Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jeffrey Simpson States the Obvious

Somebody left a copy of the Globe & Mail at the coffee shop. Leafed through it. A Jeffrey Simpson column "The lingering gloom of recession." I thought: "This'll be good for a laugh." Dude got paid a decent sum to write a very pedestrian survey of the current economic climate:
Four years after financial collapse brought recession, Western economies are still suffering: reduced or no growth, higher unemployment, deficits and swollen debt.
Politically, the recession has upset some systems and paralyzed others, hollowed out the political centre and encouraged street demonstrations in some countries to protest against elites, established ways and existing institutions.
And it ended with:
Wall Street, and to a lesser extent Bay Street (and, more widely, corporate Canada) doesn’t get it: The salaries of senior executives at a time of economic stress border on the obscene.
The gap between the rich and the less fortunate has widened almost everywhere, especially in the United States but also in Canada, sharpening post-recession political polarization. The economic effects of recession will be with us for some time. So will the volatility and sharper divisions of politics.
No shit Sherlock. Any thoughts on your own newspaper's endorsement of this entire process??

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Economic Consequences of Electoral Fraud

A lot of people were talking about yesterday's National Post story about the NDP's high standing in the polls. According to the poll, if an election were held now, there would be an NDP minority government. This isn't all that surprising. The present parliamentary majority enjoyed by the harpercons is based on roughly 6,000 votes and since the harpercon victories were generally achieved through fraud, an NDP minority government was the result of the last federal election as well.

A growing left-right divide in the country also aligns with my prediction that the decay of capitalism's ability to deliver the goods to a majority of the people (even within the imperialist nations themselves!) will mean a polarization of Canadian society and the eventual demise of the centrist Liberal Party of Canada. [Relatedly, crediting Thomas Mulcair's pushing of the NDP to the centre for the NDP's rise in popularity is to confuse things. The move to the centre could be very much the thing that frustrates further political progress.]

The failure of capitalism was inevitable. The three-plus decades of liberalization, financialization and globalization of the economy [or: deregulation/profiteering/union-busting & sweat-shops] were not designed to stimulate the economy but to preserve the economic predominance of capitalists in the face of the decline that set in in the 1970s. Since profits are down, the thing to do is to recoup the losses from out of wages. Stagnant or declining wages would have meant lower sales but for the increase in credit/debt. This increase in debt was not designed to be solved in some theoretical "phase II" of the operation. That assumes there was a long-term plan to raise all of society. Again: In the face of the declining rate of profitability in the 1970s, capitalism elected to tear-up the post-1945 social-economic-political compromise and take its profits out of declining wages for the majority. Consumption was maintained by loading the majority up with debt. Now, the chickens have come home to roost and the capitalists, quite naturally, are refusing to take responsibility for their behaviour and are demanding that the cost of the bail-outs of their financial speculation and corruption, and the recessions and the stimulus spending, must be borne by the majority once again.

So, the population is polarizing, the harpercons stole their majority government, and they're using their majority government to ram-through policies supported only by a tiny elite by the ignorant and stupid third of the population. These policies are not only unpopular, they're counter-productive. Case-in-point, their deforms of EI. Only a party supported by greed-heads and shit-heads would respond to high unemployment caused by recessions and increases in contract and temp-work by making EI harder to get.
In the world we actually live in, the proposed changes to EI will be implemented in the context of slack local job markets, and will put further downward pressure on already stagnant wages.
Long story short, the new rules will, after a short period of time on claim,  require most unemployed EI claimants to accept job offers at significantly lower hourly wages than in their previous job.
It doesn't have to be this way.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Where are the libertarians on Bill 78?

Genuine question. Have any of our right-wing libertarian friends spoken out against Charest's "emergency" law, Bill 78? The one that makes any "demonstration" of 50 people or more illegal if they're held without the state's permission?

Something else to be alarmed at: As capitalism goes down the shitter, so too does liberalism's precious "rule of law" and everything else. Because remember that activist and ally of the First Nations (perhaps the most pernicious threat to Canadian capitalism really) Alex Hundert got arrested for violating his bail conditions by attending a discussion panel and that some fascist scum subsequently portrayed that panel discussion as a "demonstration." I'd say that sets an ominous precedent, especially given fascist legislation like Bill 78.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What PLG Said

So I'd like to suggest that next time around, or for that matter this time around (Syria) we just keep in mind how, no matter how good the spin for any given military intervention seems to be, it is almost certainly a really horrible, evil idea, insane from the perspective of anything except advancing imperialism. The complexities of such situations are dwarfed by the mindboggling nastiness that will be the result of imperialist intervention. There are vanishingly few situations so bad that military intervention by the US and hangers-on such as Canada can't make them heartbreakingly worse.
Indeed. It's amazing how even progressives forget that our political masters are inhuman scum-bags when it comes to foreign policy. For some reason, we imagine that they're genuinely concerned with ending human suffering somewhere in the world when their full-time job is CAUSING human suffering.

