Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Bounty Paid For Arresting Tony Blair

From George Monbiot. It sounds like a great idea!
Encouraging citizens’ arrests of Tony Blair for the crime of aggression is perhaps the only remaining option we have, and the astonishing response to the campaign I launched last week shows that many people understand this. In 30 hours, before Paypal blocked the account without notice, the bounty fund at www.arrestblair.org, which rewards people trying to arrest the former prime minister for crimes against peace, cleared £9000. Since then it has been harder to produce a running total, but further pledges, electronic transfers and Tipit contributions amount to several thousand pounds more, and are still coming in at the rate of hundreds of pounds a day. The volume of correspondence has been overwhelming too: it will take weeks to reply to all the pledges and letters of support. There is a massive public appetite to see justice done.

Perhaps something like this will be necessary in Canada. Paul Martin for Haiti. Stephen Harper for the mistreatment of prisoners in Afghanistan.

Of course, some people might disagree. Some people think that we had the right to overthrow Aristide or that all the people we captured in Afghanistan are scum-bags with no claim on human rights. But those people are idiots and I don't worry at all what they think.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Global Warming Readings

I'm not scientifically inclined. I'm a very broad, sloppy thinker really. What I try to do to keep safe from justifiable ridicule is to stick close to subjects (such as foreign policy) that are more amporphous, while at the same time more based on clear, moral principles [ie., "don't slaughter innocent people"].

I've pretty much stayed out of the subject of global warming, because I was always pretty sure that I wouldn't understand the scientific points of controversy that are said to exist. I've always leaned towards supporting the side who say that global warming is a threat because I believe that our pollution-spewing lifestyles are unsustainable in any case and that living more simply and sanely is a desirable goal. Furthermore, I'm attracted to the global warming case because of the quality (really the lack thereof) of its detractors. I will grant to the deniers that it's always possible for the accepted scientific consensus to be wrong. It's always possible that the lonely maverick, gettin' all mavericky with the maverick theories and the maverick data can be right. Just because the vast majority of climatoligists say something, it doesn't mean they're inevitably right. For all I know, the climatology journals might be the preserve of a clique that suppresses genuine opposing views. That might all be possible. But it's also possible that since the majority of activist deniers are screeching lunatics, brain-dead shit-heads, and oil-industry hacks, that the climatologists (the vast majority of people with something intelligent to say on the subject) are right.

Sure, the science of climatology might be a tiny clique. But to say that they're a conspiracy? That's insane!

Let's look at what the climate change conspiracy advocates are saying. They argue that the governments of Europe, of the US, of Canada, of China and India, and indeed of much of the rest of the world-governments that rarely agree on anything, I might point out-are acting in concert to promote a bogus claim that the earth is heating up because of man-made release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. They claim that this conspiracy is being supported by the almost universal connivance of the world's scientists, who are collectively falsifying data and hiding countervailing data. And all this is happeningthey assert, despite the almost universal opposition of the world's corporations, most of which, we know, are resisting having governments take any serious action to combat climate change, and in many cases (look at the US Chamber of Commerce), are actively challenging the whole notion of climate change.

To believe in such a far-reaching conspiracy theory, one would have to first deny all the evidence before our eyes. But then one would also have to believe that the US, China, and Europe, as well as other countries, are in league. You would also have to assume that thousands of tenured scientists-a group with a disproportionate number of large egos and people with a penchant for disputation and controversy, I might add-are all working in concert to bury information and create a false theory. Finally, you would have to believe that all this effort is being made in order to pursue an economy-crippling strategy of making fossil fuels more expensive that is directly in opposition to the wishes of virtually the entire capitalist system.


And if they're merely a clique suppressing dissent? Given the vast resources of the self-interested carbon-fuels industry and its allies, wouldn't it have been possible to fund a rival scholarly journal staffed by the supposed legions of frustrated anti-global warming climatologists and have at it in a respectable, academic, scientific fashion? It would be possible if such scientists exist, however it appears that they don't.

What about the theory advanced on the left-wing side by Alexander Cockbourn, that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by liberal elites, liberal "environmentalist" organizations that are more interested in raising funds than in saving the environment, and carbon-fuels industries that want massive public subsidies to "explore" cleaner fuels (which also gives the nuclear power industry a new lease on life) and such? Well, Cockbourn's an intelligent guy, but in this instance, he appears to be letting his ego and his prejudices get the better of him.
But there is no elephant trap he is incapable of falling into. He now cites a “paper” by Professor Zbigniew Jaworowski, published in 21st century Science and Technology. It sounds impressive, doesn’t it? But the briefest check would have established that this is not only not a scientific journal, it is in fact an anti-scientific journal. It is owned and published by Lyndon Larouche. Larouche is the ultra-rightwing US demagogue who in 1989 received a 15-year sentence for conspiracy, mail fraud and tax code violations. He has claimed that the British royal family is running an international drugs syndicate, that Henry Kissinger is a communist agent and that the British government is controlled by Jewish bankers. He sees science and empiricism as yet another conspiracy, and uses 21st Century Science and Technology to wage war against them.
...
He has waded unprepared into this debate and as his errors are exposed, he lashes out with ever wilder accusations and conspiracy theories. In his attack on the 9/11 truth movement, he rightly complains that “the conspiracy is always open-ended as to the number of conspirators, widening steadily to include all the people involved in the execution and cover-up …. “. Now he invokes a conspiracy that widens steadily to include thousands of climate scientists: “the beneficiaries of the $2 billion-a-year global warming grant industry”. Even the most cursory research would have shown that climate scientists have been consistently punished by the grant-givers in the Bush government for speaking out on global warming and rewarded for hushing it up - you can read more here: http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2007/04/10/the-real-climate-censorship/. Should anyone be surprised by this? Or is Bush now part of the conspiracy too?

