Sunday, October 31, 2010

What Ignatieff and the Liberals are Waiting For

Quite simply, as Alison and Dawg have been pointing out, there's a Librocon Party of Canada with a red and a blue wing. Just like there's an Oligarch's Party in the USA with a Democrat and a Repugnican wing.

In the USA, the role of the Democratic Party is to make all sorts of nice noises for the voters on the better side of the bell curve, about equality, justice, peace, human rights, fairness, whatever, but to roll over for the corporate scum policies of the Repugnican Party, because the whole the whole thing is a scam. Then, when the anti-society, anti-human policies of the Repugs piss off enough voters, the Democrats are installed and are forced to have to live up to their pro-human, pro-society rhetoric, which they inevitably fail to do.

As mass democracy has matured though, it was getting increasingly difficult to pull this scam off, especially given the debasing of capitalist democracy itself since the end of the 1970s. It took a massive, sophisticated public relations effort to convince intelligent voters to bother taking part in this charade, hence the introduction of the stirring Barack Obama product. A great speaker (albeit with nothing to say), handsome, and a symbol of the progress of racial equality. Alas! Obama is still a Democratic president and therefore, beholden to all the corporate interests that govern decision making in that country.

Which brings us to this mid-term election whereby the confused, ignorant, stupid foot-soldiers of the right-wing are barfing up all their fears, delusions, prejudices, and less ignorant voters are being told basically "Sure, Obama has done very little for you and can't be bothered to promise you anything now that his party and his administration is threatened, but you must still participate in the charade or risk being subjected to some truly frightening Christo-fascist nutbars and even more heartless neoliberal government!"

It's possible that the Demorepug Party will be able to scare enough voters to eke out a "win" for their Democrat wing, but it's neither here nor there for people sick of the whole disgusting system.

Which brings me to the Liberals. Quite simply, Ignatieff and the federal Liberals are waiting for the harpercons to dip massively in the polls, so that they can then portray themselves as an "alternative" and force an election. The whole charade up in Canada is marred somewhat by the remnants of a social democratic party and a Quebec nationalist party, but in the end, Canadian voters can be expected to come around and vote for the group of MPs who seem most likely to form the next depressing government.

So, if you're waiting for Ignatieff to "grab a spine" or anything like that, there's nothing that he's going to do for himself. He's waiting for harper to screw-up on his own, so badly, that even his hardcore thirty percent of the voters will fray at the edges. That might not happen for a long time however, as Canadian apathy is exhibiting surprising resilience.

Friday, October 29, 2010

What's Wrong Here?

Ah, I could talk more about how vile and shitty it is that a war criminal like Condoleeza Rice is coming to Canada and people are actually going to spend money to hear her talk. (Jesus Christ, I just can't resist pointing out that those people must be almost as stupid as she is! What do they expect her to say? That the proof of Fiji's nuclear weapons program might come in the shape of a mushroom cloud? That the slaughter in the Congo is a symptom of the birth-pangs of a new Central Africa?? FUCK!!! ("Hey kids! We've invited your child-molesting Uncle Seymour over for dinner. We want some spiritual guidance from him. Yes! We already know he's a brain-damaged, drooling idiot who had an IQ of 90 before he got hit on the head with a lead pipe, ... what's your point?")

I could talk more about how stupid it is to accuse me of elitism for condemning the shit-heads who voted for the stammering gas-bag, Rob Ford, for mayor of Toronto. Sorry darlings, but I've had to put up with your shit-head political decisions for some time now (mike harris, stephen harper, dalton mcguinty, paul martin) and I don't feel the need to play nice and I don't see what would be accomplished by being nice. (I believe, in fact, that being nice would be a form of ENABLING such stupid behaviour.)

"Duh, McGuinty's a creep! Duh! I know!!! I'll vote for this Tim Hudak fellow! Says he'll cut my taxes! Duh! Stammer! Moan!"

But today, I'm just gonna link to two articles. The first one is from rabble.ca: "Harper politicizes healthcare. It is bad for Canada, bad for the world" by "Dr. J." Read it. Read the whole damned thing. Read it and grasp what an absolute monster harper is. Only the dullest and most ignorant could support such a creature.

The second article is actually a link from the first one. It's from the National Union of Public & General Employees (NUPGE) and it's called "harper must cancel irresponsible corporate tax cuts." Check it out:
Cuts to public spending will lead to even slower economic growth and will mean less support for struggling families at a time when quality public services are needed more than ever.

Harper could make a different choice. He could cancel the irresponsible corporate tax cuts that will cost the federal treasury a whopping $47 billion over the next four years. (emphasis added)
FORTY-SEVEN FUCKING BILLION DOLLARS OVER FOUR FUCKING YEARS!!!! Remember how harper was so excited about the $2.5 billion over five years that he was going to spend on women's health around the world that he spent over $1 billion over two days to announce it in Toronto last summer? Do you suppose harper will invite the world's leaders to Montreal or Vancouver or Calgary this year and have a gala $23 billion dollar party to celebrate these tax cuts?