It's not even the case that they can "do the right thing for the wrong reasons." That assumes that the US government doesn't have the intention and the means to convert any country into a corrupt puppet-state that milks its own resources and neglects its own population in return for US military support and a cut of the swag.

I get the idea that decent people want to bring an end to cruelty and oppression and it feels wrong to simply shrug our shoulders when the corporate media presents us with some apparently hideous atrocity somewhere. But here is stage 1 of any foreign intervention paid for with our tax dollars: Overthrow our present political system and replace all the scum-bag politicians with genuine democrats, fix our own problems first, and then join any necessary coalition that is itself comprised of genuinely democratic governments. [If the people of the USA did that, a lot of the world's dictatorships would crumble automatically having been deprived of their means of support.]

Thursday, May 24, 2012

More Shitty Reporting From the CBC

Trying desperately, pathetically, to curry the favour of its nauseatingly evil political bosses (that would be the slimy stephen harper and the Criminal Party of Canada), Canada's national broadcaster, the CBC continues to side with the monsters of the richest 1% and their servants.

As Quebec students march in protest against unnecessary tuition hikes, a draconian "emergency" law ("Gasp! The students aren't accepting their fate! Gasp1 The students aren't accepting our insulting offer! Gasp! The students aren't meekly acquiescing in the arbitrary curtailment of their political rights! It's an EMERGENCY!!!") and suffer mass arrests, this is how the CBC presents it: "Police kettle Montreal student protest, arresting 400"
The Quebec government has offered to return to the bargaining table, but it won't give in on the tuition hike or on another student demand that it scrap its controversial new emergency law that clamps down on protests.
Protesters snaked through the streets for more than three hours before police kettled them.
Kettling is a police tactic widely used in Europe where riot police surround demonstrators and limit or cut off their exits. It has been widely criticized because it often results in the scooping up of innocent bystanders as well as rowdies.
A recent report by Ontario's police watchdog blasted Toronto police for their use of kettling during the G20 summit two years ago, saying they violated civil rights, detained people illegally and used excessive force.
Const. Daniel Lacoursiere of the Montreal police said officers were in danger and had to act.
"Their physical integrity was in jeopardy," he told CBC News. "That's why all these arrests were made at the corner of St-Denis and Sherbrooke."
Riot squad officers had been marching on the sidewalk beside the front of the protest all evening. An order to disperse was given when protesters arrived at Sherbrooke Street, because police had been pelted by projectiles and other criminal acts had been committed, Lacoursiere said.
The group had also apparently resisted going in a direction ordered by police.
Those arrested could face charges under municipal bylaws or the Criminal Code.
The swift police action squeezed the mob together tighter and tighter as the officers advanced and some people begged to be let out, pleading they were bystanders. One photographer was seen to be pushed to the ground and a piece of equipment was heard breaking. Some protesters cursed and yelled at provincial police officers, who ignored the taunts. (emphases added)
Fucking amazing 'eh? "The Quebec government is prepared to return to the bargaining table" but not to negotiate?  That's not "returning to the bargaining table" then!

Observe all the quotes and accounts from the cops' point of  view and the complete absence of the protesters' view!

And it's nice how they call the protesters a "mob" with all that that implies, as if it was justified by something, as if it wasn't blatant editorializing!

The CBC acts towards the harpercons the same way that a desperate kidnapping victim tries to appease a captor who is psychotically fixated on their own murderous agenda. Neither the harpercons, nor the kidnapper is rational. No matter how you debase yourself, it won't put them off from their original goal.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I like Richard Dawkins and P. J. Meyers and "radical" atheists in general

This was the subject of disagreement that led to my parting of the ways with the Enmasse Discussion Board. I'm an atheist. I don't know what the source of all reality and all existence is. The source of it all is unknowable. But the "God" or "gods" that human beings have invented to account for it are doubtlessly too crude, simplistic and incoherent to solve the riddle. This is because they are, as I said, invented or made-up. Being invented things without any real substance of their own, they contain many flaws. Furthermore, they cover for their inconsistencies and incoherence by insinuating to their followers that to challenge them is a sign of blasphemy and that to break from them is to ensure an eternity of personal torment.

Now, while some people are capable of putting things into perspective, and they can simultaneously compartmentalize their faith as something that requires an hour of their attention on Sunday mornings while at the same time insisting that it has all the answers to life and guides their conduct at all times, other people take concepts such as "revealed TRUTH" and "omnipotent, all-seeing, all-righteous GOD" seriously and become fanatical fundamentalists.