Because, if it's true (and I've always suspected that it is), global warming could bring catastrophe and death to billions of people, and severely destroy the quality of life of billions more, I've decided to put my plodding limitations aside and actually study this issue. In that regard, I've begun reading two books, James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore's Climate Cover-Up: The crusade to deny global warming and George Monbiot's Heat: How to stop the planet from burning.

I started Hoggan and Littlemore's book first because it dealt with the sort of easy humanities/social-sciences stuff that I can digest, talking about the political campaign against global warming. I must say that it's gripping stuff. As a progressive blogger I've encountered the names "Tim Ball" and "Lord Monckton" from time-to-time, but I've never had their chicanery laid-out so plainly before. One important point from the book is that the so-called "debate" on global warming consists of climate scientists with peer-reviewed studies on one side, and meaningless petitions, signed by undergraduates, senile former-specialists in other unrelated disciplines, liars, hacks and frauds on the other. None of these scientists (or "scientists") appear to actually write anything.

I just got started on Heat in the wee hours last night. But the thing about Monbiot is that he doesn't just bitch about things. He proposes solutions. He claims that in his book he shows how humanity can reduce our carbon emissions by 90% without destroying our advanced industrial civilization. I just got past his foreward for the Canadian edition and its soberting.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Anti-War Movement Crippled By Violence

Now, I'd like to make something clear in this, my fourth post on the topic of violent protest. I don't advocate violence. I don't advocate violence but at the same time I don't condemn violence and I don't reject it as a tactic.

One of the knee-jerk statements that comes out of the pathological anti-violence mentality is how violent actions discredit noble causes and ruin the many hours, days, weeks, months of hard-slogging of non-violent activism. Violence undercuts the achievements, or the potential achievements of "movement building," "education," "dialogue" (with elites) and etc., etc., that non-violent activists do. The general public is alienated from a progressive cause because some rowdy, disreputable, individualists with no real ties to anybody but themselves, engage in frightening violent actions.

In earlier posts I've mentioned that there's actually precious little evidence for any of that. But today I'd just like to offer a thought experiment: How do we account for the total failure of the anti-war movement to influence Canada's role in Afghanistan? It's been eight years now, the Canadian public is as opposed to the war as it's always been. It's difficult to say that the anti-war movement can claim much credit for this. The publics' opposition to the war has always ranged somewhere between 50-60% and this has probably been as much the result of the news' reporting on the lack of progress and the steady trickle of dead Canadian soldiers as anything peaceful protesters did.

What impact did we have on the actual politicians who make the decisions? I'd say they're more constrained by budgetary limitations than any worry about public opinion. Thinking about it now, Canada's government has strained its military to the limit to fulfil its obligations in Afghanistan, there's been no pulling-back on that front.

"Things would have been worse without our efforts!" the anti-war movement could say. Except it's devilishly hard to prove a negative. Direct-action types could just as groundlessly say that things would have been better if there'd been more support for more physical expressions of dissent.

And, at the end of the day, eight years is a long fucking time. Eight years of corruption. Eight years of killing. Eight years of torture. Eight years of wasting billions of dollars that could have gone to social programs. Eight years of fraud and cover-ups. Eight years that our "educating the public" has consisted of preaching to the converted. Eight years of standing around impotently holding anti-war signs. Eight years where we had the majority of public opinion on our side and it's counted for shit.

Now, as harsh as my words sound, I'm not really trying to trash the anti-war movement. I'm more concerned with demolishing the vapid, self-defeating condemnation of violence as a tactic, or a justifiable response to inhuman greed and sadism.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reply to No_Blah_Blah_Blah

I don't have a lot of time today, so I'll post my response to No_Blah_Blah_Blah's comment at this post.

No-blah:

I'm a little surprised over the somewhat widespread anger over the few broken windows. I suspect it has something more to do with this incident being an outlet for people to vent their rage at the protesters for raining on their Olympic party. Really, I wouldn't consider isolated vandalism to be "violence."

Well, I was referring to a lot of progressive bloggers who were already opposed to the Olympics.

Regarding your bit about just who exactly is doing the protesting, I'm talking about violence done by genuine activists. Provocateurs and amoral trouble-makers weren't the topic of the discussion, though I did refer to the way they're used to "discredit" genuine protest.

I don't think that broken windows can discredit an idea, but, unfortunately, it can discredit groups of people in the eyes of the public... the physical version of an ad hominem, I suppose. In an ideal world, ideas like human rights shouldn't need people campaigning for them.

As long as change is pursued through democratic means, public support is necessary. For better or for worse, that means that things like smashing windows will not accomplish much if anything.

But I tried to address that issue. If the general public turns against a worthy cause for such a lame-ass reason, can we truly say that they were ever onside in the first place?

Where is the evidence (for instance) that were it not for the smashing of some windows, there would have been anything of value done to address the homelessness, the profiteering, etc., at the Olympics?

Do these people who say that the violent protesters ruined everything have any actual evidence that, say, the voters in B.C. are going to tax the gains of the greedy who profited from the games and use them to restore funding for cancelled surgeries?

About your last bit, how our elites might be sowing the seeds of their own destruction, greater than anything a window-smasher could conceive, I'll add that when it comes to global warming, toxins in the environment, destruction of the earth's abiltiy to support human life, etc., that ALL OF US are vulnerable to those ill-effects.

