Saturday, June 30, 2012

Now You're Talking!

This essay has been up for a couple of days. But I just want to acknowledge it. We're finally talking about the people standing up to an illegitimate, anti-Canadian, undemocratic regime. This is vital to preserve the health of Canadian democracy (such as it was).

Good to see the federal public sector is onside. (How could they not be?) harper decided to declare war on democracy. he (and his blinkered supporters) are in the wrong.

Friday, June 29, 2012


After a few minutes though I decided that both Repug and Dem politicians are errand boys for US capitalism. John Roberts decided that the massive revenue increase that the individual mandate means for the health insurance industry is more important than the concept of government regulation of industry. (And, obviously, the independence and freedom of US citizens has counted for shit, especially for the last two [p]residents of the White House.)

It's also a testimony to how innocuous the regulatory apparatus of Obamacare is that the SCOTUS passed it.

Please note: The illustration is meant to be a hoot, ... a mockery of the right-wing shit-for-brains.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Another Bullshit Inquiry

No, this isn't the Elections Canada stumble-bums picking their noses while Canadians groan under the oppression of an unelected majority government. This has to do with the Military Police Complaints Commission's investigation into the treatment of Afghan detainees.

stephen harper? A word please. IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR. Obviously, stephen harper knows he's got war crimes to hide, hence the MPCC report's scathing and prolonged condemnation of the harper government's massive attempt to suppress the investigation.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Two Books

In light of my busy schedule and my sense of ennui today, I thought I'd just provide links to two books that I'm currently reading.

The first book is Edward Dolnick's The Clockwork Universe about the intellectual history leading up to Isaac Newton's theory of gravity. It's very brisk, almost light reading. It's more about states of mind than about scientific theories.

The other book is Bruce Livesey's Thieves of Bay Street. It's an indictment of Canada's financial sector and its lax regulators. The review from the National Post (which I picked because I thought it would be harshly critical) says that it's a pretty good book, but somewhat dated and misses some of the things that Canadian regulators do right. What the review doesn't try to argue though is that our regulators and our police tend to leave white-collar criminals alone and that Canada really is a cozy place for elite criminals.

And, now, for the last image:

I'm thinking maybe pictures'll brighten up the place.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Joe Oliver gets interrupted and FUCK HIM

Gardner, pull your head out of your ass. Either the harpercons are a threat to democracy, either they are contemptuous of Parliament, either they are fraudsters, or they are not.

And if they are undemocratic thugs, then they should be forced to stand there and hear the criticism. 

Apparently, Oliver wouldn't listen to these doctors when they requested an appointment, so he got to listen to them while he was blathering on about some other stupid bullshit and lies.

Eat our shit Mr. Oliver. It's all you're fucking good for!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Constitutional Insurgency

I wrote about this concept once before. I think it holds true more today. harper has launched an all-out assault on our system of government. he disregarded the majority in Parliament. he stole his majority through election fraud. he now uses his fraudulent majority to ram through his corrupt, undemocratic agenda.

harper himself has displayed contempt for all the sources of his legitimacy. he has violated the rules he now commands us to respect. his supporters either agree with his illegal contemptuous treatment of us or they're ignorant of it.

There is no argument against an insurgency against his illegitimate rule. There can be no criticism of people fighting to defend a system that they themselves find flaws with, but which they see as something important to be built upon and improved, and not as something to be spat upon and destroyed.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Crumbs II

So, yesterday, when I posted about how neo-liberals will appeal to progressives by incorporating feminist, pro-GLBT or anti-racist policies into their grab-bag of electoral platforms (so long as they don't really cost anything), posted an essay by Mike Whitney on the very same topic.

"The Great Pretender Throws His Base a Bone"

And it provides yet more examples as to why Barack Obama is such a disgusting piece of shit.

Barack Obama has the worst record on immigration of any president in US history. No one else comes close. In the last 3 and a half years, Obama has rounded up, detained and deported more than 1.2 million immigrants, roughly 400,000 per year. That’s more than double the number of deportations that took place under his predecessor, George W. Bush, in the same amount of time.  
Last week, in a cynical political stunt that was clearly aimed at winning votes, Obama directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to stop the deportation of immigrants under the age of 30 who came to the U.S. before age 16 “and who do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings.”

Obama’s policy-reversal was intended to throw his liberal constituents a bone while putting the Republicans on the defensive on an issue that deeply divides their rank and file.

The article also quotes Matt Stoller and Joseph Kishore who (in separate articles) describe the cynicism behind Obama's conciliatory words on gay marriage:
 “Prior to his announced support for gay marriage, Obama backtracked on an executive order banning discrimination among government contractors. He promised to sign the order, and then didn’t. Gay billionaire donors were outraged, and began withholding money from his campaign. And since Obama needed their money to make up for the general lack of excitement for his reelection on both Wall Street and among his small dollar donors, he acted. He tepidly announced personal support for gay marriage, with no corresponding legal or political support. This isn’t a small deal; the President carries moral weight. But it happened because he needed the money.”


“There was also an element of crass financial calculations in the decision to make the statement.  On Wednesday, Obama sent out a message to supporters highlighting his new position on gay marriage and requesting donations. According to the Washington Post, the campaign received a “massive surge of contributions” in response.

On Thursday evening, Obama was in Hollywood for a fundraiser at the home of actor George Clooney, expecting to net the campaign a record-setting $15 million in a single day."