Personally, I don't know which version of religiosity I find more distasteful. The fundamentalists who follow their religions to their "logical" conclusions, or the hypocrites who use it as a comforter during times of stress or as an excuse to engage in some particular form of prejudice (homophobia, sexism, or whatever) that appeals to them.

Yes, yes, I know. Some people actually use their minds when it comes to religion. They discard obvious contradictions, cultural anachronisms, the prejudiced detritus of the early believers, etc., and they hold on to what they imagine is the core of their faith, that is eternal in the face of growing scientific knowledge and rational thinking. But even here I would argue, their "core beliefs" remain faith-based. Super-skeptic David Hume said that even our belief that the sun will rise in the morning or that the billiard balls hit with the cue ball will be impacted by the force of its impact, and I agree with him. The difference is that unless we're prepared to say that everything is an illusion, we can say that we can test our faith in things like the sun's rising or the physics of billiard balls, whereas faith in an unseen God cannot be verified. The "core-beliefs" of these admirable religious peoples are unverifiable because they aren't true. They're based on imaginary creatures invented centuries ago by human beings struggling to makes sense of the incomprehensible.

Most religious activity doesn't fall into the admirable sort anyway. Very few people are genuine saints who practice the good parts of their religions' ethical codes while ignoring their nutso ones and generally living their faith. Most people are either lazy-minded pseudo believers or their blinkered fanatics. And it's in this capacity that religion does so much harm while being unnecessary for doing good. Since one does not need to believe in a religion in order to be a moral person, the good that religion does achieve doesn't require religion.

That's why I like Richard Dawkins, P. J. Meyers and other angry atheists. They see the uselessness of religion at even the best of times, combined with its overall negative influences (bigotry, hatred, oppression) and, most importantly, its incoherence and immunity to rational argument, and they [GASP! HORRORS!] write books and give lectures saying that we should voluntarily abandon religious thinking and leave it behind. More than this though, these radical, angry atheists attempt to use laws designed to prevent one religion from imposing itself upon others through the power of the state, to circumscribe the indulgence of religious ideas anywhere within the public realm.

Now, two absolute geniuses on Enmasse, "RonB" and "agent smith" attempted to "debate" with me on this topic. Their points were basically as follows:

1. "You shouldn't say that all religious people are stupid because some very intelligent people are religious."

It didn't matter how many times I explained that I wasn't saying that all religious people are stupid, this was resorted to over and over again. "Religions are invented" does not equal "Religious people are morons."

2.   "Dawkins, Hitchens, etc., are just as intolerant, just as fanatical as the religious who they criticize."

Yes. And because I walk upright and my legs are bigger than my arms, I'm a tyrannosaurous-rex. Religious thinking is not scientific thinking. Religious thinking is not rational thinking. Religious thinking is magical, faith-based, often internally contradictory thinking. Finally, let's recall that neither Dawkins, nor Hitchens, nor P. J. Meyers is talking about using the power of the state to compel the abandonment of religion. Nor are they threatening any cowed followers with eternal torment or real-world tortures to keep them in line the way religions did and still do. To repeat: Religious belief causes a lot of genuine pain and suffering and all the good that it does can be achieved without it.

3. "If you believe all religions are bullshit you are automatically a racist or a Western cultural imperialist because numerous non-European cultures believe in religions."

This was a favourite cheap-shot of "RonB's." The dunce failed to see that attacking a universal malaise automatically ruled it out as culturally specific. And, furthermore, rationality isn't a European trait. Now, to say THAT would be to engage in racism. But all people are capable of rational thought. Dawkins, et al. are asking all people to apply rational thinking TO religion.

4. "Science will never have all the answers."

Never said that it would. Doesn't validate religion.

5. "Science is just as susceptible to irrationality and delusion as anything else."

Science is a human construct, just like religion. But it has a different foundation. Let's try a little thought experiment. Medical science claims to have the power to treat some people's cancer. So do advocates of faith-healing and prayer. What are the comparable results of these two treatments? And on and on it goes.

6. "Oppression is not only the product of religions. Religion doesn't create oppression. These are flaws in our human nature."

This is true. But it's not an argument for religion. Religion is devilishly good at convincing people that their prejudices are good and true and validated by God. And, if you're going to let religion off the hook for its racism and misogyny and oppressiveness, why not let capitalism or fascism or authoritarian communism off the hook as well? "We'll always have these character flaws, therefore we should ignore ways of thinking that cement them as eternal virtues", ... is that it? Or do the fools who speak such nonsense imagine that they're saying something smarter?

I could go on, but I think that I've blogged, and now I have work to do.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Thoughts on the news ...