So tell me, any right-wing shit-heads who might be passing by, what's wrong here? Obviously, NUPGE is a greedy union, out only to get big raises from hard-pressed taxpayers, all to benefit their fat, slothful, selfish membership., so their analysis has to be taken with a grain of salt. But $47 billion? A lot of it being saved by the oil and financial sectors which are already super-profitable?

You see, right-wing shit-heads, being a leftist, I think that public services that are available to everyone benefit the majority. Call me crazy. And I think that if it takes tax dollars to pay for them, so be it. I also happen to believe that profits come from the difference between what it costs to produce something and the higher selling price, which is to say that profits come from consumers the same way that government programs come from taxes which come from tax dollars which come from taxpayers.

At a certain point (and I think oil and finance passed it long ago) profit goes beyond being an incentive towards being ill-gotten booty, obtained from gouging consumers. And I think that if these rich mother-fuckers have this kind of money that they're obliged to give it back. Especially if this can be done via taxation which then pays for public services that benefit the majority in areas such as healthcare.

So, what's wrong with my analysis? Come on, right-wing Jim Flaherty fans! Explain to me your dogmatic fixation on tax cuts that will shrink government revenues and therefore its ability to finance necessary public services, and which will allow the financial sector to, um, ... pay people to come up with new "modest" fees to charge their customers? Explain why you stupid fucks with your dumb-ass wars, your pants soiled from your involuntary defecations during your panicked "war on terror," your religious delusions, your contemptible homophobia and your economic illiteracy, are supposed to be taken seriously? Explain why you are taken seriously?

It's because we live in wretched, fatally flawed political-economic system which has created a debased political culture.

That's why.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Condoleeza Rice Coming to Toronto!!

Yayyy!!! The moron, the scum, the corrupt, lying, stupid sack-of-shit will be gracing our fair nation and this fair city with her noxious presence!!!

The Event Group is proud to announce the presentation of Condoleezza Rice
on November 2, 2010 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center in Toronto,
Canada. ...
"Our world is
changing and Condoleezza Rice has been at the fore front of many of these
changes. She is the ideal person to give our audience an in-depth look at
what is happening around the globe and insight into US and Canada
relations,"
No she's not. Because she's a fucking idiot. Oh yeah, she's also a war criminal who helped oversee a disgusting regime of torture and sadism. She talked about the carpet-bombing of Beirut as "the birth pangs of a new Middle-East."

Of course, don't expect this country, which is so debased that it's media system celebrates convictions in kangaroo courts based on the torture of teenagers and a political culture that sees fit to let stephen harper rule since 2006, and where our largest city voted in a homophobic shit-head shrieking the usual right-wing crapola about taxes, to be their mayor because 47% of the voters like having their heads up their asses and please don't criticize the darlings for their stupid decisions ... argh.

What a travesty. Fuck this country.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Two Important Essays

I don't have time to say much today, but these two essays are important for where I want my future thinking and action to go so I'm posting them here for my own, and others' future reference:

(Please Don't) Bomb the Suburbs

and

Risks in an Anti-Austerity Focus

Toronto and Hamilton City Election Results

Well, I live in Toronto now, so I'm forced to live under Mayor Rob Ford.

Two things:

1. As a city of 2.5 million people, Toronto passed the critical mass necessary for poverty and administrative incompetence to become major sources of major destabilization and social breakdown. I'm genuinely worried about personal safety as things go down the shitter.

2. The 47% of the voters (don't know what the voter participation rate was) who voted Ford will never admit that it was their guy that brought the disasters and scandals that are coming. Just like they don't admit that their hero Mike Harris was a crook who fleeced them and occasionally killed them, or that George W. Bush was a complete moron who lied his way into a disastrous war. These people NEVER admit their responsibility for anything.

As a Hamiltonian, born and bred, I followed my hometown election and I was at least glad to see that the disappointing, but union-friendly Bob Bratina won over the Larry Dianni, who was convicted of electoral finance fraud (for which he had to write an essay saying he was sorry) who used undemocratic means to push through the ecologically destructive, prone to being flooded, Red Hill Creek Expressway.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yves Engler on Canada's UN Humiliation

Yves Engler is one of the most principled and courageous activists against Canada's detestable, corporate-directed foreign policy today. Therefore, even while other things have pushed it off the news cycle, I thought it a good idea to present his comprehensive take on harper's failures and the way they've turned international foreign opinion against us.
In a harsh international rebuke Stephen Harper’s government lost its bid for a UN Security Council seat last week. The vote in New York was the world’s response to a Canadian foreign policy designed to please the most reactionary, shortsighted sectors of the Conservative Party’s base — evangelical Christian Zionists, extreme right-wing Jews, Islamophobes, the military-industrial-academic-complex, mining and oil executives and old cold-warriors.
There's plenty more. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We're the Worst

