Friday, December 31, 2010

Anonymous political blogging, civility, and me

A days ago, Dr. Dawg wrote about Don Cherry's obnoxicity and went on to say a few more things about politics, blogging, and Canadian sensibilities:

Canadians, even in 2010 after four years of rule by Stephen Harper, pride ourselves on our good manners. It’s one way we measure ourselves against Americans. More importantly, it’s how we get along. But that doesn’t mean we’re impervious to the transgressive urge, even if we transgress in safe Canadian ways.

Check out the no-holds-barred blogosphere: we (well, many of us) swear, we insult, we’re actually rude. I wonder how many of those bloggers and commenters, many hiding behind aliases, behave face to face with others? Would they be pleased or shocked if their kids talked that way to their schoolmates?

My suspicion? In their daily lives they’re polite, even reserved; considerate of others; soft-spoken, and they’re bringing their children up the same way. Typical Canadians, in other words.

...

But civilization has its discontents. We fetter our basic desires and instincts in order to live peaceably with each other. We create rules and boundaries. Order is imposed upon disorder. Part of ourselves, however, is suppressed in the process. Where does it go?

We create channels for its expression. The Internet, as a newsgroup commentator once said, “is where I can get in touch with my inner a—hole.” Why not? It’s virtually (but not entirely) consequence-free. We don’t stand physically face-to-face, our body language setting off numerous responses and counter-responses that call us to order.

There’s little or no accountability. We don’t have to work with these people, they don’t live on our street, and all they’ll usually do is respond in kind—then you all shut off the computer and go to supper.

They’re images, in fact, caricatures with whom we bloodlessly do battle, and for whom we in turn are the same thing. Shooting off one’s mouth in a safe cyber-environment is the work of a few minutes, steam from a safety-valve.

There's a lot of truth in that. But I have a few observations. First of all, the main reason that I chose to adopt a pseudonym is because I intended to talk about some personal stuff some of the time online, NOT because I wasn't brave enough to take on (say) Terry Glavin under my own name. Once I adopted the pseudonym I let my hair down in other ways, both in good fun and in being confrontational.

And I don't think that there's anything particularly wrong with this semi-anonymous internet battling. As a matter of fact, I think it's healthy. It's true that in person I'm actually rather diminutive, as well as basically easy-going. One right-winger who I encountered in graduate school said a number of times that I was "all right for a lefty" which I took under advisement, especially since he said his first inclination had been to smash me in the face when I spoke up during our first seminar together. One-on-one with fleshy counterparts I'm generally polite, soft-spoken, and diplomatic (at least that's what I think).

But I think civility is way overrated in many instances. Especially with online political debates. When we're blogging or discussing online with a pseudonym, we're acting as symbols for the political ideologies or orientations that we're arguing for, not so much as 100% real people. As such, "fergusrush" or "nonny" or "bobolink" or "krynaghtum-pants" or any of the other trolls I've insulted in the past aren't real people either. They're symbols. They're symbols of stupidity and nastiness. As such, I don't feel any compulsion to remain civil while arguing against their stupid, nasty, brutish ideas.

Canadian Cynic (who is apparently on "Twitter" now) has voluminous archives from his old blog where lie preserved multiple demonstrations of the utter stupidity of right-wing viewpoints. He's 100% rude to those cretins and they deserve every bit of it.

Because, what are we talking about here? Politics. War. Justice. I'm sure Barack Obama is a fascinating individual. I've heard that Bill Clinton oozes charisma. I'm sure that I could probably kick-back and enjoy a drink with any number of military or business world denizens and that many of them are fine people to their families and friends and the people they meet one-on-one in their everyday lives.

But then again, they might be complicit in stuff like this:

Research Links Rise in Falluja Birth Defects and Cancers to US Assault

• Defects in newborns 11 times higher than normal • 'War contaminants' from 2004 attack could be cause


Continuing:

The latest Falluja study surveyed 55 families with seriously deformed newborns between May and August. It was conducted by Dr Samira Abdul Ghani, a paediatrician at Falluja general hospital. In May, 15% of the 547 babies born had serious birth defects. In the same period, 11% of babies were born at less than 30 weeks and 14% of foetuses spontaneously aborted.

The researchers believe that the figures understate what they describe as an epidemic of abnormalities, because a large number of babies in Falluja are born at home with parents reluctant to seek help from authorities.

One case documented in the report is of a mother and her daughter who after the 2004 battles both gave birth to babies with severe malformations. The second wife of one of the fathers also had a severely deformed baby in 2009.

"It is important to understand that under normal conditions, the chances of such occurrences is virtually zero," said Savabieasfahani.

Iraq's government has built a new hospital in Fallujah, but the city's obstetricians have complained that they are still overwhelmed by the sheer number of serious defects.
See, the thing is, I've lived too long in a world where these atrocities were made and where they continue to be made, to worry about such a thing as "civility" when maddeningly stupid people make stupid decisions based on stupid opinions that produce these horrors.

I also think that the right-wing got a lot of mileage out of mocking the left and the things we accomplished and that it's past time that we returned the favour. So, while I don't go in for cowardly death threats, or lying to prove a point, or ignoring things said by opponents that puncture my arguments, I do use insults and scorn against people who dredge-up stupid nonsense that produces real-world suffering.

EDITED TO ADD: For what it's worth, when I attended the Canada Day rally at Queen's Park after the G20 abomination, there was some doofus there with a pro-cop sign and I lit into him and told him he had shit for brains.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse or thwap's New Year's Predictions for 2011

"This one goes up to eleven."

Here we go. This is basically stream-of-consciousness blather. If I am right about anything then you all owe me 5 cents each!

There will be no federal election in the spring. The NDP will cover itself in dishonour and sell-out to the harpercons for a mess of pottage.

There will be an election in the summer though as harper will produce some new abomination that nobody can stomach. harper will emerge from the election 3-5 seats poorer. Everyone else will be about the same.

harper might not go. He's an ego-maniac and this will be his only gig. (John Manley's got the CCCE and the NCC is small potatoes in comparison. Aside from politics and wingnut welfare, harper has no marketable skills.)

There might not be a coalition. Our leaders are pretty stupid after all.

McGuinty will be returned with a minority government. Tim Hudak's and his OPC's will be shown too batshit crazy for prime-time.

Obama will continue to tack rightward as the US economy slowly implodes. Unemployment will rise slightly (from its already disastrously high level), real estate values will decline, household debt will increase despite decreased consumption because of declining asset values.

The class war in North America and Europe will continue but there will be increasing resistance creating a financial and currency crisis. (The European banking crisis will deflate the Euro which will work against US attempts to competitively devalue the dollar.)

All that plus speculation in world food markets will cause an economic meltdown in the global south, prompting riots and political instability.

China will attempt to insulate itself and focus on relying on domestic demand to take the place of exporting for debt-driven North American consumption. This will require a gradual, controlled raising of wages domestically which will be difficult to pull-off in the face of pent-up worker demands and rising food and housing costs.

India will attempt much the same thing though in a smaller way as material living standards for the vast majority have declined over the past decade, the export economy did not penetrate much of the wider economy, so the insufficiency of developing the domestic economy will not produce a noticeable change for the country's poor.

Rob Ford will be mired in incompetence and scandal. He will be disowned by even the Toronto Sun who will not even think about apologizing for their golden boy. Rather than being the greatest mayor Toronto has ever seen, as Don Cherry predicted, he will inarguably be the worst, far surpassing Mel Lastman, and this will be only Year One.

We will have reached the tipping-point ecologically. Massive heat-waves and hurricanes will batter the tropics and mid-latitudes. Harvests will fail totally in an alarming number of areas. Species extinctions in the oceans are going to begin to have a domino effect producing hunger in those countries where domestic fish harvests were an important part of the people's diet.

Afghanistan will continue to decline as Karzai and the warlords continue to loot the country and abscond with the shrinking funding from the N.A.T.O. authorities. N.A.T.O. (and Canadian) combat deaths will be reduced as Obama becomes increasingly desultory about actually achieving anything and restricts the troops to defensive roles.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ottawa Police Scandal: How Right-Wing Authoritarians Attempt to Argue

So, in response to the major public relations disaster of the Ottawa Police FORCE being investigated for numerous assaults on innocent people, some dim-bulb (no doubt a blubbering, self-pitying cop or one of their moronic relatives or friends) has put together one of those xtranormal instant animations as their contribution to the debate.