If some well-placed direct action was to give those elites pause on their mad quest to threaten humanity, would the whole process be "discredited" because of some violence?

Monday, February 22, 2010

What's Another Year in Afghanistan?

After eight years of a corrupt, brutal, unelected puppet-government, propped-up by foreign troops and gangster warlords? After eight years of arresting farmers, some of whom joined the insurgency in response to the depredations of the torturing, thieving, raping government forces, and others who hadn't taken up arms against anyone at anytime, and handing them over to that same Afghan government where they were tortured, perhaps killed?

After eight years of subjecting our own troops to witnessing children being raped at the hands of the government forces we're propping-up, arming and training?

After eight years of civilians killed by NATO air-strikes?

What's one more year of this?
NATO forces confirmed in a statement that its planes fired Sunday on a group of vehicles that it believed contained insurgents who were about to attack its forces, only to discover later that women and children were in the cars.The strike hit three minibuses that were driving down a major road in the mountainous province. There were 42 people in the vehicles, all civilians, Bashary said.

The careers of several Canadian politicians must be destroyed as a result of this abomination.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Margaret Wente Wrote About Tiger Woods' Apology ...

Oh, but of course I couldn't read it! The idea of that bimbo's thoughts about an subject that's already so banal that thinking about it kills your brain cells is terrifying enough! I wouldn't have thought such a thing possible until the Mayan Calendar runs out in 2012, when it could serve as one of the causes of the end of the world.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Still more violence ...

A couple more observations on violent protest, on top of this post and this post.

By not condemning violence if it is employed in the interest of causes that I support, don't I leave myself open for the chaos that will result if other people, whose causes I reject, also resort to violence?

To a degree. But context is everything. If somebody runs at you and tackles you, your reaction will be quite different if the person was trying to push you out of the way of an oncoming car than if that person was just trying to assault you. In the same way, violence used to advance good causes is different from violence used for bad causes.

Ah! But who decides??? That would be the same people who make these judgment calls among different ideas and causes today. Just as we can differentiate between somebody assaulting us from somebody trying to save us, we differentiate between anger and violence over increasing poverty, obscene levels of corruption, and policies of imperialism and racism, and violence employed to keep people down, suppress democracy, and service imperialism and racism.

Obviously, nut-bars on the right believe that their causes are right and just. So what? I condemn their ideas today, I condemn their violence today (in the case of unjustified evictions, racist policing policies or the wholesale slaughter of their wars) and I will condemn their stupidity and violence when they decide to attack decent people in their incoherent rage tomorrow.

The point is to get beyond this scare-word "violence" and realize that "violence" always depends upon context. As I said in my first post in this series, we employ violence when we make a meal in the kitchen. You can employ violence to push somebody out of harm's way. You can smash windows as a fire-fighter, an anti-poverty activist, or as a racist bully. It's all in the intent. We need to get beyond this irrational visceral response to the word and the deed and see what the violence is being used for.

"But that's messy and dangerous!"

Agreed. It is messy and dangerous. There will be disputes, and some people will take things too far. You might be surprised to read this, but I believe that employing certain types of violence (for whatever reason) does distort one's soul. But that's life. Growing older deforms and weakens our bodies but we have no choice. Building a better world might necessitate difficult decisions, but there you have it.

Imagine a world where a corrupt, sadistic ruling elite lords it over 98% of humanity and besides keeping people in grinding, humiliating poverty, they often, for sport, grab individuals at random and publicly torture them. Imagine that the 98% humanity that is subjected to this abuse has been brainwashed to believe that they must never raise a hand against this ruling elite and as a result, members of this elite can walk among their victims alone and unafraid. Imagine further, that this abused population rises up in anger and revulsion at anyone who snaps and vandalizes symbols of the ruling elite (statues, buildings, posters). After shaming these individuals (who remain, mind you, just as incapable of attacking their masters physically as everyone else) and abandoning them to their fate, they go about their business. But some of them recognize the injustices of their society (indeed, it is from these few that the violent malcontents often emerge, which only serves to "discredit" the pro-justice activists in the eyes of the rest of the population) and they often write letters explaining why things are unjust and what needs to be done to correct them. Or, in the case of the particularly egregious torture of an individual, they're sometimes able to collect many signatures on a petition protesting this torture and present it to their masters.

This provides some of the best sport to the masters however. Being amoral psychopaths, they are entirely indifferent to complaints about the suffering they cause. Actually, they enjoy hearing how upset people get in the face of their torture and misery. They take sport in making threatening hints to people foolish enough to sign these petitions (which is why the majority of people have sense to stay away from these dangerous things) and they cackle amongst themselves reading these bleating protests.

I would submit to you that we're not all that far from such a state of affairs right now. Our leaders are amoral psychopaths who are beyond shame and beyond the control of the law. Yet, in a lengthy debate on the subject of violent protest (in fact, it was in Vancouver, protesting the rise in homelessness at the beginning of this Olympics madness) one person was so bent out of shape at the idea of violence that he or she equated my refusal to condemn the breaking of a lamp and the scattering of some paper with advocating for the assassination of the premier of British Columbia!

Finally, before I forget, I'd like to quickly address something that I'll talk about at length later: the notion that violence doesn't work. The thing is, sometimes it does. Also, non-violence sometimes doesn't work either.

Friday, February 19, 2010

More Random Thoughts on Violence

Continuing from yesterday's post, I shall offer yet more of my disconnected thoughts on the issue of violent protest!

My first commentator on that post was a banned right-wing blogger who no doubt googled some random quote about non-violence and cut and pasted it here. My response to the dip-shit is that he cheered on bush II's invasion of Iraq, so that cuts the whole "non-violence" shtick off at the knee-caps, doesn't it?