From the Toronto Star:
OTTAWA—Canadian mining companies are far and away the worst offenders in environmental, human rights and other abuses around the world, according to a global study commissioned by an industry association but never made public.
Oh yeah, ...
The research surfaced as a long, fierce political battle over legislation to tighten federal government scrutiny of Canadian mining operations abroad comes to a head. Bill C-300, a private member’s bill put forward by Toronto Liberal MP John McKay, will be voted on in the Commons next week.
Oh, but don't worry. The Canadian mining industry knew all about it. Even though none of this stuff even happened, ... wait, what?!?
Bernarda Elizalde, PDAC’s director of sustainable development programs, said, “These are allegations and they aren’t proven cases.” She also noted that the incidents involving Canadian companies work out to only six a year.

The research, Elizalde said, did not provide any fresh information. “There’s nothing new because we know there are some things we need to improve” in the industry’s operations abroad, she said in an interview.
Ah, public relations! Ugh.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Remember Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

Everyday, Obama comes up with new ways to demonstrate the betrayal of hope. Everyday, the harpercons manage to embarrass themselves (and us) in previously unimagined ways while continuing to drag the country's political culture down into the gutter. Today, Alex Hundert is living under enforced bans on any political expression in a clear violation of his (and our) Charter rights and freedoms. Yesterday, I saw a National Post headline worthy of PRAVDA during the Moscow show-trials.

There's so much insanity that we sometimes don't process how long we've been living in the shit. Well, remember when this guy was president?



I'm not saying things are better. I'm just reminding you all how long its been so bad.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cold Meat and a Missed Opportunity

I was standing in line at the liquor store when I found myself beside a case of "Moosehead" beer. There was some blurb on the price tag about the malts and hops in it and the awesome flavour and etc., as well as a suggestion to serve it with cold meat.

The phrase "cold meat" gave me a bit of a shudder and I thought about the line from the Queens of the Stone Age about how we're all food that hasn't died, and etc. And then I thought that actually, us walking, talking, sentient pieces of meat are really the highest thing we know. Even if you're religious, you have to admit your belief in higher powers is just that, a belief, based on faith. There are no werewolves. There are no vampires. There are no ghosts. There are no space aliens (that we've ever encountered anyway). There are no gods. There's just us. That's all there is.

Now, for the missed opportunity. I don't LOVE this song. I think the lyrics are a little silly. Especially when the "you" being addressed in the song keeps changing without notice from the guy who stole the girl to the girl herself. But I liked the melody and because it gives one an opportunity to hear a guy with a voice going all out kinda like Ray Charles did in "What I'd Say." But I was really disappointed to see the video.

"Fuck You" is about an ordinary shlub whose gold-digging girlfriend leaves him for a guy with more money. With a chance to feature the hero staying true to himself and his ordinary guy roots while the gold-digger and the thief get their comeuppance, the video flubs it. The ordinary guy becomes rich and the gold-digger ends up dumped (inexplicably) back down into the working class. More of the same old, "I'm gonna win the lottery all by myself!" drivel that keeps so many people chugging away in delusion.



So here's the video for "Fuck You" followed by "Mosquito Song" by Queens of the Stone Age.

Canada's Downward Moral Trajectory

This is going to be something of a rambling post. (What else is new, 'eh?) I've just got a lot of stuff on my mind.

First of all, I'm reading Rick Hillier's biography A Soldier First. I'm only about one-third of the way through it and he's just been promoted to brigadier-general to take command of the Canadian Forces base at Pettawawa. It's a long way from the stuff on Afghanistan that I signed the book out for. But he has talked about the Somalia scandal, where two CF airborne soldiers tortured a Somali teenager to death and posed with the pictures. I'd like to write a long post about how he handles that, but for now I'd just like to mention how this was a huge public-relations black eye for the CF at the time. Canadians were disgusted with this scandal, and after revelations of racist hazing ceremonies were leaked to the media (if I recall correctly, the black recruit who had "KKK" and "nigger" written on his body said that his comrades weren't racist), the airborne was disbanded and the CF was up for massive budget cuts. Hillier bemoans this whole thing, but all I could think was that after the serial scandals of Afghanistan and practically the whole culture is united in brainless, jingoistic "support the troops" rhetoric or other apathy, that Canada has degraded since the days of the Somalia inquiry.