Besides one case involving a woman who says she was beaten and sexually assaulted that's already before the courts there are the Stacey Bonds and Terry Delay cases where the public has seen video evidence of both these non-threatening individuals being needlessly abused by police who later blatantly lied about both incidents. (As well, I've heard there are other complaints and planned lawsuits.)

The shit-head behind the animation responds to this by showing two cops arguing. One of them wants to put a violent, drunken, publicly masturbating lunatic into the lock-up while the other one behind the desk says that their new, pro-Charter rights policy is to not lock anybody up. Instead, the arresting officer is told maybe he should take the hepatitis-B positive drunken lunatic over to his (the arresting officer's house) and that's when I really stopped paying attention, but the gist was that the arresting officer should take the drunken, masturbating lunatic to his house and treat him as an honoured guest.

One commentator at the link wisely trashed the cartoon:

For those of you who do not understand the purpose of this video. The intent is to suggest that it is acceptable for police officers to beat up prisoners and insinuate that police officers are victims.

Interesting fact: Ottawa has the lowest rate of conviction rate for violent crimes (14%). Maybe our cops could spend less time beating innocent people up and more time resolving crimes?

Yes. And this video is typical of what I've seen of right-wingers' arguments. When they're defeated about something their response is to argue about something else, win that, and imagine that the straw-man they've defeated is the actual subject at hand. And that is the more charitable interpretation. The other option is to imagine (say) that the idiot who made that cartoon actually believes that the outcry against four male officers and one female "special" constable kicking and beating and molesting an unarmed, non-threatening, diminutive woman is the exact same thing as demanding that the police take violent lunatics into their homes. Which is completely insane.

It's not that I feel obliged to be charitable. I honestly believe that there are a lot of people who are so stupid that the things they believe and the things that they do based on these beliefs appear to be insane. Insane people generally are unable to control the associations they make. Oftentimes conclusions are based on non-existent, imagined "evidence." (These imaginary inputs are what constitute genuine insanity.) Really stupid people aren't insane, but they cobble together beliefs based on false, incoherent beliefs, strengthened by ignorance. For example:

  • "Liberals" care more about criminals' rights than anyone else's.
  • The police are all heroic defenders of public order.
  • "Liberals" are complaining about police brutality.
  • Therefore, "liberals" want the police to adopt violent criminals into their families and sing "Kumbaya" at the Unitarian Church.

This is why it is a waste of time to argue with most of these people. They're incapable of grasping simple truths. By the time you've managed to get them to understand even a few of the fundamentals they've already gone on and committed some new atrocity elsewhere which they will likewise defend with the same mulish obstinacy.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Listen Up NDP: NO DEALS WITH hARPERCON SCUM

Far and Wide talks about how, in the face of Ignatieff's apparent eagerness to force an election, the harpercons are cuddling up to the NDP. Far and Wide's take on it is that it's surprising, given all the stuff about Ignatieff's unpopularity and the Liberals' moribund polling, that it's the harpercons who are desperately thrashing about (courting the "socialists" of the evil axis of separatists and socialists) to avoid an election.

My position is that if Ignatieff is showing the same absence of political acumen as he did in August 2009, coming off of a parliamentary break making election threats out of nowhere, then things are a little tricky. That having been said however, I would have to say that the NDP would disgrace itself by making a tawdry deal with the harpercons.

In the fall of 2009 I said that Ignatieff's out-of-the-blue election call would have produced a disaster but that the NDP asked for too little from the harpercons (and they didn't get it anyway).
Layton and the NDP should have done all they could to make harper literally grovel to stay in power. As it is, the repulsive fool has had to show himself (to anyone too unaware to have realized it before) that he's a hypocrite with all his "socialists and separatists" talk. If this all turns out to have been a combined effort by the entire opposition to simply manouvere harper into such a compromising position I'll take back my criticism, but somehow I'm pretty sure that things are as they seem. To whit: Ignatieff has belatedly found his spine (or has exploded in a fit of petulance) and the NDP, realizing that an election would be disastrous for them as well, have now scrambled to do what the Liberals have always been roundly condemned for, hiding pathetically from the electorate. harper, meanwhile, has once again shown himself to be a cowardly bully, who, when his back is to the wall, will do ANYTHING to hold onto power.

...

Two things are for certain though. This craziness has managed to make everyone (except the Bloc, I guess) look bad and everyone (except for harper) look good. harper looks bad because it's always been his stubborn arrogance that's made Parliament dysfunctional the whole time. Now, he's reduced to negotiating with the same "socialists and separatists" he hypocritically trashed the Liberals for courting. Layton looks cynical and hypocritical. Ignatieff looks like a petulant doofus.

At the same time, Layton is once again a player. If he extracts genuine concessions he can say that he knows how to bargain with harper as opposed to the Liberals' panic and embarrassed anger. Ignatieff can say that Layton wouldn't have had the opportunity without the Liberals' election threats. Personally, I'm hoping that harper's concessions won't be enough and Layton allows Ignatieff to force this election.
I say the same thing again. The NDP should ask that the harpercons deliver the exact sort of budget that a Liberal-NDP coalition government would have. If they do, then okay. If they don't, then fuck 'em. harper is a monster. He's a disgrace. He's a failure. He spits on our system of government. He spits on Canadian values. He despises us and he (ridiculously) thinks he's smarter than us. Defeat him.

The Liberals and the NDP should campaign against all the other parties, including each other. But when the smoke clears, Ignatieff and Layton must admit to themselves that they are going to have to work with one another.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cherry in Afghanistan: Canadian political culture hitting rock bottom

Many, many, many, other bloggers have already done a fine job of deriding the obnoxious Don Cherry's nauseating buffoonery in Afghanistan:

The 76-year-old Cherry worked the mostly French-Canadian troops at each stop with the Kandahar version of his long-running Coach’s Corner segment that airs during the first intermission of NHL games.

“Is this your favourite team,” he asked, holding up a Washington Capitals logo.

“No!” the troops shouted.

He held up a Calgary Flames logo. “Is that your favourite team?”

“No!” came the reply.

“What about that one?” he asked, a Montreal Canadiens logo in hand.

The troops erupted. But the biggest cheer came next.

“Les Nordiques!” someone cried as Cherry held up the logo of Quebec City’s former NHL franchise, which the city is trying to bring back.

...

Troops at Ma’sum Gar are still reeling from the death of one of their own last week. The blast from an improvised explosive device, or IED, killed Corporal Steve Martin last week.

MacKay had a special gift for the Ma’sum Gar troops: the game ball from this year’s Grey Cup, won by the Montreal Alouettes. That elicited a roar from the soldiers circled around him.

Reminds me why I think sports fanaticism is revolting. "I might not know how to afford my kids' health care bills in a few years, but lemme tell yah, I've been studying the new line-up and THEY'RE A YOUNG TEAM AND OH BOY! THIS YEAR THEY'LL DEFINITELY MAKE IT TO THE PLAY-OFFS BUT NEXT YEAR ... !"

If those soldiers really were getting worked up by seeing a jersey with the logo of a NHL team on it (one they could buy at any mall back home) or the fucking ball from a football game, well then, I honestly pity them.

Could you imagine this:
The 38-year old Stroumboulopoulos held up a book by P. J. O'Rourke to the assembled troops.

"Boo!" they shouted.

"Is this your favourite writer?" he asked, now holding a work by Christopher Hitchens.

"No!" they shouted.

"How about Naomi Klein??" he asked, raising a copy of The Shock Doctrine above his head.

"Yeah!"

Finally, Stroumboulopoulos held up a copy of Manufacturing Consent. "Or maybe you'd prefer Noam Chomsky??"

The crowd went absolutely wild.

Jeeziz.

However, I have some faith in humanity. Perhaps it didn't go like the way the newspapers are saying it did at all. Just for the purposes of SATIRE and PARODY I'm going to pretend that I, thwap, accompanied Cherry and Mackay on their jaunt.

The 76-year-old Cherry worked the mostly French-Canadian troops at each stop with the Kandahar version of his long-running Coach’s Corner segment that airs during the first intermission of NHL games.

“Is this your favourite team,” he asked, holding up a Washington Capitals logo.

"Fuck-off!” the troops shouted.

He held up a Calgary Flames logo. “Is that your favourite team?”

“No! Cut it out with this shit!” came the reply. "We want to go home!"

“What about that one?” he asked, a Montreal Canadiens logo in hand.

The troops erupted. "Put these fucking logos away!!! This war is bullshit! Christmas is bullshit! You're bullshit!"

But the biggest jeers came next.

