Saturday, December 31, 2011

Where's Rob Ford? (The Marg Delahunty Question Revisited)

So there's a section in this week's NOW where they say this about Rob Ford:

His office still refuses to make his itinerary public, unable or unwilling to account for his long absences from City Hall while claiming the mayor is out doing what he’s always done: helping constituents.

Ford says his obligation is to the public, not the media. Lately, he’s taken to suggesting that his disappearances are in preparation for another run in 2014. But how long can he continue his risky political behaviour?

As I read that, it means that nobody can call up Toronto City Hall and ask where the mayor is that day. That's what it seems to say. Otherwise, if the media wanted to find him, they could just call themselves since it isn't a secret. It doesn't appear that the issue is that the media wants his itinerary sent to them without their having to request it.

If that's the case, then we can understand why Mary Walsh and crew showed up at Ford's door-step to poke some gentle fun at him. They simply had no other way of doing their skit. That the CBC crew showed up at Ford's home was apparently beyond the pale for a lot of people. Ford's secrecy makes it all more explicable.

And it adds a further lie to Ford's list of lies from that day (paraphrases):

1. "It was dark out." (It was bright morning sunshine.)
2. "My daughter was crying." (His daughter wasn't there.)
3. "I didn't swear at the 9-11 operators." (Ford and his toady Chief Blair swear to this, but they're both shameless, serial liars, so to hell with them.)

We can now add:

4. "Why didn't they come to where I work? They know where to find me."

Which he said in a mewling, whining tone to assembled reporters who were probably specifically informed of Ford's whereabouts so that he could spew his self-serving, self-pitying bullshit.

It's true what they say about bullies. They're generally cowards with a lot of personal problems.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Great Moments in "Conservative" Stupidity: Ronald Reagan and the threat of invasion from Nicaragua

Every once in a while, right-wing trolls show up here at the school-yard and try to bait me with empty insults from their anonymous selves. It makes me feel a little queasy to tell you the truth. You know how a fly will bash itself again and again against a window, unable to comprehend the whole concept of see-through glass? That's how I feel about these "conservatives" who just spew stupid nonsense again and again and again and imagine that it hurts me when they insult me. And it's horrifying to think that there are creatures, humans like us in every respect, whose mental capacities are strained mightily to keep them functioning slightly above insect level.

When these idiots show up here, I just think of the decade-upon-decade of utter stupidity that their demographic has fallen for over the years. The asinine fears and threats that they've always tried to shriek into our ears. I think about how they've been wrong, wrong, wrong, about pretty much everything, and then I tend to delete their empty, going nowhere, accomplishing nothing snickers and ravings.

Since I can't think of anything new to write about today, I thought I'd remind people (or bring to their attention if they missed it the first time) just one example of this sort of stupidity. I bring to you today, Ronald Reagan's attempt to portray tiny Nicaragua, which had just freed itself from the US-puppet Somoza's murderous kleptocracy, as a threat to the United States:

Reagan also reminded the Clements supporters that when he urged military support for the rebels seeking to overthrow Nicaragua's Marxist government, he warned that Nicaragua was only a two-day drive from Texas.

He said that "Communist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua has made a lot of mistakes, but even they know better than to get themselves in a tangle with a bunch of Texans.

"Even with all the tanks and guns from the Soviet Union, my guess is that the Sandinistas would make it about as far as the shopping center in Pecos before Roger Staubach came out of retirement, teamed up with some off-duty Texas Rangers and the front four of the Dallas Cowboys and pushed the Sandinistas down the river, out across the Gulf and right back to Havana where they belong."

Staubach, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, was master of ceremonies at the rally.

It was insulting garbage then and it's revolting garbage now. And notice how, as with everything else, these "conservatives" want to have their cake and eat it too. Reagan was shameless enough to try to instill fear and terror in the minds of US-Americans, while at the same time stupidly boasting how easily the could be beaten by a few US "he-men."

In case this whole Sandinistas thing was before your time, do check out this link about the extent of US state terrorism against Nicaragua. Be sure to check out the gruesome accounts of atrocities committed by Reagan's Contra rebels against innocent Nicaraguan civilians, and then remember that this senile piece-of-shit Reagan got a hero's send-off when he finally croaked.

It's too late for Reagan, but there's still time for harper. It's still possible to work to get stephen harper imprisoned for the rest of his life for war crimes. There's no statute of limitations on this stuff. harper, Obama, bush II, Paul Martin, Jean Chretien, Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Cheney, .... all this vermin should be treated as the torturing, blood-soaked monsters that they are. And their fanboys' protests to the contrary should be treated with scorn and derision.

Perhaps we should create a place modelled after the Hell that these religious morons and hypocrites profess to believe in and put them there for the rest of their lives.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holiday Hiatus

The politicians are home with their families and their constituents (and the occasional hookers), and us lefty bloggers have exposed the shit-headery of the right-wing for years, ... (to no effect as harper has won a majority and Ford became mayor of Toronto)*, and I've got a bit of a cold, so I don't really know what to say.



*Right-wing shit-heads usually take this as an opportunity to gloat. To whit: "Your team only won because they bribed the referee, poisoned our team, and because your coach is the league president's son." "Yeah, but we still won. Nyah! Nyah!"

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Outrage as a Defence Mechanism

NOTE: I don't have a fucking clue what "blogger" did to make the formatting so insane. Enjoy!

Here's a couple of online articles! The first is from Matt Taibbi: "A Christmas Message From America's Rich" and it is, as you can imagine, as infuriating and sickening as it sounds. (What America's rich are saying 'natch, not what Taibbi says about America's rich.) For example:

Then there’s Leon Cooperman, the former chief of Goldman Sachs’s money-management unit, who said he was urged to speak out by his fellow golfers. His message was a version of Wall Street’s increasingly popular If-you-people-want-a-job, then-you’ll-shut-the-fuck-up rhetorical line:

Cooperman, 68, said in an interview that he can’t walk through the dining room of St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, without being thanked for speaking up. At least four people expressed their gratitude on Dec. 5 while he was eating an egg-white omelet, he said.

“You’ll get more out of me,” the billionaire said, “if you treat me with respect.”

Finally, there is this from Blackstone CEO Steven Schwartzman:

Asked if he were willing to pay more taxes in a Nov. 30 interview with Bloomberg Television, Blackstone Group LP CEO Stephen Schwarzman spoke about lower-income U.S. families who pay no income tax.

“You have to have skin in the game,” said Schwarzman, 64. “I’m not saying how much people should do. But we should all be part of the system.”

There are obviously a great many things that one could say about this remarkable collection of quotes.