Speaking of degraded, we have now the spectacle of massive, shameless abuse of a citizens' rights under the Charter in the case of Alex Hundert. As I understand it, the story is this: Hundert belonged to an anti-capitalist group of activists who might have planned to riot at the G20 gathering in Toronto last summer. To prevent this, the police arrested Hundert at gunpoint one morning. Tragically, despite having one of the "ring-leaders" of the anti-G20 organizers and having spent over one-billion fucking dollars on security, with thousands of extra cops on hand, these incompetent shit-heads utterly failed to prevent the window-smashing that was probably going to have been the extent of any violence anyway. The next day, the police made up for their incompetence by arresting hundreds of innocent protesters and bystanders and subjecting them to intolerable physcial assaults and degradations. (That'll teach 'em!)

Sickeningly, the population of Canada is so terrified of the idea of breaking glass, and so apathetic about the destruction of their own rights and so enamoured of authority that they either yawned at this waste of a billion dollars of their own money and these abuses on their fellow citizens or they actually celebrated it.

Sometime after that, the mayhem mastermind Hundert was released from custody on bail, one of his provisions was that he not attend any political demonstrations.



On September 17th, Hundert was re-arrested for violating his bail conditions by participating in a panel discussion ...



... on the G20 at Ryerson University. A justice of the peace (a patronage appointment) agreed that a panel discussion is a "demonstration" and he stayed in jail until he was presented with new, stricter bail conditions:
1: non-association with individuals such as Harsha Walia and Dan Keller and groups such as AW@L and No One Is Illegal; 2: no planning and or participating/planning public meetings or marches and 3: no expressing political views in public, including in the media.
Obviously, this blanket restriction on the right to express political views in public is a clear violation of his Charter rights. Hundert initially refused these conditions until (according to the intertubes) the security director at the Toronto East Detention Centre threatened him with indefinite solitary confinement until the date of his trial and refused him access to a lawyer while indulging in this naked abuse of power.

Bail conditions are used to ensure that an accused person does not have an opportunity to re-offend, that is, to break the law. They're also to prevent the accused from fleeing. Hundert's expression of his political views was not the "crime" he was arrested for. He was arrested for conspiring to cause a disturbance. There's no way that this is justifiable in any court.

I don't know what shit-head dreamed up these idiotic bail conditions, but I'll be donating to the legal fund for the appeal against them (because the legal system can redeem itself the same way one judge redeemed it in his public spanking of the racist harpercons and their treatment of Abousfian Abdelrazik) so again, I'll be donating:

Please contribute to the legal defence fund. Ways to donate:

1) Transfer funds to:
OPIRG York
transit number 00646
institution number 842
account number 3542240
Use your online bank account or contact your bank directly to transfer funds. Please put "G20 legal defence" in the memo.

2) Write a cheque
Cheques (payable to 'Toronto Community Mobilization Network' OR OPIRG York, with 'G20 legal defence' on the subject line) can be mailed to:
Toronto Community Mobilization Network
360A Bloor Street W
PO Box 68557
Toronto, ON M5S 1X0

3) Donate by PayPal
Make sure to put 'G20 legal defence' in the "Add special instructions for the Merchant" section. Donation link is above
Of course, this abuse of power was made much easier by precdents as the Supreme Court ruling saying that Canadians don't have the right to have lawyers present during police interrogations. Hundert had asked to see a lawyer and was denied. All part and parcel of the right-wing belief that accused people have no rights.

Can we hold our breath though that a legal challenge can improve Hundert's situation? Sadly, another bad precedent was set by the Supreme Court's refusal to enforce Omar Khadr's Charter rights. In their January, 2010 ruling, the justices ruled that, yes, by not demanding that the USA respect Khadr's human rights and even going so far as to interrogate him themselves while he was subject to illegal detention and abuse, Canadian officials had violated Khadr's rights, but they didn't bother to force the government to actually do anything to rectify the situation. (Some have argued that the Court was respecting the prerogatives of the separate branches of government but this is hogwash. In the Abdelrazik ruling the Judge ordered the government to begin getting Abdelrazik back within 15 days. The Supreme Court could have ordered the government to rectify Khadr's situation within a specific period of time, but instead they said, "You're violating the Constitution. Could you eventually get around to doing something about that please?" Still, in violations of citizens' rights so blatant that even asshole hypocrites like Mark Steyn are appalled, there's hope.

On a somewhat lighter note, not the worst offender, but the most ridiculous. Constable Adam Josephs, who received international humiliation for his steroid-induced rage which he directed at a young woman blowing bubbles at the G20, is tired of weeping in his impotence at the YouTube cartoon inspired by his stupidity and is deciding to sue YouTube for $1.2 million. In so doing, Josephs is displaying the typical whining, pathetic stupidity of bullies everywhere. ("Consequences for my actions? WTF???? It's so unfair!!! Boo-hoo-hoo!") Other outrages, much worse, were done by police and other security on that weekend, blatant violations of the rights of hundreds of innocent people. But this has been building for a long time. The most glaring, public case being the impunity with which four RCMP constables (Constable Kwesi Millington, Constable Gerry Rundel, Constable Bill Bentley, Corporal Monty Robinson, killed Robert Dziekanski and lied about it.

