Monday, February 27, 2012

Two Great Posts

Impolitical has a valuable contribution to make. After describing the latest harpercon's stammering attempt to explain evidence of their sleaze and the RCMP's unsurprising total failure to do anything about it* she sets her sights on useless fuckwad John Ibbittson who first spoke out of turn about how stephen harper could not have known anything about any of this. She points out:
Many of us who have been watching this government critically would respectfully disagree with the presumption that is being offered up here, in the national media, serving to inoculate Mr. Harper. What relevance is it what campaign officials typically do? They may, in most instances, protect the leader, but so what? It's only relevant what happened here.

Of course, all investigatory officials should work on the presumption that the evidence takes them wherever it takes them. It doesn't really need to be said that they should explore all angles without regard for quaint notions of campaign customs. But let's say it anyway. And as we well know, this is not exactly a hands-off guy, Mr. Harper. He knew about the offer to Chuck Cadman. He speaks of having tapes on an opposition leader, presumably to be used during an election or as advertising outside an election.

So there is no factual basis to say we should be reasonably certain that Harper "knew nothing about what was going on in Guelph or elsewhere." Any budding conventional wisdom that Harper had no knowledge of this cheating is not justified.
Ibbitson later babbled thusly:
The Tories dominate federal politics because they are seen as the party that understands the importance of protecting the economy. Critics impale themselves on abuse-of-democracy issues, such as contempt of Parliament, treatment of Afghan detainees, the long-form census. None of that matters in a world where getting and keeping a job is job one.
That would have been bad enough even if the harpercons really did understand the economy better than anyone else. The evidence shows that they clearly don't and an honest opinion writer should have included that fact. But Ibbitson didn't so that makes his sin even worse. Check out Impolitical again:
What utter moral bankruptcy and nonsense. Of course democratic issues matter, we're not Canada Inc. And given the widespread election cheating scandal staring us in the face, one can't help but think that maybe if the Harper crew hadn't run roughshod over those issues that Ibbitson enumerates, perhaps becoming emboldened in thinking they can skate on such democratic issues, we wouldn't be dealing with this cheating scandal today.
I don't like the Liberal Party of Canada but I like a lot of Liberal bloggers. Most of the time!

Next up is The Sixth Estate, summarizing the most likely harpercon spin-job in all its nauseating glory:

First, they say nothing at all beyond some vague platitudes. This has been the response from the top, including Harper himself. That right there is an implicit admission of guilt, by the way. If the people at the top of the Conservative Party suspected that the robocallers were actually Liberals or NDPers, Harper would be screaming for their heads on a plate. There is mounting evidence that serious crimes were committed. Harper’s mealymouthed assurances that if someone did it, they won’t be allowed to participate in the next election campaign don’t cut it. Either he knows his party is guilty, or he doesn’t actually know what happened but is fairly sure his agents are guilty of something and is desperate not to let whatever it is come out. These are the ramblings of a guilty man we are listening to.

The second step is to blame the Liberals and mention the sponsorship scandal as often as possible.

...

And thus the Conservatives turn to their third claim: that we must not imperil the vaunted “economic recovery.” Operative Tim Powers has already been trotted out to advance this line, claiming that the opposition parties are just trying to “create a scandal” when “we (should be) talking about the economy.” According to Powers, you see, economic policy is more important than whether or not our country is a democracy under the rule of law.
What should we do, as bloggers and citizens, about this intolerable, criminal, anti-democratic bullshit? Tell everyone you can that this is intolerable. This is the end of the line. harper couldn't fuck with our elections the same way that fraudsters can in the USA, this is as much as he could get away with and he did it. It's time to defeat this piece of shit. He doesn't respect Parliament and he doesn't respect elections. Very well then. I don't respect his election and I don't respect his claims to parliamentary authority.

* As if the RCMP is going to do anything against their precious harpercons! Their top brass might have to deal with the unprofessional screaming tantrums of whatever third-rate party hack harper appoints as a "hard-nosed reformer" of that corrupted institution, but the whole staff knows how their bread is buttered. Tory times are "thump therapy" times.

Tell Everyone

I just wrote an email to my MP. He's a Conservative but he's one of the non-entities and in all honesty, seems like a decent enough guy. I've asked him his explanation for the electoral fraud and for him to repudiate such disgraceful behaviour.

I'm going to write a letter to every national newspaper in town. I'm going to write Elections Canada and the heads of all the political parties. I'm going to sign petitions calling for an inquiry.

And everyone else should do so too.

At this stage in the game I have no faith in whatever checks and balances (a US-American political term but whatever) in our system to bring these miscreants to justice. But the firestorm must begin this way.

The harpercons will screech about these robocalls, fraudulent behaviour, stuff with "They all do it." In the first place, that's complete bullshit. Outside of their persecution fantasies, neither Elections Canada nor the mainstream media are Liberal tools for national supremacy. If this was happening anywhere else, by anyone else, we'd have heard about it. This was a major operation. An expensive import of Karl Rove's effluvia. This is big-time fraud. And nobody else has done it. And if they had, the thing to do is report it to Elections Canada, NOT jump into the swamp feet first.

But, again, ONLY the filthy harpercons pull this shit. Only the disgusting harpercons have so much contempt for our institutions and our democracy and our principles. This is a party that wants you to suffer bankruptcy and early death so that private health insurance providers can make profits. Of course they have no respect for the electoral process.

Last night I deleted a comment from a harpercon shit-head. A combination of mewling self-pity, laughable hypocrisy and festering hate. Get used to it fuck-faces. After a certain point has been passed, nobody is under any obligation to treat you with any respect. You guys passed that point years ago. Deal with it. You and the 24% of the electorate that seeks to abuse the rest of us 76%.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

There is NO Justification for Voting "Conservative"

You are either stupid, ignorant, deluded or greedy.