Rob Ford does the right thing and shows up for the flag-raising for Pride Week. He still needs to resign though. Because he's a glaring incompetent. But for the record, this is what you do. IF you ran for public office and hid the fact that you're a racist or a homophobe or a misogynist and you then find out that, as a representative of the people you're expected to show up at events by and for your despised demographic, you should bite the bullet and overcome your stupid prejudices and play along. Because it's your fucking job. I understand why some people at the flag-raising might wanted to have started jeering Ford (his "surprise" arrival was no doubt calculated for maximum political effect) but it is more important that he be encouraged for working to improve himself. (And, again, he should then resign for being totally incompetent.)

Thomas Walkom has a brain fart in responding to the G20. He not only trashes the Black Bloc and the dorks who took the bait and set the police cars on fire, he trashes the protesters themselves:
But what McNeilly had no mandate to discuss — and therefore didn’t — were the proverbial elephants in the room.
First, why did Prime Minister Stephen Harper insist on holding, in the downtown of Canada’s largest city, an event almost sure to attract violence?
Second, what exactly were the protesters protesting?
That there would be trouble at the G20 was a given. Demonstrators have dogged international gatherings since 1999. Almost all have involved some degree of violence.
But another group bears some responsibility for what eventually happened: the protesters themselves.
Don’t get me wrong. Anyone has the right to protest anything. But I never could figure out what most demonstrators had against the G20.
Unlike, say the World Trade Organization or the Summit of the Americas, the G20 was not pushing globalization. Indeed, it was attempting to remedy those excesses of globalization that had caused the financial crisis of 2008-09.
And unlike the G8, which is an exclusive rich nations’ club, the G20 includes a broader range of countries — from South Africa to Brazil.
It’s not clear that the left-leaning government of Brazil, for instance, is trying to promote a soul-destroying corporate agenda.
Yet none of this seemed to matter. Demonstrators used the same old chants even when they didn’t fit the facts.
In the end, it was like a rote exercise: the protesters protested; the vandals vandalized; the police went nuts.

Now, I've spoken well of Thomas Walkom for years. So I don't think this is a case of my only noticing when he does something wrong. But he really did do something wrong here.
"I don't even know what they're protesting!" is one of the most brain-dead, cliched responses to these demonstrations. Here's some advice: Read their signs! Right off the top of my head I remember that there were protests against the imposition of austerity in response to the economic-financial crisis. There were protests against the Tar Sands and the Enbridge Pipeline. (Hopefully to embarrass harper in front of his guests.) There were protests calling for accountability for the financial crisis. And, if Walkom honestly thinks that Brazil is incapable of acceding to some aspects of the neo-liberal agenda then he's a far less sophisticated observer of world politics than I give him credit for. But, as I said, I think it was just a brain fart.

Neo-liberal stooge Jean Charest has introduced his own version of the Enabling Act of 1933 in response to the continued student protests. I'll say it again: I fully support the Quebec students who are protesting this increase in tuitions. Good for them for having tuitions half as expensive as anywhere else in Canada and for fighting to keep it. Our federal and provincial governments have given up tens of billions of dollars over the years in tax revenues, ostensibly to promote economic growth. This growth hasn't materialized. In fact, if you'll remember, we're mired in the economic doldrums resulting from the greatest financial crisis the world has ever seen as a result of this deregulation and financialization. "Go Fuck Yourself" is a more than adequate policy response to these shit-heads and their chump enablers.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

OIPRD "Slams" Police Actions at G20 (and is subsequently forgotten)

Hot on the heels of the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP's exoneration of their own behaviour at the Toronto G20, the Ontario government's Office of the Independent Police Review Director has released its own report stating the obvious: That the police behaved abominably.

Toronto Police Service Chief Bill Blair mouthed some platitudes about how they clearly made some mistakes in an "unprecedented situation" and that's the level of police accountability in this province. At least Blair isn't able to set a copy of the report on fire with his cigar and laugh contemptuously before the news cameras. Just like the Ontario Ombudsman's trashing of the abuses under the Public Works Protection Act, this report will make the news for half-a-week and will have zero impact on neo-liberal authoritarian governments.

It's very simple: Scum-bags like Dalton McGuinty and stephen harper know that things are going to get shittier for everybody. Part of their scheme involves distracting the more stupid and cowardly among us with scape-goats (the unemployed, immigrants, Muslims, etc.,) and letting the rest of us know that the cops will club us, imprison us and humiliate us if we ever step out of line.

There will be no accountability for the police for their behaviour and there are no consequences for harper's or McGuinty's criminality either.