Where are we going? Well, take the latest economic catastrophe, ... the crisis of profitability has gotten worse since it first arose in the early-1970s. The capitalist system responded to that crisis with three strategies, liberalization, globalization, and financialization, all of which were short-term solutions that ended up only exacerbating the problem. This is because capitalist is not sustainable as a system.

It's quite clear that things are going to get worse, and the system's elites are going to have to work harder to both maintain their levels of affluence AND suppress the anger that arises as the masses see their living standards continue to deteriorate. People are angry. People are going to protest. The job (as the elites see it) is to encourage anger and protest into unproductive dead-ends, where the largest groups from among the majority can blame weaker demographics for their predicament and to attack the government policies and non-government organizations that exist to mitigate the damages of capitalism and defend the rights of the ordinary person.

Case in point: The lavish media attention towards the deluded "Tea Party" movement in the USA. These poor lost souls are angry at Wall Street bail-outs, unemployment, immigrants, gay rights, free trade, ... that is, they are angry about some of the things we on the left are angry about, but also many things that really have nothing to do with the problems we face at all, unless it is to make those problems less. The reason these people gravitate towards astro-turf shams like the Tea Party is because their analysis are flawed, either due to stupidity or to ignorance and disinformation. But they will be held up as examples of the only respectable form of protest and will be used to ensure that any political rebellions against a decaying system are steered towards useless right-wing alternatives (such as happened with the PAN in Mexico taking over from the six-decade ruling PRI following the catastrophes of NAFTA).

This is why the Globe & Mail has decided to refurbish its image as a right-wing garbage paper, firing its regular lefty columnist Rick Salutin and replacing her with war-on-terror cheerleader Irshad Manji and running "vital" features about whether multiculturalism is a mistake. It's why drooling morons like Toronto mayoral candidate Rob Ford are paraded around as if their credible political thinkers and his supporters aren't lamentably ignorant tools. The Globe is doing its part to service the elite agenda of making sure that thinking in this country gets directed along the same blind alleys as it is in the USA, and the Rob Ford candidacy is representative of the efforts to make justifiable mass anger flows along counterproductive lines that only destabilize efforts to keep society from going straight downhill.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This Week's "Economist" Cover

The weekly news journal, Britain's Economist generally has tons of factual detail and excellent, quality writing. Oftentimes they provide information and analysis on current events that is essential for understanding the world around us. BUT, their overall world view is nonsense. They subscribe to a deluded liberal economic philosophy as filtered through the prejudices and fantasies of the financial sector.

That's why I found this week's cover so hilarious. I'm not posting an image of it because I'm not sure whether they're litigious defenders of their intellectual property or advocates of the free sharing of information, that is, libertarians for whom such things as patents and intellectual property rights are unjust monopolies imposed by the state. In case it's the former, here's my description of it:

An image of a man's face, from the nose to the top of his head, with his eye's cast upwards towards a tiny tuft of hair on the top of his otherwise bald head, with the caption: "Grow, dammit, grow!"

This is meant to be a metaphor for the world's economy. They follow this with the statement:

"Economic growth may depend on structural reforms as much as prudent macroeconomic policy."

But here's the thing: The Economist's editorial policy has pretty much had the field for the past few decades. All the crap that they endorse: breaking unions, liberalization, globalization, fiscal restraint, monetarist anti-inflation, ... ALL OF IT, ... has been indulged with increasing intensity since 1980. And it has been precisely these anti-human, deluded, selfish, imbecilic policies that have brought the world to ever larger economic crises.

The world economy teeters on the brink (to say nothing of the world's ecology) because elites have destroyed the material foundations of the world's wealthiest consumer base, creating a system that depended upon increasing levels of household debt and investment bubbles built on ever flimsier premises.

So, I have no interest in even hearing whatever lame-brain structural reforms or prudent macroeconomic policies they're advocating in their magazine. Whatever value can be gleaned from The Economist is far less worthy than the time wasted wading through their deluded drivel.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On the harpercons' Embarrasing Failure to Win a Security Council Seat

Over at Dawg's blog they're having great sport imagining the harpercons' attempts to explain away the unprecedented failure of Canada to win a seat on the United Nations' Security Council (which Canada tended to win every ten years).

To hear the harpercons yammering about it, the UN is nothing but a forum of anti-American, Jew-hating thieves and killers, so who gives a fuck what they think? Y'know except for the fact that harper put a lot of work into winning the votes of the Jew-haters that would make a lot of sense.

