of citizenship, considered "radical" ideas, "dangerous" ideas.
Under Canadian law, being on the UN no-fly list makes it illegal for Abdelrazik to work or for anyone to give him money.
Does that include the Canadian state when it is successfully sued for denying him his rights as a Canadian citizen under successive Liberal and Conservative governments?
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Huh. So I go to YouTube to find something to post and there's all this Michael Jackson stuff up. I'd heard earlier (at the liquor store at Gage n' Barton) that somebody had died and this young woman was saying how sad she was about it. I put two and two together. Dead at fifty. I remember that television special that showed how screwed up he was, in one part he excitedly showed the interviewer an imitation Egyptian sarcophagus that he was buying and the interview asked him: "Is this what you'd like to be buried in?" Jackson giggled nervously; "No!" he said like a little child. Then he added: "I'm not going to die. I'm going to live forever!" as if he meant it.
They got some exercise jungle-gym equipment at the park around the corner. A project by Ontario's "Participaction." I must say, some of the kids in this neighbourhood could use it. In other park news, the water-jets are up at the park on Birch Street and the little fellow got soaked in 'em.
Now, to embed two interesting YouTube links:
Actually, craziness aside, this mellowing head-banger respects Michael Jackson for his obvious gigantic talent. Poor S.O.B.
Okay ... Marlon Brando on Dick Cavett:
There is a combination of selective memory and selective interpretation of events when the U.S. looks at its own history. Either through media manipulation, or through the rhetoric of ‘exceptionalism', the western view of Iran lacks perspective on both the history of the United States, that of Iran, and of the interactions between the two.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
"Imagine Prosperity Without Growth"
“There is no alternative.” Really? There bloody well better be or we are all doomed. “Government is the problem, not the solution?” The banks and the CEOs of the transnationals who reveled in this slogan would now disagree. And what about the cause of the evil deficits -- governments “spending like drunken sailors?” Now Bay Street believes that government isn’t nearly drunk enough. And the demand that we “run government like a business?” Just which bankrupt, crooked, reckless business would that be?
The magnitude of the moral crisis of the political right is staggering. The greed, dishonesty, hubris and psychopathic disregard for the public good renders the whole business elite utterly unfit to pronounce on anything -- not even on the economy, but certainly not democracy or how we run our collective affairs.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Today, I'm mentioning that I've finished a book: Barry Strauss, The Trojan War: a new history. You can see all sorts of stellar historians (who would no doubt fall in love with my blog) praising it at the link.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Later in her conversation with Ms. MacDonnell, Ms. Raitt tells the man driving them around Victoria that Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff had backed down from defeating the Conservative government on a budget a few days earlier because he got a message from Canadian bankers.
“They did it at the Canadian Council of (Chief) Executives, there was three presidents of major banks who stood up in the room — and this is not from cabinet so I can talk about it — stood up and said, ‘Ignatieff, don’t you even think about bringing us to an election,’” said Ms. Raitt.
“'We don’t need this. We have no interest in this. And we will never fund your party again.’ That was very powerful. So he heard it from very powerful people in the industry. He was definitely muzzled.”
Of course, mainstream politicians aren't supposed to give the whole game away ...
Can you imagine a president of one of Canada's major banks in a closed-door meeting, telling the leader of a cash-strapped political party that it won't receive any funding from them if it forces an election? Well, actually, yes I can. Makes a lot of sense to me.
Liberal finance critic John McCallum, who was present for the closed-door Jan. 20 meeting with about 100 executives, says they were against the coalition and an election, but there was “not even a hint of a veiled threat,” and bankers would never make such a threat in a meeting with so many people present.
“That’s absolutely ridiculous,” he said. “Can you imagine a bank president standing up in a room like that with more than 100 people in the room and saying something like that? It makes no sense.”
Thursday, June 11, 2009
"My letter to katie shaidle"
I read your mewling, self-pitying drivel and have accepted your invitation to respond here. [jay currie's blog] Where I see you have the stunning disconnect from reality to describe yourself as one of the cool kids.
You know the real reason you're no longer interested in debate! It's because you lose all the damned time.
Because your beliefs are stupid because you are stupid.
I have debated with your ilk in the past. I have always won. Because the stuff you people believe in is garbage. It's indefensible garbage.
Case in point, your ridiculous cliche about how 9-11 has changed everything and that leftie delusions are no longer funny or even tolerable after 9-11.