There you have it. Crumbs.

Friday, June 22, 2012


This might not be a popular post. I don't want to come off all Marxist here and privilege economic oppression as the worst and most important form of oppression. I think what I want to do is warn people that capitalism, which is impoverishing the world and destroying the planet, can and will grant concessions to specific groups while maintaining its strangle-holds everywhere else, to the extent that these concessions are not financially significant. And I guess I don't want to say to oppressed groups not to take advantage of the weak links in capitalist politics to gain these benefits, ... just don't be co-opted by them.

What started me thinking this way was remembering Rob Ford's surprise appearance at the opening ceremonies for Toronto PRIDE. Ford's been on the ropes politically for months, as all of his thuggish policy proposals got defeated and his incompetence was displayed again and again. With regards to PRIDE, Ford's long time behaviour has demonstrated to anyone who cares to notice that he's an out-and-out homophobe. But politics makes strange bedfellows and Ford discovered that symbolic actions like personally speaking in favour of gay rights is a relatively cost-free exercise.

The same goes for the disgusting Barack Obama's concessions to gays (ending DADT in the military and mouthing some platitudes about how homosexuals should be allowed to marry) and to Latinos (halting some planned deportations of Latino migrants). Canada's civil-rights shredding, living standards destroying Liberals were also able to stand for gay marriage (whether out of sincere conviction or political calculation or due to constitutional-legal realities) and the despotic-minded McGuinty is also able (especially when prodded by the ONDP) to help gay youth and their allies fight gay bullying.

At the same time though, if the capitalist system finds that any of these concessions threaten real costs, oppressed groups will find these concessions quickly taken away or rendered irrelevant (as is happening with pay equity for instance). And the system will always find it handy to have some minorities to take the worst of the economic ups and downs and to serve as a scape-goat for confused right-wing cowards who would prefer to take to the streets and go head-to-head with refugee groups or single-mothers than with the forces of the state.

So, I'm not saying that patriarchy or homophobia aren't the "real" enemies. I'm just saying that if what you want doesn't cost money, capitalists will be happy to provide it. It doesn't make them your friends in the end.

And, lastly, I don't want to give the impression that "the capitalist system" is some sort of monolithic, sentient whole. But some patterns are awfully hard to ignore.

No links because I'm tired and lazy.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

All power to the Central Committee!

A particularly obnoxious troll was recently celebrating Bill-38 as being "efficient." Here's what Michael Harris has to say about that (hat-tip to Dr. Dawg):
As everybody knows, the vast majority of C-38 has nothing to do with the finances of the country. That makes it a legislative stealth attack, a fraud upon the democratic system. Yet those in the indentured press are already rhapsodizing about the PM’s political acuity. For passing C-38? That’s like praising a firing squad for getting the job done — after all, the target is blindfolded, tied down, and unarmed.
Yes, the PM managed to stuff into one bogus piece of legislation 40 per cent of the annual legislative output of Parliament. A couple of force feedings like that and the House of Commons will only need to meet four weeks a year. It could be called Democracy Month, synchronized with the Tulip Festival and offered to tourists as an Ottawa novelty. 
Lot's of people are making hay out of harper's demonstrated hypocrisy on C-38 after his having condemned the Liberals omnibus legislation in 1994 and 2005 when he was in the opposition. Relatedly, the harpercons have also been yammering about 1994 and 2005, except to justify their madnesss. It's another refrain in their tiresome "B-but the LIBERALS!!!" routine that they employ whenever it's convenient. Even in these instances, their comparisons are bullshit, but even if they weren't, justifying your own contempt for democracy with someone else's contempt for democracy is still contempt for democracy.

That's what this is, in the end. Breaking down legislation and assigning it to the respective committees of the people's representatives, so that the actions of the government can be scrutinized and understood. harper knows that his fuck-headed servility to the oil industry couldn't stand scrutiny, so that's why he rams it through in such a draconian fashion. He has some dimly felt sense that his servility is right and everyone else is wrong, but Stalin felt that way a lot of the time too.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

harpercon fund-raising

Impolitical and Dammit!Janet! had it first, but I think we're seeing, with Dean (dumb-fuck) Del Mastro's fund-raising scandal, a glimpse into the whole harpercon success in fund-raising from small donors:
David Del Mastro, owner of Deltro Electric Ltd., denies any wrongdoing and says he fundraised on behalf of his cousin by asking employees and friends to contribute voluntarily. Four other people affiliated with the company and contacted by the Ottawa Citizen and Postmedia News also support this denial.
But three donors to Del Mastro’s campaign or riding association, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, say they were asked to make $1,000 donations and were reimbursed by Deltro for the full amount plus a $50 bonus.
“It was put, ‘We need to find some people to make $1,000 donations,’” said one former Deltro employee.
This isn't to discount the grassroots organizing among the passionately stupid that has been a very real part of the right-wing's success in North America. But there just aren't that many yahoos in Canada to raise the kind of money the harpercons do.

Absent Bloggers

.... Just saying that there are a couple of female bloggers who have been conspicuously silent for the past few weeks/months.

Sometimes in the past when the progressive blogging community has speculated on someone's silence in the past it turned out to be a deeply personal illness or family tragedy.

So, I don't want to name names, but if you're still out there reading this ladies, ... I'm thinking about you.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

What a long, strange trip it's been ...

This whole online political education.