It's so fucking convenient, isn't it? The clown gets to have his imperialist war, and then he also gets to sanctimoniously lecture decent people that if they get so enraged against the evil system, they must never, never, ever lash-out in a way that might have real consequences for the perpetrators because violence never solves anything.

That's called rank hypocrisy.

My other commenter was "law librarian" who insists that every "Black Bloc" protester is probably a police provocateur. As evidence, "law librarian" refers to the stupid galoots from the Surete de Quebec at the rallies against the SPP in Montebello. My partner witnessed something similar at the anti-WTO rally in Montreal a few years ago, how during a peaceful march a few punks (I'll explain) started throwing rocks through windows and this then led to the massive police crackdown on everyone present. The next day, she and I were walking around downtown Montreal and she pointed to a very tall, very skinny young man with a "Mohawk" of 20 cm. of spiked green hair. This was one of the half-dozen protesters who had started throwing rocks. There were cops surrounding the march, including police on the roof-tops. That this distinctive-looking young man could have genuinely escaped the police cordon after having quite obviously instigated the window-smashing beggared belief.

Does this mean that any and all violent protesters will be agents provocateurs? Obviously not. Lots of demonstrations in contemporary Europe have their violent elements. They're obviously not all police agents.

But here's the thing: the police in North America do these things to 1) "Justify" their overboard, heavy-handed stifling of dissent and the harassment of anti-corporate activists, and 2) "Discredit" the protesters in general. Let's deal with both of these motivations, shall we?

1) The use of state brutality cannot, it simply CANNOT be justified by a few broken windows. Blaming genuinely angry protesters for a brutal police crackdown is like blaming somebody for an abusive husband's violence if all they did was convince the wife to stand up for herself. ["Don't confront him, you'll just make him angrier."] The longer we go along with this sort of enabling of state violence, the longer we will have to deal with the steady diminishing of our civil rights and our reputation as a democratic society. If a few windows get smashed, or some corporate-stooge's office gets trashed, big fucking hairy deal. People are literally dying in the streets in this, one of the richest countries in the world, because of the policies of these scum-bags. And more people are dying in Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Gaza, Honduras, etc., etc., because of these policies. We should loudly insist that the police refrain from the smothering of dissent.

2) It remains entirely obscure to me how smashing a window can "discredit" a worthy cause. How does physical damage to property (especially the property of some giant corporate entity) "discredit" the case against the inhuman greed and folly being exhibited at the Vancouver Olympics? (To see how far this insanity can go, bear in mind that some idiots believed the protesters who dropped banners calling for action on global-warming from the roof of the Parliament Building in Ottawa before the Copenhagen conference were accused of "violence" that should be met with harsh reprisals! Supposedly their actions "discredited" the case for saving the planet!)

What is the metaphysical process whereby destroying an inanimate object "discredits" a immaterial concept such as social justice or human rights? How does this work exactly?

Obviously, this whole notion is intellectual garbage. What most people who say this mean is that the cause is "discredited" in the eyes of the general public. When faced with the terrifying images of a few skinny leftists smashing a window at an HBC outlet, the general public, as one, says "I was prepared to think that tripling the homeless population of Vancouver and raising the deficit in British Columbia to the extent that all sorts of worthy social programs and health care services are going to be slashed 'discredited' the Vancouver Olympics, but now I think the Olympics are awesome! The private greed being so richly rewarded is a beautiful thing, all because a window was smashed."

I don't know, I could go on and on parodying this stupid drivel. The level of incoherence is so ... I'm literally staggered.

First of all, some stupid couch potato who doesn't have a clue about any of the pressing issues of the day, (or if they do, haven't done the minimum level of thinking to have a goddamned opinion about them) isn't going to be onside with us anyway, okay? If you can't rouse these stupid buggers to even have a fucking opinion about something after years of activism and attempts at public education, why the FUCK should we assume that these people were going to join us in our causes until the violent protesters "discredited" everything? I mean really?

The fact of the matter is that the dialogue is going on between the activists and the elites. The general public, to the extent that they remain oblivious or without an opinion on a subject, HAVE NOTHING TO SAY. Why do I say that they have nothing to say? Because it's all part of being ignorant or indifferent about a subject, okay? Are we clear? Sure, these people can be polled "What do you think about the violent protesters?" and they'd no doubt say that they feel negatively towards them, but who cares? Were they going to do something for the cause until they heard about the vandalism? No? Well then, what's the fucking point?

My last random point on this topic today is to deal with the truism that in a contest between the general public and the coercive powers of a modern state, the general public will lose. The forces of the state are so pervasive, well-armed, well-trained, that there's no question but that we will lose should we confront them.

No shit Sherlock.

But please to observe, if the Vancouver window-smashers were genuine left-wing, direct-action anarchists, they were not trying to topple the Canadian state with their window-smashing. They were therefore NOT in a genuine physical contest between themselves and the forces of the state for control over this country. They were trying to make a point. They were trying to draw attention to their anger and frustration at the obscene corporate greed on display, the cruelty towards fellow human beings, evicted and tossed on the streets so that some landlord could make a quick profit, and etc., and so forth. [Now, we can debate the tactical brilliance of that, so long as people leave at home the straw-man argument about public opinion that I've already trashed upstairs.]

If, from time-to-time, an activist does something like, oh I don't know, splatter red paint on some politician responsible for torture and mass-murder, the LAST things we should do is give a shit if your average ignoramus barks like a trained seal about how BAD that act of protest was, or consent to the state-suppression of dissent as a "justifiable" response to this protest, or to imagine that the protester is engaged in some Quixotic attempt to take over the country by force and that we have no choice but to root for the forces of order.