Here's why ...
Across the board -- whether it's using dirty tricks to get elected in the first place, smear attacks on opponents and critics, or legislation that will completely undermine human rights and civil liberties -- the Conservatives are fundamentally reshaping Canada's future. We were all warned, yes. But we still have a lot of work to do to convince average Canadians of that fact.
The harpercon government is wall-to-wall scum.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Thomas Walkom - yes and no

[hat-tip to Accidental Deliberations], Thomas Walkom's column on the robo-call and misuse of military resources scandals is okay about describing the unprecedented anti-democratic, abusive behaviour of the harpercons. But I'll give Walkom the benefit of the doubt over his speculations on the source of stephen harper's behaviour:

Early in his political career, Harper expressed outrage at the tactics employed by Liberals, in particular their use of scaremongering and mockery to paint the party’s conservative opponents as neanderthal know-nothings.

Eventually, it seems, he decided to defeat the Liberals by outdoing them at their own game. His personal attacks on Liberal leaders St├Ęphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff took negative politics to a level rarely seen in Canada.

In Harper’s world, there is never a middle ground. Those who raise concerns about Canadian treatment of Afghan prisoners are labeled Taliban stooges. Those who oppose a proposed oil pipeline are called unpatriotic radicals and foreign tools.

Those who question a government bill that would give police access to personal internet information without the requirement of a judicial warrant are accused of aiding and abetting child pornographers.

In a world so sharply demarcated between good and evil, is it any wonder that zealous Conservative workers might engage in a bit of electoral fraud here and there?


You see, I don't agree with this at all. harper isn't really fighting a deluded battle of good versus evil. harper is a hypocrite. harper doesn't often reflect upon the enormity of his own scuzziness, but he gets a glimmer of it every so often, from the murk of his being. harper knows that he consciously decided to try to deflect attention from the child-raping proclivities of the Afghan government he has sent our soldiers to fight, kill and die for. harper knows that he will stop at nothing, including smearing veterans' rights activists, to condemn "the troop" to a lifetime of misery and poverty if they're wounded and therefore useless to him. harper knows that destroying public health care will cause gigantic increases in misery, poverty, rising household debt and early deaths. harper knows that the corporate assholes he smooches want nothing but to strip-mine this country of its resources and drive Canadian workers into unemployment and poverty. harper knows that federal government bureaucrats are the reason that the First Nations peoples of Attawapiskat are freezing in tents and unheated shacks, but he accuses them of mismanagement and tries to use the crisis to increase his own power and renounce our treaty obligations to them, and continues to let them freeze and suffer.

harper is a piece of shit. Electoral fraud is no different from stated contempt for the spirit and the forms of democratic government to him. It is all of no consequence. He's a third-rate con-man shilling for corporate greed-heads. His only concern for his office is to serve them and to indulge his own laughable vanity.

he is scum and he should be treated as such.

Are There Genuine Safeguards To Bring About A Response To Tory "Dirty-Tricks" Campaigns?

Dr. Dawg is doing a good job of raising the significance of Tory dirty-tricks during the last election. The harpercon sleaze is intolerable. What are the chances that there could actually be by-elections in some of these ridings?

Friday, February 24, 2012

How to Win an Election

Don't pull stupid stunts like calling your opponents' supporters and lying and telling them that the polling location or date had changed.

Instead, put together a platform and honestly argue it in the face of others doing the same thing.

Why is this so hard for some people to understand? Politics isn't a silly board game that you try to "win" either by hook or by crook. Democracy is supposed to be something serious. Something for responsible adults to take charge of.

God, but "conservative" politics is such a depressing topic.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Another Quick Post About Ecological Inevitability

First a mention of an important book: Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered -

"[N]o system or machinery or economic doctrine or theory stands on its own feet: it is invariably built on a metaphysical foundation, that is to say, upon man's basic outlook on life, its meaning and its purpose. I have talked about the religion of economics, the idol worship of material possessions, of consumption and the so-called standard of living, and the fateful propensity that rejoices in the fact that 'what were luxuries to our fathers have become necessities for us.'

"Systems are never more no less than incarnations of man's most basic attitudes. . . . General evidence of material progress would suggest that the modern private enterprise system is--or has been--the most perfect instrument for the pursuit of personal enrichment. The modern private enterprise system ingeniously employs the human urges of greed and envy as its motive power, but manages to overcome the most blatant deficiencies of laissez-faire by means of Keynesian economic management, a bit of redistributive taxation, and the 'countervailing power' of the trade unions.

"Can such a system conceivably deal with the problems we are now having to face? The answer is self-evident: greed and envy demand continuous and limitless economic growth of a material kind, without proper regard for conservation, and this type of growth cannot possibly fit into a finite environment. We must therefore study the essential nature of the private enterprise system and the possibilities of evolving an alternative system which might fit the new situation."

Next, a second essay in as many days from commondreams.org , about how our delusions about limitless economic growth will smash into the inescapable limits of the ecosystem: "Cash of the Titans: against the Noxious Fantasy of Limitless Growth" -

The concept of endless economic growth, accepted as sacrosanct by both U.S. mainstream political parties, and internalized as the dominant mode of mind by the general population of the corporate/consumer state is mirrored in the exponential mathematics of a malignancy.

Cancer, if given voice, would proclaim itself to be a believer in "free market values"…devoted to the principle of endless growth…until, of course, it would silence its own voice by killing its host.

Likewise, all life seeks limits or prematurely dooms itself.