“Les Nordiques!” Cried Cherry holding up the logo of Quebec City’s former NHL franchise, which the city is trying to bring back.

"Screw-off old man!" shouted one. "If you love this place so much you can stay here and let me take your plane-ride home!" shouted another.

...

Troops at Ma’sum Gar are still reeling from the death of one of their own last week. The blast from an improvised explosive device, or IED, killed Corporal Steve Martin last week.

MacKay had a special gift for the Ma’sum Gar troops: the game ball from this year’s Grey Cup, won by the Montreal Alouettes. That elicited a roar from the soldiers circled around him.

"How the hell do you think looking at that ball is going to bring back our friend you idiot?"

MacKay began to tear-up, his lower lip trembling, he put the ball back into the duffle-bag and then ran to his handlers' sides.

...

The visit took on a tragic turn when MacKay and Cherry (in violation of several international laws) jokingly took part in a live-fire artillery exercise. An artillery officer slowly read-out coordinates as a nervous MacKay painstakingly adjusted the cannon. When he was finished, the officer shouted "FIRE!" and a panicky MacKay jerkily did so. A deafening roar was followed by a sickening whining noise as the missile came crashing down on the camp's mess-hall, killing two and wounding three.

"We should have kept you to the torture sessions MacKay! There the only person you ever hurt was yourself!" screamed one of the accompanying officers.

"I was never good at math." whined MacKay. Cherry had more luck, entering the coordinates and firing a round towards he knew not where.

"Is that it?" he moaned. Cherry was then taken to a ridge from where a tiny cluster of huts could be seen about three miles away.

"We suspect that Taliban insurgents are hiding in that village. How would you like to call in an air-strike sir?"

Cherry did so and he and MacKay hollered as minutes later a fighter jet soared past them and seconds later the village disappeared in a cloud of brown dust and the plane veered majestically away.

"Congratulations sir. I think you killed about ten or twelve bad guys plus some assorted others." said the officer.

Next they visited a military hospital and Cherry repeated his teams' logo routine to similar acclaim and then began to comfort some of the wounded and traumatized soldiers. "Hey now! None of that!" he said to the moaning and the complaints. "You guys volunteered for this mission! Now I don't want to hear any of this belly-aching about it! Just think of Baby Jesus coming into the world about now, only to get killed in a couple of months at Easter time! He's not complaining and neither should you!"

Finally, Cherry and MacKay joined President Hamid Karzai and other Afghan political and military leaders at a bacha-bazi performance. The Afghan officials clapped and cheered as an 11-year old boy dressed in female attire came out and danced before them. Later, the boy would be offered up to one of the leading men in a practice that had been stamped out by the Taliban only to be revived by the Karzai/Warlord government.

Cherry watched in disgust and when asked if he was enjoying the show said no and began to talk agitatedly to the Afghan leaders. With the loud music it was difficult to hear but Cherry began to mince and prance while yelling at them, similar to his mockery of effeminate homosexuals in one of his more controversial "Coach's Corner" episodes. Before their handlers could intervene, the 76-year old Cherry and the eternally puerile MacKay received numerous punches and kicks from the enraged dignitaries.

When asked for his thoughts following his fact-finding trip, Cherry said: "You know, I still support what we're doing in Afghanistan. For nine years, despite all the corruption, electoral fraud, unending poverty, growing insurgency, and dead and wounded Canadian men and women, I've stuck stupidly to the same brain-dead, pro-mission stance I've always had. Why should I change that just because a couple of perverts took a swing at me?"

And there you have it folks!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Question About stephen harper Singing "The Seeker"

Has anyone yet pointed out that the song includes the lyrics "I won't get to get what I'm after till the day I die?" and made a snarky comment about his futile quest for a majority?

You know, I'm often accused of thinking that I'm smarter than everyone else because I call so many people "stupid" or I discount the abilities of many "conservative" politicians or thinkers. It's not true. Just because I say that a vote for most "conservative" politicians is based on stupidity or ignorance doesn't mean I think I'm a genius. If 50-60% of the population votes and slightly more than a quarter of them vote for a "conservative" that's something like 15% of the adult population, of whom, maybe half are simply ignorant of some important information (as opposed to being stupid). And I tend to neglect mentioning the proportion of "conservative" voters who are merely greedy, well-off people who live in big, beautiful houses and who want yet another tax cut as our health care system, our education system, etc., etc., are crumbling around them.

Thing is, I believe what I believe for certain reasons, and I feel very strongly about these things. So if some people believe that global warming is a hoax because the world isn't heating up but if it is it's caused by solar flares, or that Saddam Hussein put all his WMDs on a convoy of trucks and gave them to Syria, or that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, or that a coalition of MPs is a "coup," I'm going to be unable to find a rational reason why they believe those things and conclude that those people are stupid and/or ignorant.

Same with the supposedly "evil geniuses" of "conservative" political parties. I don't think that a lot of them are particularly bright. John Baird? Ezra Levant? Stockwell Day? Jason Kenny? Cheryl Gallant? Sorry. Can't do it. (Mike Harris? Rob Ford?)

Ah thwap, thwap, thwap! It's dangerous to underestimate these people! Look at their record of success! You can't deny that?

What success? Success against what? In the case of the federal Liberals, success against Michael Ignatieff? Success against a party that doesn't fight back? Is it really "conservative" brain-power that kept the harpercons in power through all those votes in Parliament, or the fact that the Liberals didn't show up for the votes? Did stephen harper and Jim Flaherty (there's another moron!) display awesome cunning when they almost got thrown from power by a coalition, or was it more the case that their gelatinous asses were pulled from the fire by GG Michelle Jean's brain-dead decision to grant a prorogation?

And sure they sometimes win elections, mostly because the centre and leftwards majority split their votes in our archaic electoral system. And because the majority of the electorate is misinformed by an incompetent and/or wilfully duplicitous corporate media system. ("We asked Private Mcdonald if he supported the mission and he said 'Yes, he most certainly does.'")

Boy thwap! You're smarter than the voters! You're smarter than the politicians! You're smarter than the media! That's a pretty swelled head you've got there!

In all honesty I don't know what it is about the way that I write that produces this response in some people! Other leftist writers expose the follies of "conservative" politicians and parties. We're all familiar with how the corporate news media distort and lie. We all believe that "conservative" voters are often ignorant or deluded fools. But somehow the tone of my writing causes me to appear more arrogant than other people who write exactly the same thing.

I've come a long way from the title of this post. But I was anticipating a response to my next point about harper's singing and I guess I got a little carried away. Because my other observation is that harper's Christmas party performance is evidence of his mediocre political skills. You know this guy isn't operating with a full-deck. It's like this: apparently harper did a competent job of warbling through "With a little help from my friends" a while back. (I never listened to it. I have a visceral dislike for the man and couldn't bring myself to suffer it.) Deciding that the pleasant reviews constituted an artistic triumph, the pear-shaped, helmet-headed creep decided to invite the reporters in so that they could televise his super-star performance and get an even bigger boost in the polls. Except that he's not all that good. Except that the sight of that toad "rocking-out" just put people off their meals.

A show-business adage is "Always leave them wanting more." If your performance exceeds very low (or non-existent) expectations, you really have to stop and ask whether such results meant that people really wanted to hear you again. Or are you the sort who takes tentative applause as a sign to go all-out and perform a whole concert making people regret they gave you any encouragement at all? Methinks that the response of the majority of Canadians to harper's Christmas party antics was a collective rolling of the eyes and an "Oh Jesus!"

Well.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Failure, failure, failure, and still more failure

Return with us to those thrilling days of yesteryear (January 2008):

Are we winning the battle against the insurgents in Afghanistan?

Almost any Canadian soldier, diplomat or NATO official asked that question invariably answers: Yes, we are, but there is still a long way to go.

Ah! But what a difference (damn near) three years can make!
Third, there were leaks about a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), the combined findings of all 16 US intelligence agencies. This key intelligence report is explosive and may not be fully revealed.
The NIE reportedly asserts that the $13 billion a month Afghan War is at best stalemated; at worse, Western occupation forces are on the defensive and their vulnerable supply lines increasingly threatened. Taliban is expanding its control, particularly in northern Afghanistan.
Claims by US generals that “progress” is being made in the war are false.
Ah yes. Failure, failure, failure, and still more failure. But remember kids, Michael Ignatieff ruefully came around to acknowledging that the pro-peace side was right about Iraq (you know, as well as on Afghanistan) and he was wrong. But he was wrong for all the right reasons and we were wrong because we're all a bunch of stupid doody-heads.