Into the breach!!!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Start Writing Your Wish-List [Updated!]

Well, to no one's surprise, despite the symbolic, peaceful protests, the harpercons' Bill C-38 passed the House of Commons. Canadians are a busy people. Just because our present inhabitants of government power won their majority with a mere 6,000 votes after a campaign of massive, centralized electoral fraud, it doesn't mean we don't want to see stuff getting done!

That's why our leadership (the increasingly compromised and evidently incompetent Elections Canada), the Liberal Party of Canada (which started us on our way to one-man government under Trudeau and Chretien, which mocked and cynically exploited our hatred of the GST, which helped orchestrate the overthrow of the democratically- elected Bertrand Aristide and install a government of torturers and thieves in Haiti, which signed NAFTA after vowing to re-negotiate it, which dragged us into Afghanistan, which acquiesced to the cover-up of war crimes in Afghanistan, which colluded with the harpercons to block the testimony of Colombian victims of corporate criminals and right-wing death-squad governments) and the NDP (which is no doubt dreaming of the day when it can ignore the laws and abuse the people "for their own good" itself one day) are all playing along as if this is a legitimate government and allowing them to have Parliament operate in secret and ram-through vast omnibus-type legislation.

What's that you say? What about the attempted filibuster? Sorry. But the NDP, the Liberals, the Bloc Quebecois and the Greens have all been acting as if this is a legitimate majority government. Bill C-38 might be a horrendous, undemocratic abuse of power, but they're treating it as if the foundation of that power is valid. It is not. The government's majority rests upon fraud. As such, harper really doesn't have the power to do anything. Furthermore (and this has become lost in the mists of time) but I have ALWAYS asserted that harper has no legitimacy in any case. Even before it turned out that his majority is bogus, it's a documented fact that harper has no respect for the basis of his own power. He took the unprecedented step of proroguing Parliament to avoid a vote of non-confidence, and then he refused to give Parliament (that is, the people of Canada, through their representatives) the cost estimates of his policies (his prison-building fantasies and the F-35 fighter-jet purchases) telling us (through our representatives) that we'd just have to trust the numbers he was given. In stephen harper's blinkered view of democracy, we, the people of Canada, must simply TRUST the government's statements at face value. (It has since turned out, after his having stolen the last election, that harper was lying through his teeth when he was telling us the likely costs of the fighter-jets and asking us to trust him.) All of this, ALL OF IT, is demonstrated, thorough-going, utter contempt for both the forms and the spirit of the laws that supposedly govern us.

Oh! Mustn't forget the media! Truth be told, our media (the print media anyway) has done a decent job of exposing and condemning the anti-democratic tendencies of the harpercons. I only want to focus on one important shortcoming. Andrew Coyne, who is as big a promoter of bankrupt neo-liberal policies as Canada can produce, also showed himself to be a genuine upholder of the rights of Parliament and the limits of executive branch power. He castigated and condemned harper's serial abuses of Parliament's rights. But then, instead of taking his analysis of the nature of stephen harper and the cabal of goons that he leads in the House of Commons to its logical conclusions, he goes on to consider the various policies these anti-Parliament, anti-rule of law, anti-democracy vermin bring out on their own merits. Coyne's shortcoming is the shortcoming of every other political analyst who has accused harper of tearing out the heart and soul of Canadian democracy but who then continues to write as if its business as usual. Those pundits who have the security and the resources, should use their positions to advocate for those measures that will be necessary to remove the usurpers from power and restore legitimate government to this country.

It is NOT business as usual. This government is illegitimate. Democracy, Canadian pseudo-Democracy, has been suspended. Or, more accurately, it has been usurped. And thus we find ourselves where we are today. Last night. after the oppositions' attempted filibuster was sliced down to a manageable 24-hours by the contemptible lackey, Speaker of the House of Commons Scheer, Bill C-38 has passed Third Reading in the House of Commons. Bill C-38:
1. Bill C-38 guts environmental legislation and 'streamlines' the environmental review process

2. Various aspects of Bill C-38, including changes to the environmental assessment review process, violate the federal government's obligation to consult with First Nations and accommodate First Nation Treaty and Aboriginal rights.

3. Bill C-38 amends the Coasting Trade Act to allow increased off-shore seismic testing and drilling.

4. Bill C-38 implements new rules that will require most unemployed EI claimants to accept job offers at hourly wages significantly lower than their previous employment.

5. Bill C-38 will also make changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, Old Age Security, and will repeal of the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act

6. Bill C-38 makes changes to meat inspection regulations and cuts funding to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, weakening our protection from diseases like listeria, mad cow, rabies, and toxic poisoning.

7. Bill C-38 undermines food sovereignty by amending the Seeds Act and Plant Breeder Rights, eliminating enforcement of the Product of Canada label, and prioritizing trade deals that benefit multinational corporations instead of local farmers.

8. Bill C-38 officially withdraws Canada from the Kyoto Protocol reducing the federal government's obligations to report on climate change policies.

9. Bill C-38 dedicates millions of dollars to attack environmental groups and charities through audits on foreign funding.  