Thanks to moronic racists such as yourself numerous innocent Canadian men have been subjected to indefinite detention without charges, torture and involuntary exile in the Sudan, and "torture-by-proxy" in Syria. This is all due to racial/ethnic profiling as these men are all Muslim.
And while CSIS and the RCMP have been expending enormous resources harassing these men and suppressing their freedoms and assembling worthless "evidence" against them, in short, while our state security forces have been distracted with all these innocent men, what terrorist onslaught has managed to devastate us in the meantime?
True, a police informant managed to convert some angry teenagers from blowing smoke on the internet into maybe, perhaps, um okay, nah, plotting actual terrorism, so a self-evidently fabricated danger.
The "threat of terrorism" is garbage katie, and you're too stupid to see this. Everything you read is garbage. Everything you think is garbage. Everything you say is garbage. It's people like you who are ruining this country you dimwit. With your rejection of Canadian values of respect for the dignity of the individual, for the legal and democratic rights of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, for the Canadian belief in peace-keeping and respect for international law.
I'm disgusted with where you imbeciles have taken this country and I hope that vermin such as yourself never get the power to influence actual policy ever again.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Perhaps the RCMP brass has realized how toxic the Dziekanski killing really is and are prepared to leave their officers to the wolves (after having believed their own bullshit investigation and told they they would walk away unscathed).
That's the way it looks to me anyway.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Jaures (i don't know how to insert accent marks with a keyboard) spoke of being in a "socialist state of grace" which meant to respond to capitalist society as a participant in it, but a participant who has a higher ideal in mind than capitalism (with all its oppressions and inequalities) which is socialism and which compels one to constantly demand more from the system.
I said something similar here. It's a never-ending struggle for humanity.
Monday, June 8, 2009
And Ya-Ya Canada comes to the same definitive conclusion by watching the institutional tom-foolery at the expense of Mohamed Harkat:
The information of which CSIS failed to inform the court was that the source who fingered Mohamed Harkat FAILED HIS LIE DETECTOR TEST.Ladies and gentlemen, this whole "terror" thing has been patently revealed as a farce designed to keep Canadians thinking we are in danger of attack by Muslims, and to thereby justify the slaughter of Muslims in Afghanistan.
I attended court on Tuesday morning, and I couldn't believe the lack of professionalism displayed by the people in charge of overseeing Harkat's bail conditions. Just as a for instance, the wrong code was given to Sophie Harkat for the sensor alarm that has to be disarmed and re-armed every time Sophie enters and leaves the room that contains her computer (to which her husband is not allowed access) - which means that the sensor was never functional! What a farce! What a waste of tax dollars!
Not to mention that the Canadian Border Security Agency takes the case so seriously that it appointed a brand new, obviously green supervisor who immediately went on vacation! And when she came back to work she arranged for a massive raid on the Harkat's home - ostensibly to prepare an updated risk assessment but without ever having read the earlier risk assessment.
So, to repeat: There doesn't appear to be much of a threat from terrorism in Canada.
That would all come as a terrible shock to one "Colin" who I wrote about recently, having encountered his revolting personality over at Dr. Dawg's blog. (I say "would ... come as a terrible shock" because Colin has evident difficulties in processing reality and I doubt that any of these facts and arguments could penetrate his cocoon.) "Colin" is deathly afraid of "Islamo-fascist" terrorism and it moves him to the most vivid expressions of murderous rage:
If you think radical islamists hate us because of something we have done you are the biggest fool of all. They hate us because we are not like them. They hate all non-muslims, you included. They would of course refer to you as a useful idiot because you refuse to acknowledge the threat they pose.At this point all I care about is that our armies could with proper political clearance wipe those child-raping, misogynous fuckers off the face of the earth. The simple fucking fact if you want to engage your critical faculties is that no terrorist group can set up camp and use it as a base of operations to attack me. Full stop. Thats all I care about. The rest of the fuckers can sodomize their nephews and marry their nieces, I dont care.If we would drop the silly notion that we have to minimize casualties we could massacre a few villages, wipe the people you consider to be scum out and lets goats graze in peace again. We cant win if we dont kill lots of people. We should get at it because these guys breed like rabbits.
Again, remember that "Colin" is really in no danger at all from the people of Afghanistan. (Though they are at considerable risk from the ramifications of his delusions.) "Colin" has made another telling appearance at Dr. Dawg's since typing that vile outburst. The good doctor was talking about some buffoon sports announcer named Earl McRae who mocks people who want to bring Canadian soldiers home to safety from Afghanistan. McRae is a tuff guy you see. We know this because his grandfather, father, second father and uncles fought in the world wars, with some of them dying in them.