I really can't let it pass that this is all revolting bullshit. Yes, many of the governments that send delegates to the UN are corrupt, dictatorial regimes. But for the harpercon stooges to wallow in their self-righteousness while supporting the international criminal USA and the murdering thieves in Israel, ... while our own soldiers fight, kill and die to defend a government of drug-dealers, murderers, and pedophiles in Afghanistan, ... while we cover-up torture and child-rape, is just insanity.

No, harpercons, the sad truth is that harper stupidly believed that after a career of trashing the UN, he could turn around and charm them with bottles of maple-syrup, and as a result, he's handed Canada an international drubbing. Yes, yes, he's trying to believe that the delegates at the UN are even aware of the opposition leader's name and that they recalled his domestically delivered statement about how ridiculous harper's change of heart on the UN was. The only people who believe that the UN delegates factored Ignatieff's statement into their decision are morons such as blogging tory shit-head "Hunter."

This is just testimony to the shallowness and childishness of harper and his supporters as a whole.

Even this talk about harper having a "narrative" to go with, despite his loss (re: it's Ignatieff's fault) is asinine. Who the fuck else but a harpercon zombie is going to do anything but fall asleep or laugh in scorn at such a lame-ass campaign issue?

I don't much care for many of the governments at the UN. But it's an important institution where all the countries of the world can meet and try to achieve things. It's an important first step. The harpercon retreat into deluded, hypocritical, self-righteous, blatant Western imperialism (with Canada in the role of the USA's lick-spittle, wannabe, toady) is certainly far worse than the reality that is the UN.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Yes, It's Utter Contempt For Parliament

Dale at Hill Queeries calls it:
The Conservatives’ contempt for Parliament apparently knows no bounds as they are expected to deliver their fall economic update today, in Mississauga of all places. No, you’re not mistaken – the House isn’t sitting this week. For them to deliver it outside of the House shows contempt in and of itself, but to deliver it on a week where it’s not even sitting is just rubbing it in. It shows that the government doesn’t care what the House thinks, because there is no speech to MPs, and no chance for the other parties to respond to its deliver at that time.
Of course, in making this announcement outside of Parliament at a time when the representatives of the people who didn't vote for the government (hell, even the representatives of the people who did vote for the government) can respond to the government's taxing and spending plans, the incompetent fuck-head Flaherty is just following in the footsteps of his brother in stupidity and incompetence, Ernie Eves, who presented a budget at one of the factories of anti-union, anti-democracy, ego-maniac Frank Stronach. So, to date, there is harper's serial contempt for democratic oversight as represented by two abuses of the power of prorogation. There's harper's cynical, hypocritical contempt for our political system itself, as represented by his labelling a parliamentary coalition as a "coup" despite having proposed a "coup" with the "socialists and separatists" himself when he was in opposition. There's harper's serial refusal to allow Parliament to know what the government is doing, first by claiming that our political representatives are unfit to see records of prisoner transfers in Afghanistan because of bogus "national security" concerns and then by refusing to allow political staffers to testify before Parliamentary committees (instead allowing ignorant cabinet ministers to appear in their place where they can smirk and assure the committees that they'll be sure to get back to them with the information they're asking for).

Of course, harper's contempt for the political system that he leads is mirrored by the opposition's apparent self-loathing for themselves and their own disregard for the democratic forms that they have so far refused to defend. Maybe some old-time Canadian politics junkies can help me out here, but has it ever been this bad? Has it ever been so bad that the very forms of Canadian democracy have been so debased and abused? Has it ever been the case that we have simultaneously suffered an autocratically-minded, anti-democratic government, faced by a mewling, ignorant, apathetic opposition and an electorate completely indifferent to the wholesale destruction of the one potential source of their power against the few elites who truly govern things?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What Alison Says About Librocon Assault on Democracy

This is what I've wanted to write about but haven't had the time. I agree with Alison and the blogs she links to.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Financialization Again

Just putting a bug in people's ears. I agree with the folks at Monthly Review who explain that the phenomenon of the financialization of the economy is a response to the declining rate of profit in practical economic activity in the developed countries, and that it isn't a policy decision that can be changed by persuasion or by government fiat. Very simply, the declining rate of profit at the end of the capitalist "golden age" from 1945-73 was met with a trio of policy responses: liberalization, globalization, and financialization. All three were meant to lower the operating costs of capitalism, but all three simultaneously demolish the foundations of the wealth of the society from which capitalism (like a parasite) feeds.

Liberalization removed rules, regulations, restrictions, that impeded immediate profit maximization in the capitalist centre. Taxes, unions, environmental regulations, barriers to trade, etc., all had short-term costs to capital but all contributed in one way or another to creating a stable, equitable, and therefore wealthy society from which capitalism reached unprecedented heights of prosperity.