All of this is helped by bullshit "progressives" who write that even something as insignificant as throwing a rock through a window "justifies" a subsequent police crackdown. We are well and truly up shit's creek and we have a paddle which we're using to move with the current.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Elections Canada Electoral Fraud Investigation: The Fix Is In

What's going on is that Elections Canada (which already showed itself more than willing to puke on its supposed principles when it helped organize an election in Haiti) is plodding along, doing an "investigation" that doesn't subpoena witnesses or evidence, and takes years and years, so that when it finally releases its whitewash report and recommends its slap on the wrist penalties, most Canadians will forget what they're even going on about.

Canada's political system managed to do this with war crimes allegations on torture, it's more than capable of boring us into compliance with election fraud.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Jim Flaherty, Fry-Cook Trainee (in Prison)

One of the latest outbursts from Jim ("Low-Functioning") Flaherty is that white-collar professionals should take the first job that comes along rather than stay on EI and look for work more commensurable with their skills and training.

That's rich coming from a complete shit-head like Flaherty. Stupid fucker didn't notice the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression and predicted surpluses into the foreseeable future. When the right-wing gravy-train runs out of bullshit fuel, if Flaherty isn't 67 by then (and the gnome looks like he's in his seventies but for his costume-shop hair-piece) he'll have to find work at a level with his skills, experience and raw brain power. Hence the title of this post.

Why prison? Well, unlike stephen harper and peter mackay, flaherty doesn't have a lot of blood on his hands. He's just criminally stupid.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Like what's that guy doing? These are gigantic allegations:
Subject of Communications:  Fantino directly contacts Finley (PM Harper’s #2 and now a Senator) about using federal party resources to pay for robocalling in 2008 general election and 2010 Vaughan by-election.  Finley explains which company to use and how to hide actual costs for voter suppression and robocalling in Elections Canada expense reports to not raise suspicion, and asks Fantino if his financial supporters would contribute money directly to the companies involved (violating election law) to run an effective voter suppression campaign, robocalling, and opposition party harassment.  The companies involved would receive preferential treatment and hiring by the Ontario Progressive Conservatives to run the same tactics during the next provincial general election.  Fantino would be rewarded with a seat he could easily win, support from the government in campaigning, and a junior ministerial position after the next federal general election. 
This is USA-level political corruption. Why haven't we heard as much about this stuff from the media? I mean, harper treats them like shit, right? Why shouldn't they want to break these stories? Uh-oh:
I could hand over documentation showing how a few prominent Ottawa journalists burned their confidential sources and caused legal problems for those who gave them information in the public interest.  (Those emails are just sitting on my hard drive ready to be published.)  There’s also hard proof that other national reporters sat on or killed important stories and scandals to curry favour with the Harper Government. 
Over the past few years, it's become clear to me that our political culture is irredeemably corrupt. This is from a guy who despised Jean Chretien and who took that man's measure by his slavish sucking-up to mass-murderer, Indonesian President Suharto, to try to get some of the man's borrowed billions thrown Canada's way. (Before the Asian Financial Crisis his and all those hopes n' dreams were dashed!) But with stephen harper's evisceration of even the FORMS of parliamentary process and his direct violation of the LETTER of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, all getting done without a visceral rejection of him by our society, I think that we are far more debased than we were in the 1990s. All of us.

Except that UnFuckableWith guy. He's cool.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sacha Baron Cohen is a Putz

There is a line in his movie featuring "Borat" that I thought was good comedy. Throughout the film, "Borat" tries to figure out the comedic use of the addendum "Not!" at the end of a sentence. Then, when Pamela Anderson refuses his offer of marriage, "Borat" tells her he doesn't love her anymore and then tearfully adds "Not!"

I thought that was cute.

What soured me about Sacha Baron Cohen was the way he mocked other cultures for their anti-Semitism and then it turned out he's devoted to Israel. The hypocrisy of trashing other people for prejudice and bigotry and then embracing a country that is to the Middle East as South Africa was to Africa is simply staggering. 

So now, he's "The Dictator," a Middle Eastern despot who is hiding out in the USA or something or other and I really don't care. Because at this morning, on the streetcar, I read his in-character press conference in the free daily newspaper:
"On behalf of my dear friend and doubles tennis partner President Assad of Syria, I want to thank the United Nations for their brave inaction over Syria. Thirteen months and still no security counsel resolution. You guys are amazing. You have done next to nothing for the Syrian people – but remember, you can always do less."
Yeah. Bad, bad Syria. Let's send in NATO again, to install some pro-Western scum-bags to replace the Stalinist-nationalist scum-bags who are there at present. It worked out so well in Iraq and Libya. And let's ignore Saudi Arabia and Yemen and Bahrain and, um, what other country is oppressing and murdering Arabs? Oh yeah! Israel! Let's not forget Israel's mass-murder! Whatever you fucking moron.