The same holds true with addiction to unlimited economic expansion…the craving for incessant ascension is, in fact, a doomed Icarusian flight.

Capitalism, like other faith-based delusions, requires that we suspend our disbelief and embrace the most nonsensical ideas. It is too obviously true: the world's current six-billion people cannot all live the consumerist monstrosity that we're told is our birthright (subject to capitalism's continued interest in extending to us either jobs or credit). That this still needs to be argued is yet another indictment of the culture produced by capitalism.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ecological Collapse and the GDP

Here's a link to an article calling for a new way to measure the economy: "Perpetual Growth Myth leading world to meltdown:experts"
In the face of an "absolutely unprecedented emergency", say the [...] past winners of the Blue Planet prize – the unofficial Nobel for the environment – society has "no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilization. Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us".

...

Watson's comments accompanied a new paper released today by 20 past winners of the Blue Planet Prize - often called the Nobel Prize for the environment, and comes ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Rio+20 conference – which takes place in June this year – where world leaders will (it is hoped) seize the opportunity to set human development on a new, more sustainable path.

...

The paper urges governments to:
  • Replace GDP as a measure of wealth with metrics for natural, built, human and social capital - and how they intersect.
  • Eliminate subsidies in sectors such as energy, transport and agriculture that create environmental and social costs, which currently go unpaid.
  • Tackle over-consumption, and address population pressure by empowering women, improving education and making contraception accessible to all.
  • Transform decision making processes to empower marginalized groups, and integrate economic, social and environmental policies instead of having them compete.
  • Conserve and value biodiversity and ecosystem services, and create markets for them that can form the basis of green economies.
  • Invest in knowledge - both in creating and in sharing it - through research and training that will enable governments, business, and society at large to understand and move towards a sustainable future.
The GDP is a concept. It's a way of measuring economic activity. It doesn't measure everything and some of the stuff it measures is economic activity caused by rebuilding from disasters or managing things like disease or crime that we'd rather not have to experience.

The thing to realize is that people can live full, healthy lives without having to increase their incomes and consumption by 3.5 to 5% per year. It's past time that we stopped poisoning our planet in the pursuit of a crude abstraction.

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's all in the framing ...

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/02/20/europe-financial-greece.html

http://leninology.blogspot.com/2012/02/scenes-from-class-struggle-in-greece.html

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dalton "Shock Doctrine" McGuinty

It's nice of Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty to be so obvious. I mean, I already knew that he had an unhealthy contempt for democracy and human rights when he skulked around in the dead of night to remove our Charter Rights at the behest of the thuggish Toronto Police Service Chief Bill Blair for the Toronto G20 Summit. And I already knew he had nothing but contempt for the electoral process when he ran on a platform of spending and new programs and then immediately began making noises about unsustainable deficit levels.

But McGuinty finally removes any doubt that he's a corporate stooge, through and through, with this "Drummond Report" nonsense!

If you lived through the Mike Harris years, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Cutbacks are back and bigger than ever. And this time, they’re here to stay.

...

What’s driving this stark reality is hardly a mystery, yet it remains poorly understood: We have to get off a government spending train that, with all three political parties on board for the ride (now and in the past), is still hurtling toward fiscal derailment.

Imagine if Ontario’s deficit doubled overnight from $16 billion to $30 billion (instead of melting away, as promised, within five years) — with a debt mushrooming beyond $400 billion.

In fact, we may already be living through that thought experiment — we’re on track to double the deficit by 2017 unless we change course.

Politicians have long known the direction we’re headed in, but dared not say it on the campaign trail. Credit rating agencies, however, now see it coming.

OOOH! Scary!

Then again, remember Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine?

Based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground reporting in disaster zones, The Shock Doctrine vividly shows how disaster capitalism – the rapid-fire corporate reengineering of societies still reeling from shock – did not begin with September 11, 2001. The book traces its origins back fifty years, to the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman, which produced many of the leading neo-conservative and neo-liberal thinkers whose influence is still profound in Washington today. New, surprising connections are drawn between economic policy, “shock and awe” warfare and covert CIA-funded experiments in electroshock and sensory deprivation in the 1950s, research that helped write the torture manuals used today in Guantanamo Bay.
More and more, it's plain to see that neoliberal governments also use fabricated crises to justify their shocking economic reforms. In the 1990s, Ontario's PC Education Minister was infamous for saying in a video-taped speech how he was going to "create a crisis" in education in order to impose his bone-headed ideas. Now, in the time-honoured LibroCon ("Liberal, Tory, Same old story!") tradition, it's Dalton McGuinty's turn. As the Toronto Star's Chris Hume puts it, the "Drummond Report Taxes Credulity." Here's the money shot:
Still, Drummond isn’t entirely to blame for the lack of imagination; he was instructed not to examine tax increases.
And that's all that needs to be said about Dalton McGuinty's crude propaganda effort.

Look at it this way: For years and years and years, Ontario governments have (like their federal counterparts) been cutting taxes for individuals and corporations, with the bulk of the lost revenue going to the wealthiest. (As well, consumption and payroll taxes which impact average people have increased, adding to the unequal outcomes.)

The justification for these tax cuts and the foregone revenues was that they would spur investment and growth. That doesn't seem to have happened does it? Not at all.

Ontarians, like most Canadians, are pretty moderate. They were told that some people would get huge tax-cuts and that this would create jobs and growth. If that turned out to not be the case, and that was the end of it, they'd probably shrug their shoulders. But if it was spelled out for them that the wealthy and the corporations would get tax-cuts, that this wouldn't create any jobs or growth, but, instead, produce massive deficits that would necessitate cuts to all sorts of necessary programs and services, I think the response would be a little different.