Unlike, say, Bob Rae, who is presently yammering about his latest collections of nonsensical scribblings saying that we can't impose democracy on people, we just have to keep blasting them to pieces when they fight back against corrupt, brutal puppet governments that we impose upon them. (Some will argue that Rae is not calling for this, but I assert that Rae's saying we cannot disengage from Afghanistan after all this time and all this failure is precisely calling for more of the status-quo. It's the same old "responsibility to protect" bullshit that these liberals use to rationalize the same old imperialism.)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Demolition of Harkat Ruling

Okay. I am posting something today. It's Toronto Action for Social Change's critique of the Harkat ruling upholding his security certificate arrest for being a danger to the public. Read the whole thing please. This is important:

"Harkat Condemned by Secret Allegations."

Sunday Morning

I don't think I'll post anything today.



There ain't much Captain Beefheart in it a'tall really. Oh well. Let's try another.



I remember a night back in London, Ontario, 1987 or so. Severely wasted after a party, lying on somebody's floor, and Captain Beefheart's booming voice on the stereo filling up the room. I was impressed.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Creating Fear, Cynicism, Bigotry, in order to rule

Nobody does it like right-wingers and few do it with as much fervid desperation as the harpercons. This isn't an original observation, I know, but for a few days I've been reflecting on the harpercons' cynical attempts to manufacture anxiety about the crime rate by making people think it's soaring when statistics show it's stagnant or falling.

It's one thing to cynically manipulate genuine fear in order to get people to empower you. But to actually set out to create that fear in the first place is bottom -of-the-barrel stuff indeed.

At some point in peoples' lives, those who have taken some wrong paths (alcoholism, selling dangerous narcotics, bumping people off of health insurance, writing bullshit studies that sow doubt about global warming or the harms of tobacco smoke, etc.) stop and ask themselves: "What have I become?" Some people are able to do the hard work, make the hard decisions, to turn their lives around. One would hope that those among the harpercons do the same.

What sort of moral midgets try to make people feel bad by inventing a problem where there isn't one? Think about it. The harpercons are trying to make Canadians feel less safe and secure. Why? So that the harpercons "solutions" (to the non-existent problem) will become attractive to these now-frightened voters. And it goes beyond that! While proposing their idiotic policies (which haven't worked when they were tried elsewhere in any case) they tell fearful Canadian voters that the opposition parties have been frustrating their efforts, so as to deliberately endanger Canadians in their efforts to "hug thugs" or whatever. The reality is that the opposition has been very accommodating at getting through necessary revisions to old crime legislation and has worked hard to work with the government with special committees to study legislation and propose sensible amendments. They have been forced to work harder because the government has had a bad habit of proroguing Parliament whenever it feels itself in danger politically, thus killing their "anti-crime" legislation on the order table again and again.

And it gets worse than that! Given the fact that there is no problem of rising crime in Canada, the harpercon solution to this non-existent problem, necessitates throwing tens of thousands of Canadians into prison for lengthy terms and weakening the constitutional rights of everyone else. I mean, how sickening is that? "There is no rising crime rate, but I'm going to pretend that there is so that I can obtain power, which I will use to take away peoples' rights and jail many of them, for no other real reason."

Scratch that last bit. There are a couple of other ulterior motives. Weakening Canadians' constitutional rights makes it easier to control them. And who wants to control them? Capitalist elites and authoritarian goons. (More on this in a moment.) As well, creating hysteria about crime and enacting harpercon policies will mean big budgets for police AND private security contractors, the building of larger prisons (for construction contractors, and, if you can successfully "privatize" the running of prisons (who will be paid from the public purse), you have another satisfied corporate customer providing support and cushy post-political jobs for you and your operatives. Sickening and sleazy.

If anything, the proven fact that right-wing social policies CREATE crime, combined with the fact that their "anti-crime" policies DO NOT WORK, (as the incarceration rates and crime rates in the USA so tragically prove), it is the right-wingers in general and the harpercons in particular who should be labelled "soft on crime." But, again, when you're the sorts of creatures who want to make people afraid when there's nothing to be afraid about, it goes without saying that you want to be able to control the populace so as to be able to exploit them while restricting their ability to fight back. When you've simultaneously manufactured hysteria about the threat of terrorism, you can incrementally describe genuine protests as terrorism and create an ideological justification for demonizing protesters and abusing them. But even without the public hysteria against protesters, your work at weakening constitutional rights by exploiting anxieties about crime has already made the work of crushing dissent easier.

Finally (and perhaps more depressingly?) the examples of the McGuinty Liberals and the Obama Democrats show that attacking constitutional rights and abusing human rights is not limited to moronic, retrograde right-wingers. (I feel obliged to say that authoritarianism is a character defect shared on the right and the left of the political spectrum, but I want to point out that I don't want anyone to believe that I think McGuinty or Obama are on the left.) The difference between "conservatives" and Liberals is that "conservatives" shriek and howl like monkeys in the ways I've just described, whereas Liberals are much more quiet about things and can seriously debate whether it makes sense to shovel public money out the door to enrich prison-building firms and incompetent, corrupt, private prisons. It is the right-wing, and especially in Canada, the harpercons, who yammer the loudest, the most dishonestly, the most cynically, the most stupidly, about the problem of crime and who propose the most criminal, cynical, incompetent "solutions."

And again I ask: "How repulsively amoral do you have to be to make a career out of such disgusting behaviour?"

Friday, December 17, 2010

Weisbrot: Wikileaks and Haiti

A good read.
People who do not understand US foreign policy think that control over Haiti does not matter to Washington, because it is so poor and has no strategic minerals or resources. But that is not how Washington operates, as the WikiLeaks cables repeatedly illustrate. For the state department and its allies, it is all a ruthless chess game, and every pawn matters.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Belated Appreciation For a Jim Coyle Editorial

I was working on a lot of stuff when this came out: "Political contempt paves way for public disgust" ...

Give it a read. Coyle details some of the worst examples of contempt for democracy, thuggery, and boorishness, exhibited at the federal, provincial, and local levels, and hopes that at least a critical mass of anger at this sort of behaviour might start a change for the better.

(I tried to excerpt a snippet, but it's not that kind of editorial.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Liberal-NDP Coalition is the Best We Can Hope For

The corrupt harpercons are trying to ram through some more stupid pro-crime legislation (or they're purposefully dangling legislative garbage before the opposition parties knowing that they'll reject it so that they [the harpercons] can yammer and howl about how the opposition parties are "soft on crime" and blocking legislation). As well, they've been pursuing (in secret) high-level talks with the criminal Repugnocrats in the USA about a common Canada-USA "security perimeter."

Typing this, party of me thinks that Ignatieff and several other Red-Librocons would support this "security perimeter."

Bah. Anyway. I think we're going to have an election in the spring. And if that's the case, here is how it is going to go:

  • harper's hold on his base is as secure as ever. He will have the largest single bloc of seats in the House of Commons, based in the West and parts of BC and Ontario.
  • Ignatieff will not inspire any new voters and the Liberals will have about the same amount of seats as in the past.
  • The Bloc Quebecois will have about the same amount of seats as they do now.
  • The NDP might get a few seats from the harpercons in BC and maybe one or two more somewhere else, but no real difference.

These results having been gathered, we will again have a choice: Recall the five years of political brinkmanship, the five years of contempt for parliamentary democracy, the five years of incompetence and lies, and allow it to continue, or, ignore whatever manufactured, incoherent, ignorant outrage that the cynical, contemptuous harpercons will manage to dredge-up out of the populace and simply form a coalition and consign the harpercon bullies to the scrap-heap.

That's it.

Done.

Finished.

Finito.

I can't stand the Liberals because they're liars. If there was no NDP in Canada forcing them to strengthen their left flank they would be as revoltingly pro-rich as the Democrats in the USA are. I hesitate to give them an opportunity to redeem themselves after they savaged the welfare state and doled-out the tax cuts for the wealthy under three majority governments until Mr. Dithers came to power. But the Liberals are not as bad as the harpercons, especially when it comes to social policy. The Liberals do not believe that marijuana and homosexuality cause autism and insanity. The Liberals do not believe that the theory of evolution is a leftist plot like global warming is. The Liberals do not believe that sending young offenders to Christian-run private prisons is the answer to unreported crimes.

A coalition will at least help retrieve the Canadian values of tolerance and moderation that the harpercons have been using the power of the public purse to undermine.