Globalization removed the barriers to capital moving about the globe putting labour into competition again and putting governments on notice that there was now a competition between regulatory and taxation regimes. These are the "free trade" deals which have always been more about the competing centres of world capitalism (USA, Europe, and Japan) constructing their own economic zones wherein their capitalists were free to create systems of domination over weaker national "partners." This influx of capitalists' rights has raised living standards in some cases (South-East Asia, China) while lowering them in others (Mexico, India). I don't think the prosperity of any of these places is guaranteed. China itself is building its future on supplying dirt-cheap labour to North American and Japanese capitalists to supply North America's debt-drowned consumers.

Financialization has been the capitalists' attempts to sever their bonds from all this messy bothersome business entirely and to create fortunes out of thin air called derivatives made up of esoteric products designed by complex mathematical equations. Alas, for them, these derivatives have to be based on something in the real world and since there's really nothing going on to satisfy the needs of this increasingly huge pool of liquid capital, this leads to speculative bubbles that inevitably explode. These bubbles have been getting increasingly large and increasingly unstable.

The point though, is that this response is RATIONAL from a capitalist's point of view. There's no other option for them. That's why there needs to be a revolution so that the wealth of society is not controlled by profit-maximizing elites but by the whole of society itself. How to run this society is in dispute but it MUST be as democratic as imaginable.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Suppression of the Left

From CommonDreams, Lydia Howell's "Is Progressive Dissent Public Enemy #1?"
The pretext for the raids was investigating “material aide to terrorists”, resulting in grand jury subpoenas and confiscation of computers, books, music CDs and from one home, a Martin Luther King poster. The targeted Minneapolis activists have openly protested US military policy since the 1980s. The FBI certainly knows they have nothing to do with terrorism. These activists simply have the audacity to challenge bi-partisan US invasions, occupations and support for dictatorships and human rights abusers. Dissent on the left has long been seen as ‘criminal behavior’. Where once “the communist threat" was the argument for such repression, now, “terrorism” is.
Read the whole thing. It's chilling. And testimony to what I said long ago:
It's pretty obvious that the mainstream media fears the left more than it does the right. For all their talk of "rebellion" the armies of the right-wing don't really call for anything that threatens the elites. True, the right-wingers are racist and angry/stupid, and they need to be controlled like unruly dogs, but they can generally be counted on to line-up behind a status-quo political party, and do what they're told to do. If they have complaints, it's generally that the political party isn't as enthusiastic enough in pursuing wars that it wants to pursue, and in trashing the social safety-net that many of these right-wing jerks actually depend on or would benefit from.
...
The elites fear the left, because the left has more brains, uses those brains to actually expose the workings of the system, and calls for changes that genuinely threaten the position of the elites. Exposing imperialism and imperialist wars. Thwarting the "divide and conquer" racist policies of the right-wing, capitalist class. Resisting the police-state powers that would give them greater control over our lives and allow them to crush genuine protest. Renouncing the materialism that the elite's fortunes are based on. And calling for the equitable division of society's wealth with all of humanity, which threatens their entire position.

I believe that's even more true today.

Would You Kill Hitler to Save the Planet?

Just thinking about stuff after reading this:

If the Arctic becomes six degrees warmer, then half of the world's permafrost will likely thaw, probably to a depth of a few metres, releasing most of the carbon and methane accumulated there over thousands of years, said Vladimir Romanovsky of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks and a world expert on permafrost.

Methane is a global warming gas approximately 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2).

That would be catastrophic for human civilisation, experts agree.

As a culture, we are apparently quite content to let ourselves be ruled by a business-government-media elite that will spend (in Canada) over $10 billion propping up narco-pedophile-torturers in Afghanistan, but which refuses to acknowledge the real crisis of global warming.

What is to be done?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bill Maher on Islam

Now Bill Maher is an okay guy so far as US-American liberals go. I don't agree with everything he says by any stretch, but for such a backward, indoctrinated political culture he's done a good job of establishing an independent viewpoint.

I don't even take much issue with most of what he says in this "New Rules" segment wherein he basically says that of all the world's religions, it is really only Islam that wants to kill infidels and blasphemers:



Except that I want to add the following. I think people in India might have something to say about religious violence. And Maher had best read Jeremy Scahill's writings on Christian-fanatic-violent-deranged-nut-job Eric Prince and his gang of murderous Jesus-freaks in Blackwater:



Like Maher, I wish all religion would simply evaporate until there's only the awe at the MYSTERIES of creation left. But let's try to think of all the examples we can of religious insanity first, before we utter such triumphant praise for our culture and way of life.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Financialization

The folks at the Marxist journal Monthly Review have some important things to say about the INEVITABILITY of financialization for a mature capitalist economy. Financialization refers to the growing importance of the financial sector in the economy (a process most exemplified by the USA and UK economies) wherein investment stops going towards manufacturing and towards speculation and the FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate) sectors.