Which of course Taibbi does. You can read the whole thing yourselves. I just want to pause for a moment on the section about interest-rate swaps. He's talking about J. P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon (who the NYT once referred to as "Obama's favourite banker"):

Dimon, incidentally, is another one of those bankers who’s complaining now about the unfair criticism. “Acting like everyone who’s been successful is bad and because you’re rich you’re bad, I don’t understand it,” he recently said, at an investor’s conference.

Hmm. Is Dimon right? Do people hate him just because he’s rich and successful? That really would be unfair. Maybe we should ask the people of Jefferson County, Alabama, what they think.

That particular locality is now in bankruptcy proceedings primarily because Dimon’s bank, Chase, used middlemen to bribe local officials – literally bribe, with cash and watches and new suits – to sign on to a series of onerous interest-rate swap deals that vastly expanded the county’s debt burden.

Essentially, Jamie Dimon handed Birmingham, Alabama a Chase credit card and then bribed its local officials to run up a gigantic balance, leaving future residents and those residents’ children with the bill. As a result, the citizens of Jefferson County will now be making payments to Chase until the end of time.

Do you think Jamie Dimon would have done that deal if he lived in Jefferson County? Put it this way: if he was trying to support two kids on $30,000 a year, and lived in a Birmingham neighborhood full of people in the same boat, would he sign off on a deal that jacked up everyone’s sewer bills 400% for the next thirty years?

Doubtful. But then again, people like Jamie Dimon aren’t really citizens of any country. They live in their own gated archipelago, and the rest of the world is a dumping ground.

Just look at how Chase behaved in Greece, for example.

Having seen how well interest-rate swaps worked for Jefferson County, Alabama, Chase “helped” Greece mask its debt problem for years by selling a similar series of swaps to the Greek government. The bank then turned around and worked with banks like Goldman, Sachs to create a thing called the iTraxx SovX Western Europe index, which allowed investors to bet against Greek debt.

In other words, Chase knowingly larded up the nation of Greece with a crippling future debt burden, then turned around and helped the world bet against Greek debt.

Does a citizen of Greece do that deal? Forget that: does a human being do that deal?

You know, I find it rich that morons who think the ordinary Greeks should suffer whatever austerity is imposed upon them, because they supposedly made hay while the sun was shining, imagine that the whole country was in on the interest-rate swap scam. Supposedly it was a secret from Germany's bankers but every Greek pensioner was laughing into their shirt-sleeve, in on the joke. And now, all the Greeks have to pay!!! That's right! The Greek millionaires and billionaires who have taken all their money out of the country will pay on higher taxes on, well, nothing probably, and everyone else will see tax increases, benefit cuts, higher education costs, unemployment, etc., etc., etc., ...

It's a goddamn scam and ANYONE who buys into the worldview of the richest 1% is a fucking moron who has renounced the right to be taken seriously.

And while we should be outraged at the infantile petulance of these billionaire parasites (YES! Even that "Home Depot" guy is leeching off the hard work of his thousands of employees. Those Wall Street assholes are completely useless.) what is even more disgusting is that we continue (as a society) to live in their world and respond to their worldview (fighting back against austerity for example) when the REAL challenges are forced to go onto the back-burner. I'm referring to our mindless devouring of the world's life-sustaining resources (BTW - if the quote is still the wrong font in snot-green, blame "Blogger"!) :

There isn't enough to go around anymore. We're stealing from our biosphere and we're stealing from each other and we're even stealing from generations not yet born. For example, we're emptying our oceans of essential food species, depleting them beyond their baseline reproduction stocks. And, as we fish one to the verge of extinction, we move on to the next most desirable species and find ways to market that. We're draining our groundwater reserves to drive the hopelessly unsustainable Green Revolution and, in the process, subjecting farmland to massive amounts of fertilizers and pesticides that speed its exhaustion and transform it into useless desert. With food scarcity already spreading through the world we're diverting vital farmland and increasingly scarce water to grow crops to make biofuels.

The long and the short of it is that the human race has to get serious about switching to an alternate political-economic system, but we're in thrall to shallow greed-heads and we waste all of our time trying to "resist" the US-led capitalist-imperialist plunder of the Middle-East's oil reserves to feed the carbon economy, which feeds the parasite Wall Street economy, which causes financial crises and fucks us all over.

It's "OUTRAGEOUS"!!!! But what does it mean to be "outraged"? What do we do when we're "outraged"? Protest for an afternoon? Camp out in a park until we're asked to leave? Write our MPs? Write a letter to our local paper?

Throw a rock through a corporation's window?

Hey! For that last option, did you:

A. Think "right-fucking-on dude! smash the state! the people united will never be defeated!"

or

B. Think "Horrors! A rock going through a corporations' window! Now the state has every reason to crush legitimate dissent and blah, blah, mewl, whine ..."

If you answered A or B, then you're part of the problem.

Merry Whatever.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Abusive Mining Companies and stuff ...

Go and read this little story: "Canada-El Salvador trade deal to further entrench power of rogue mining corporations"

Understand that the mining company has its own side of the story. But, as is usual with this sort of thing, their side is no doubt complete lies.

In other news, Barack Obama has taken time out from torturing Bradley Manning and bombing Afghanistan and Pakistan, to lecturing Hugo Chavez about human rights and peace.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fuck It

I couldn't sleep last night, so I ended up watching this:



Enjoy

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Flaherty Trades Health For Prisons and Fighter Jets

So, our useless idiot of a finance minister, Jim Flaherty, announced to the premiers that the harpercon monstrosity is going to be unilaterally abandoning the current federal funding regime for health care. Flaherty isn't discussing anything of substance here. He's just switching to an arbitrarily arrived at formula that translates into far less federal spending on the provinces' health care plans.

Flaherty probably believes in what he's doing. He's a hopeless dullard after all. And while I'm sure he's not alone in being so, we have to be careful. Other austerity preachers are cruel monsters and psychopaths who can attain heights of cleverness that Flaherty is incapable of even dreaming of.

What Flaherty hasn't done is make the connection between his imagined prudence in restraining health spending, and the titanic waste that harper plans to engage in with his prison building (and filling) plans and his F-35 fighter-jet purchases (among other things). Once again, Jim Flaherty helps to make his world an inferior place. His contribution to the world is a negative one. It's rare to see someone being so much worse than useless, but the extent of Jim Flaherty's stupidity is likewise rarely matched.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Seriously, ...

I'm sick of dealing with the GARBAGE thinking!!!

The non-existent "gravy train" at Toronto City Hall.

The non-existent "WMDs" of Saddam Hussein.

The TRILLIONS of dollars spent to bail out criminal banksters while the idiots gibber about how global warming is a socialist plot. (http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/18-3 )

The closet-cases and religious nut-bars and racists trying to set social policies when they should be locked-up and medicated somewhere ... [kidding, just enlightened]

I'm sick of these morons controlling our public discussions. A system is sick when it oozes out stuff like Margaret Wente, Ezra Levant, Glen Beck and Sarah Palin to have a major say in what it will do in the near future.