10. Bill C-38 includes amendments to the Employment Equity Act which eliminate the requirement that federal contractors apply employment equity provisions put in place to protect groups that have experienced discrimination, including women, Aboriginal peoples, visible minorities and persons with disabilities.
In short, it is another "omnibus" bill. Right-wing thugs like omnibus bills. First of all, because they're lazy and stupid. Second of all, because they're thugs. These omnibus bills are in the spirit of the shit-for-brains hypocrite Milton Friedman's call for the right-wing, "free market" gang to hit their welfare state, liberal opponents hard, all at once, everywhere. He advocated this "shock and awe" politics in his book The Tyranny of the Status-Quo. Between 1900 and 1970, he argued, progressives and liberals and Marxists and the great unwashed in general, had built up an enormous welfare state system, and it would take far too long to dismantle it piecemeal. No, no, no! If they were ever to implement the neo-liberal economic agenda that had already failed in Chile under the right-wing torturing scum-bag Augusto Pinochet (whose torturing dictatorship Friedman the "libertarian" enthusiasticly supported) and would eventually produce the decline of the incomes of the majority in the west and bring on the biggest economic crisis since the 1930s by 2008, it would be necessary to launch wholesale massive attacks on the welfare state edifice, and leave its various supporters confused and reeling and unable to mount a coherent defense. 

Friedman's tactics worked incredibly well. (Having the capitalists and their political cats-paws on your side in a capitalist democracy helps!) The people with money and power attacked and attacked and used their control of the media to lie and spin. And there was wealth aplenty for people in the right place at the right time. As trillions of dollars flowed from the pockets of hundreds of millions of ordinary people, some of it would pool and congeal to be lapped-up by dogs like Sean Hannity or Ezra Levant or Jack Abramoff.

Well, I say that we do to them what they do to us. Attack them Attack them everywhere. Attack them constantly. Attack on all fronts. Especially when we regain power. We will mete out the measure and more than the measure that they have meted out to us.

We will destroy them as a movement. We will destroy their bases of power. We will destroy their protections. We will destroy their revenue streams We will destroy them. We will destroy them and thereby save the world and save humanity.

And to do that, we will have to move beyond empty, symbolic protests of the already converted. People have been trained to ignore politics. We must stop talking to ourselves and start talking to the unconverted. While the print media has had enough commentators rightfully calling the harpercons for the undemocratic scum that they are, the majority of reporting (especially the television kin) has been vapid, business-as-usual, he-said she-said garbage and it always will be. We have to make a genuine grass-roots educational movement, door-to-door, small groups, and when we do that, we have to propose genuine SOLUTIONS and tactics that actually achieve them. We must abandon, now and forever, for gods' sake! the traditional leftist drivel of pleading with our masters that they grant our wishes. We must focus on taking power so that we can use it ourselves.

I have already started At the last symbolic, formulaic protest against Bill C-38, I got the contact info of my fellow protesters. I am going to be speaking to the groups that they belong to and I will be making the case for a pro-democracy, a pro-rule of law insurgency. A mass movement is going to be built, meeting by meeting, door-step by door-step, mail-box by mail-box. And the difference is going to be that instead of mouthing the words "Organize! Educate! Resist!" and meaning: "Give money to the NDP! Show up for a meaningless rally!" it will mean actually doing something to achieve a specific goal after having planned what is necessary to achieve that goal, assembling the resources needed to achieve that goal, achieving that specific goal, and moving on to the next step that is necessary to achieve the wider project.

It means that a movement must be built that is dedicated to something other than wandering around in confusion chanting meaningless slogans.

So, produce your wish-lists. What part of the neo-liberal, capitalist-corporate agenda do you want to see destroyed? What environmental laws, cultural laws, whatever laws, do you want to see enacted. Dream 'em up! Write 'em up! 

Let's do this!

[Update! Speaking of the media, what's the big story on the CBC the morning after the passage of a 400-page monster bill that attacks EI, immigrant's wages, women's equity, environmental assessments and the freedoms of environmentalist NGOs by a government installed via fraud? "3 armoured-car workers killed in shooting at University of Alberta."

Um. While I won't deny that that's a big story, ... um, ... you know, aside from the families of the victims and whoever's money was stolen, ... there REALLY ISN'T much there that affects most Canadians. I mean, YOUR TOP STORY???? Please professional journalists, ... it's true that we need you. Investigating stuff and keeping on top of events is a full-time job and there is something to be said for your training. I mean that. So, you know professional journalists, ... you have every right to deride those among your critics who say you can all be replaced by "citizen journalists" entirely. But when you work for institutions that blare headlines about a fucking armoured car robbery when an illegitimate regime has taken over the country and has just rammed-through a bill that undoes DECADES of regulation AND contributes to the DISASTROUS WARMING OF THE PLANET THEREBY THREATENING CIVILIZATION, ... expect to be mocked and scorned yourselves!!!!!]

Thursday, June 14, 2012

INSITE, SOAD and stephen harper ...

So, I was listening to "Prison Song" by System of a Down and I had an epiphany about stephen harper's irrational vendetta against the safe injection site INSITE:
So to sum up, heaps of evidence suggests Insite saves lives, while the federal government has acknowledged before the Supreme Court of Canada that it hasn't evidence to the contrary.
From the moment the Conservatives came to power in 2006, they insisted that the decision on Insite's future would not be guided by politics or ideology. The evidence would settle it. But as the evidence of Insite's effectiveness steadily mounted, the Conservatives' hostility to the facility never wavered. They wanted to close it then. They want to close it now.
And so what we witnessed last week at the Supreme Court was nothing less than a naked admission that Stephen Harper's government doesn't give a damn about evidence.
My insight about harper and insite is that harper isn't being irrational really. He wants to use the "War on Drugs" for the same reason that US-American politicians do. He wants to criminalize the population and make work for the enforcers of corporate rule, the police and the prisons. (Obviously he wants for-profit prisons, the better to funnel money back into his campaign coffers and to provide work for ex-conservascum politicians.) In this case (as in other cases - see my last post!) money is no object.