Let the right-wing idiots howl. Let them scream. Let them whine. Let them bitch. Let them demonstrate. Let them protest. Let them lie.

Out of power is out of power. Out of power they can do nothing but complain. The same way we can now do nothing but complain. The only difference is that with a coalition, there will be an effective majority (unless Ignatieff is as incompetent governing in a coalition as he is as Opposition Leader). If we have an effective majority, and realize the benefits of it, the harpercons will NEVER have power in Canada again. Because the best they can do is a minority and there will always be a coalition to prevent that.

They will NEVER have power in Canada again and Canada will be the better for it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nauesating Canadian Hypocrisy on Haiti

The latest abomination:
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon says the international community "cannot do everything in Haiti" and urged the country's leadership rivals to respect the democratic process "with respect and calm." ... it's important for the people of Haiti to assume their responsibility because, I repeat this, there will not be any economic progress if there is no government stability, and what is essential is to get the stability of the government."

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2010/12/12/canada-foreign-ministers-meeting-wakefield.html#ixzz1879mx6R1

We can't do EVERYTHING for these people!!! I mean, shit, we overthrew their last genuinely elected government in 2004 and have pretty much run the country on the discredited "Washington Consensus" auto-pilot since then, how much more do they expect of us???

Then Hillary ("hard-workin' white woman") Clinton pipes up:
"It's essential that Haitian political actors fulfil their responsibilities and demonstrate a firm commitment to democratic principles, including the respect for the integrity for the electoral process," she said.
What drivel. We toppled the democratically-elected President Aristide (for the second time) because he supposedly operated a "failed state" and we had a "responsibility to protect" the Haitian people from his corruption and failure and violence. We have allowed the kleptocratic wealthy minority plunder and loot the country in alliance with North American corporate interests (mining and sweat-shops) and we have imposed ruinous "free trade" policies that devastated the country's peasant farmers.

After five years of our having rescued the people of Haiti from the "failure" of Aristide, they were reduced to eating dirt, being unable to afford food imports.

We have presided over elections between unpopular, discredited, corrupt candidates, while we have barred the largest political party from participating in them, and we have forced the popular President Aristide into exile.

And now, Lawrence Cannon, who comes from a party that is united with its leader in a wholesale contempt for Canadian democracy, and Hillary Clinton, who comes from a country whose electoral process is an international disgrace, ... two of the countries that destroyed Haitian democracy, presume to lecture these brave and noble people? What contemptible filth they are!

Haiti and Afghanistan, Canada's second and first largest foreign policy projects are both failed states. They are miserably failed states. That should at least produce doubt and introspection amongst the architects of our policies. Instead, there's self-satisfied arrogant preaching.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Overwhelmed

I'd started a piece that was going to be called "I read the news today, oh boy" which was just going to be a survey of what was in the news recently, but time constraints and the enormity of it all, the sheer weight of things, overwhelmed me.

I still want to mention them, so here they are in no particular order, with no particular explanations:

- Riots in Haiti following fraudulent election (where largest party and most popular candidate banned by order of USA) during cholera epidemic

- Rob Ford imagines that he can cancel an already started $8 billion project with one phone call

- Militarist moron Don Cherry uses Ford's swearing-in ceremony as a chance to insult large portion of Ford's bosses, the left-wing pinkos/left-wing kooks of Toronto (the constituency with the smallest amount of shit in their brains FWIW)

- Ontario ombudsman releases report on criminal, unconstitutional implementation of Public Works Act by McGuinty government. Chris Bentley, McGuinty's attorney general, doesn't even make a public comment so far as I know

- In response to clear police criminal behaviour at the G20, Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack says people don't know the whole story. Won't/can't articulate what "whole story" is. (I'm tempted to try the "McCormack Defence" just to see how well it works. I'll beat up a really old person, or someone in a wheelchair, or a small child, with a baseball bat, in front of some surveillance video camera, and when I'm in court defending myself, I'll simple drone on that people don't know the whole story, and leave it at that.)

- Toronto police chief Bill Blair lied about a citizen, lied about the SIU investigation, lied about the five-metre law, and says he's not going to resign. Ford (who I suspect shares the same penchant for cavity searches from the police as Paul Godfrey) stands by his man. Chris Bentley is silent as far as I know.

- Two more cases of police brutality are before the courts in Ottawa, on top of the Stacy Bonds, Terry Delay stories. Acting police chief says "We have a problem." (No shit sherlock. Oh, wait, is the problem all the publicity, or that your whole force is a bunch of goons and cowards from top-to-bottom?)

- Class war in Europe. London youth riot over tripling of tuition as a result of austerity package meant to pay off bankers' debts. Austerity in Ireland. Austerity in Greece. Austerity is coming to Portugal and Spain. Pure class war.

-Obama sells out to Republicans demanding extension of idiotic tax cuts for super-rich. Part of capitulation (described by the bullshit artist as "stimulus" for the economy to create jobs, blah, blah, blah) is a payroll tax cut that's really only about destroying Social Security (long a target of Repugs and DLC-types like Obama).

- Arrest of Julian Assange on very dubious (on the face of it) sexual assault charges in Sweden. Assange is head of Wikileaks which, so far, has released evidence of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, evidence of US knowledge of corruption in Afghanistan, and most recently, US diplomatic cables which detail clearly criminal US behaviour, including orders to spy and steal personal information on United Nations leadership. ... Majority of population believes Wikileaks' exposure of US criminal behaviour which has killed hundreds of thousands and ruined the lives of millions more, is a bad thing and support the vendetta against Assange and Wikileaks. (EVEN AFTER WE'VE LONG KNOWN THE ATTACK ON IRAQ ITSELF WAS BASED ON LIES!!!!)

- In retaliation, computer hackers begin a counter-attack on private financial institutions that have dumped Wikileaks' ability to receive donations. US and other government counter-counter-attacks. I personally expect both sides to become more sophisticated and more expansive and more brutal. I believe the advantage of talent and numbers will be on the hackers' side. Look for possible semi-permanent shut-downs of financial institutions and government agencies over next year.

- bush II admits in his stupid memoirs that he ordered the torture of prisoners. Media and public yawns.

- harpercons fess-up after leak to media about their secret negotiations with USA on a common "security perimeter" for Canada and USA to eviscerate our human rights on both sides of the border.

- Algerian refugee Mohamed Harkat, unable (supposedly) to keep his story straight in the face of surprise accusations based on secret evidence, is judged to be a security threat to Canada and faces the possibility of deportation to torture in Algeria.

So, there you have it. There's probably more. Oh yeah! Little things like the Climate Change Conference in Cancun where Canuck Closet-Case [alliteration!] John Baird is doing his bit to dither while the eco-system collapses. The mass-extinctions in the ocean. The on-going financial sector rot that will eventually distract and render us incapable of responding to these very real crises ... and on and on.

The thing is, this nonsense will keep coming at us from all directions and we'll continue to be overwhelmed as to which vile/stupid/ridiculous/dangerous/idiotic/inhuman/hypocritical outrage we can respond to, because as long as the same vile/stupid/ridiculous/dangerous/idiotic/inhuman/hypocritical system, which advances the same vile/stupid/ridiculous/dangerous/idiotic/inhuman/hypocritical individuals persists, they'll keep doing what they do best.

We need to EXPAND democracy. EXPAND democracy into all aspects of human life. How do we achieve this? First, by stopping its contraction in the face of an increasingly rapacious and desperate ruling class. How do we do that? By more support for judges who rule correctly (and no, in the cases I'm talking about, this is not just a difference of opinion). Write to them. Write to newspapers. Support them on discussion boards. I believe that strengthening the climate in favour of the rule-of-law and human rights will strengthen the resolve of principled judges to rule in favour against the hegemony of our insane governments and out-of-control suppression agencies.

In such a context, we should collectively look for all legal avenues to punish government law-breaking and corporate criminality. EVERY SINGLE TIME they do something illegal, we should be organized enough (the hundreds of thousands of us in Canada and the millions in the USA) to launch a legal action against them.

More tactically-minded protests. There has to be a half-way point between meaningless, counter-productive vandalism and offering ourselves like sheep to the slaughter.

Organized political involvement. The "tea party" in the USA are pretty marginal, stupid people on the whole. But one thing they've done that isn't even based on their billionaire supporters/puppet-masters, is that they've taken over some local parties and put their own candidates forward (a source of the whole right-wing counterattack since the 1970s), whereas we imagine that assembling in groups of a dozen, a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, and occasionally, a hundred thousand, and yelling for a few hours under the watchful eyes of the police, is going to change things.