That's why McGuinty can't be honest about things. That's why he has to try to scare us with this bullshit about how Drummond's austerity recommendations are the only thing to save us from a deficit death spiral.

This is a snow job people. This is crude manipulation. This is insulting nonsense.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Violence "Discrediting" Occupy Wall Street?

There's a lot that I agree with in this Chris Hedges essay: "Occupy Draws Strength From the Powerless" but a lot that I disagree with as well:
How do we fight back? We do not have the tools or the wealth of the state. We cannot beat it at its own game. We cannot ferret out infiltrators. The legal system is almost always on the state’s side. If we attempt to replicate the elaborate security apparatus of our oppressors, even on a small scale, we will unleash widespread paranoia and fracture the movement. If we retreat into anonymity, hiding behind masks, then we provide an opening for agents provocateurs who deny their identities while disrupting the movement. If we fight pitched battles in the streets we give authorities an excuse to fire their weapons.
All true. It doesn't matter that there is never any excuse for police overreaction. It's like Dick Cheney's self-created lies about WMDs. As long as other people parrot the lies, the "excuse" exists.

But Hedges goes off the rails more than once:
All we have, as Vaclav Havel writes, is our own powerlessness. And that powerlessness is our strength. The survival of the movement depends on embracing this powerlessness.
Hedges admits there was a difference between the Soviet System of the 1970-91 period and the Leninist-Stalinist terror state that preceded it. Which is good. The sort of disobedience Havel describes later could not have survived a completely ruthless dictatorship of a Stalin or a Hitler. But it's important to remember that the Soviet Empire crumbled for a lot of reasons, not just because of the dissidence of its intellectuals. "Solidarity" in Poland rebelled against a rising cost of living which the Soviet system could do nothing about. The excessive economic centralization of the economy produced inefficiencies and the swallowing of resources of the military-industrial complex added to the burden.

The Soviet Union's empire began to really crumble when the guy at the top, Gorbachev, went for a walk on the beach with his foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze, and they lamented how everything had gone wrong. The system didn't work. It was time for reform. Hence "Glasnost" and "Perestroika." But these failed as well and the rest is history. The point is, the mighty Soviet Empire did not collapse under the weight of people saying the emperor had no clothes. Just like here, I'm sure that most people tried to go along to get along. It was the system itself that did itself in.

Maybe what bugs me the most about Hedges' essay is its meaningless concluding statement:
We must assume we are targets. And we must fight back by relying on our strength, which in the great paradox of resistance movements is embodied in our weakness. This does not mean we will avoid being repressed or persecuted. It will not keep us safe from slander, lies or jail. But it does offer the capacity to create internal divisions in the apparatus of the oppressors rather than permit the oppressors to create internal divisions within the movement. Divided loyalties create paralysis. And it is our job to paralyze them, not allow them to paralyze us.
So, let's passively allow ourselves to be infiltrated, arrested and slandered. The mainstream media can continue to concentrate on the Republican primaries, including entire articles about Newt Gingrich's wife's hair. Indy-Media will bear witness and the already converted can watch the abuse of the Occupy movement on YouTube. Occupy will continue to say that the emperor has no clothes, just like Jon Stewart does only for much more money. And somehow or other, the systematic assault on a passively-resisting Occupy movement will "create internal divisions" within the Wall Street - Pentagon - Politician nexus which will, inevitably (but inexplicably) "paralyze" them.

Uh, ... right.

If you look in the comments section of that commondreams page, you'll find that a lot of other people find that a little hard to swallow as well. I think what's needed is (as usual) a more mature and nuanced attitude towards political violence. Since I'm a busy man, I'm going to have to end it here and suggest that you search my blog using the search term "violence" to get a sense of what I mean.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Something Important and Something Stupid

First of all, I'll talk about the stupid stuff. It's just been rattling around in the cavernous empty space of my mind for the past week or so. How monumentally stupid and hypocritical it was for those Conservative Party of Canada scum to jump on the "It Gets Better" bandwagon. I mean, what could they possibly have been thinking?

The "It Gets Better" campaign was conceived by the famous American (and proudly gay) sex advice columnist Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller, in response to an avalanche of gay teen suicides. In their first video, Savage and Miller just sat there and told gay teens that their lives would get MUCH better after high school. It was never intended as the last word against homophobia. It isn't designed to solve all the problems that gay teens face. It was never intended as anything other than a way to communicate to young gay people tortured by the ignorant prejudices and fucked-up-ness of North American culture that high school (while seeming huge and all-encompassing) is really just a generally moronic, and pointless part of one's overall life. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and heterosexuals as well, reached out to tell gay teens that things WOULD get better after high school.

Canadians participated. Especially after the tragic death of 15-year old Jamie Hubley. That case was so terrible that even the Conservative Party of Canada got in on the act, producing their own "It gets better" video. The video features (amongst other Conservative luminaries) John Baird and David Sweet.

It's pretty special really. The party that panders to homophobia by attacking gay marriage! The party for people who at the local and provincial level see initiatives against gay bullying as assaults on religious freedom and freedom of speech! "It gets better." Not if those morons and hypocrites have anything to say about it.

And how does it get better? Well, allegedly, John Baird is a closet-case. If that's true, let's consider this: If Baird finds it easier than in the past to stay in the closet it's because OTHER GROUPS BESIDES HIS STUPID POLITICAL PARTY have made being gay not such a big deal. One Conservative candidate described him as "openly gay" but that's not how he's portrayed, is it? Baird? Your party is rabidly homophobic and anti-gay. How can you tell gay teens that it gets better when you're a member of the party that wants to make things WORSE for them???