Sick, sick, sick. That is all.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Their Values and Ours

Have you noticed that progressives care about things like promoting peace, attacking racism, promoting democracy, achieving economic justice and preserving the planet, while "conservatives" seem to be concerned with idiotic things like combating "Islamofascist" terrorism (by killing lots and lots of Muslims), fomenting racism, attacking democracy, promoting economic inequality and destroying the planet (in order to preserve "jobs" that employers want to eliminate in any case)?

Have you noticed that we're sane and that "conservatives" are complete and utter shit-heads?

I have.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Speaking to a soldier

One of "the troops" (tm)! I was out with some friends, and 4-1/2 pints later, in the line-up for the pisser I end up talking to a young man who, as part of the conversation, informs me that he's in the Canadian Forces. (It was a naturally occurring thing I remember. I just don't remember what we were talking about before he said it. Been drinking.)

"I'm a pinko but I got nothing against soldiers." I said. "Governments that send them on stupid missions and then dick them around when they get wounded, that's another story."

He answered: "I'm as left-wing as you can get. I've been to Afghanistan and I think it's fucked. We should never have gotten involved."

We both agreed that the harpercons' (Peter MacKay especially) are contemptible scum. Then it was time to piss and re-join our respective parties.

Support the troops!

Friday, December 16, 2011

An Appreciation of Edward Keenan's Dec 5-21/11 Column

The article's headline is "Why raising taxes might (ahem) solve our problems" and it refers to the debates over the lying, blubbering cry-baby Rob Ford's budget:

During last week’s public hearings on next year’s municipal budget, scores of citizens told the city’s politicians they didn’t want services cut. Almost all of the speakers were asked by members of Rob Ford’s budget committee, “Do you have any solutions?” Many of them suggested raising taxes. The suggestion drew scorn from committee members. It’s fair to say Councillors Doug Ford, Mike Del Grande, Frances Nunziata and Giorgio Mammoliti did not consider it a suggestion at all.

Even though dozens of citizens had just suggested raising taxes as a way to maintain service levels, Del Grande told a television reporter from Global News, “No one is really answering the question of how to pay for [that].”

It’s a childish response—“Nyah, nyah, nyah, I can’t hear you!”—even if it is understandable.
It would be understandable, if it was at all fair. There's further snide, condescending responses to the left-wing pinkos from Ford's gang of idiots and liars in this week's NOW article about the budget disaster as well. (I want to focus on Keenan's column today though.) The thing is that Ford and his fellow fuck-ups don't have a leg to stand on. You see, taking them at their word, these morons said that there was around half-a-billion dollars of "GRAVY" that could be painlessly eliminated, allowing for tax cuts and freezes "GUARANTEED." So, if we want to pretend they weren't lying through their shit-stained teeth, Ford, DelGrande, Nunziata, Mammoliti were just completely, totally out to lunch about the state of the city's finances and they should step aside.

You see, it doesn't even matter that nobody wants to raise taxes, even if (as Keenan will go on to demonstrate) that Toronto's tax rates are among the lowest in the whole GTA. It doesn't matter if the Ford administration has found itself in a mess and they refuse to raise taxes because that would be political suicide. None of this matters because Ford said, again and again and again and then he GUARANTEED it, that there would be no mess. There was no mess other than an ocean of gravy that had been built up over the years. Ford was completely, totally, unforgivably wrong, and he should hang his head in shame. He's a goddamned useless liar and he and everyone associated with him should resign enmasse.

Obviously, the shamelessness (plus stupidity and boorishness) that allowed Ford to lie and babble so blatantly will help the fuck-head rationalize his continuing in office, but let's continue with Keenan's article:
But in Toronto, where the city delivers much better services for far lower taxes than anywhere else in the GTA, it’s time for a grown-up to conduct a reasonable conversation about finding ways to raise more revenue.
Did you read that? Read it again: "it’s time for a grown-up to conduct a reasonable conversation" That's the reason that I decided to type an appreciation of Keenan's article. The entire Ford administration is comprised of childish liars and morons. Children, being who they are, at their level of mental and emotional development, tend to shamelessly concoct more absurd and ridiculous lies than do adults. In fact, adults who are forced to invent preposterous stories tend to be people who are routinely referred to as "childish." They're generally selfish people who haven't developed empathy with others and who don't think about their actions before they do them. Mayor Rob Ford, with his whining, his quick temper, his carelessness (even indifference) about facts, is a pathetic 300 lb [14o kg] man-child.

And what Ford represents really, is the entire "conservative" political movement of the last few decades. It began with the simplistic lies of the actor-president Ronald Reagan, which descended into the shameless greed, crudeness and hypocrisy of the Newt Gingrich years, and it touched bottom with the out-and-out criminality and idiocy of the bush II years.

Yes, those were US-American politicians that I was referring to. Because this is the centre of late-capitalist politics. And it is infecting us here, north of the border in Canada. The elevation of Ezra Levant's locker pin-up Stockwell Day to leader of the movement, the simultaneous freak-show of the Mike Harris government in Ontario, and culminating in the quasi-fascist regime of morons, closet-cases, religious nutbars and other assorted scum of the present harper regime, all take their cues from the garbage that is the US right-wing.

And in doing so, they are obviously enabled by the cooperation of the liberal opposition. This descent into madness isn't an affliction of the "conservative" parties of the world, but the scrambling of greed-heads and stupid monsters, struggling to preserve their privileges in a dying system. The great battle of our time is how decent, intelligent people within the majority population can protect themselves against greed-heads and shit-heads.

Let's continue with the Keenan column:

In Toronto, we have the largest metropolitan police force in Canada, and our cops are the best paid in the country, too—as everyone agrees they should be. We have the most sophisticated transit system in Ontario, by far, and it survives with fewer government subsidies than any other major transit system in North America. We have the best and most-used library system on the continent, and, as Canada’s largest urban centre, we provide extensive services to non-English speakers, the poor and those otherwise in need of specialized assistance.

Despite these top-tier service levels, our property taxes are very low. In Hamilton and Oshawa, residential property tax rates are more than twice as high as they are in Toronto. In Ajax, residential taxes are about 72 per cent higher and in Mississauga they are 25 per cent higher. Toronto has the lowest property taxes in the GTA. (And lower than many other large cities: Montreal’s property tax rates are about 20 per cent higher, while Ottawa’s are about 70 per cent.)