And then there's this:
"It has been a tough year. We have lost a lot of good people and I have lost a lot of good friends – Gaddafi, I miss you [looks in the air]. Sorry, Gaddafi, I miss you [looks at the ground]. Also, KJ, Kimmy G, K-Jo, K-Man – you know, Kim Jong. And of course you know, Chavez died last month – oh oops. You did not hear that from me."
Um, excuse me you racist shit-head, you liberal putz, you pro-imperialist stooge, ... Chavez was elected. Chavez isn't a dictator. Chavez doesn't have "death-squads" who torture, rape, murder and mutilate. Do you know who does though? The government of Colombia, right next door! The pro-USA narco-state. The one awash with American military largesse! The one that stephen (shit-licker) harper signed a "free-trade" deal with!

Sacha Baron Cohen, you are nothing but a tiresome, empty-headed, liberal-Zionist putz. You are a self-aggrandizing hypocrite of world-historical proportions. You aren't "edgy." You're just a shlockmeister.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Shit On The Troops!

Why? For god's sake WHY do right-wing politicians always display such sickeningly hypocritical, disgusting behaviour? Why do they always express their militarism, their love of war and their devotion to "the troops" and then turn around and shit all over "the troops"  when they get damaged and can't kill poor foreigners any more?

First we had the harpercons going through the health records of veterans' rights activist Pat Strogan, looking for evidence of psychiatric problems so that they could smear him and neutralize his efforts to get adequate health care for injured vets. Strogan is trying to change the way that injured veterans are getting rail-roaded by the government, given lump-sum payments for injuries and losing permanent disability pensions. These lump-sum payments were part of a stupid attempt to contain costs of caring for wounded veterans which (mysteriously if you're a dumb-ass) sky-rocketed after over a decade of combat in Afghanistan.

Another way to contain costs is to simply deny veterans disability payments at all with no explanation. Force them to jump through hoops and engage in a lengthy bureaucratic-legal WAR if they really want to be compensated for their sacrifices:
In a review of response letters like those sent to Mr. White, the nation’s ombudsman for veterans, has harshly criticized the federal department for failing to properly explain why some soldiers have been denied disability coverage, thereby making it difficult for them to launch an appeal. Guy Parent says that all the letters reviewed by his office had problems with clarity – and 15 per cent gave no explanation at all for the department’s decision.
“If veterans are sending us a letter that we can’t even understand, then there is a problem,” Mr. Parent said in an interview. Without a clear explanation, he observed, how can a soldier know the next steps to appeal the decision?
Benefits for disabled veterans have been an ongoing controversy in Canada, leading to a class-action suit against Ottawa by former soldiers whose benefits, they argue, have been unfairly reduced. Previously, Mr. Parent’s office has discovered that Veterans Affairs failed to tell the most severely injured soldiers properly about the financial support available to them – in that case, the ombudsman found that half of the 1,800 veterans assessed with a 98-per-cent disability were never told that they were entitled to additional support beyond what Veterans Affairs provided.
The harpercon militarist chicken-hawks tried to treat disability pensions as income so that they could claw them back at tax-time and fought tooth and nail to prevent this chance to attack veterans from being taken from them. After all, you don't want Canadians to think that all you have to do is join the military, lose a limb, and after that, take a nice leisurely limo-ride down Easy Street, right? These disability payments might add up to hundreds of millions of dollars! I mean, sure, you can throw BILLIONS down a rat-hole, to prop-up a narco-pedophile-warlord dictatorship, but to actually spend an extra portion of that on top to cover the pain and suffering of the soldiers you sent to support said dictatorship? That sort of largesse could bankrupt the country! (Or something like that. It's hard to get a handle on the absolute shit-headdery of a harpercon's thought processes.)

Unfortunately for the harpercons, a federal court ruled against them, and injured veterans get to keep their disability pensions. Perhaps the scum-bag harper has the brains not to appeal the ruling?


You know, I started this post on Sunday, May 6th, as a response to Sabina Becker's "Wankers of the Week" post. Fuck-face Peter MacKay was one of last week's wankers, for his cuts to mental health services for the military and their families. Here's a guy who uses the Canadian Forces as his own private chauffeur service, and to play soldier when he wants to impress obnoxious assholes like Don Cherry. And then, while his illegitimate government pisses money away on all sorts of stupid shit, he attacks funding for veterans' mental health. Yeah, nothing like some homeless vets suffering from PTSD to show your support for the troops! It's just so fucking typical of right-wing sleazeballs! WHY is it so typical? WHY do they make it so easy for us to condemn them? What is it in their make-up to be such complete hypocritical assholes?

Like, what is it about being a "conservative" that attracts fucking moronic cry-babies like the dipshit Rob Anders? When the stupid lunkhead fell asleep at a veterans' committee meeting presentation from two vets on veterans' homelessness and suffering, and was criticized by them for it, he started ranting about how they were "NDP hacks" (and fans of Vladimer Putin [????]) just out to make him look bad. Like, how do you get that stupid, that hypocritical, that ridiculous, and there's a political party just sitting there asking you to join it?