And, I think the real prize in that video is MP David Sweet. Former president of the fundamentalist "Promise Keepers," Sweet is on record as saying that homosexuality is a sin, bad sexual practice and "not an acceptable lifestyle." When confronted on his monumental hypocrisy of appearing in an "It Gets Better" video, Sweet's only reply was a gutless statement that he said what he said.

I know that this is relatively old news, but that doesn't make the brainlessness of the harpercons any the less. What the fuck were they thinking? Because, you know, they "think" like this every day. "Sure, it's too bad that kid died, but I will fight tooth and nail against pinkos and faggots trying to teach my kids that homosexuality isn't disgusting. I will fight for my children's rights to express their religious beliefs [read: delusions] to shame queers into suicide. And we haven't given up the battle to return marriage to a institution of love between men and women only. Marriage is sacred. And sure you can get married on a reality tv show or marry your high school sweet heart for a few hours, or something, but the second you let queers do it, humanity might as well legislate mandatory GAY sex with farm animals. But, yeah, it's too bad about that kid. Tragic really."

Yesterday I posted about the Globe & Mail and the Toronto Star simultaneously reporting on the Metcalfe Foundation's report about the 42% increase in poverty in Toronto between 2000 and 2005. For the most part, BOTH of those newspapers endorsed the political-economic policies that produced this failure. BOTH of those newspapers' owners probably say to themselves that this decline in the living standards of the poor and the working poor is regrettable and that steps should be taken to reverse this pattern. But the Globe & Mail certainly, and the Toronto Star probably, will only double-down on the witless neo liberal con job.

It isn't cute when people with power fuck up so badly. It isn't comedy. It's serious.

Oh, and before I forget. Another stupid thing? Reporting about Michelle Obama's dancing. Holy shit. Holy Fucking Shit. This is a response in progress. I hadn't read those stories about "Michelle Obama's Dance Moves." I'd just seen the headlines and thought about how her husband has granted himself the right to kill US Americans (and their children) overseas without restriction, how her husband is the Commander-in-Chief presiding over Bradley Manning's torture, how her husband is bailing-out Wall Street criminals while cynically posturing about helping Wall Street's victims. I mean, who really gives a shit about the First Lady's "dance moves"? In going to find a link about "Michelle Obama's Dance Moves" I discovered what all the fuss is about. She's raising awareness about the sufferings of US-American military families facing lengthy separations while mommies and daddies are overseas blowing-up rag-heads for US corporations! Oh my fucking god:

In the episode, which is entitled "iMeet the First Lady," Carly's friends Sam (Jennette McCurdy) and Freddie (Nathan Kress) arrange a webcast for Carly and her father after they learn he is not able to make it home for his birthday. The first lady comes to visit Carly to talk about her service to America as a member of a military family and to thank her friends for supporting her during her father's deployment.

"I'm here to say I'm proud of you," Obama said in the episode. "It can be really rough for kids who have a mom or dad way from home for a long time... As important as it is for Carly to support what her dad is doing, it's just as important that she has good friends like you who support what she's doing, too."

Of course Carly, if your father wants to protest against Wall Street, or loses his mind because of what he's witnessed serving US corporations, well you suckers are on your own. Veterans are a disproportionate number of that country's homeless population. What sickening rot.

Well, having dispensed with that bile, I'd best get on to the important stuff. As I said earlier, I read This Crazy Time by Tzeporah Berman. Berman fought against the logging companies and their BC-NDP governments beginning in the battle for Clayoquot Sound, and then in the creation of the Great Bear Rainforest Reserve. Later, she was disgusted with the BC-NDP's "Axe the Tax" campaign against BC Liberal Premier's carbon emissions taxes. I mention this conflict with the NDP because while I think the NDP is the best of a bad lot, Berman has a point that they side with the corporations first, and then with [misguided] unions second, under the delusion that saving the environment means economic disaster and massive unemployment. (Actually, it's business-as-usual capitalism that has brought us economic disaster and massive unemployment!)

Anyhooo, ... in her book, Berman informs us all about a Greenpeace resource to learn how creating the post-carbon economy will create jobs and bring prosperity. And, that's fucking serious shit.

So, having spent most of my morning unloading about how much I despise the homophobic, hypocritical, stupid harpercons and Michelle Obama, it's all I've got left to link to the important, positive stuff.

Here's the link. Energy [R]evolution. Check it out.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Do Yah Think???

Hah! Both the Toronto Star and the stephen harper-endorsing joke of a newspaper, the Glib & Stale have articles about the working poor this weekend!

Here's the story on a Metcalfe Foundation study on Toronto's working poor by Laurie Monsebraaten in The Star:
The legions of Toronto area workers pouring coffee, cleaning toilets and otherwise toiling for low wages in office towers and factories is growing dramatically.

Between 2000 and 2005, the area’s working poor grew by 42 per cent, to 113,000 people, according to a groundbreaking report based on Statistics Canada labour and income data.

And here's the Glib & Stale's "Poor Prospects" by Anna Mehler Paperny on the same study:

Across Canada, a job is no longer a ticket out of poverty, or a safeguard against it. And the number of people working but unable to make ends meet is growing in the country’s most populous urban hub – far faster than in Ontario or Canada as a whole. A study by Toronto researchers provided exclusively to The Globe and Mail provides a granular glimpse of working poverty at the census-tract level.

The Metcalf Foundation study, the first of its kind in Canada, documents the changing face of the Toronto area’s workforce.

And it isn’t pretty: Even during times of economic prosperity, from 2000 to 2005, the number of working people unable to make ends meet grew by 42 per cent in the Toronto area.