This is more damning evidence that we owe nothing to Ford or his witless supporters. The upshot of those facts is that whenever some fucking imbecile goes on about "the mess" left behind by progressive mayor David Miller, we should just laugh in their face. When the union-loving David Miller (who was so willing to roll-over to all of their exorbitant demands that they went out on strike to reject his offers!) is blamed for anything, it's blame based on ignorance and delusions. Once again, these right-wingers are simply not fit for adult political discussions and it is LONG past time that we ignored their stupid protests and complaints.

If the city were to increase residential property tax rates to the level that people in Ajax pay, the city would raise an additional $2 billion per year—enough to eliminate our supposedly crippling civic debt before the end of Ford’s first term (and pay for the entire Sheppard subway construction by the end of a possible second term). If they raised taxes to the average rate charged in other GTA cities, we’d see more than $900 million a year in extra revenue.

In this context, let’s remember that the budget committee is seeking ways to avoid making $88 million in cuts. A tax increase of 6.5 per cent this year would render all of the proposed service cuts unnecessary; even then, Toronto would still have the lowest rates in the GTA.

Keenan goes on to argue that there CAN be an argument against tax increases but it has to be based on reality as processed by sane adults. Perhaps other policies make living in Toronto more expensive than other places and these things should be attended to first before property taxes are raised. Perhaps the province and the feds should give Toronto more control over tax revenue. But regardless, as it stands now, Toronto was a well-run, low-tax location and Rob Ford is a lying asshole. These things are facts. They're simple facts. They're facts that say that everything that comes out of the mouths of Rob Ford and his fans' mouths is bullshit. These are facts that say that right-wingers don't understand policy and they don't understand budgeting and they don't understand truth and they don't understand reality.

When we take the battle to them, there should be no respect for their arguments. They have nothing but stupid lies. There should be no respect for decorum. They abuse our restraint. There should be no respect for their feelings. These people are racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, stupid thugs. Canadian Cynic used to document the drooling idiocy of the right-wing in Canada on a regular basis. Nothing has changed since he stopped blogging. They're still morons. Contemptible morons. They should be treated as such and the people who might be tempted to embrace their beliefs should be shamed into leaning more towards our direction, thereby raising the intelligence level of our political culture.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Occupy Economics Departments

Nicely devastated sir!

What about the failure of the economics profession to forecast the economic collapse? Mankiw concedes, “It is fair to say that this crisis caught most economists flat-footed.” But he insists; “Yet this is no reason for embarrassment….Some things are just hard to predict.”

Mankiw is certainly correct that most conventional economists were caught flat-footed. Indeed, many boasted that their “method not a doctrine” had led to policies that had achieved enduring prosperity and stability. The “central problem of depression-prevention has been solved,” declared Nobel Prize winner Robert Lucas in his 2003 Presidential Address to the AEA.

Before 2008, conventional economic theory championed the deregulation and expansion of the financial sector as a strategy to enhance economic efficiency and lower risk. It taught us that speculation is not a problem because all of the actors have all the information necessary to make the right decision.

It ignored the tsunami of increasing private debt while concentrating its attention and disapproval on a much slower growing public debt.

“The problem is that economists (and those who listen to them) became over-confident in their preferred models of the moment: markets are efficient, financial innovation transfers risks to those best able to bear it, self-regulation works best and government intervention is ineffective and harmful,” Dani Rodrik, Professor of Economics at Harvard comments.

Again Keen is more blunt. “Neoclassical economists were effectively trained to not see this crisis coming, by theoretical fallacies that led them to ignore crucial real-world phenomena like the ballooning levels of private debt, and rampant speculation and fraud in the private sector.”


Well done!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Reading List

An anonymous reader asked me to put up a reading list entry that others could contribute to. It ain't a bad idea.

In my reply I mentioned A Wicked Company:The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment.

I should also add that there's a reading list to be found at the EnMasse thread: "What are you currently reading?" that's fulla my reads and a buncha other people's.

But by all means, drop reading suggestions in the comments section.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What Does This Say About Canada? (It Can't Be Anything Good)

So, Christie Belchforth writes for the National Post. Perhaps their worst columnist? Another reason that newspaper is failing? But Belchforth used to write for the Globe and Mail. Of course, Margaret ('s brain) Wente writes for that newspaper. And she's perhaps their worst columnist. (She's in the top 3 worst for sure.) And then there's the Liberal Toronto Star. And their worst columnist is by far Rosie DiMoron.

Christie Belchforth, Margaret's brain Wente, Rosie DiMoron.

What does it say about this country that these hideous idiots are such prominent writers?

What's going on that our male-dominated newspapers choose to have these abominations to represent women? Is it some sort of plot? Or do they like what they read and think: "Finally! A girl who GETS IT!" ?

No matter what, it doesn't say anything good about us.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jokes

"The War on Drugs" is a joke. "The War on Terror" is a joke. "Humanitarian Intervention" is a joke. "Capitalist Democracy" is a joke.

But I ain't laughing.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'm Picturing Rick Perry Gettin' It On With Christie Blatchford

Because I'm a sick fuck that's why!!!

I watched shit-head Texas governor Rick Perry's "Strong" commercial the other day. Jaw-dropping stupidity. Every time that I think the "conservative" movement has hit bottom, totally discredited itself, and that the moral regeneration of US and Canadian culture is about to begin, something more sickening comes out, the Rush Limbaugh fans embrace it, and we all fall deeper into the abyss.

So, in other news, I thought I'd check out what Sister Sage had to say about Christie Belchforth's latest abomination. Now, I'd heard that Belchforth had seen some guys hugging on the street in Toronto and figured that men (at least in Toronto) were too wimpy and sissy for her tastes. Evidently, she would go on to list some more "manly" activities that guys should be doing, instead of hugging, like farting on cue. (Belchforth apparently farts a lot or has a fixation with them. [Double-ugh! Belchforth's farting fetish has now insinuated itself into my unbidden thoughts of Perry-Belcforth coitus!!])

To my utter amazement, it wasn't some grown men hugging, but some adolescent boys that set her off!

There were a couple of boys, maybe 10 years old, maybe 12, walking ahead of me. Coming towards them was another small knot of boys about the same age.

The two groups met, and immediately began hugging each another, one at a time. The trustees and ding-dongs at the Toronto District School Board would have been ecstatic; I was mortified and appalled.

Jesus Christ! Get a grip! My generation of guys doesn't hug. (I only learned the correct side to lean into when hugging a woman a few months ago! Apparently a lot of other guys my age have the same problem.) I thought maybe the 20-somethings are doing it. Whatever. If that's what "the kids" are doing these days, it's fine with me. But Belchforth couldn't handle boys doing it! I suspect she'd have had an aneurysm if it had been a group of adult men.

The rest of her column read like a list of cliches, hypocrisies and bigotry. This sort of shit really doesn't do anything for the quality of Canada as a mature democracy.