Greed-crazed murderous psychopaths aren't going to listen to appeals to reason. At the moment, the people who give a shit are vastly outnumbered by the evil people, the deluded enablers of the evil people, and the don't-really-give-a-shit people.

A modification of that last paragraph if I may: I think more people would give a shit if we came up with some sort of coherent plan that would make their working with us achieve something beside a few seconds of condescending coverage in the corporate media.

That's my post for today at least.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bliss It Is To Be Alive With YouTube

Because it has allowed me to look at the following clip and think that for those people, there at that time: "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!"



I don't know. I find watching the thing to be monumental.

I've got a similar post here.

Assange Arrested - Related Story: "Has release of Wikileaks documents cost lives?"

So Julian Assange has met with police to discuss the almost assuredly bogus Swedish charges against him (one from a pro-imperialism in Cuba sleaze-bag), but it will be months before it's decided whether he can be extradited on those charges. And, let's remember, all you creeps (like the illiterate, Ezra Levant fan "krygnathsi-skeiruf" who trolls at Dr. Dawg's) who believe that the Australian Assange can be guilty of "treason" against the USA [!], Assange's work with Wikileaks is not illegal according to any US laws.

But I just wanted to point out AGAIN the sheer ridiculousness of this mainstream media agonizing over the possible tragic fall-out from Wikileaks' revelations. I can't really blame the BBC journalist for doing what her employer asks, but Katie Connolly's article from the "related stories" bin "Has release of Wikileaks documents cost lives?" is just such a monumental waste of time.

You go to the link and the first thing you see is Hillary ("Hard-workin' White Woman") Clinton, taking time off from attacking the international community to accuse Wikileaks of attacking the international community. What hypocrisy!

Then there's US Congressman Peter King trashing Assange and Wikileaks as a "terrorist organization." I guess King can be flexible though, given his evident long history of association with the Irish Republican Army?

US military leaders say the release of information could create a more dangerous environment for their troops. Whereas, supposedly, putting them there in the first place and the plans to leave them there for years and years and years, is only looking out for their best interests? (And at this point, with all the massacres, crimes, brutality, torture, etc., I'm really finding it hard to muster much outrage at US troops being endangered. Especially when the concern trolls are, as I just said, the ones who put them in danger in the first place!)




Hey Tom Flanagan! If you call for the assassination of someone because they might have blood on their hands, isn't that absolutely ridiculous? And if they do get assassinated, will you therefore have blood on your hands? And if you do Tommy boy, would you be cool if dozens of mainstream media types all called for YOUR assassination? Maybe you could share with us at your upcoming trial!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Video Evidence of Ottawa Police Association in Assault Gone Horribly Wrong

At the link is shocking footage of Ottawa Police Association president Stephen Boucher, attempting to assault 3 pedestrians. As you can see things don't turn out the way Boucher had expected.

Boucher's behaviour makes these quotes now seem less inexplicable. Here he is blubbering about the fall-out from video evidence of Ottawa cops stomping on people for no reason:

In an interview Thursday night, union leader Steve Boucher said he sent the e-mail to remind officers to keep their heads up, serve with pride and look after each other on the job.
...

Boucher wrote in the e-mail to his members that Lajoie’s comments drove a wedge between the police and the community. He wrote that the union leadership is consulting with its lawyers; it’s not clear to whom a complaint would be filed.

“Please continue to support each other and reach out to those whose names and reputations are being stomped on by opportunistic individuals with a bone to pick who are using the media to further their cause,” he wrote to the officers he represents in the Ottawa Police Service.

Here he is chiming in on acting-Ottawa Police Service chief Larochelle's claim that sometimes the public doesn't get to see the whole picture:

It's a point others picked up on, too. "To somebody who isn't in this field of work, and isn't trained in use-of-force techniques, they can look harsh," said Steve Boucher, president of the Ottawa Police Association. "But, in fact, they (police officers) are doing everything they can to minimize injuries to the prisoner or to themselves."

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/have+problem+acting+police+chief+admits/3943158/story.html#ixzz17WutJ9NW


As I said, the video footage shows a side that makes it clear why Boucher believes that sometimes brutal force is needed to control five-foot tall, one-hundred pound peaceful prisoners, or peaceful drunkards allowing themselves to be dragged into holding cells. We now know that sometimes it's necessary to lie through your fucking teeth about how violent and uncooperative the prisoners were when you're trying to press further charges against them after having brutalized them. We never know the whole story, do we?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Two Commenters at the National Post or "Someone is WRONG on the internet"

Argh. The scum-bag, money-losing, propaganda rag, the National Post has an article about Rob Ford mouthing-off about another subject he knows nothing about. It's one of the least objectionable of his utterances, except for the implications in his simple-minded recommendations. Ford states that if it's freezing outside, then homeless people should be forced into shelters. The reporter talks to two activists who point out the civil rights issue and the practical issue of overcrowding.

But I don't really want to talk much about that. Bear with me, but I decided to check out the National Post's comments section for a lark. Obviously, I read some stuff that I found objectionable. For some reason though, I found these remarks intolerably objectionable, and I'd like to share my thoughts on them.

Here are the ill-starred thoughts of these two human beings. "WELLDONESON" says:
It indeed serves the political purposes of various lefty noisemakers to keep the numbers of homeless up... that way they can blame it on the incumbent gov't or if that gov't pays them, keep quiet and line their pockets. Services for homeless/urban poor are provided by public sector employees, by those doing volunteer work, or by those working for various charities which are often gov't funded.

To which "B IN TO" replies:
I have always been against letting mentally unfit persons "live" on the street. This homeless problem was MUCH smaller back in the day when these unfortunates were in institutions where they had best live. My post would be deleted if I were totell of some of the sights and sounds I witnessed while riding the Hastings bus past Main Street. We need a central facility to house these people, and where possible rehabilitate and train them to do actual jobs for which they could be paid.
Read more: http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/12/02/fords-idea-of-forcing-homeless-into-shelters-draws-skepticism/#ixzz17C5a8mYS

Big deal right? Two right-wing ignoramuses spouting out garbage on the internet. But something made "WELLDONESON's" ravings (and "B IN TO's") stand out amongst the other stupid comments. And further reflection made me think that these two guys confidently expressed nonsense have given us a window into the intellectually bankrupt world of the right-wing. Take "WELLDONESON's" opening statement:

"It indeed serves the political purposes of various lefty noisemakers to keep the numbers of homeless up..."

I wonder if the babbling fool could explain how "lefty noisemakers" are able to do that? Yes, this person is just an idiot on the internet, but stop for a moment and ask yourself how somebody who can write in complete sentences could be so deluded as to imagine that people like John Clarke of OCAP and the members of "Homes Not Bombs" could have any effect on the numbers of people living on the streets.

...

Yeah. I got nothing.

Seriously WELLDONESON, just how do you imagine that happens? Do left-wing activists have some sort of psychic ability to compel people to give up their jobs, leave their homes and their families and live on the street? Or are their powers not as far-reaching as that and they can only convince already homeless people who were planning on going to a shelter to stay outside as part of the campaign to make neo-liberal politicians look bad? Because John Clarke, "Homes Not Bombs," etc., really don't have any impact on the economy or the supply of affordable housing, or the numbers and quality and safety of homeless shelters.

Having dispensed with "WELLDONESON's" insane belief that anti-poverty activists conspire to keep the homeless numbers up, let's look at his explanation for this non-existent behaviour:

"that way they can blame it on the incumbent gov't or if that gov't pays them, keep quiet and line their pockets. Services for homeless/urban poor are provided by public sector employees, by those doing volunteer work, or by those working for various charities which are often gov't funded."

My! That would certainly be hypocritical and evil of them were it true! John Clarke CREATED the homeless situation and then blames, say, Mike Harris for it, or quietly accepts it in return for filthy lucre showering from the Dalton McGuinty government. It's the "poverty industry" that the Fraser Institute warned us about, isn't it?

You see folks, while right-wing scum become political consultants for conservative parties and advocate tax-cuts for the wealthy and the slashing of social programs, housing departments, health care and education, and the promotion of economic problems that create unemployment, (that is, when they're not simply making money in business ripping off insurance customers, stiffing workers, killing anti-mining activists in Mexico, price-fixing, and so-on and such-forth) ... hey, wait a second! ... left-wing scum go into the "poverty industry" where they can make big bucks complaining about the dire situation of the homeless, refugees, the mentally ill, street prostitutes, etc., . Yesirree! Have YOU thought of a brilliant CAREER as a POVERTY PIMP??? Travel! (To the poor sections of town and various government buildings.) Excitement! (Rallies in the cold and getting arrested.) Make CA$H!!!! (Not really.)