Now, to be fair, both newspapers have good reporters. It's just that the Glib & Stale endorsed harper. And they run Jeffrey Simpson, Margaret Wente, Marcus Gee and Neil Reynolds on a regular basis. (They'd probably still be running the incompetent Terrance Corcoran, but his "talent" got poached by the wingnut welfare National Post.)

But isn't it odd how the publishers of both of these papers have been running stories that accurately reflect the dismal failure of the economic policies that they (as supporters of Canada's LibroCon Party) have endorsed without taking the next step? The next step being to apologize for having been so wrong about everything and to advocate a headlong gallop AWAY from the neo-liberal snake0il they've been pitching for decades?

It's no surprise that more people are suffering as unions, social programs, access to education and steady jobs in all their forms have come under direct and deliberate attack from corporate Canada. This is what the "loony left" has been saying would happen all along. This is why we're out in the streets. Right-wing morons who want to pretend that poor people's mortgages sank the world financial system can bray and cackle all they want. The fact remains that treating the vast majority of the population as an expense isn't going to lead to economic prosperity. Taking money away from the vast majority makes the vast majority poorer.

Next stop - Rocket Science.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Great Day!

It isn't like stopping a war, or housing the homeless, or anything like that. But I have to credit TTC Chair Karen Stintz and Toronto City Council for standing up to the imbecilic coward Rob Ford and his stupid "plan" to bury the Eglinton LRT line.

For posterity's sake I'll describe it simply: Toronto's public transit is a mess. Canada is an eco-nightmare and we build roads and nobody has the brains or the maturity to recognize that alternatives need to be paid for and built. After decades on inaction, the competent and scandal-free administration of Dennis Miller negotiated a mega-transit project "Transit City" with the Ontario government which would better link the city together. It included LRT because LRT is cheaper and faster to build than underground subway trains. Subway trains are bigger. They need to be put underground to move lots of people from one relatively distant station to another. You don't spend one-billion dollars to build a tunnel to drive a golf-cart in, and you don't do it for light rail either.

Subways would be a good idea. But we didn't want to make the investment. The "Transit City" plan opted for LRT to get moving faster and cheaper.

And then Rob Ford won the race for mayor of Toronto on a campaign based either on fraud or ignorance and stupidity. He campaigned on the promise that there was almost a billion dollars of wasteful spending ("gravy") at City Hall and that he could cut taxes without having to cut services by way of eliminating this vast pool of "gravy."

He also campaigned that he would build subways and that he didn't like "Transit City." Now, to be charitable, Toronto voters had a choice between the lying Rob Ford or the lying George Smitherman. (The serious choice, Joe Pantalone, was excluded due to his not being a total stooge for corporate hucksters.) 60% of the electorate came out to vote and 47% of them voted for Ford's brand of lies and ignorance, which included not liking "Transit City."

It shouldn't have mattered. "Transit City" had already started. Shovels were in the ground. But sane people don't reckon with having to deal with people like Rob Ford. He unilaterally pronounced "Transit City" dead and ordered it to be halted. The $65 million in cancellation fines was to be ignored for as long as possible. Ford went to Queen's Park and came up with a deal that the province's money would go almost entirely towards burying the Eglinton LRT, with a few hundred million going towards the expansion of the Shepard Subway line that Ford said "the private sector" was lining up to fund.

Turns out the private sector wasn't lining up to expand the Shepard Subway. So Ford cancelled an $8.4 billion dollar, multi-route transit expansion in return for spending an extra $2 billion to bury an LRT line.

Ford's hand-picked TTC Chairperson, Karen Stintz, looked at the issue and decided that reality made more sense than Rob Ford's incoherent raving about "subways." She said that Toronto ought not to waste TWO BILLION DOLLARS building a tunnel for an LRT system. The money could be better spent expanding public transit elsewhere, including Ford's precious Shepard Subway.

Rob Ford doesn't like reality. That's why he lies so much. He refused Stintz advice and continued babbling about "subways." Ford's remaining ass-kissers on the TTC Board voted against issuing Stintz's report validating her position. Stintz gathered the signatures of enough councilors to call a special meeting to vote on her proposal.

Ford scrambled into damage-control mode (to the extent that it's possible for such a cretin) and stammered his way through a proposal to have an expert committee be formed to study the issue and report back to Council in 30 days. (He continued to blather on, confusing LRT with subways.) After a scheduled break in the debates he and some allies petulantly refused to return to the chamber in the hopes of preventing a vote. (That childishness also failed.)

In the end, saner heads prevailed and Ford lost his third big battle (waterfront development, the budget, and now the Eglinton LRT). In his typical loser fashion, Ford responded by calling the Council vote "irrelevant." The dunce actually wants people to believe that his memo of understanding with McGuinty, which was subject to the approval of their respective councils, gives him the right to carry on regardless. (If he REALLY believed that he wouldn't have even showed up for the vote though!)

Then, in a display of supreme comedy, Ford began wandering the subways babbling at strangers about the need for "subways." He and his less-idiotic brother vow to pointlessly harass people on the streets, at community centres (where they've raised the fees) and at the malls (where embattled Canadian households go into debt to keep the economy moving) to convince them that Toronto needs subways, even though the Brothers Ford have no intention of finding the money to pay for them. What they hope to accomplish with that is hard to fathom.

The thing is, this was a great day for democracy and the rule of law in Canada. Ford is just one of the latest in a line of blatant, lying, crude, capitalist hucksters. For too long we progressives have tolerated these liars and their stupid bullshit. I'm pretty certain that I wouldn't see eye-to-eye with Karen Stintz on a number of issues, but in this instance, she looked at Ford's "vision" and compared it with reality and made the right choice. Ford tried to shut her down but there are rules in place to control idiocy such as his. If only we had locked some harpercons up in the Peace Tower or demanded respect for Parliament's right to oversee the government's behaviour in a war zone, we wouldn't have this anti-democratic corporate criminal government of liars and thieves that we have now.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

You Lost Ford! You Lost Big! Deal With It.

