Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What Can You Say?

The theme this week and for the foreseeable future is Canada's putrid political culture. Today's morning heave came from the homepage of the Toronto Star. If you don't know already, the Toronto Star is joining the Globe & Mail by going behind a paywall. I have no intention of reading this stupid article (not even for the shits n' giggles that are no doubt inside) because to do so would be a waste of time. But it's an opinion piece by Rosie DiManno, justifying the move, entitled: "DiManno: Star introduces digital subscription because it costs big bucks to put out a decent paper." The teaser on the Star's homepage goes on ... "As readers slag the Star for putting a price on its website, remember that quality writing and reporting are not free."

BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

Personally, I think there's lots of damn fine journalists and opinion writers in Canada's newspapers. But there's also a lot of partisan hackery. FWIW the Globe & Mail has more useless fossils and imbeciles cluttering up its editorial pages than does the Star. And it's gotten to the point where I simply don't feel like shelling out money to subsidize Jeffrey Simpson, Marcus Gee, Margaret Wente or Rosie DiManno.

Think about that for a second newspaper owners. It ain't that I'm an internet reader who refuses to pay for dead-tree versions of newspapers because I expect everything to be free. I used to subscribe to newspapers in the past and I would again, were it not for the fact that you have so many shitty writers and such disgusting politics.

For Rosie DiManno in particular to pontificate about how good, quality material doesn't come cheap, is the height of irony. And, no, ... it's not that I disagree with her (which is my right as a person and a consumer making choices about where to spend my money). It's that this is a writer who thinks that our occupation of Afghanistan, where we bombed villages to smithereens, worked alongside hunter-killer squads and rapists and torturers, to enforce the rule of a warlord government of thieves and pedophiles, was worthwhile because the Canadian Forces had learned to fight again. (!)

And that blather of insanity wasn't an isolated brain-fart. DiManno routinely spews out noxious idiocy. She's actually the main reason I dropped my subscription. When you people are counting your subscribers in the thousands, the fact that you deliberately alienate thousands of progressive Canadians like me ought to make you reconsider your loyalty to this incoherent, ranting fool.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Bullshit Supreme Court Ruling

"Just because I sold you into prostitution to feed my drug-habit, .... I'm still your father godammit! You owe me your respect and devotion!!!"

After a certain point, a line is crossed.

The blowhards who serviced stephen harper and ted opitz can believe all they want about their exalted positions.

They are frauds. They are scammers. They are bought-and-paid-for partisan hacks.

Their ruling was a partisan piece of shit and I do not recognize it. I do not recognize the legitimacy of stephen harper's stolen government. I do not recognize the authority of the captured Elections Canada. I do not respect the highest court in the land because it has disgraced itself.

Thanks to Owen at Northern Reflections for pointing me towards this Michael Harris column. I'll quote from the ending ...
When the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has worries about the relevance and reliability of evidence in a case touching the integrity of the electoral system, no one should be surprised if the public begins to detect the smell of tainted tuna in the air.
And that is a pity because what the Supreme Court decided last Thursday was certainly not only about the integrity of the vote in Etobicoke Centre in the May 2011 General Election. Like a stone cast into a pond, every decision of the Court sends out wave after wave of concentric ripples. Major decisions like this one send out shockwaves.
Who will now go to court to reverse a suspected improper result at the polls, with the costs so terribly high and official bungling now not only tolerated but protected?
How will the court’s decision do anything but encourage political parties to use all the new weapons of mass deception at their disposal in the effort to engineer elections results, knowing those results are almost impossible to overturn?
And how is democracy better served by having the integrity of questionable election results decided by judges rather than by the people?
I have had all my faith in our system to correct itself shattered. There are no more official channels to pursue.

ADDED:

Go to the Harris link and read the shit-head commentary from the right-wing human garbage who cheer this ruling. These hypocritical fuck-faces couldn't scream enough about "illegal polls" and voter fraud. Now that the door to ballot-stuffing has been pushed wide open to accomodate their team (of thieves and thugs) they're as happy as pigs in their own vomit.  Un-fuck those losers.

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Democracy in Crisis"

I think it's much more insidious and "evil" than Don Lenihan describes it, but this is still a worthwhile read.

Personally, I think there's a deliberate, self-interested and cynical strategy of the elite to exalt the incoherent frustrations and babbling of the stupidest among the electorate. For one thing, these dunces have already been trained to want the sorts of policies that benefit elites.

[H/T to Accidental Deliberations.]