Okay, maybe John Clarke isn't exactly getting rich off the backs of the homeless, but what about all those public sector jobs and charities? I suppose it might be sweet to make, say, $40,000 or more a year working with the poorest of the poor. (As opposed to say, $18,000 a year as the part-time night-staff at a variety store, or $20,000 a year as a general labourer.) I suppose the best answer to "WELLDONESON's" accusation is to straight away return to the fucking reality that neither public sector workers, charity workers, or anti-poverty activists have any impact at all over whether people are homeless or not. (So, like, maybe they're people who just want to help the poor???)

I think we're forced to come to the conclusion that "WELLDONESON" is so stupid that he (or she!) is insane. I don't think there's any connected set of bizarre thoughts that has produced "WELLDONESON's" insane belief that anti-poverty activists conspire to increase the homeless rate either to make "conservative" politicians look bad or so that they can justify their jobs and get showered with money from Liberal politicians (who don't pay them in any case). What I think is that "WELLDONESON" is such a slow, lazy thinker, that there are huge gaps in logic as well as justifying evidence that he (or she!) is unconcerned about while cobbling together his (or her) worldview. This allows "WELLDONESON" to blurt out nonsensical garbage with all the confidence of a sane person advocating sensible ideas.

We now turn to "B IN TO" who agreed with "WELLDONESON" that people who work with the homeless are actually monsters who create homelessness so that they can 1.) complain about them if the Conservatives are in power, OR 2.) Get rich looking after them in case the Liberals are in power. "B IN TO" demonstrates his (or her) commanding grasp of history by pointing to the expulsion of mental patients from provincial mental institutions and onto the streets in the 1980s (which is far from being the soul cause of the homelessness explosion) and reflects thusly:

"This homeless problem was MUCH smaller back in the day when these unfortunates were in institutions"

Yeah. Too bad those greedy anti-poverty activists and public sector workers told those 1980s governments to push the mentally ill out on to the streets so that they could .... Say! If those provincial psychiatric hospitals were, like provincially-run, wouldn't they be full of public sector workers? Why would greedy n' lazy public sector parasites want to shut-down hospitals just so they could staff homeless shelters??? UNLESS I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK I'M TALKING ABOUT AND I'M A COMPLETE IDIOT?????

"B IN TO" makes some comments about how the homeless look and smell bad before concluding:

"We need a central facility to house these people, and where possible rehabilitate and train them to do actual jobs for which they could be paid."

Remember folks, "B IN TO" was specifically AGREEING with "WELLDONESON" (replying to his or her post) that people who work with the homeless are hypocrites who just use them to justify their cushy jobs. (But FIRST they had to drive them from psychiatric hospitals so that they could GET those cushy jobs in homeless shelters instead of those cushy jobs in provincial psychiatric hospitals and ... and ... whew! I'm dizzy!) And, in agreement with "WELLDONESON" about the poverty industry, "B IN TO" instead recommends that the government (I'm not sure who else "B IN TO" imagines would do it) build institutions where the homeless can live forever if they're too mentally-ill to be retrained for gainful employment.

Which, if you're paying attention (and "B IN TO" obviously wasn't) is advocating for more public sector jobs to help the homeless. Safe, permanent housing for the unemployable is actually what advocates are asking for. Along with genuine training for real jobs.

Again. I realize that these two morons are a couple of anonymous right-wing trolls who I'll never meet, tossing off comments on the intertubes. But again, ask yourself, how stupid and lazy do yo have to be to have developed a world view as insane (and contradictory) as theirs? And just remember, it's dunces like these who tend to vote for the political party that is right now making laws that govern our existence. Nothing they say makes any sense. It has no basis in reality. And yet they proudly dismiss as "leftards" people who have been trying for decades to get through to them.

Aw well. Twas just a little snippet of the sad reality of Canada's debased political culture. That's all.

Sunday Afternoon Rocking Out!!!

To tired and busy to write much today. So here's some embedded videos that other people put up on YouTube of artists other than themselves.

First up: Gumby's First Music Video!



Thank the gods for that quickly placed towel when Gumby got out of the shower. I don't even want to think about what Gumby's junk looks like.

Next up: A unique live version of Motorhead performing "Killed by Death" (one a mah faverits!)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I Guess it's Safe to Say That All Ottawa Cops are Thugs?

Via The Fifth Column: "'Circle wagons,' union boss tells officers. Colleagues being 'stomped on' need support: Boucher"
In an interview Thursday night, union leader Steve Boucher said he sent the e-mail to remind officers to keep their heads up, serve with pride and look after each other on the job.
...

Boucher wrote in the e-mail to his members that Lajoie’s comments drove a wedge between the police and the community. He wrote that the union leadership is consulting with its lawyers; it’s not clear to whom a complaint would be filed.

“Please continue to support each other and reach out to those whose names and reputations are being stomped on by opportunistic individuals with a bone to pick who are using the media to further their cause,” he wrote to the officers he represents in the Ottawa Police Service.


Notice the headline writer took pains to include blubbering Boucher's attempt at low-comedy by saying his membership was being "stomped on." That takes some doing on Boucher's part don't you think? Whining about how his membership is being figuratively "stomped on" while the whole problem arose from individuals within the membership literally stomping on people, and innocent people at that.

I was a union official once. There was a training weekend for us when we started and in once exercise we were given the example of an alcoholic member with extensive attendance and work problems who refused treatment. All of us in that seminar said that if the guy wouldn't get help and kept screwing-up we'd defend him according to the letter of the law, but we wouldn't actively try to sabotage management's attempts to fire him. If they did their paperwork, and went through the proper procedures, we weren't going to damage our own integrity by keeping a drunken incompetent on the job come hell or high-water.

That's how Boucher should be behaving right now. If he had any sense of decency, or shame, or honour, or justice. He apparently doesn't. And while I think that he was deliberately trying to be provocative with that "stomped-on" nonsense, I also think there's a fair bit of genuine, self-pitying blubbering in his address. The same old maddening, blind, self-righteousness that has the architects of the death and misery of millions of people at the hands of US-American imperialism wailing and gnashing their teeth about how Wikileaks has "blood on its hands" for exposing evidence of their crimes. I think Boucher both does and does not appreciate what a sickening monster he is.

And, as the head of the Ottawa Police Association, I guess we can take Boucher's comments as representative of the people he, well, represents. Which means that unless there's a massive repudiation of his outburst, we're to assume that unlike the dream that "special" Constable Melanie Morris and Staff-Sgt. Steve Desjourdy are just a couple of "bad apples" among a barrel of shiny, fresh, crisp, delicious apples, that maybe the whole police service is rotten beyond saving. That they're a pack of twisted thugs for whom four big men sexually assaulting a five-foot tall female is nothing to get upset about.

I notice Dr. Dawg is saying that Boucher is just doing his job. As you can tell, I disagree. No matter what your job is, there comes a point where personal integrity and simple honesty and justice tell you what you must do or must not do. A lawyer charged with defending someone who they believe is guilty of some heinous crime is obligated to provide a defence for that person. But a lawyer who can feign self-righteous indignation and will use every possible trick and every possible appeal to (deceived) human sentiments, to allow a monster to go free, is going beyond the demands of our legal system and, more importantly, human decency.

Boucher isn't "fighting" for those cowardly, lying thugs, out of obligation. He's publicly threatening judges and telling the police service to "circle wagons" around those scum-bags.

Finally, as another example of someone who, for the sake of decency, should just shut the fuck up, Ottawa police chief White warbles:
“We can’t lose sight of the fact that our members respond to thousands of calls every day, and do so in a competent and highly professional manner,” White said. “I have full confidence in the abilities and professionalism of the men and women who serve this community.”
That's just it though! They answer thousands of calls everyday, and how often do they beat innocent people, sexually molest them, steal and take drugs, beat and rape sex workers, fuck the dog, bitch about how nobody respects them instead of doing their jobs, etc., etc.,?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Open Letter to Jim Judd: Do You Have Fucking Shit For Brains?

The lack of introspection is breathtaking:
Former CSIS director Jim Judd went so far as to complain that judicial rulings and public naiveté were paralyzing his spies – specifically lamenting that Canadians were prone to “knee-jerk anti-Americanism” and “paroxysms of moral outrage.”