Seriously you cowardly, stupid fuck! You LOST! It's over. Shut the fuck up.

No.

No.

No.

It's over. You lost.

And it feels good to say that.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

S'more Canadian Feminist Values

Yes. Yesterday i was waxing patriotically about Canada's vastly superior pro-woman culture by pointing to the (perhaps criminal) lack of resources devoted to finding a mass murderer of women in downtown Vancouver.

I neglected to mention two further examples of our pro-ogynist culture that were demonstrated in that particular case of Canuck Chivalry.

Let's not forget that most (almost all?) (all?) the women's groups that advocated on behalf of Vancouver's murdered and threatened women didn't get legal funding to prepare presentations and lawyers for the Pickton Inquiry into this travesty.

Oh, and that group that built the "ground-breaking database" on Vancouver's missing women, "Sisters in Spirit" was denied further funding and the money to manage any future databases will be going to .... the RCMP.

So here's how I see it. The governments and the police forces involved in this atrocity worked to make sure that the most critical voices wouldn't be present at the Inquiry. (Because advocating for missing street women isn't the most profitable avenue for investors' money in this particular era they depend on charity and public funding to a great degree. So cut 'em off.) Then, the assholes involved can do their best impression of a "heart-felt apology" all the while "categorically denying" or "strenuously denying" (or whatever their public relations advisers coach them to say) that institutional sexism had anything to do with it.

Then they make sure that the groups that put the pieces of the puzzle together lose their ability to work and you give the whole trouble-making database over to the fuckwads and it's business as usual.

Last summer I read a serious history about Jack the Ripper. At the time I wrote:
So, another neighbour with a box fulla boox, but i decided to take only Philip Sugden's The Complete History of Jack the Ripper. It looks at the case of the most famous serial killer in history in a professionally historical way. It doesn't pretend to know who Jack the Ripper was. In many respects, I'm reading it with the same response that i got from watching the movie Zodiac on the big screen. There's somebody out there killing people, but the world is such a huge place, that clues just come from nowhere and it's incredibly difficult to separate truth from lies. It's a good book.

As well, reading about the way the Whitechapel neighbourhood mobilized to defend their streets, when "only" four women had been killed, and those, from the disrespected group of prostitutes, Vancouver (and Canada) comes off looking badly with the total lack of concern for the 33 missing women who ended up at Picton's farm.

Of course, Picton's victims weren't found mutilated on the streets. But they WERE found to have been ground up into pig feed later on. Which makes the latest bullshit so hard to fathom.
Yesterday I was thinking about this again. Perhaps if those women's bodies had been found mutilated on the streets the police would have been more energetic about finding the killer. I was thinking of the visceral reaction to actual mutilated remains. But then I remembered that the police might have known about how the bodies were likely being disposed of and so the cops don't even have that avenue of escape for their dereliction of duty. If Pickton had left women's corpses lying around downtown Vancouver there would have surely been a public outcry. And that would have been s-o-o-o-o-o inconvenient.

What the police are doing right now is a version of the little kid mumbling "I'm sorry" in the most resentful, sullen manner possible.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Canadian Values

Man oh man. When I think about repressive, anti-female cultures, ... like the patriarchal nonsense of Afghanistan, that made a creep like Mohammad Shafia think that his daughters' and his first wife's lives are worth less than his trumped-up "honour." Or those sickos, the man and his family members who tried to beat his wife to force her to become a prostitute!

It's times like this that I'm proud to be a Canadian man, with CANADIAN values!!! That I live in a country where women's rights are respected and their lives valued!

Like, say, in downtown Vancouver. Where we don't beat women to force them into prostitution. Not that I know of anyway. Well, okay. Maybe motorcycle gangs, human smugglers, junkie boyfriends force young women into stripping or prostitution. But, some of those women are walking the streets because they want to be. Because they're addicted to drugs. You know, "crack whores." And in Canada, women who are addicted to drugs aren't sick people in need of treatment. There fucking whores who you can do anything you want to and we even joke about killing them.

And sometimes we don't joke about killing them. We really do kill them. Then we dispose of their bodies by feeding them to animals. And in case anybody gets suspicious, we put one female cop on the case. (That's from each investigating force! We're not monsters! The Vancouver Police put a single female cop on the case and so did the RCMP. And she no doubt had to spend part of her energy fending-off sexual advances from her noble and heroic male fellow officers!)

And, then, if things are starting to look bad, we stop filing missing persons reports so that we don't have to account for them.

Yes sirree. Is this a great fucking country for wimmin's rights or what? We're not just a world leader in global warming or international imperialism! (And don't get me started on how great a job we do treating our Indians. No! Not those Indians!) [Sigh.]

[Sorry if I offended anyone. It's risky but I'm trying to prove a point.]

Monday, February 6, 2012

Canada is Sick

Sick, sick, sick.

That's all.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sweet Christ

But take a gander at these awesome graphics!



What a gas!

Ezra Levant is REALLY Stupid

And that's why the stupid portion of the Canadian bell curve likes him so much! Well, truth be told, most really stupid Canadians don't watch the news, read books or newspapers, or anything. So Ezra's fans are a small portion of the stupid population. The part that strains itself mightily trying to figure out and control their world, but who do so in a stupid fashion. A stupid minority of the stupid minority.