Don't you get it? McRae's a hard-assed, tough-as-nails god of war because men in previous generations of his family fought in wars! It's obvious! (Don't mess with me either people, my grandfather fought in World War I and OCCUPIED GERMANY, so ... well, you know.) What did Sgt. Earl McRock (sorry, "McRae") say about people who didn't want soldiers to die?
I thought of you, Jack Layton. I thought of you and all your other left-wing lollipops who want to bring our brave and committed soldiers home from Afghanistan because you can't stomach that some of them are getting killed -- I thought of you because with your self-righteous intellectual arrogance and colossal stupidity, you just don't get it, and never will.
That's right. They're "lollipops." Wouldn't last a minute in a foxhole with McRae who has probably read lots of illustrated books on war, looked at his uncle's and father's photos from the war, and watched TIME-LIFE documentaries by the dozens.
So, quite naturally, Dr. Dawg and others took to mocking the ridiculous McRae. But that prompted the following from our "Colin":
I guess no-one can support our soldiers or war efforts unless they were war hero's themselves.
A specious argument getting the lefties all hot and bothered.
Must be a slow weekend in the shocked and appalled department...
Which just goes one-million kilometers towards exposing "Colin" as the contemptible coward that he is. For one thing, many of our soldiers are labouring under the delusion that they're bringing "democracy" to Afghanistan. "Colin" doesn't care about that at all. For "Colin" all that matters is that CF people kill Afghans to prevent the establishment of a base for terrorists who most likely don't exist (at least not in the numbers that keeps Colin awake at night pissing the sheets). "Colin" thinks that he's a real he-man himself, when all that he's doing is hiding from his imaginary fears behind the Canadian Forces. What makes him so much more of a tuff guy than us lefties is his nonchalance about CF personell dying to save him from his nightmares.
So again, what's the point of all of this? "Colin" is obviously a complete loser. But observe people, there are actually people killing and dying to service the delusions of losers like our "Colin." There really is a country of roughly 30,000,000 people, being put through the wringer by NATO forces so that they will never again become a base of operations by former US allies who perpetrated an act of terrorism on the USA thanks to (at least) massive incompetence on the part of an unelected Repugnican administration. And some of the citizens voting for these policies and loudly supporting them are idiots like "Colin," forever wetting themselves in panic over this practically non-existent threat and gorging themselves on the witless racism of chickenhawks like Mark Steyn. We really have blown $20,000,000,000 blasting villages to pieces to "protect" them from the Taliban while they're extorted and raped by the government we've installed to replace the Taliban.
"Colin's" stupidity has had enormous practical significance and it's past time we shut these imbeciles (and the parties that pander to them) down.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
My point was that either we Canadians are damned lucky to have escaped the awesome organizational striking power of Islamo-fascist terrorism as our state security forces were pursuing twenty blind alleys, OR it's simply the case that the actual threat of Islamo-fascist terrorism is MINISCULE.
I'd say it's the latter. The USA have lately thwarted yet another attempt by a collection of mentally-challenged individuals being enabled by a Department of Homeland Security informant to commit a terrorist act. A few years back they uncovered a plot by three Muslim men to attack a military base by posing as pizza delivery men and then taking out weapons and ... oh well. They also found another individual with mental problems who intended to take down the Brooklyn Bridge with his welding torch. Oh yeah, two military recruiters were shot dead by a black Muslim convert angry at the rampaging of US troops in the Middle East. (That certainly takes the wind out of the "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" sails, doesn't it?)
The main thing is that this "threat" is the saddest diversion for a corporate political con job as one could imagine. This "threat" is the most ridiculous excuse for destroying hard-won rights as could be possibly imagined. But this threat still has practical implications for hundreds of millions of people. The Cold War, pitting the imperialist-capitalist West against the imperialist-totalitarian-Stalinist USSR and PRC was embarrassing enough, but this "War on Terror" rises nowhere near enough to that conflict as a serious danger and ideological struggle.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Now, before anyone thinks that I'm getting all misty-eyed about our political-legal system, fear not. Too much has already happened and it's a shame that it's taken this long for the moronic harpercon government to hear this news and receive this comeuppance. What Judge Zinn told the government was elementary:
One cannot prove that fairies and goblins do not exist any more than Mr. Abdelrazik or any other person can prove that they are not an Al-Qaida associate. It is a fundamental principle of Canadian and international justice that the accused does not have the burden of proving his innocence, the accuser has the burden of proving guilt. In light of these shortcomings, it is disingenuous of the respondents to submit, as they did, that if he is wrongly listed the remedy is for Mr. Abdelrazik to apply to the 1267 [U.N.]Committee for de-listing and not to engage this Court. The 1267 Committee regime is, as I observed at the hearing, a situation for a listed person not unlike that of Josef K. in Kafka’s The Trial, who awakens one morning and, for reasons never revealed to him or the reader, is arrested and prosecuted for an unspecified crime..