The authors point to writers who say that financialization increases the likelihood of economic bubbles and underlying stagnation but disagree with them for saying that financialization is an avoidable, reformable problem within capitalism. In fact, they write, financialization is the most sensible, rational course for a mature capitalist economy that has produced all the wealth that it is going to under present political-economic conditions:

Yet, the idea of the “crowding out” of investment by financial speculation makes little sense, in our view, when placed in the present context of an economy characterized by rising excess capacity and vanishing net investment opportunities. There are just so many profitable outlets for capital in the real economy of goods and services. A very narrow limit exists with regard to the number of profit-generating opportunities associated with the creation of new or expanded automobile or appliance manufacturers, hair salons, fast food outlets, and so on. Under these circumstances of a capital accumulation process that lacks profitable outlets and constantly stalls, the amassing of more and more debt (and the inflation of asset prices that this produces) is a powerful lever, as we have seen, in stimulating growth. Conversely any slowdown in the ballooning of debt threatens that growth. This is not to say that debt should be regarded as a cure-all. To the contrary, for the weak underlying economy of today no amount of debt stimulus is enough. It is in the nature of today’s monopoly-finance capital that it “tends to become addicted to debt: more and more is needed just to keep the engine going.”32

Still, as important as financialization has become in the contemporary economy, this should not blind us to the fact that the real problem lies elsewhere: in the whole system of class exploitation rooted in production. In this sense financialization is merely a way of compensating for the underlying disease affecting capital accumulation itself. As Marx wrote in Capital, “The superficiality of political economy shows itself in the fact that it views the expansion and contraction of credit as the cause of the periodic alterations of the industrial cycle, while it is a mere symptom of them.” Despite the vast expansion of credit-debt in the capitalism of today, it remains true that the real barrier to capital is capital itself: manifested in the tendency toward overaccumulation of capital.


So, we don't need to reform capitalism. We need to replace it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

James O'Keefe (Nothing Important)

Still have a lot to say about a lot of important stuff, but no time. No time. No time.

So, just for shits n' giggles, I present (for those who missed this mini-event) this guy:



James O'Keefe's plan to "punk" a female CNN reporter who wants to do a story on young conservatives.

James O'Keefe is the infamous video-fraud who pretended that he strutted into ACORN offices dressed like a 1970s pimp to get their help setting up a bawdy house with his teenage hooker girlfriend in order to smear that worthy organization. He took video footage of ACORN workers answering different questions, or refusing to help him altogether, and sliced and diced things so as to be able to allege that ACORN was helping run a nation-wide child prostitution ring.

Then the dipshit got arrested trying to bug a US Senator's office.

But enough of all that. Let's just read this guy's:



"Seduction" scenario:

James was supposed to tape the following script before the meeting on the boat.


"My name is James, I work in video activism and journalism. I've been approached by CNN for an interview where I know what their angle is: they want to portray me and my friends as crazies, as non-journalists, as unprofessional and likely as homophobes, racists or bigots of some sort..."


"Instead, I've decided to have a little fun. Instead of giving her a serious interview, I'm going to punk CNN. Abbie has been trying to seduce me to use me, in order to spin a lie about me. So, I'm going to seduce her, on camera, to use her for a video. This bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who comes on at five will get a taste of her own medicine, she'll get seduced on camera and you'll get to see the awkwardness and the aftermath."

[...]

It goes on to explain how James should "adapt" to my mood on the boat.

"As the operation is going on, James will have to adapt and adjust to her mood and her reaction. If she is pulling away, withdraw and pull her back in. If she's unsure, comfort her and reassure her. Vacillate between somewhat serious interview and the come-hither persona as needed in order to confuse her judgment and also keep her on the boat."

The boat in question was going to be decorated as some sort of tacky 1970s-ageing bachelor's "love-nest" with dildos, champagne, strawberries, etc., etc., while James himself:






Was going to be all suave and debonair with the unbuttoned shirt and the gold chains.

Pretty much everyone who has commented on this story has commented on the bizarre, pointless, ridiculous, incomprehensible nature of O'Keefe's "sting." Okay, so you get the female reporter who wants to do a story on young conservatives, and you then lure her onto a boat and act like a creep trying to seduce her. And then??? Let's say she was going to do a hatchet-job, what are you accomplishing by looking like a revolting pervert? She gets uncomfortable? She gets mocked for having trusted you? What?

Methinks that young James O'Keefe constructed this ridiculous scenario in such detail because what was really going on in the back of his deranged mind was that he'd be engaged in a form of sexual seduction (however sick, twisted, pathetic, dishonest, idiotic, ridiculous, sad, laughable) with a real live GURLL!!!

Here was James' "quarry":



Dream on O'Keefe. One of these days, James O'Keefe will find himself in a lasting, close relationship with someone. I'm afraid it'll be in prison though.

ETA: Ha-ha-ha! Tom Tomorrow hits another one out of the park!