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Conversation

Well, I've got other things to do and other things to think about, AND I've got a headache. So I think I'll just delight you with the transcript of an actual conversation I had with a "conservative." (The whole point of our speaking to each other was to present this clash of opposing viewpoints to others, so we taped it. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.)
thwap: So, what do you want to talk about?

con: Why don't we talk about Obama's failure to protect America during that embassy attack in Bengahzi?

thwap: I don't know much about that. But why do you want to talk about it?

con: I think it's a good example of how your messiah doesn't really care about America and how he makes America look weak in the eyes of the world and encourages people to attack it.

thwap: Obama isn't my messiah ...

con: Hah! "How's that hopey changey thing working for yah?" 'eh?

thwap: I never liked Obama and I've despised him for years now. He's a Wall Street shill.

con: I guess you would have voted for Nader?

thwap: I don't think he was running then, but if I was American and he was the candidate, I'd have voted for  him, yes.

con: Well, I can respect that. I think I like Ron Paul better than Mittens.  I liked McCain.

thwap: Would you have backed Ron Paul this time out?

con: I don't think so. Some of his ideas are pretty wacky. I don't think he recognizes the need for America's presence in the world. He's almost a peacenik the way he talks about the military.

thwap:  Okay ...

con: Santorum is okay. But he was too extreme.

thwap: Let's stop talking about American politics and start talking about our own country. Like the Supreme Court ruling on the Etobicoke-Centre election.

con: Sure. What about it?

thwap: Do you like it?

con: Obviously. It's just more proof that all this "Robo-call Scandal" stuff is a figment of your leftist imagination.

thwap: Well, the election fraud stuff had nothing to do with that. [Wrzesnewskyj] narrowed his claim to voting irregularities in a limited number of polling stations ...

con: Because he knew the judge would laugh him out of the courtroom if he tried his "election fraud" crap ...

thwap: Because he wanted to narrow down the time and the expense of the investigation.

con: And the Supremes decided there were no irregularities ...

thwap: No. The majority on the Court decided that even though there were more unaccountable votes than Opitz's margin of victory, the election should still stand because nobody can prove those undocumented votes were fraudulent.

con: Sounds good.

thwap: So you like that MP's can lose, ... close elections can be decided by a few votes who nobody can account for?

con: So you think the big-bad Conservatives were cheating?
 
thwap: It's possible ...

con:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Vote Suppression ... Here it comes!!!

This is emblematic of the sort of rationalization progressives are making in response to the bone-headed ruling by a bunch of hack Supreme Court justices and allied moron Supreme Court justices:
By now it may have become apparent that I've been won over by the majority ruling and I'll tip my hat to Adam Goldenberg for the argument that really solidified it for me. But his piece is in the Ottawa Citizen and while I was able to read it the first time I clicked through, now it's behind the paywall. If they don't really want me to send them traffic, so be it. I'll paraphrase.
Attempts to disenfranchise voters are rampant in the U.S. and we've had a taste of that here in Canada with hints of more to come. If the Supreme Court had found it acceptable to disenfranchise Canadians for procedural reasons, it would hand a very useful precedent to those who believe the royal road to power lies in reducing the number of people who actually get to cast their ballots. Instead the majority decision holds that the fundamental right to vote trumps a lack of procedural entitlement to do so.
So a government here in Canada that wants to try to use procedure to lower the turnout does so with the knowledge that a legal challenge to its measures can use this decision as ammunition. In purely practical terms, if this is enough to make the Conservatives think twice about attempting to make it more difficult to vote then the worst I can say about it is that it's short term pain for long term gain. Of course, I'm not Borys Wrzesnewskyj and I didn't spend over $300,000 of my own money in mounting this challenge.
Let's review: Shameless hypocrisy is an inherent (one should say a prerequisite) trait of right-wingers. They can, and they will, use this piece-of-shit ruling that has disgraced forever the Supreme Court of Canada, to simultaneously argue for tighter restrictions on voting while preserving the openings for ballot stuffing that the ruling has made.

Here we go!

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper hinted Thursday he'd be willing to reform elections laws in the wake of a historic top court ruling that upheld Tory MP Ted Opitz's win in the last general election.
“As you know, we promised to look at some reforms to our election laws,” Harper told reporters during a photo-op with Optiz outside the House of Commons.
Can you see how we're all being taken for complete chumps here? Do you honestly think that this bullshit ruling, made by bullshit hacks and anti-democratic scum was written to ensure that everyone can vote?

It has unnecessarily destroyed the reasonable safeguards we had to prevent ballot stuffing, and has fostered doubt in the integrity of future elections, and the long-game is to use this as an excuse to introduce the procedures that US anti-democratic political hacks (of both parties but excessively so with the Repugs) use to obstruct the votes of the majority while enabling wholesale fraud of their own.

To think that this gang of thieves and liars and frauds presumes to go to the Ukraine to monitor the elections there!

I'm Not Calling For Voter ID Laws

Some progressives have been hailing the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing Ted "Homo-Hater" Opitz his theft of the Etobicoke-Centre election. Supposedly, the Supreme Court of Canada has decided that our rules, procedures and safeguards for conducting free and fair elections shouldn't interfere with Canadians' right to vote. At least, say progressives, that will be the end of right-wing caterwauling about Muslim women wearing veils being denied the vote, or Conservative Party goons disrupting polling stations talking about "illegal" polls. Right?