To conclude, here's a video of Gilbert Gottfried making fun of Andrew Dice Clay. If you're too young (or old) to know what's going on, don't worry about it. It's not that important.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Random Thoughts on Violence

Thanks to the failure of my career I'm home a lot more! So why haven't I been blogging as much with all the free time? Simple. There's a very gregarious two-and-a-half-year-old in my house with me who takes up most of my time and energy. While I was often able to spend half-an-hour at work on blogging (it wasn't an assembly-line job), I was also free from the ramblings of a toddler filling the space between my ears during his every waking moment. It takes me just half-an-hour to get the conversations his toys were having out of my head.

This is all a long way to go about saying that I want to comment on the recent violent protest against Vancouver's Owe-limpicks greed-fest, which got the progressive blog-o-sphere in a tizzy a couple of days ago, but I don't have the time to write anything particularly coherent or structured.

Don't pretend that breaking the window of a major corporation is an assault upon our whole way of life and civilization itself. Sometimes a broken window is just a broken window. Sometimes rage against the machine is just that, and not a call for complete mayhem and cannibalism.

Don't pretend that non-violent protest was just SECONDS away from achieving all sorts of great (if undefined) things, but then the violent protests ruined everything, and it will all be snatched away now. This makes no sense. Why would a set of elites who were prepared to grant some concessions as a result of months of dialogue with some respectable activists renege on those promises because some strangers threw a brick through a window?

Instead of distancing ourselves from the occasional outburst of justified violence ("Bad protester! Bad!") perhaps respectable, non-violent activists could turn to the elite scum they're forever petitioning and say "If you don't deal with us, eventually you'll have to deal with more of them."

"Violence is never justified." This is so much bullshit that I can't stand it. "Violence" is just a word. We commit acts of violence every time we go to the kitchen to fix ourselves a meal! We slice into defenceless vegetables, we fry eviscerated chunks of flesh, we masticate stuff to pulp between our teeth. Technically, that's "violence." And this is an important point, because a window is just a thing, as a carrot is just a thing. It doesn't matter to the window if it gets smashed. Who does care? I guess the person who owned the window. What if the person who owns the window subcontracts the assembly of their shoes to sweatshop operators who physically abuse their employees and pay them slave-wages? What if that window owner also teams-up with other captains of industry to finance paramilitary death-squads in the countries where they assemble their products to kill trade-union organizers and mutilate their remains? What then? If you continue to wail and gnash your teeth in the face of this violence against a plate-glass window, then we'll have to agree to disagree. You'll think that I'm a crazed fanatic and I'll think you've got some seriously fucked-up priorities.

What do we think would have happened without the threat of violence against autocracies in the past? What do we think our corporate masters would think if they were certain that the worst they would ever have to suffer for their crimes against humanity was a "facebook" group and an afternoon's rally?

Well, that's all the time we have this week folks! Tune-in next time when my guests will be Yasmin Bleeth, Kurt Waldheim, and Chuck Norris!

Monday, February 15, 2010

We Won't Stop Them ...

There's no real reason to get excited. Even if harper is sent packing, it'll be a Liberal minority. Just watch Michael "Internationalist" Ignatieff turn into harper-lite. Even if the NDP hold the balance of power, it'll be meaningless.

Who could truly believe that the NDP wouldn't suddenly become "responsible and pragmatic" when they're actually in a position to affect things?

But still, disciplining harper will temporarily slow them in their arrogance.

Friday, February 12, 2010

No Matter How Thin You Slice It, It's Still Baloney!!!

If I really cared, I could just go over to Brian's stupid blog and get the pro-war spin on NATO plans to bribe "moderate Taliban" to stop fighting. Or, I could go to Terry Glavin's stupid blog, and get the same thing with a load of self-satisfied self-praise and idiotic trashing of anti-war types as being members of the leftist-islamo-fascist conspiracy.

But those guys are delusional dunces. They'll just say that this is more of the same sort of successful policy like bush II's "surge" and the resultant "Anbar Awakening" that saw Sunni Iraq repudiate the Taliban and stop fighting the USA. Of course, anyone who says that the USA's occupation of Iraq was a success is nobody we should be expected to take seriously. The Sunnis accepted the reality that they were out-gunned and out-numbered and it therefore made sense to stop fighting in return for money, money, lots of money, from the USA. But Iraq remains a hell-hole and the government is employing the same torture and oppression as did Saddam Hussein's.

All the media reporting on these overtures to "moderate Taliban" mentioned that the Karzai government's corruption and incompetence drove these Afghans into the insurgency. Well, bribes from NATO to angry Pashtun farmers isn't going to make Karzai's government any less corrupt, incompetent, brutal or unelected. The existence of these "moderate Taliban" also shows the non-Taliban nature of the much of the insurgency.

I mean, can we, at long last, connect the dots here? Okay: NATO is hoping to enter into talks with "moderate Taliban" to try to get them to stop fighting the Karzai government. This involves paying them money not to fight. The media reports that these "moderate Taliban" are mostly driven by the "incompetence and corruption" of the Afghan government. Toss in brutality and criminality and there's your whole picture right there.

"Oh that's the wingnut, leftist, anti-American Guardian newspaper you're quoting from!" bleat the delusional, pro-war idiots. Okay, fine. NATO wants to go into talks with "moderate Taliban" who only want to throw diluted acid into school-girls' faces, who only want punish really, really unchaste Afghan women by throwing smaller rocks at them than the original Taliban did, and who only sorta want to impose a kinda totalitarian religous semi-fanaticism on their people and the rest of the world.