Insite is a grave danger to this project. A successful alternative to the police-welfare program called the Drug Wars is like a dart hitting a balloon.

So harper isn't being irrational. Except for the fact that he wants to condemn Canadian society to the same sort of squalor, suffering, abuse, misery and injustice that US-American society has been reduced to. Which means that he's bloody fucking bonkers and a complete utter asshole. If anyone belongs in a prison cell or an insane asylum, it's harper.


ORNGE - $1.3 billion. (The actual waste and corruption is probably $500 million?)

F-35 fighters - $35 billion. (For an attack fighter-bomber that might not work.)

Toronto G20 - $1 billion plus. (Mainly as corruption but also to buy the police the toys they need to keep us down and make us stay at home, too frightened to protest)

Afghanistan Occupation -  $18 billion (To prop-up an unpopular government of warlord narco-gangsters and pedophiles) 

I can't resist quoting this portion from that CTV story:
Harper also restated that Canada will end its military commitment in the country in 2011. The report estimated how much that commitment, from 2002 until 2011, will cost the taxpayers.
"I know it is a lot of money but nobody in Canada is going to say you are spending too much for Canadians who are putting their lives on the line," Harper said.
Um, actually fuckwad, you've been miserly when it comes to looking after the soldiers wounded and traumatized to gratify your imperialist masturbation fantasies.

Vancouver Olympdicks - $1 billion dollars (This is a conservative estimate and involves deducting the physical assets that were built with the money. For a party for the middle and upper classes that caused Vancouver's homeless population to triple and which was used to justify slashes to other programs.)

Costs of the recession caused entirely by pursuing shit-head neo-liberal policies of cutting taxes on the wealthy and impoverishing the majority - $62 billion (By 2011 at the latest of the government's own calculations.)

$118.3 billion dollars. Flushed down the crapper. For bullshit policies.

This is why my blood boils when assholes talk about cutting welfare or the need to raise tuition fees to balance the budget.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Go to the link. Read it. There are no mitigating circumstances.

This is fascist intimidation and both its enablers and its enforcers deserve whatever happens to them.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya

And it's One, Two, Three, Four, ... what are we fighting for?

Ten years in Afghanistan and what do we have to show for it?
Ten years after Taliban rule, Afghanistan’s rights situation remains extremely poor. Armed groups routinely engage in extortion and violence against communities, while the Taliban continues to conduct attacks that indiscriminately or intentionally harm civilians. The situation for women’s rights is particularly bad, with threats and attacks by insurgents on women leaders, schoolgirls, and girls’ schools, and police arrests of women for “moral crimes” such as running away from forced marriage or domestic violence. Plans by the international community to decrease aid in coming years raise the risk that a bad human rights situation could become worse.
About that Human Rights Watch summary: The Taliban/anti-Karzai insurgency isn't the only side that attacks indiscriminately and/or intentionally harms civilians. In at least one year of the conflict NATO air-strikes killed more civilians than the insurgency. Furthermore, our terrorist hunter-killer teams conducting their murder campaigns (which included shooting teenage boys in the back of the head execution style) are about on par with the cruelties of the insurgency.
And what about Iraq?
BAGHDAD — Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki's security services have locked up more than 1,000 members of other political parties over the past several months, detaining many of them in secret locations with no access to legal counsel and using "brutal torture" to extract confessions, his chief political rival has charged.
Allawi's allegations were the second major broadside this week against detention practices under Maliki, who's been the prime minister since May 2006.
London's Guardian newspaper reported Monday on an extortion racket involving Iraqi state security officials who systematically arrest people on trumped-up charges, torture them and then extort bribes from their families for their release.

Read more here:
Juburi said he couldn't provide a number for those arrested since October. He said many were being held in buildings that are under the Ministry of Interior, outside Iraq's prison system.
Others said the number was much higher than 1,000, with Allawi putting the figure at "thousands."

Read more here:
Once again, that source (McClatchy), like HRW, is a generally pro-western news source.  And even these sources can't avoid pointing out the obvious failure of the capitalist imperialist pseudo-democracies to construct viable pseudo-democracies themselves. We on the wingnut left however have abandoned the quaint belief that scum like Clinton, bush II or Obama even try. That link goes on to say how Maliki waited for the the US to begin its pull-out to start his campaign of terror. Obama doesn't give a shit about what Maliki does so long as the oil flows and its priced in US dollars. The US government considered imposing a "Salvador Option" (re: torture and death-squads) on Iraq as early as 2005. So, it's complete bullshit to even pretend that the USA would be a restraining hand on the depredations of its approved despots.