And there's a lot of room for improvement with our society. There are too many racist morons who have enabled this government to violate the rights of Abdelrazik, Maher Arar, Abdullah Almalki, Muayyed Nurredin, Ahmad El-Maati, Mohamed Harkat and others, and the fact of the matter remains that the harpercons are Canadians' second choice for governing this country, with the Liberal Party (which wrote the Anti-Terrorism Act and oversaw the initial incarcerations and sufferings of all these men) is their first choice.
But here's something else to chew on. Obviously CSIS and the RCMP are institutions with limited resources. It seems that they have chosen to direct these limited resources into colossal wastes of time, harassing and torturing a fairly large group of individuals who appear to be completely innocent. What do all our "security" forces have to show for all this expensive racial profiling? Currently there are about less than ten young men being charged with plotting terrorism and the details of that case show a police informant egging-on a group of young Muslim men who had been doing nothing more than blowing smoke on the internet.
This is what's known as a waste of resources. And given the enormity of this waste it's a wonder that Canada hasn't been subjected to a number of terrorist attacks while these institutions were attending meetings and reading and writing reports about the detaining and torturing of these innocent men. But then again, perhaps this threat of terrorism is pretty much NON-EXISTENT, since there haven't been any attacks and no confirmed, verifiable reports of thwarted attacks. Regardless, the "threat" is certainly not great enough to justify shredding our civil liberties.
In other "law and order" news, the idiotic, contemptibly stupid harpercons are passing mandatory sentencing legislation, presumably in some typically insane desire to ape the failed policies of USian neanderthals and authoritarians. Please note that they are being provided with crucial assistance in this plan to fill up our jails (and later, the private prisons of their corporate asshole friends) and to render more Canadians unemployable, by the federal Liberals.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
You stupid, incompetent, corporate shill, if you're terrified of facing the electorate then it's time to allow yourself to be bullied and pushed around.
It's as simple as that.
Own it you piece of shit.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Now me, I'm a socialist with anarchist leanings. And my anarchism is based on the school of anarchism that tries to take liberalism to its logical conclusions. Red tories (if I'm not mistaken) believe that liberal individualism is dangerous to social cohesion. They believe that inequality is inevitable in society but must be tempered by responsibility (by all ranks of society but especially from those who receive the most). I would say that their philosophical differences with someone like me stems from their belief that humanity is not perfectable, but that it is flawed, and values, traditions, etc., should not be lightly discarded as they are what stand between us and our animal passions.
I can't say that I disagree though, with the notion that people are flawed and that structures are needed to contain our dangerous flaws. I believe that a decentralization of power AND the rule of democratically arrived at laws (AND probably a bunch of other things that I don't have time to think about and type out right now) under anarchism is a better structure for containing human appetites than the structure that seeks to preserve order combined with responsible rulers.
There, that's my post for the day. I'm so busy I'm not linking to anything! Bye.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Che Guevera, Their America & Ours: Che, Kennedy and the debate on free trade
Peter Urmetzer, From Free Trade to Forced Trade: Canada in the Global Economy
Geoffrey Kurtz, "A Socialist State of Grace: The Radical Reformism of Jean Jaures," New Political Science, Vol. 28, Number 3, September 2006.
... back to work!
Monday, June 1, 2009
But what will a recovery look like given that much of the world economy was humming along on growing household debt and the speculative frenzy of the "mortgage-backed securities" and "credit default swaps"?
My guess is that by "recovery" our elites mean only that they will avert an economic meltdown and that the new economic equilibrium that will be established will be a far poorer version of the dismal showing of the past twenty years (which were a marked step-down from the progress of the 1950-1970s decades).
What makes that scenario unlikely though is the absence of two of the things that made economic growth (such as it was) possible in the 1990s and 2000-09 era: the "financialization" of a functioning manufacturing sector caused by corporate deregulation and, most importantly, the enormous growth of household debt. With no consumers and no real manufacturing the elites will be forced to rely on government debt and a lower level of household spending by an increasingly insecure workforce.
We can either have that or we can have a political-economic revolution.