That's my post for the day. Slow news day. Lots of work to do ...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hey Peter MacKay! I'm Spartacus!

I'm with The Sixth Estate (and no doubt, many other bloggers) on this one. In response to the buffoonery of Peter MacKay threatening legal action against the MPs who said he lied about the reason for his helicopter trip, I'm saying the following:

Defense Minister Peter MacKay lied when he said that he took the helicopter ride to observe a search and rescue operation. The real reason he took the helicopter was because he has a massive sense of entitlement, no sense of shame, and he wanted to act like a big-shot. He used valuable government resources for his own selfish, lazy purposes. He wanted a quick trip to the airport so that he could get to a stupid photo-op.

There Peter MacKay. Sue me.

I think you're an asshole. I still remember your idiotic behaviour when your department leaked the Colvin emails to friendly generals and journalistic hacks like Christie Belchforth and Rosie DiMoron that they wouldn't give to the parliamentary committee that was asking for them.

You're a contemptible piece of shit MacKay.

ETA: Here is the video of the offensive Peter MacKay that I was referring to. Look at that cowardly, entitled, ass-kissing, revolting failure of a human being. I must thank Alison of Creekside for having brought it to my attention.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Canada Wheat Board Ruling

All that I have time for today is to discuss the strange little ruling against the harpercons' bill to abolish the Canada Wheat Board.

The ruling says that the Agriculture Minister's introduction of the bill is illegal.

This was a little troubling given that "sean in ottawa" on page 8 of this thread at EnMasse convinced me that it's within Parliament's mandate to unilaterally change its own laws. (Just like Bob Rae was within his rights to unilaterally abrogate contracts with Ontario public sector workers [... which, please, doesn't mean that i agreed with that!!!].) And, that being the case, the beautiful thing about the Left ever winning power under such conditions would mean that (assuming this left-wing government had a spine) it could legislate radical legislation and overturn precedents with just as much carefree abandon.

But "unionist" (who generally rubs me the wrong way) explains it thusly:
I suggest you folks read the court's decision. It didn't invalidate any law. It explicitly doesn't prevent the new legislation from being adopted, nor from having full force and effect if adopted. The existing legislation said that the Minister couldn't table certain changes without consulting the board and the farmers. Parliament passed that condition. The court found that he had indeed tabled legislation without consulting the board and the farmers. It declared that he had violated that law. He did violate that law, while it was still in full force and effect. The court didn't order anyone to do anything further (except awarding costs). So Tobey's concern is understandable, but not in this case.

ETA: The decision is here.

By the way, if the new legislation had been introduced by another Minister, or by a private member's bill, there would have been no violation of the law as far as I can see. It still would have been tyrannical - but not unlawful. It just shows how arrogant the Cons are.
So, it's a queer little ruling, but not that problematic.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The First Nations Unwilling to Tolerate harper's Bullshit

Yesterday I wrote:
harper is driving the First Nations peoples into a major confrontation and it would behoove all of us non-scum, non-harpercon Canadians to prepare ourselves to support them.
Today, the CBC reported:
A regional chief who represents Attawapiskat says that a number of his counterparts in other First Nations are prepared to engage in civil disobedience over Ottawa's handling of a housing crisis in the northern Ontario community.

"There's people who are ready to stand up and be counted... to stand up and do civil disobedience so that we are heard," Stan Louttit told Evan Solomon on CBC-TV's Power & Politics.

"If the minister does not want to work with us, you may see that sooner than later," said Louttit, who presides over the Mushkegowuk Council, which represents Attawapiskat and six other First Nations.

Here's the thing: harper is used to getting his way. Shitting all over our democracy by lying to Parliament, withholding information, proroguing at will. He's benefited from the apathy and ignorance of the majority of Canadians and especially from the pathetic cowardice, impotence and corruption of his parliamentary opposition. But the First Nations are NOT ignorant about how badly they're being abused by the settler society. And they are NOT apathetic in the face of blatant oppression.

This is where the irresistible force meets the immovable object. And the tragedy is that the First Nations, as a people, do not like conflict. They do not want to put their bodies on the line against the police. They do not want to be surrounded and starved and sent to prison. But occasionally the blatant cruelty and criminality of Canadian federal or provincial governments forces their hand. harper's attempt to completely destroy their sovereignty is one of the biggest assaults in a long time.

These are desperately poor people. One time, reading one of Owen Gray's posts, the heroism against all odds that the First Nations have displayed from time to time really hit home to me. harper has pushed their backs to the wall but he is going to encounter something he's not used to seeing: principled and determined opposition.

If harper doesn't back down soon, he will find he's started a firestorm and, hopefully the First Nations will find allies in the wider society. Those of us sick to death of the racist drivel, the self-pitying, hypocritical whining of assholes like the small dead brain-cells crowd. I'm sick to death of those morons having any sort of influence in government policy. I have no further patience to indulge them in their ignorant ravings. Let the Kanadian Konservative Klan be harper's allies, and let the Canadian activist left stand by the First Nations in their struggle for their rights and their dignity as a people.

ETA: The First Nations will be the most effective of harper's opponents not only because their backs are up against the wall, but also because they have no misplaced respect for Canadian institutions and rules. The system has been set up against them, to destroy them as a people. Whereas I am someone who would like to respect our institutions and have Canada live our supposed collective values, the First Nations are a separate people for whom "Canada" has obligations towards. stephen harper on the other hand, is a Canadian who hates Canada and Canadian values. He despises our institutions and our rules, but unlike the First Nations, he incoherently demands respect for his control over them. I think he's about to have his sorry ass handed to him.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

thwap's News Round-up

So, in Afghanistan, where we debased our values as a country (complicity in torture and spitting on democracy to cover it up), sacrificed over one-hundred of our soldiers' lives while wounding, maiming and traumatizing hundreds more, and spent billions of dollars, we have yet another mainstream journalist struggling to write something not condemnatory:
Canada will end its combat mission in Afghanistan in July and take up a training-only mission some time after that. Its effort in Afghanistan has not been futile — not at all — but there is much in the country that remains unchanged, and that is a worrying legacy.
All righty then! Anytime the Toronto Sun, or some other shit-rag of a newspaper blares a headline about a Liberal or NDP government wasting $45,000 somewhere, we shouldn't even have to try to prove that it was money well spent. We'll just say "It's not completely futile spending. And nobody got killed." That works for them when it comes to spending on war. Why should there be a different criteria for anything else?