Read more here:
Doctors Without Borders is halting work in detention centers in the Libyan city of Misrata because detainees are “tortured and denied urgent medical care,” the international aid agency said Thursday.
This is not the first report of serious, systematic abuses in Libya. In July, Human Rights Watch accused NATO-backed rebels of widespread looting, arson and abuse of civilians. Throughout the latter part of 2011, there were numerous reports of black migrant workers being detained without charges, tortured and even executed en masse. In October, a U.N. report detailed widespread lawless detentions and torture; the same month, an Amnesty International report documented “a pattern of beatings and ill-treatment of captured al-Gaddafi soldiers, suspected loyalists and alleged mercenaries in western Libya. In some cases,” the report continued, “there is clear evidence of torture in order to extract confessions or as a punishment.”
So, what's my reason for going over this ancient history? Just that our fraudulently elected, contemptuous of Parliament, usurper stephen harper, wants Canada to have a string of military bases around the world to perpetuate these abominations.

The idea of Canada having military bases around the world by itself is evidence that stephen harper has descended into madness. That this piece of shit knows full well what these bases would be for and he wants to drag us into future acts of imperialism is all the evidence we need to know that he is beyond redemption.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Let Borys Wrzesnewskyj be the Candidate in Etobicoke-Centre

As I've said over and over and over again, I believe the mushy middle in Canadian politics is disintegrating. The nice comfortable zone of easy answers is vanishing. The opportunist Liberal Party of Canada is finding itself becoming increasingly irrelevant. The Liberal Party of Canada has long allowed Canadians to put off making tough choices and while that might have been a good, practical thing a few decades ago, now all they do is make (fewer all the time) people believe that you can have your public health care and your dreams of stock market riches at the same time.

In short, I believe that the Liberal Party of Canada should die. But, that being the case, I still think that the narrowly defeated Boris Wrzesnewskyj should be the anti-harpercon candidate for Etobicoke-Centre. Even though there's a temptation for the NDP to maintain the momentum of eliminating the Liberal Party of Canada, given the revolting nature of the present regime of usurpers and frauds, and given Wrzesnewskvj's results in 2011, that there will be greater rewards if the NDP stands down for the re-match.

(This is all assuming that the Supreme Court of Canada isn't going to hold off on hearing this case until October!!! Argghhhh!!!!! What a low point for Canadian democracy!)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Debased Culture

Yesterday, on a crowded subway, there was a tall athletic man standing next to me. I'm short so my eye level was at his tie. I thought his tie was quite stylish and then noticed the fine material and colour of his suit and the powder-blue shirt. Then I noticed the dude was reading what looked like a non-fiction paperback and that he was almost finished it. That showed dedication and a sustained thinking ability.

Alas! When I got nosy, and peered under to see the book's cover I discovered he was reading Decision Points by the cretinous war criminal george w. bush. When the subway stopped at Queen the gentleman turned out to be a handsome youngster and he was lugging his gym duffle bag. Some finance or management up-and-comer who thinks enough of shit-headed ideas and "leaders" that he's plowed almost all the way through the ghost-written babblings of a fuck-head like bush II.

In a saner time (and there were saner times) bush II would be in a mad-house, having never risen above his mediocrity and therefore decided to destroy himself utterly with alcohol. And our young hero would ... well, he'd probably still be a privileged prick, but he wouldn't be poisoning his brain with garbage like Decision Points.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

harper and Mansbridge Discuss European Economic Crisis

Can you imagine a greater waste of your time than watching such a thing as that?? It's one of the top stories on the CBC News website, and there's an image of Mansbridge looking serious as harper gesticulates and blathers about something. Even if harper wasn't an illegitimate prime minister, a scum guilty of war crimes who has a cold prison cell in his future, it still wouldn't be worth listening to him. The imbecile hasn't the first clue about solving Canada's economic problems, and the fact that the Europeans are in trouble because they're following the austerity policies that harper himself endorses, just shows how completely useless harper's reflections are.

I don't know how many progressive bloggers have reached the point where they see our elite media and elite politicians flapping their gums and they just tune them out altogether. In most cases it doesn't even pay to listen to them just to get info on their latest plans on fucking us over. They're just saying the same old neo-liberal hypocritical bullshit and lies as always.

I'd be impressed if either of those skid marks strapped on a rifle and took the next plane to Kabul to fight the insurgency, but to hear their self-deluded crapola about the economy? Not a chance.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Two Opposing Points of View

Just another reflection on the obvious folks! "Right" and "Left" or "Conservative" and "Progressive." For all the knocking of these terms, I believe they still have some explanatory power. I think they do encompass specific ways of looking at the world. This being the case, I think it's safe to say that both the Right and the Left have competing theories about the existence of social programs and government economic policies.

We on the Left believe that economic elites dominate our political system and that most of the rewards are directed to them, and that policies are designed to reflect their interests generally. To the extent that we have social programs and income supports, it's as much a nod to the reality of a consumer based capitalist economy that proved distressingly unstable as it is to the demands of the majority in a pseudo-democracy and the compassion of our politicians.

Those on the Right, on the other hand, believe that our politicians bankrupted the economy based on the gigantic pressure exerted by the powerful lobby group of unemployed poor people, lazy mercenary immigrants, single mothers ("sluts" in their parlance), and their bleeding-heart advocates. Yes, that's right. It isn't powerful elites who run things, it's impoverished minorities. Weak people are powerful people in the topsey-turvey world of the right-wing shit-for-brains.