And, the reason that I typed the heading "ARGHH!" is this: I'm about to get started finishing this post that I started on Sunday, and in my newsfeed I see "Soldier defies order and speaks up over military health services."
Stoesz had been ordered by a Canadian Forces superior not to do media interviews, but he said he is devastated by the lack of support.
"They broke me in the fight after, in the dealing with my own country," he told CBC News on Monday.
"The country that I fought for now has broken me."
Stoesz returned to Canada in 2008 after surviving three bomb attacks in Afghanistan and suffering speech and balance problems.
He said he is worn down by the amount of red tape he has needed to go through to get counselling, physiotherapy and other medical care.
Stoesz said he had to wait for more than three years to get surgery
Again I ask these harpercon scum: WHY do you have to make it so easy for us? This sort of shit writes itself! "Chicken-hawk war-mongers who condemn the peace-movement for hating 'the troops' turn out to REALLY hate the troops and nickel-and-dime them after they're wounded."

What's as infuriating of course, are the military people who fail to process this sickening behaviour and who still vote for these fuckers.

Monday, May 7, 2012

CBC Sides With Top 1%?

It's funny. In response to the people's victories against neo-liberal austerity in Europe, the CBC comes out with headlines such as this:

World markets rattled by European uncertainty

Athens exchange dives 8% after election

Greek election impasse heralds lengthy instability

Investors jittery about Europe's ability to solve massive debt

Europe in turmoil as France and Greece reject austerity

In response to the voters' clear decision to reject obviously failed policies that promise nothing but long-term pain for short-term pain, the CBC's response shouldn't focus on how these failed neo-liberal policies are threatened by the election results.



Saturday, May 5, 2012

Some Crimes are Forever

I'm always big on the idea of redemption. And you know, even in the case of pedophiles, it's my understanding that a lot of them suffered horrific abuse as children which destroyed their ability to have normal lives. But even this sympathy only goes so far. No matter what, a convicted pedophile, upon serving their sentence, should never be entrusted with children. Even if there are no legal restrictions preventing them from doing so, a parent would have to be a complete idiot to let a pedophile babysit their kids.

It's because the importance, the gravity of some crimes sit with their perpetrators forever. No matter what a person will do, the odour of their crimes will linger about them until their dying day.

Some things are just monstrously ridiculous. Like Catholics trudging to Mass every Sunday to get moral instruction from an institution of such moral depravity. (Hey! There's that pedophilia again!) Or US Presidential administrations lecturing other countries about human rights. Or North Americans chuckling about Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" while their armies rampage across the Middle East. Or Canadian "conservatives" going on about being fiscally responsible. Or Canadian "conservatives" lecturing leftists about their authoritarian tendencies.

Their were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Three decades of neoliberal economic policies ("free trade," tax cuts, deregulation, union-busting, etc.,) culminated in the greatest economic crisis since the 1930s. After 10 years on Toronto City Council, it appears that Rob Ford didn't have a clue about the city's finances and his "gravy train" of wasteful spending turned out to be a crock of shit.

You stop believing in people who lie so vastly or who are so evidently deluded or ignorant. 

Liars. Deluded. Ignorant.

That about sums up the Conservative Party of Canada, doesn't it?

The Conservative Party of Canada has lost its right to govern. Their crimes are too blatant and too gross. As well, their die-hard supporters have lost any claims on our respect for their opinions. The behaviour that they support is just so obviously undemocratic, criminal, dangerous and stupid.

It is simply (and sadly) the case that we can't say with any confidence whether or not the harpercons won their majority in 2011. They committed so many acts of fraud and the margins of victory were so tiny that the very legitimacy of our government is up for debate.

What isn't up for debate is that they lied to Parliament and then they lied to the electorate. Remember that? Remember why the last election was fought? stephen harper told Parliament that it couldn't see the cost estimates of the F-35 fighter jet purchase. That was to be considered a privilege of cabinet secrecy. Parliament would just have to trust the government's numbers provided orally in the government's statements. They demanded that we trust them and then they lied. They lied about costs. They lied about contracts. They lied about the economic benefits of the fighter's development. They perpetrated a blatant, shameless con job on Canadians' elected representatives and the Canadian people during the election.