Closer to home, the people at Attawapiskat are fighting back against stephen harper's arrogant, insulting and hypocritical attempt to use the bitter fruits of Liberal and harpercon neglect to attack their sovereignty:

They've kicked harper's third-party manager from their community. APTN has provided the nauseating responses of the harpercon scum, but APTN is staffed with bigger people than me because I can't stomach re-reading their drivel. harper is driving the First Nations peoples into a major confrontation and it would behoove all of us non-scum, non-harpercon Canadians to prepare ourselves to support them.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The NDP Needs to Get SERIOUS About Economics

You read that title and you expect to see some sort of diatribe about "fiscal responsibility" or "harsh realities" or something right?

But when I read headlines like that I generally think that I'm in for a heaping helping of neo-liberal delusions and hypocrisy or some mewling nonsense from a "social democrat" who drank their kool-aid.

"Conservatives" tend to be the biggest deficit spenders. (Espousing tax cuts that only weaken the revenue base, increase inequality, and make us poorer as a society.) [In the USA there's an unbroken post-1945 tradition of Democrats (who are "left-wing" in what passes for the political spectrum in there) producing higher GDP growth than Repugs.] It's been neo-liberal free trade deals, deregulations, tax-cuts, and monetarist anti-inflation policies that have brought us to this sorry state.

Always remember: In Canadian economic history, when honestly compared against the Liberals and the Conservatives, the NDP has NOTHING to apologize for. NOTHING. We have followed mainstream neo-liberal dogma for decades now with nothing to show for it. Their policies have failed. It is long past time to dismiss idiotic assertions of the dangers of left-wing economic policies.

Simple honesty demands it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

So What's Going to Happen to Peter MacKay?

So, last post, I was talking about how Tony Clement and his harpercon colleagues were making a mockery out of the "War on Terror" by using funds for border security to spruce up Perry Sound - Muskoka for the G20 conference (with Tony doling out the contracts like the Santa Claus at a company Christmas Party). The thing is, it's people like Tony Clement who want us to take their War on Terror seriously, so that we can trust our lives to people like Tony Clement who will "keep us safe." Then they go and spend the money on gazebos.

So, now it's Peter MacKay, Minister of War Movie Fantasies, who, in the middle of his campaign to tell the military to tighten its belt for the good of the country, has been found to have lied to Parliament about why he needed a military helicopter to take him from a fishing trip. He's abusing DND resources while belonging to a government that harasses veterans' rights activists trying to resist the harpercons' nickel and diming of wounded veterans. (The harpercon shit-heads are alarmed and apparently mystified that health care costs EXPLODED after Canadian troops had been committed to a war zone for over a decade.) MacKay is using military helicopters for personal use despite the fact that one of his own MPs was lecturing East-Coast fishing crews and oil-rig workers that they should think about rescuing themselves from the Atlantic Ocean instead of expecting their nanny-state government to come flying to help them.

Such titanic hypocrisy.

Where are the consequences?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

So, What's Going to Happen to Tony Clement?

"Two-Tier Tony." Because he wants rich people to have their own private health insurance so that they can see doctors in Canada as fast as possible while people with lower incomes either get bankrupted or die.

Because he's a "Conservative" (not "conservative"), which is to say, he's an asshole.

So now, he's infamous for having lied to Parliament about his involvement in slush-fund spending in his riding. Remember the Great War on Terror? You know? The deadly serious battle of our time? The Islamo-Fundamentalist hordes are at our gates and our political leaders have no greater mission than to "keep us safe." NOTHING can stand in their way of protecting us from this inscrutable Asian menace. Not even our civil or legal rights!

Of course, if an asshole, scum-bag "Conservative" politician who rolls his eyes back into his head masturbating himself to images of poor children dying of easily treatable illnesses decides that he wants to spend money allocated for BORDER SECURITY on sprucing up the downtown in his own riding, far from any border, and dole-out the money in the time-honoured pork-barrelling tradition, and LIE to the people's representatives about it, ... that's his or her right. I mean, what's the safety and integrity of our borders in the Great War on Terror when there's some personal political gain to be had?

So, Clement clearly lied. He's clearly corrupt. So what are we going to do about it?

What CAN we do about it?

...

Perhaps there is something WRONG with a system where we find ourselves confronted with vermin like this and there is NOTHING that we can do about it?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Racist Canada

Racism founded on ignorance.

Fuck-heads who always want to blame the First Nations for everything are ignorant about how things get done on First Nations reserves under the Indian Act.

Here's an invaluable guide to the reality at Attawapiskat if you haven't already seen it.

But I've really got to hand it to the scum-bag harper. The lying sack of shit fucking knows that the community leadership there didn't have the authority to solve their own problems. He's just embracing his ignorant, racist mentor Tom Flanagan's teachings. But it's typical harper: Sees people suffering and does his best to ignore it. When that's impossible he blames the victims and tries to take advantage of them.

He's an asshole. End of story. A helmet-headed, dead-eyed psychotic dork.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mass Murder and Morons

Been reading about modern art lately. The part about Dada, Surrealism, ... and then even some of the post-1945 movements, ... where they're a part of the reactions to the world wars, got me thinking.

World War I genuinely traumatized Western Civilization. That all this "progress" and bourgeois rationalism, and Christian civilization, and etc., etc., had produced a cataclysm that sent millions of men into a meat-grinder, for year after year, killing 10 million people, ... it produced a crisis of faith that resonates with us today. 10 million people!

Then, over the course of two decades, Europe again trundled into mass-slaughter (with Japan doing its bit) killing over 60 million people! And ending with atomic weapons that would continue to be developed and built so that humanity could now deliberately commit suicide!

People recoiled at the insanity. A lot of artists took the view (misguided I think) that rationalism itself was at fault. (Hence, Dada, Surrealism, etc.,) The whole cultural distrust of authority, reason, sacred ideals, etc., etc., a lot of it comes as a response to the mass slaughters of the world wars (and by the mass killings of Hitler, Stalin, and later Mao, Suharto, Pol Pot). Oh hell, while I'm at it, I shouldn't leave out the genocide against Native Americans and the mass famines imposed on India and elsewhere by the British and other imperialists. [But the ability to know, write, and acknowledge those latter mass deaths is a result of the questioning of authority resulting from the moral and intellectual failures of the world wars I think.]

The point that I was trying to get at is similar to the one I was trying to make here, where instead of being outraged and appalled at the torture or death of one individual, as a society we shrug our shoulders at Canadian government direct complicity in the torture and deaths of THOUSANDS. Here, it seems to me that whereas the world wars used to traumatize us as a people and made us doubt our sanity as a species, nowadays they're used to justify current wars. "Canada's casualties for the whole Afghanistan 'mission' are less than one day of battle in World War II! So shut-up about it! Nobody cares!"

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the US had led a wave of violence and cruelty that has resulted in the deaths of over one-million people and devastated the lives of many millions more. And Canada is a participant. And I blog, write letters to the editor and occasionally stand in the street with millions of other sane people, but we haven't been able to stop it. And Jon Stewart joked about it (ruefully at times) and other people fought each other over discounted merchandise at "Black Friday" completely oblivious to reality and some people actively cheered the slaughter.