Nah, let's go back to reality and sanity. The puppet-Karzai heads an unpopular, unelected government that is incompetent, corrupt, and brutal and which has alienated scores of Afghans (mainly among the Pashtun, the country's largest ethnic group). At the end of eight bloody years, it is just as incompetent, brutal and corrupt as it was at the start. Being so unpopular, bloody and criminal, it has produced a growing insurgency comprised of people we admit we have no other quarrel with. That's why we've decided to call them "moderate Taliban" and enter into peace-talks with them.

If they agree and only a sliver of support remains with the genuine Taliban, that doesn't detract from the fact that for eight long years, just as us critics on the left have been insisting, we have been fighting and killing and dying for an ignoble cause. Not only that, but blithely, stupidly, betrayed our supposed values and become complicit in war crimes! Our governments could have spent more money on creating a stable, honest government in Afghanistan. Our governments could have spent less on killing Afghans and more on providing them with jobs and incomes (just as I was prepared to accept that we might, but correctly doubted).

If, after eight long years, our fearful leaders decide that they'll change tactics slightly, and provide money to people abused and robbed by our incompetent and corrupt puppet-government, that's no real cause for celebration. It's an admission of complete failure. It's an admission that the country was a mess, is a mess, and will stay a mess, despite our latest policy of bribing people not to fight. If only a sliver of the insurgency is genuinely fanatical Taliban, then we've driven tens of thousands of people into their arms through OUR brutality, corruption, and arrogance.

That means that those Western governments who were quite happy to have their soldiers fight, kill and die to defend a corrupt, brutal puppet-government are directly responsible for the sufferings and deaths of their military personell, because they could have (at any time!) stopped with the expensive air-strikes and other military "solutions" and instead addressed the genuine grievances of the people we are fighting. But the reasons they didn't do this FROM THE START are the reasons why, after eight goddamned years, they're doing such a half-assed job of things now. And that's the reason the reconciliation will be only a partial, tentative affair. Our leaders are psychopaths, completely detached from the most obvious connections between their actions and their consequences.

And the fact that there existed throughout and exists today, a genuinely sane, rational, alternative viewpoint to this campaign of waste and slaughter, and that it continues to be denigrated as "unserious" and unfit for power, is a testimony to the complete insanity of our present political culture.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Dear John" - - - deleted scenes

Jeeziz-H-Kee-Rice!!! So the number one movie in the USA last week is some sappy flick called "Dear John" in which a young woman falls in love with a young man but their romance is punctured by his constantly being sent overseas as a special-forces soldier in the post-9-11 era???

It's never revealed in the movie just where he is or what he's doing. Mayhap that's because what the US special-forces do is pretty nasty, and watching truthful representations of our Dear John's work would turn the stomachs of the uninitiated, and make them less likely to see him as a romantic dreamboat, and more like a twisted, psychopathic monster.

Still, the filmmakers don't want to shirk their patriotic duty. So, for the uninitiated, there's the DVD that will come out in about a year, and all the people who l-o-o-o-ved the movie will buy it and then check out the "director's cut" wherein they'll discover that they didn't leave anything out. It's just that after having spent a year swooning about "Dear John" viewers will be more prepared to see what he was up to during those long, bittersweet months away.

Hand-cuffing teenagers and shooting them in the head in Afghanistan.

Dressing-up in native Afghan garb and throwing acid in school-girls' faces to discredit the Taliban.

Torturing to death some completely confused middle-aged Arab father who has a name similar to some other guy who some torture victim claimed was a terrorist.

Getting his rocks off in a Syrian brothel with some Iraqi MILF who has no other source of income since her husband was killed and their house stolen from them.

Training Colombian paramilitaries on the nuances of hacking peasants to pieces with machetes and blaming it on the FARC.

In all seriousness, the sort of drivel like this "Dear John" movie is just another way the system creates brain-dead, consuming morons who sit passively, stupidly, and simply accept that the USA invades other countries, shoots dead entire families at road check-points, massacres civilians, trains death-squads. They accept it because some of the torturers are kinda cute, at least when they're portrayed in Hollywood movies.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's Official: Canadians are as Ignorant & Ugly as USians

We helped topple the elected president of Haiti and helped install an interim regime of murderers to destroy the deposed president's political party. Our media had reported jack-shit about this, and most Canadians appeared not to care anyway.

We've spent 8 years in Afghanistan and the place is still a basket-case, with a fraudulent election returning a puppet president who hates the asshole NATO countries who preserve his limited power. He's surrounded by gangster-warlords who rape and torture with impunity. We're fighting an enemy that was never popular with the majority of the country and they've been gaining in strength for years. We've passively stood by while our government has presided over this torture and rape and murder. (Some of us have spoken out. Some of us have stood to be counted. But it's been as little specks in a sea of apathy or delusion or sadism.)

It's getting to the point where I just don't give a shit about this country. If the vast majority of Canadians want to self-righteously masturbate themselves about how they're so superior to our political system, while doing nothing to provide any evidence for this superiority, and the remainder appear content to wallow in ignorant, deluded loyalty to either the Liberals or the harpercons, then fuck 'em.

Everybody else can cheer on the strangers in the red and white at the fucking olympics. If Canada really is a place that countenances war, murder, torture, rape and theft (either of our own First Nations, or of Haitians or Afghans or Palestinians) then I want nothing to do with it. I can't bring myself to scream like an idiot for an illusion.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dred Tory Speaks ...