There current omnibus legislation is not only a massive reorientation of Canadian political-economy, it is evidence of harper's sustained and total contempt for parliamentary government. It's evidence of harper's shameless hypocrisy and his servitude to the oil industry:
The Harper government is intent on passing its 421 page Budget Implementation Bill in seven days. If Stephen Harper were the Leader of the Opposition, he would be up in arms. In fact, as Leader of the Opposition, he was. "In the interest of democracy," he fumed,
I ask how can members represent their constituents on these various areas when they are forced to vote on a block of such legislation?”
But that was then. This is now. And now Harper knows that his program runs so deeply against Canada's core values that he must accomplish his mission by stealth.
 They lied to Parliament after telling Parliament to trust them. They lied repeatedly to the electorate. They employed electoral fraud on a massive scale. How would stephen harper, if he forced to it, defend his claims on our respect for his authority? Sadly, stephen harper isn't called on his serial assaults on parliamentary democracy, or his lies, or his incompetence. Because stephen harper serves the "right" sort of people, the Canadian business class, and we all know that in the breach capitalists despise democracy. Capitalists like a political game rigged in their favour and for a long time they've been able to convince us that this rigged game isn't rigged and that we should abide by its rules. But things are getting desperate. (Ironically, the desperate economic climate is a product of their own blinkered notion of what is in their self-interest.) And so the rules of democracy can be suspended and the blatant dishonesty of the system is allowed to brazenly parade around and mock our (supposedly) impotent protests. But our society's gate-keepers have no qualms about debasing themselves to try to convince us that up is down, day is night, and wrong is right. Upon the first year anniversary of harper's theft of majority power, they ignore his contempt for Parliament, his government's blatant dishonesty on the F-35 issue, his electoral fraud, and drone on moronically about ... well, I honestly don't give a shit. They're irrelevant, contemptible scum:
It is almost amusing watching some in the narrow corporate media turn themselves into intellectual pretzels to justify endorsing this government in the past election.  The transgressions are put into a neat little box, almost treated as marginal in importance, while elevating anything and everything that can be clung to, in an effort to laud all the achievements.  Truth be told, respect for our democratic institutions, transparency, ethics, this is where a government should be judged, everything else flows from these core assumptions, to gloss over is actually irresponsible and telling.


I'm sorry, but partisanship aside, how anyone can condone the way this government operates, how they can simply ignore the overall flavour, simply confining their gaze to desirable policy expressions, represents a failure to act as any responsible observer.  It has been quite a year, and it has served to vindicate every single person who spoke of "scary Harper", not only was it NOT hyperbole, it was bang on.  This majority is Harper in his full glory.  The bully with no regard for democracy, the authoritarian right wing ideologue in the pocket of narrow economic interests, prone to low rent tactics that forever undermine any level of civil discourse, this is Canada under this "regime".   There is nothing to endorse here, an embarrassing episode in Canadian history which future generations will shake their heads at, so apparent the transgressions as is the wilfully ignorant "analysis" we must endure. 
So that's where we are as Canadians. We have a government that is not only loathsome, racist war-mongers and thieves, but one which, more importantly, despises its own source of legitimacy and which might (technically) have obtained its claims to that legitimacy through fraud.

The question isn't whether we're going to do something about it. This is going to be a summer of struggle, have no doubts. The question is whether that struggle will be effective. 

What is beyond any shadow of a doubt is that those who would presume to criticize and condemn us for struggling against the harpercon regime have no legitimacy, no authority and no opinions that we have to treat with respect. The debate is over. The battle begins.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

harpercon Usurpers Shit on Democracy Again

I have no intention of accepting this illegitimate regime. This is the summer of discontent. But how long will the opposition MPs validate this garbage with their participation?

OTTAWA - The Harper Conservatives are curbing debate on their massive budget implementation bill.
The Tory majority has pushed through a Commons motion that will limit the length of debate on Bill C-38, which the government calls the Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act.
The bill contains a number of actual budget provisions, including controversial changes to old age security.
But it also amends about 60 different laws, eliminates a half dozen others and rewrites the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
I wonder how reasoned and "objective" a scrotum-licking puss-ball like John Ibbitson would be if a genuinely leftist government imposed its policies in this way?

You can bet he'd have a fucking seizure.

One Year Anniversary of harper's Majority

Just because the sky is still blue and harper's signature hasn't been found on a memo ordering the physical extermination of the First Nations, it doesn't mean he's been transformed into a respectable politician.

It's very simple: Parliament is the place where we, the people of Canada, are said to govern ourselves through our representatives. harper is documented as displaying nothing but contempt for the institution. he is an anti-democracy thug.

There's also evidence (for anyone with eyes to see it) that harper's ban of cretins are massively incompetent managers of the economy. This is their supposed area of expertise, which partially justifies acquiescence to their thuggery.

People like John Ibbitson, who try to write as if harper is some sort of genuine democratic leader only contribute to their continued moral and intellectual irrelevance. harper has renounced forever any right to govern over us. All of his supporters are only laying the evidence for why we can ignore them in the future.