Of course, right-wingers would protest that that's not the whole story. Employment Insurance is enjoyed by the majority. The same for public health insurance. Those bank-busting expenses are provided for the majority by politicians hungry for votes. (Some on the right-wing will also insist that welfare spending and immigrant program spending is also done for votes, despite the reality that many poor people don't bother to vote and a significant number of people from the majority despise spending on both the poor and on immigrants.) Yep. Vote-hungry politicians pander to the lazy and the hypochondriacs with EI and public health insurance. Except the politicians (Liberal and Conservative) have denied the MAJORITY of EI applicants for decades and have used their premiums to fund tax-cuts for the rich and to pay off bond holders. And, with regards to public health insurance, it's just simply asinine to imagine that the bulk of spending there is on malingerers and crooked doctors rather than on things like cancer and heart attacks.

In other words, it's important to stop and reflect once in a while, on just how utterly stupid and deluded our ideological opponents are.  

Monday, June 4, 2012

Two Books

I just finished reading Richard Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. I thought it was pretty good but I'm not a sciency guy. I'm going to have to re-read the parts on embryology and the whole RNA/DNA/Proteins part again to get a better handle on the ideas. I might not have found it the devastating case for evolution that Dawkins says it is because I'm already onside so there were no thunder-claps of revelation (well, perhaps the part about how there are no kangaroo fossils on the route between the Mount Ararat of Noah's Ark and the Australian continent, or the question of how else to explain the remnants of eyes on deep cave dwelling salamanders would count). Also the evidence of evolution we see before our eyes as in the famous Lenski experiment with E. coli was pretty good.

Interestingly, I told someone that I was reading it and she said that Buddhists don't believe in evolution. Other creatures might have evolved from more primitive ancestors but humans have always been humans. I said "So much the worse for Buddhism then." She told me that the Buddha knew everything so evolution was wrong and the Buddha was right. The loopiness of religion really hit home at that moment.

The other book (and I've just started it) is Omar Khadr, Oh Canada. I've only just finished the introduction but it already has me livid thinking about the sickening moral failure exhibited by my country. How depressing that values and ethics that should be completely obvious are apparently beyond our reach as a people.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

thwap's snappy answers to shit-headed questions

This CBC story details the United Nations' condemnation of Canadian complicity in various instances of torture. It criticizes such things as:
  • How Canada's recent immigration law reforms put more refugees at risk of deportation to torture
  • The torture-by-proxy of Muayyed Nureddin, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Abdullah Almalki
  • Canada's laziness at the repatriation of Omar Khadr
  • Canada's callous and stupid handing over of prisoners to the torturing NDS of the Afghanistan government
 One commenter - the aptly named "DavidFrumforPM" - [!!!] - manages to mix everything up together and mewls thusly:
So what was Canada supposes to do - set up a POW camp in Afghanistan? Canada did not torture these poor men and they were citizens of the offending countries, I believe. The compensation should come from Syria and Afghanstan. As for the UN, please spend your time and resources on likes of Syria who is slaughtering their own child citizens.
Why yes "DavidFrumforPM" , that's EXACTLY what Canada should have done! Canada was awash in billions of surplus dollars at the time, and nobody put a gun to our leaders' heads and forced them to commit our troops to propping-up a torturing narco-pedophile dictatorship. If Canada's super-genius political leaders didn't want to be complicit in the torture of innocent Afghan prisoners, they shouldn't have committed to the insanely evil occupation of Afghanistan. Since they did get involved, they should have spent the goddamned money necessary to ensure the decent treatment of any prisoners we took and conform thereby with fucking goddamned international human rights laws!!!!

The idiotic puss-ball "DavidFrumforPM" has also (sort of) entered the Ezra Levant Zone by thinking that people who have been tortured by a cruel dicatorship can somehow take the dictatorial government to court and sue them for damages. The absurdity is self-evident to anyone with a functioning brain.

These lying, whining, ignorant, stupid fools like "DavidFrumforPM" deserve to be eternally frustrated. Their political parties should be perpetual losers, struggling to maintain 1/5th of the seats in our legislatures. Instead, they get enough votes to mask their blatant electoral theft.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Elections Canada: The Fix is IN

Holy fucking shit! In May, 2011, the anti-democratic harpercons stole a majority government (by a margin of 6,000 votes) based on a nation-wide campaign of election fraud. As a result, harper is driving a hearse through parliamentary procedures to ram through a whole gamut of right-wing nut-job policies to appeal to his scuzzy supporters (either the greedy or the stupid).

And Elections Canada is still quietly beavering away (supposedly) with its "investigation"?  Um, could we have some updates please? Could we have some sort of report? What's the plan "Elections Canada"? Is an illegitimate majority government going to radically transform the political climate in this country, cement its power-base, and then, maybe three years into its bogus mandate, you guys will issue some mewling criticisms in a report that is inherently flawed by your inability to subpoena evidence for your investigation?

"And so it seems very likely that questionable practices MIGHT have impacted election results in several ridings. We recommend fines of $2,000 for the party riding associations responsible in those ridings." (Upon which the harpercons appeal, lose, and, by 2019, they cough up the $10,000 but insist they did nothing wrong. Whereupon, shameless right-wing trolls bark "Har! Har! Stupid lefties! You and your paranoid conspiracy theories! Har! Har! Suck on THIS! LOL! LMAO!!!")

Excuse me, but that's not going to be good enough. Not by a long shot. Not at all. Not even in the slightest.