You really oughta read it:
Canada has just lost its first war, after having dragged over a hundred of its bravest souls into futile slaughter, without having earned a single battle honour worthy of being affixed to any of our regimental colours, and without being able to promise those on whose behalf our fallen gave their lives a future measurably better than the one to which they were sadly resigned in the year 2000. It shall take us a while, I think, before we fully grasp the depth and magnitude of this catastrophe. Western military impotence has not been this luridly exhibited since Augustus lost three legions in a German forest.
...
In fact, if we had enough moral capacity to weigh rightly the full extent of the Afghan tragedy, our menfolk would this hour be joyfully parading down Sussex Street, in review order, brandishing the severed heads of our political and military leadership stuck high upon pikes, with our women dancing and throwing garlands before the throng.

Oh yeah, and this fool's mission's casualties? Via Jim Bobby it appears they're ten-times worse than we'd been led to believe.
More than 6,000 Canadian Forces members and discharged veterans who are receiving physical or psychiatric disability benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada have either served in Afghanistan or have a disability that has been related to their service in Afghanistan, the department says.
Democracy smartened up after the moral and political disaster of Vietnam. Then, the US-American imperialists tried to chip away at "the Vietnam Syndrome" with adventures in Grenada, Libya, Panama, and then the big one Desert Storm. 9-11 changed everything, in that it gave the imperialists the chance to fool people who weren't paying attention that they could invade countries in "self-defence." And then there was the war of choice in Iraq. (Some psychotics are still trying to argue that Iraq was a success, rather than a charnel house) and don't believe for a second that they'll be trying to argue Afghanistan was a success, even after 6,000 casualties, a corrupt narco-state with a fraudulently elected puppet, and a power-sharing deal with the "detestable murderers and scumbags" we killed and died for making a mockery of all the sacrifice, macho rhetoric and assaults on democracy that we endured.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

So, Um, About Those Afghan Children Who Were Executed ... ?

Yeah, I hate to be, like, you know, a pest or anything, but still ... I can't help but think that if Hugo Chavez's, or Fidel Castro's, or Vladimir Putin's, or Kim Jong-Il's troops had killed ten civilians (two adults and eight students), execution style, I don't think the MSM would collectively shrug their shoulders and/or assume that there was probably a good reason for this:

“The delegation concluded that a unit of international forces descended from a plane Sunday night into Ghazi Khan village in Narang district of the eastern province of Kunar and took ten people from three homes, eight of them school students in grades six, nine and ten, one of them a guest, the rest from the same family, and shot them dead,” a statement on President Karzai’s website said.

That was reported last month. Some of you may remember that.

What the hell is going on? The US military offered its standard initial denials followed by gradual semi-confirmations.

The long and the short of it is that it appears that U.S. special-forces or U.S. mercenaries (perhaps Blackwater) entered a village, hand-cuffed two peasants and 8 high-school students accused of making bombs, and shot them all in the head. If it was the latest incarnation of Blackwater, let's recall that this is an organization headed by a radical Christian-fundamentalist who believes he is on a crusade to kill as many Muslims as possible.

The fraudulently-elected President of Afghanistan is outraged, and wants those US forces responsible handed over for trial.

And "poof"! it's gone from the news. Of course, in today's "War on Terror" we have headlines like this:

Legal Experts Slam 'Targeted Killings' of US Citizens


There's "hope" and "change" for you folks! In the days of the bush II regime, people complained about the loss of habeas corpus. Now, under Obama, they're complaining about the president wanting to kill them.

In the face of such madness, what's the point of dwelling on the execution of a few teenagers? What a sickening, disgusting, nauseating, revolting world this is.

Anyway, here's the Facebook Group for people who do think this is an important story and don't want it to get lost in all the excitement about the Olympics, or Brangelina or whatever.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Note to MSM: The Tea-Baggers Can Be Ignored ...

... just like we were. You know us, we're the "unserious" people who were right about the FTA and NAFTA. Who were right about Afghanistan. Who were right about Iraq. Who were right about the Olympics. Who were right about Mike Harris.

You ignored us, and you cheer-led for disastrous economic policies and disastrous wars, and we were powerless to do much of anything about it.

But now, in the USA, there are hordes of people (a large minority of the minority of US-Americans who support the Republican Party USA) who are out in the streets in the thousands, screaming against bank bail-outs, deficit spending, healthcare reform, immigration, and the foreign birth of their present communist-fascist president. And for some reason, the MSM seems fixated with them.

Some of these people's grievances are real. But the movement taken as a whole is a mess of delusion, gullibility, bigotry and hypocrisy. More importantly, the movement as a whole is inconsequential. In our society, ordinary people have no power and elites are above the law. The Tea-Bagger movement could be easily ignored both by the Obama administration and by the mainstream media. They would bitch and moan on the internet and every once in a while gather together in public for an afternoon to holler and complain and then they'd go home.

Just like we did and do.

And then the elites would go on bailing out the banks, handing healthcare over to for-profit scum-bags, starting stupid wars and destroying the planet.

Let this gaggle of confused idiots vote for the Republicans, start their own party, or stay home and not vote. It doesn't matter. The Republicans might win a few, lose a few, but it's a one-party state in the USA. The Tea-Bag Party USA won't accomplish anything, and neither will not voting. The system will go on.

Just like we can continue to hope against hope and past evidence that the Liberal Party can prevail against its corporate masters, or continue to vote NDP in the faint hope that they'll be able to prop-up a Liberal minority government and mitigate the corporate onslaught (or win power in some province themselves and then NOT buy-in to all the neoliberal bullshit they criticize when out of power), or withhold our votes as if that fucking mattered.