Guarded in public and blunt in private, Mr. Judd is said to have been scathing in his frank assessments. “Director Judd ascribed an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ worldview to Canadians and their courts, whose judges have tied CSIS ‘in knots,’” the cable said.

Really Jimmy boy? Saying that the case for Iraq's WMDs was false, when it turns out it was false, is knee-jerk anti-Americanism? Saying that the invasion of Iraq was illegal when it was illegal, is knee-jerk anti-Americanism? Any fact-based, critical analysis of the USA's foreign policy is knee-jerk anti-Americanism? (But I suppose that stupid wars that kill thousands of US service men and women and maim and wound tens of thousands more, some of whom are left in filth and neglect at Walter Reed Military Hospital is principled pro-Americanism?)

Spare us from your simple-minded criticisms Mr. Judd.

Protesting the slaughter of innocent civilians? Condemning Canadian complicity in torture? Condemning spilling Canadian blood and treasure to back-up a corrupt government of rapist, drug-dealing warlords? Protesting the destruction of our Charter of Rights? I suppose we've had "paroxysms" of moral outrage, but I'd also like to think there's been a sustained anger against violations of our fundamental values. Because such anger is warranted and it is right.

I suppose for you, Mr. Judd, amoral actions, in the uninvestigated pursuit of a policy of simple-minded allegience to childish fantasies of US-American benevolence, is the best you're capable of. But there are adults in this country (and open-eyed youth) who recognize the dangers of your shit-headedness. Canada peddles asbestos around the world, supports putting poor countries through the wringer to pay-off international financiers, violates poor country environmental and human rights laws to extract their minerals out of the ground, and now corrupts its own democratic traditions handing minors over to torturers. But we're a minor player in the disgusting play of international affairs. The United States is the biggest economy in the world. It is the wealthiest country in the world. It has the most powerful military in the world. That military works to maintain a system. An economic system. A system controlled almost entirely (99.9999999%) by a tiny, narrow elite. This system benefits capitalists in Europe, Japan, and compradors (or quislings) throughout the world. The system of military bases, and death squads, and no-fly zones, is a system called "imperialism." The "War on Terror" is really a "war on blow-back" as a result of this imperialism. Whether we agree with the architects of the blow-back or not is irrelevant. It is the inevitable result of military intrusion into foreign societies. Identifying terrorism as blow-back is stating a much needed dose of reality to the childish vision of good and evil that must be playing out in your stunted mind.

And, just as US imperialism was the cause of the blow-back, the more blatant exercise of military power, of military retribution, or, perhaps more accurately, the increasingly brutal nature of a decaying empire lashing-out against rebellion, is causing further terrorism/blow-back. Almost the entire number of terrorist threats against the West have resulted not from the imbecilic argument that we are hated for our freedoms. Not from the ravings of Osama bin Laden. But from simple outrage against US-American barbarism in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere in Muslim countries. The slaughtering of innocents offends people. The self-pitying whining of US-Americans at the results of their rampages should be understood within the context of numerous 9-11's in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine.

Against this, Judd has his simplistic notions of US-American benevolence. No, not even that. Just their familiarity. I'm sure Judd doesn't function at any higher level than that. Most of the sitcoms that Judd enjoys come from the United States. He was brought-up in Canada, so close to the USA that we sometimes imagine we're interchangeable. But this is Canada, so a few moments thinking about the glorious procession from Winston Churchill to Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush, and you serve Canada and you serve the United States.

And by "serve," what do we mean? By serve, we mean to occupy a desk, and kiss-ass and toady, and rise to the top of an "intelligence" agency that in the great battle of our time (supposedly) spends all its time torturing innocent people or fomenting its own plots which it can then expose and generate arrests and trials and convictions which all add to its claims for more tax dollars. Seriously. If CSIS had any genuine accomplishments don't you think we'd have heard about them. It's particularly damning that there are no major arrests and sensational trials of actual terrorist plots isn't it? Doesn't the US-American Department of Homeland Security demand public congratulations for every demented welder plotting to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge? Doesn't CSIS hoot and holler about the stories of ignorant teenagers talking shit about capturing Parliament Hill and beheading the prime minister?

So far, our "intelligence" services have violated the human rights of non-citizens with the aid of so-called "security certificates" that allow them to be held indefinitely on secret evidence. All of these men have been released. None of them were found to have been involved with anything.

Our "intelligence" services have told the US-Americans that Maher Arar was a dangerous threat, leading to his illegal arrest and rendition to torture in Syria.

Our "intelligence" service has built-up fabricated cases against three other Canadian citizens, stupidly spread their slanders to foreign intelligence agencies, and brought about the torture of Canadian Citizens Abdullah Almalki, Muayyed Nurredin, and Ahmad El-Maati, in Syria and Egypt. And then, while Canadian citizens were being tortured, what did CSIS do??? As it did with the minor Omar Khadr, it took part in their interrogations!!! All three men were released, the Syrian torturers being (as they were with Maher Arar) unable to beat anything out of them.

Our "intelligence" services concocted another idiotic case against Canadian citizen Abousfian Abdelrazik leading, once again, to his torture overseas, where, once again, a Canadian citizen was beaten and tortured, only for the torturers to conclude that there this Canadian knew nothing of terrorism or any terrorist plots.

Really, the biggest feather in the cap of our "intelligence" agencies is how a bunch of hot-headed Muslim teenagers in Canada, incensed at Western imperialism (with a nice Christian-fundamentalist-fascist flavour thanks to bush II and Eric Prince of Blackwater) was destroying their homelands. A police informant organized these blow-hards, or lied to them, got them their weapons, and then turned them in. A bunch of young men who most probably would never have been a danger to anyone, were deliberately stirred-up by a bunch of mentally-challenged canuck spy-masters, entrapped and arrested.

Besides that, what has Judd's commandos done? While you had teams of people working on all the non-citizens you detained sometimes for years on security certificates who have all been let go, and teams of people asking the Syrians questions about tortured Canadian citizens, where were the bombs and beheadings that you thwarted? Nothing? While you were imprisoning innocent people or feeding questions to torturers you didn't stop anything? And we didn't suffer any terrorist outrages?

That must mean that there was no terrorist threat the whole time!!! Nothing was being planned against us!!! NOTHING!!! Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda are the biggest terrorist threat to the United States and his network was able to bomb some weakly defended embassies in Africa, to explode a raft beside a US ship in a harbour, and, thanks to massive US-government incompetence, carry-out the attacks of September 11th, 2001. Our "intelligence" agencies cannot be dealing with any threat greater than that and they have prevented NOTHING on the scale of anything Al Qaeda was ever remotely capable of. There simply cannot be threats that were neutralized that CSIS hasn't told us about because to do so would compromise their ongoing battle against a terrorist organization so vast and cunning that revealing CSIS's triumphs would give the whole game away. Given the lunkheadedness behind the cases that we do know about, I don't think CSIS or any of our "intelligence" branches would be capable of meeting such a threat.

There WAS NO DANGER!!! Our courts and laws and checks and balances and respect for human rights have not prevented you from doing anything you dunder-headed fool! While your thick-necked, "Wonder Bread" - eatin' donut-chompers were asking the Syrians to ask their victims questions on our behalf, NOTHING ELSE was happening.

You have invented cases against innocent people, ruined their lives AND NOTHING ELSE. Literally nothing else. There was nothing. There is blow-back against imperialism and violence. Nothing else. But for you, we should sacrifice our rights and freedoms so that, presumably, you can more easily concoct cases against more of us and imprison and torture more of us in your service to the status-quo.

Fuck you.

Now, it's of course a possibility that Judd was just kissing-up to the US-Americans. Telling them what they wanted to hear in the way they wanted to hear it. If our country has any morality left, that should be how Judd defends himself until his dying day. But it's also the case that the real face of Judd is the one he showed to the US-Americans, and not the one he presented to Amnesty International and the courts. If that's the case, then Judd is a severely demented, deluded, and dangerous individual.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dear Hillary Clinton: STFU

Apparently, Ms. Clinton called WikiLeaks' revelation of US diplomatic shenanigans "an attack on the international community." Seriously. The USA spies on the UN Secretary General, launches illegal wars, and somebody exposing their crimes is the "aggressor"?

Go back to lying to the 'hard-working white people" you courted whilst competing with Obama for the job of Sell-out to Wall Street-in-Chief and spare us all your self-pitying, hypocritical whining.