In a better world, a guy like me shouldn't have to even acknowledge the existence of a turd like Ezra Levant. If Canada was a genuine meritocracy, Ezra Levant would be getting wedgies in the kitchen during the night shift at Taco Bell from his teenaged work colleagues who have grown sick of his bizarre, ego-maniacal outbursts.

But capitalism is a sick system and, occasionally, the capitalists will find an obnoxious sicko like Ezra Levant, to shill for them. It's called "wingnut welfare" and Ezra's latest busy-project has been to scribble a diatribe about the "whitewash" of Omar Khadr. I wrote about it a few days back. Today I did a google search to see if anyone had actually read it and reviewed it. I didn't find much, but I did find Ezra's own stream-of-consciousness ranting on the subject:

So, what can we expect to happen with Omar Khadr when he inevitably returns to Canada?

Unfortunately, it's not hard to guess. When Maher Arar came back to Canada after he was released from a prison in Syria, he was hailed as a hero and celebrity. Every anti-war, anti-Western activist with an axe to grind--which includes a large swath of Canada's mainstream media--turned his homecoming into a triumph. If only they treated our wounded soldiers returning from Afghanistan so warmly.

So I read the whole entry. But I'll admit to skimming towards the end as the cliches and whining started to get to much for me. But Levant's whole shpiel seems to be that some people believe that as a 15-year old, Omar Khadr was a child soldier. Also, they don't see how shooting a soldier during a gun-fight could be considered a war crime. (There's evidence that Khadr might not have shot anyone, but regardless.) Also, they ask how Omar Khadr could have avoided his father's indoctrination of him and then gone on to actively resist him. Also, they ask why the Canadian government aided and abetted in the torture of one of its own citizens. Also they ask how a confession obtained through torture and indefinite detention can be considered genuine.

All of these sensible considerations are too sane and humane for Ezra to process. Ezra Levant masturbates himself to visions of young Arab males being tortured and he'll be damned if he'll tolerate anyone seeking to deny him his fodder. I think that's it anyway. I mean, it makes no sense otherwise does it? Go through that whole rant and see if you can find anything Levant says about Omar Khadr that demonstrates that his advocates are dupes:

[Khadr'll] have a career waiting for him here in Canada as a top speaker on the anti-American lecture circuit. Every pro-Islamist campus club, every unreformed mosque, as well as conferences for the reflexively anti-American New Democratic Party and the Canadian Bar Association, the national lawyers' group that for years churned out reams of press releases calling for Khadr's release and return to Canada, all are sure to hound the freed terrorist to come speak to them, paying him thousands of dollars an hour for the pleasure.

The Canadian Islamic Congress and Canadian Arab Federation have been vocal supporters of Khadr's defence and will surely welcome him with open arms onto their staff: Who better to fundraise among their Israel-hating, America-hating supporters? Perhaps Judy Rebick--the founding publisher of the left-wing webzine rabble.ca,

It just goes on and on like that. Khadr was raised by an Al-Qaeda father. He's accused of firing a gun in a gun-fight. He was 15. He was imprisoned by a government that practices torture and oversees a military tribunal system that has been condemned by US military lawyers. His rights were violated. The Canadian Supreme Court said so. But anyone who therefore thinks that Khadr should enjoy his rights and should perhaps be compensated for having had his most basic human rights violated is self-evidently moronic in Levant's eyes.

I read that entry for his book and I thought that besides being unspeakably tedious it was also evidence of how REALLY stupid Levant is. He's got limited space to push his book. To prove his book's argument. And what does he do? Posts a load of empty, meaningless, preaching to the choir drivel.

What a stupid fuck-head.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Should be pointed out ...

There's so much that's rotten, here in Canada and everywhere else. But I think Glenn Greenwald's observations here deserve some mention:
From a certain perspective, there’s really only one point worth making about all of this: if you think about it, it is warped beyond belief that the ACLU has to sue the U.S. Government in order to force it to disclose its claimed legal and factual bases for assassinating U.S. citizens without charges, trial or due process of any kind. It’s extraordinary enough that the Obama administration is secretly targeting citizens for execution-by-CIA; that they refuse even to account for what they are doing — even to the point of refusing to disclose their legal reasoning as to why they think the President possesses this power — is just mind-boggling. Truly: what more tyrannical power is there than for a government to target its own citizens for death — in total secrecy and with no checks — and then insist on the right to do so without even having to explain its legal and factual rationale for what it is doing? Could you even imagine what the U.S. Government and its media supporters would be saying about any other non-client-state country that asserted and exercised this power?
What are they doing it for? So that they can continue to plunder the planet and grab the choicest remaining bits from a collapsing economy. Full stop.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reading "This Crazy Time" by Tzeporah Berman

It was on the "new and recommended" shelf at the library. It's a pretty important book and, just like my local library branch, I recommend it.

In This Crazy Time Tzeporah Berman (one of the early leaders in the fight to save Clayoquot Sound) talks about real activism that appears to have brought about real change. I should add that it's a story (so far, ... I'm on page 121) about the achievements of non-violent activism.

I feel like pointing out that I've never said that non-violent resistance is incapable of any successes. I just don't see the need to rule out stuff as minor as vandalism or to condemn something as mild as vandalism in the face of outrageous corporate or imperialist behaviour. Berman herself says little about it. She mentions that she understood the frustration of one of her colleagues who tried to blow-up a bridge built by a logging company to access a portion of the BC rainforest but that she didn't see that much could have come of his action.

Anyways, ... highly recommended.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Canadian Civil Rights Movement

If there's one thing to protest (but there are many) let's make the abysmal betrayal of the First Nations and their treaty rights in this country.

Let's take on the imperialists and their knuckle-dragging racist allies.