That's all.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bail us out or there'll be trouble!

How come it works for the banksters? Supposedly if they fail it will be bad for the economy. (In reality, the financial sector has been based on the power of closing one's eyes and thinking happy thoughts for years and years and years. If those big banks failed, all that would be needed would be for everyone to keep their eyes closed, keep thinking the happy thoughts, and the state would be able to reconstruct the whole magic castle all over again.)

The fact that households are crippled with debt and suffering insecure employment and that this is slowing down consumption and GDP growth doesn't seem to resonate.

It's obvious that our leaders think that WE should bail out the nice corporate lobbyists who take the politicians out for lunch and dinner, but that WE nobodies should get any consideration is akin to throwing pearls before swine.

That's how the blogging tories see themselves. They love it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Capitalism's Crisis of Legitimacy

It's not easy being a devotee of capitalism these days. What with the tendency of capitalist elites to cry for public bail-outs for their self-inflicted wounds while at the same time they continue to fleece the very same individuals whose tax dollars are needed to bail them out. What capitalism needs is an intervention. But right now, instead of wanting to set capitalism down on a chair with some friends and getting it to deal seriously with its addictions and its moral failures, most of us are thinking something else entirely.

Right now, capitalism is like a junkie that has broken into our home and is waving a gun around, demanding our money and making all sorts of other offensive and ludicrous demands besides.

How does an ordinary middle-class devotee of Ayn Rand or Milton Friedman rationalize their delusions to their bewildered fellow citizens? For the most part they're reduced either to rote recantations of the past (dubious) successes of capitalism, or they're blathering the capitalist version of the "no true Scotsman" excuse that democratic socialists were accused of when they tried to argue that environmental regulations, public health care and a subsistence wage for the unemployed weren't a diluted form of Stalinism. (The difference of course, is that democratic socialists relied on something called "democracy" to prevent the same power of the state that allowed it enforce vehicle emissions to metastasize into the power to enslave people in concentration camps, whereas in a "free market" the vast wealth of the "winners" is invariably used to bribe both courts and legislatures to distort the market to accommodate their wishes and entrench an oligarchy.)

More and more, fans of "free market" capitalism tend to keep their embarrassing philosophical predilections to themselves. The same is true for their political choices. Who among us would now offer, without trepidation, that they voted for lying, blustering failures like Toronto's mayor Rob Ford? Who were the die-hards supporting the lying incompetent Tim Hudak? Who now proudly stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the torturing, pedophile-enabling, serial incompetent, anti-democratic stephen harper? Very few people. Only the worst of the bunch. The most incorrigible of shit-heads.

Yes indeed. These are tough times for the sad, deluded types who worship the money of other people, who hang on the words of lying propagandists while their own lives turn to shit because of the policies they embrace. 1991, the end of the Cold War, in which Soviet command economics collapsed of its own accord, was a long time ago. Capitalism was devolving itself at the time, in response to its own unworkability and failure. But the correlation of the death of a rival economic system gave the imaginations of these simpletons a new lease on life. Two decades of continued failure (more frequent and intense financial crises, increasing household debt, more pervasive poverty, less political legitimacy and an increasing resort to authoritarian measures to suppress dissent) are starting to penetrate all but the dullest of consciousnesses.

It's about bloody time. These fools have held us back for too long.

Monday, November 28, 2011

How do you stop them?

Break windows and get the cops to attack peaceful protesters in response? Hmm. Interesting idea. I can feel international capitalism buckling under the resulting strain just thinking about it.

Get a permit and have a rally and a march attended by hundreds or even thousands? And then go home? I bet the thought of it has the politicians and their puppet-masters quaking in their boots.

Vote for a candidate who is opposed to imperialist war and who is for social justice? This would be nice except that in some ridings, some form of mental deficiency makes the largest minority of voters pick the pro-war, anti-justice party. As well, sometimes there exists a party that LIES when it says it is anti-war and pro-justice. Finally, genuine pro-peace, pro-justice parties tend to cave at the slightest pressure from the real masters of our society (which includes the US government).

Occupy a park and cause traffic snarls with impromptu marches until the state tells you to leave? Who would have thought the state would resist an extended protest movement against it?

My point (and I've been making it for a long time) is that we leftists spend hardly any time on developing realistic tactics and far, far too much time bitching and whining and living in fantasies.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Too Much

I've been meaning to post something along these lines for a while. In his Salon entry entitled "The Fruits of Liberation" Glenn Greenwald writes about the murder of seven Afghans, including six children, by a NATO airstrike in Southern Afghanistan and how he almost didn't mention it because the killing of Afghan civilians isn't anything new:

I read about the death of these children yesterday and had decided not to write about it because I don’t have anything particularly new to say about it, but then all day, that decision irritated me because it just seems wrong to allow this to go unobserved (and in Southern Afghanistan, “NATO” Linkin the vast majority of cases means: “American”). Whichever version is correct, the U.S. devastated these families forever and ended these children’s lives in a region where even U.S. officials say that there is a grand total of two Al Qaeda leaders and the group is “operationally ineffective.”

What’s particularly notable, I realized, is how we’re trained simply to accept these incidents as though they carry no meaning: we’re just supposed to chalk them up to regrettable accidents (oops), agree that they don’t compel a cessation to the war, and then get back to the glorious fighting. Every time that happens, this just becomes more normalized, less worthy of notice. It’s just like background noise: two families of children wiped out by an American missile (yawn: at least we don’t target them on purpose like those evil Terrorists: we just keep killing them year after year after year without meaning to). It’s acceptable to make arguments that American wars should end because they’re costing too much money or American lives or otherwise harming American strategic interests, but piles of corpses of innocent children are something only the shrill, shallow and unSerious — pacifists! — point to as though they have any meaning in terms of what should be done.

I've been meaning to put a post together about how we should be up in arms when our governments carelessly or deliberately kill or torture just one individual. But here we are blithely accepting that we kill or torture thousands of individuals and we allow it to continue.

I thought about telling a story about how a family member of mine was killed by a speeding transport truck but there was no justice because the truck driver said he was in a hurry to deliver a very important cargo, the trucking company was big and rich and hired a high-priced lawyer who swayed a judge who finally allowed himself to be bought-off, and that was that. In my story I would peacefully protest outside the courthouse or the trucking company's head-quarters and would be tolerated so long as I didn't put any names of the guilty on my signs, in which case the signs would be destroyed and I would be beaten with impunity. Occasionally people who knew my story would give me a sincere, but practically meaningless "thumbs up" and I would end the story by asking if we want a country where lives are so cheap and justice so clearly the preserve of the rich. I'd also point out that our personal tragedies are really quite inconsequential to most people and that after a while we'd realize that the world keeps turning for everybody regardless of our individual pain and suffering.