But I get it MSM. You're going to continue to write about the Tea-Baggers as if they're important. As if they represent this groundswell of populist anger that Obama ignores at his peril. As if they're something more than the disaffected, idiot rump of a discredited Republican Party. Because these right-wing morons' delusions fit in well with the corporate project in general. Because listening to these numbskulls' ignorant ravings about deficit spending or raising taxes on the wealthy helps to sell the fiscal restraint that can then be used to justify further assaults on the social welfare system.

I get it. I'm not seriously asking you to be anything you're not. There's a reason that there's no Rush Limbaugh dominating the radio from the left. There's a reason there's no left-alternative to Bill O'Reilly on the cable-news. There's a reason there was no leftist Ann Coulter spewing out bile in newspaper columns. Just as there's a reason that an intelligent, honest man like Al Franken got called the equivalent of Rush Limbaugh. Or that the fact-based, intelligent Rachel Maddow or Keith Olberman get called the left's answer to O'Rielly. Or that Michael Moore is Ann Coulter's leftist twin (despite Moore's never calling for the blowing-up of FOX-NEWS headquarters, or for the assasination of politicians and judges that he doesn't like, or for the extermination of "conservatives" as a group).

So keep-on keeping-on with your Tea-Bagger stories. I'm not going to be confused. I'm not going to care. I'm not going to be deceived. But I don't matter. Nor does anybody else smart enough to see through this crude deception. But we don't matter.

As you were.

Weren't There Billions and Billions in Tax Cuts?

A quick question (prompted by discussion of Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams abruptly taking off for heart surgery in the United States recently): Haven't successive prime ministers and premiers since Brian Mulroney's era been cutting taxes? And haven't the bulk of these tax cuts gone to corporations and the wealthiest? And given that these tax cuts have utterly failed at turning Canada into a high-powered, "jobs for everyone" economic dynamo, and given the fact that our social indicators (including our public healthcare system) are falling, wouldn't it be a good idea to restore some of those taxes and spend them on hospitals, schools, roads, etc., rather than continuing to allow the wealthy to gamble with their ill-booten gotty in the financial markets to disastrous results?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Khadr's Rights are Our Rights

KKKate MacMillan collapsed in front of the "Triple-K Biker-Bar and Wing-House" Thursday night, February 4th, 2010 as a result of a massive stomach ulcer caused by poisonous "suicide" chicken-wings and alcohol poisoning caused by drinking 8 pitchers of "Pabst Blue Ribbon" and a 26'r of Tequila.

Unfortunately for her, the ambulance crew that responded to the call for help was comprised of First Nations peoples with an interest in "radical" political reforms. They recognized the green, pulsating figure on the sidewalk as the CBC-featured blogger who had called for the re-opening of the residential schools (among other noxious outbursts) and they decided that she could get herself to the hospital.

Ms. MacMillan was driven to the hospital by passers-by (her "friends" having staggered off to another bar) and survived but with massive brain-damage (which curiously did not affect her blogging activities at all). Some relatives, sensing vaguely the opportunity for a large cash award, sued the government on her behalf, but they were deprived of the opportunity to cash-in at the tax-payers' expense because in the case of (Canada [Prime Minister]) vs Khadr, the Supreme Court of Canada had ruled that while we have a bunch of rights on paper, our governments are under no compulsion to have to actually enforce those rights. If government officials, from the Prime Minister down to building inspectors and by-law officers decide that they don't like you and don't feel like helping you, the law is powerless to assist you.

Asked for comment, the brain-damaged MacMillan said "The global-warming crowd is a cult. I'd like to kill all those hateful leftist pally-loving Chavista-fascists!"

It's a testimony to the fragility of our democracy that a government that has already prorogued parliament to save its skin in 2008, and which did so again in 2010 to try to stymie an investigation into its war crimes, is now being supported by roughly half the population of Canada for declaring that some Canadians, because of their actions and their political beliefs, can find that their constitutional rights have been rendered null and void.

Look, I know the sky is still blue, the grass is still green (or the snow is still white) even after all of harper's depredations. But for all the morons cheering on the destruction of our political rights and our democratic system of government: one day you might find yourselves unemployed, homeless and destitute and being beaten on by cops trying to keep you from bothering people with your "aggressive pan-handling." When you go to the police station to complain, and you get tasered and you're lying on the sidewalk breathing your last, you'll look up and the sky will still be blue then too.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Khadr Will Get Millions!!!!

We can already hear the shrieking and wailing. The same delusional morons who begrudge Maher Arar his compensation, and who have already slandered Abdullah Almalki, Muayyed Nureddin, Ahmad Abou El-Maati, and Abousfian Abdelrazik as either terrorists or fortune-hunters, are now no doubt bitching about the ramifications of Omar Khadr. About how he'll probably be given a cash settlement for the gross violation of his rights as a Canadian citizen.

To all those right-wing, racist turds I say: Bite me. We don't get to pick and choose which Canadian citizens get to enjoy their rights and those who don't.

If you don't want to be on the hook for millions of dollars compensating Canadians tortured or abused with the complicity of the Canadian government, tell the government to stop being complicit in such torture and abuse.

Oh, and stop cheering on the torture and abuse while you're at it you stupid fucks.

New Poll: Liberals Creeping Up On Harpercons

It's all very exciting! The number of people who would vote for a pack of war criminals who would feed them a poison sandwich and then destroy the public healthcare system that would try to save their lives and which would then blow-up the parliament buildings so that nobody could complain about it has fallen, as more Canadian voters decide to support the other pack of war criminals who would only maybe feed them a poison sandwich while destroying the healthcare system (with little tears in their eyes).

Arggh.