But Elections Canada knows this. Elections Canada is just another corrupt tool of the elites. This was first made clear to me with the evidence of its contributions to blatant election theft in Haiti. It also revealed itself in the slip-shod election work revealed in the ruling on the Etobicoke Centre election results as summarized here a the Sixth Estate:

5. Irregularities where the Liberals argue that voters failed to register (52 votes affected) — The judge accepted that at least 49 people at 2 polling stations were allowed to vote after filling out new registration forms on which they didn’t give their residential address, and that the pages where oaths that people were qualified to vote should have been made and signed were actually blank:
33 people voted by registration certificate… Their addresses, which should have been included, are not… This number is not repeated on the page which summarizes the results of the election. That page is blank. No registration certificates have been produced for Poll 426. If registration certificates were completed, they cannot be located… If they were prepared, they were never delivered to the… Chief Electoral Officer.
The Conservatives responded, in effect, that people should be allowed to vote even if they didn’t file their residential address or prove they were allowed to vote, because in their opinion we can be confident that the voting officers followed due process even if they didn’t file their paperwork: “the poll clerk would not identify a person in the poll book as having been registered without being presented with the completed registration certificate.”
It’s on this point, it seems, that the Conservatives finally lost Lederer’s confidence. For one thing, he noted, in one case at least two different sets of handwriting can be found in the poll book, so not just the one voting officer wrote in it. Moreover, he noted, the governing party was asking him to rule in their favour in the complete absence of the required registration certificates, the blank pages in the polling book, and the fact that none of the people actually appear on the final list of electors, which they should have.
Even here, however, Lederer was cautious. He noted that there were 8 people who filled out one of the magically missing registration certificates, but might correspond to people already listed on the voters list. So in reality, only 41 votes were affected by the missing paperwork. There were also two other people at a different polling station whose registration certificates were lost but for whom the vouching signatures were properly written in the poll book, and he agreed that their votes could stand.
Several other cases also fall under this category. First, at another poll, a registration certificate was filed even though it was not signed. The Conservatives argued that the signature should not be required, but the judge disagreed and threw out the vote.
Second, at a fifth poll, 10 registration certificates were not signed by the voters, and which the voting officer placed his/her signature on the line where the voter was supposed to sign. The Conservatives argued that the voting officer must have “signed on behalf of the voter.” The judge disagreed, noting that without their signature there was no paperwork to prove that they had declared they were qualified to vote. Without that declaration, their votes couldn’t count.

6. Irregularities where vouching paperwork was flawed (27 votes affected) — If you don’t have the proper ID, someone who knows you still can swear or “vouch” that you are who you say you are — and that signature has to get taken properly too. Moreover, you can only swear for one other person per election. The Liberals argued that any error in the vouching process should result in disqualification.
To that end, they identified 22 people who they claimed were allowed to register without the required vouching. The Conservatives argued that it was unclear from the paperwork whether they actually needed the vouching or whether the voting officer’s notes were simply unclear on what had happened, and the judge agreed. He threw out these 6 objections.
With regard to 16 others, however, people clearly failed to provide the required ID and should have required vouching, for which no documents existed or for which the required forms were blank. The judge accepted this claim and threw out 16 votes.
Next, the judge noted 9 cases where vouching was done by people who didn’t live in the riding, and therefore weren’t allowed to vouch (you can only vouch for people in the same riding that you live in), and furthermore that 2 of these vouchers had illegally vouched for an additional person. That meant another 11 votes had to be thrown out because of illegal vouching.

All in all, Lederer found that at least 79 votes were cast improperly. Since this was more than the 26-vote Conservative margin of victory, legally he had no choice but to declare the election “null and void.” The Conservatives now have a week to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. If they don’t, or if they lose the appeal, then Opitz will be evicted from the House of Commons and there will be a by-election in Etobicoke Centre.
As I have said so far, legally it doesn’t matter whether the 79 improper votes were really all for Opitz (in the event of fraud, for instance), or split evenly, or all for Wrzesnewskyj. We can’t be sure. That’s the reason, legally, why they have to be thrown out and why a by-election has to be ordered. If Opitz had won by enough that 79 ballots didn’t matter, his election would still stand.
Now, I've worked as a poll clerk. ("Whoa thwap! That's a pretty impressive statement!") I'm sure a lot of you people have. For a poll to be conducted so sloppily, so carelessly, ... and for nobody to have been fired after this ruling???? This is bullshit. Complete fucking bullshit. And it can only mean one thing: that Elections Canada is part of the problem. Elections Canada exists now as a means to dupe Canadians into thinking that there's a process and that there are rules and that there is accountability. And our job as citizens is to sit on our asses and wait for the proper authorities to do their job.

Canadians have fouled things up by moving towards the NDP in response to the complete failure of "free market" capitalism. In the USA, they don't have that problem. They have the Democratic Party to capture the votes of decent, intelligent people who are frustrated by the failues of capitalism. Here in Canada, we had the Liberal Party of Canada to cry crocodile tears for the victims of corporate greed while they all they, in practice, aid and abet the process, but they have imploded at the federal level because of the existence of the NDP. (This force is still relevant, especially in Ontario, where McGuinty cuts taxes for corporations and the wealthy, but imposes "health care levies" and other hikes on the average worker.) [Don't be mistaken, ... the fact that the NDP is moving to the centre when it should be moving to the left is evidence of how all official means of resistance are withered and ground-down within liberal capitalist hegemony. The NDP will sell us out too unless certain processes are reversed.]

Elections Canada is doing its part to stifle resistance and legitimate the crimes of the ruling elites. We are on our own people. There has to be a reckoning.