But I didn't have the time to blow that up into a genuine parable.

Then I thought of asking my readers to imagine a country somewhere, ... a small, not very rich or powerful country, but bigger and more powerful than its neighbouring country nonetheless. The thing was that this country would invade its neighbour every few years or so and enslave and kill people at random. But when they weren't doing that, they'd make commercials asking wealthy international tourists to come and enjoy their sandy beaches and their friendly hospitality. They'd also take great pains to inform the rest of the world of their rich and varied national culture.

I wonder if there was such a country how many people would overlook their occasional sadistic killing sprees and actually consider the country to be a possible vacation spot.

I suspect that most people would recoil at the idea of treating this country as a full member of the international community.

But here we go. The United States of America has invaded two countries and has probably caused the deaths of two-million Iraqis and Afghans, and the displacement of millions upon millions more. MILLIONS of people. MILLIONS of lives. MILLIONS.

And yes, a minority of about twenty-thirty percent of the population is so deluded, racist and fucked-up that they actively support these abominations, while a larger minority was actively opposed to them but having marched peacefully in the streets once in a while and having elected a Democratic president, to no effect, they're all out of ideas. But there's a big mass of US-Americans in the middle who have their own problems and they're barely even aware that their country has killed millions of people and ruined the lives of millions more. They were all lined up outside department stores a few days ago for the big "Black Friday" shopping extravaganza, occasionally pepper-spraying one another to get at the great deals. I get that some people were opposed to mass murder but couldn't stop it. But I can't allow myself to smile at revolting commercials encouraging people to turn into robotic consuming monsters. And I can't find anything other than disgust for the actual people pressing against the doors of their local Wal-Mart trying to get ahead of everyone else to save 40% on some useless piece of shit that they don't need. Killing millions of people should at least get you a "tsk-tsk" now and again, surely?

Here in Canada, we are acquiescing to a prime minister who did not respect the majority opinion of the last parliament but he expects us to respect the majority now that it favours him. We are acquiescing to a government that has caused the torture of dozens of innocent Afghan peasants. We are acquiescing to a government that is lying, bulling, stealing, and killing all the while treating Parliament itself as a bothersome fly.

We are far too comfortable about the blood that is being spilled by weapons and policies paid for with our tax dollars. We are becoming too nonchalant about the torture and other war crimes being done in our names. We are too blase about the lives being ruined by Canadian governments.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Do Really Bad Newspaper Columnists Have Awesome Oral Sex Skills?

How do these incoherent babbling lunatics, serial plagiarists and constantly wrong fuck-ups continue to find work?

Surely there are higher-quality apologists and rationalizers for the system lining-up to provide the same sort of bullshit at a far more reasonable rate?

Perhaps we must just imagine that our most hated writers have massive saliva-producing tongues that can raise even the whitest-haired editors and publishers members and bring them to shuddering, almost cardiac-arrest producing orgasms.

Day-after-day.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Civilization is a Powder-Keg

Super busy. Didn't have a clue what to write. Went and looked at unpublished drafts of entries and decided to put this out, ... whatever it is.

The world isn't flat. It's round. But for tens of thousands of years, humanity, if we thought of it at all, believed that the world was flat, because we are so insignificant, and the world is so vast, that we simply couldn't perceive things accurately (or simply in their entirety). [Evidently, the Ancient Greeks, noticing how islands rose up from out of the horizon on the Mediterranean, decided that the world was round and they calculated the size of the planet by measuring the curve as determined by the height of a mountain and the distance between when it first appeared over the horizon and when it came fully into view.]

Through ice-ages, and periodic warmings, and across vast migrations, humanity has adapted and survived. And, I should add, individuals often didn't grasp that they were adapting to changing conditions, but thought they were conforming to the way things always were.

With the rise of civilizations, great masses of human beings came to be subjected to changing conditions created by their fellow man. People became enslaved. People were made exiles. Religions were created and imposed and stamped-out. Livelihoods became upended. As humanity increased in numbers and our technology became more sophisticated, these convulsions became greater and greater, affecting more an more people with increased intensity.

Something enormous is happening today. For over a thousand years, some kind of formal democracy was developed in the Mediterranean, and then spreading out and shifting its centre into North-west Europe. This "democracy" has achieved great things, and, without being too Eurocentric, aspects of it have held out an appeal to people in other societies as well. [I really don't want to glorify European civilization and disparage other civilizations. The First Nations in North America had their own version of self-government which included many democratic practices. Agricultural villages everywhere had and continue to have their traditions of decision-making which put our present elite-controlled, centralized systems of domination to shame. But I do think that the enshrining of rights and equalities into legal codes is unique to Europe and is seen as attractive by hundreds of millions of non-European peoples.]

Some would argue that the democracy of Western Europe and North America was made possible by the economic wealth (created by capitalism, and nothing else 'natch!) that made it affordable. I have long argued that it was more likely that democracy created the relatively greater equality of wealth, which created a more robust economy which made capitalism possible. I believe that even after giving technology, plundering the rest of humanity, and capitalist economics all their due, that it was the rise of democracy that made the West rich. Lo and behold! The height of democracy in the West came out of the crises of the Great Depression and the Second World War, and its flowering between 1945 and 1973 produced the capitalist postwar "golden age." The right-wing counterattack since 1980 has targeted democratic strongholds and institutions, producing more poverty and inequality than ever before. The elites are attacking democracy, they are winning, and we are becoming poorer.

About that "plundering the rest of humanity": I'm referring of course, to European imperialism. Whatever the limitations of the social-economic orders in other parts of the world, and whatever long-term benefits other parts of the world obtained from contact with the Europeans, it cannot be argued that European imperialism constituted a net loss for the rest of the world. Tens of millions died as a result of British callousness and expropriation in India. Tens of millions of Chinese peasants died of starvation as the Europeans squeezed their civilization for everything they could. Millions upon millions of Africans were sold into slavery, or reduced to absolute penury as the Europeans laid claim to their lands. Millions of Native Americans, North and South, died of diseases and as a result of cruelty and deliberate slaughter. Whatever the benefits of a railroad running through (white-owned) plantation country down to an ocean port where European freighters waited to take their produce to Europe, Africans, and others, lost more than they gained from contact with the white man.

Here's a bunch of links that were supposedly important to me while I was writing the above ...

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/08/03-6

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/08/03-1

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/08/02-2

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/08/09-0

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nobody Home ...


We shone a special camera at Ezra Levant's stupid head. Turns out the fucker doesn't have a brain.

Big surprise.