1. Such thinking underestimates harpercon shamelessness. They can, and they will, take advantage of this ruling while simultaneously pressing hot-button issues or hypocritically citing "procedural errors" to disrupt polls. (Something Ted Opitz's crew of goons did themselves in Etobicoke-Centre.) As long as disruption during elections prevents people from voting (in polls where their opponents tend to do well) these harpercon scum will disrupt.

2.  The corrupt Supreme Court justices deliberately made a partisan jab at the Liberal plaintiff Borys Wrzesnewskyj in their ruling, just to rub it in:
A candidate who lost in a close federal election attempts to set aside the result of that election. We are asked to disqualify the votes of several Canadian citizens based on administrative mistakes… We decline the invitation to do so. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms… [has] clear and historic purposes of enfranchising Canadian citizens, such that they may express their democratic preference, and of protecting the integrity of our electoral process… we reject the candidate’s attempt to disenfranchise entitled voters and so undermine public confidence in the electoral process.
3.  The fact of the matter is that the corrupt Elections Canada and the corrupt Supreme Court of Canada are the ones undermining public confidence in the electoral process. When I found out how lackadaisical the Etobicoke-Centre vote had been conducted (as is outlined in the original Ontario Supreme Court decision ordering a new vote) I was appalled and I was certain that the Supreme Court would uphold the decision, if it were honest.  Alas. The process is not honest. Our institutions are corrupt. Canadian democracy is a sham.

The majority on the Supreme Court have extended an open invitation to everyone (but really, only harpercon scum will take them up on it to any great extent) to "vote early and vote often."

It's pretty easy to vote in Canada. And it should be. We don't need to introduce all the barriers to voting that presently exist in the USA and which procedures are exploited by partisan hacks to deliberately exclude likely supporters of the opposing team.

If you show up and state your name at the polling station and you're on the voters list, you can vote.

If you're not on the list but you show some ID and proof of residency in the form of, say, mail to you at that address, you're put on the list and you vote. (This information is written down by the poll clerks for obvious reasons. If the election is very close, there might need to be a re-count and we need to have CONFIDENCE in the voting results.)

If you're not on the list and you have no ID or proof of address, you can get a person who can prove they live in the riding to vouch for you. An oath is sworn and signatures are given. (A person can only vouch for one voter per election.)

These seem like pretty reasonable standards. Nothing to prevent poor people who might not have all their ID from voting. Nothing to prevent newcomers who might not have proof of residency from voting. But at the same time, ... well, ... isn't it obvious? Isn't it obvious that there need to be SOME standards?

Not for the majority on the Supreme Court:
The court said procedural safeguards of entitlement to vote include the list of electors, and various voting day registration procedures, and identification and vouching requirements that may be followed if a voter shows up at a poll and is not on the electors list. But they are just that.

The fact of the matter is that I don't trust the Conservative Party of Canada. They despise democracy. They despise the rules. They're proven liars and thugs.

According to the Supreme Court of Canada, I can show up in Etobicoke-Centre and say my name is Ted Opitz, be given a ballot, vote and it will be counted. Then I can go to Tony Clement's riding, say my name is Pierre Poutine, be given a ballot, and vote.

According to the majority on the Supreme Court of Canada, the number of votes doesn't even have to match the number of people on the list who voted! Furthermore, if it's a close election and they do any sort of checking, and they see "Pierre Poutine" with no voucher, no ID or proof of address, it will be up to anyone who wants to dispute that vote, to PROVE that "Pierre Poutine" meant to commit voter fraud. And how the fuck do you do that, since it's just a name with nothing else? The majority of the Supreme Court of Canada doesn't say how you can establish fraud in that instance.

I did, at one time, have confidence in Canada's voting system. That was before I found out how slipshod the process was in Etobicoke-Centre. And I now have ZERO CONFIDENCE in our voting process  now that the Supreme Court has ruled that such staggering incompetence is hunky-dory.

This ruling is so idiotic, so transparently stupid, that I can only believe that it is a politicized ruling. A ruling that is the result of harpercon pressure and intimidation.

All of our institutions have failed. There is no official body that can redeem our political system now. It is up to us.
So how 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Canadian Democracy Officially a Fraud

I am, at present, reeling from skimming this article - "Conservative MP Ted Opitz to keep his Etobicoke-Centre, Supreme Court rules".

Here's how it works folks. We have elections, see? And they're first-past-the-post, meaning that all a candidate has to do is get the largest bloc of votes in the riding to win. That means that if a candidate has only 30% of the votes and the other 70% of the electors hate that candidate but divided their votes between other parties, that candidate gets to represent them all.

In such a context, it is highly important that we at least ensure that at least the votes are counted right. Ted "Fuck-Face" Opitz squeezed out a 26-vote victory in the last federal election. An Ontario Superior Court ruled that 79 votes, from only a sample of polling stations were so utterly bogus that he overturned the election.

Ted "Anti-Democracy" Opitz appealed this ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada this past summer. They agreed to hear it and, obviously, the harpercon government of thugs, closet-case losers, baby-sitter fuckers, thieves and swindlers and morons and hypocrites, ... who were already found to have intimidated the Crown's representative, leaned heavily on the Supreme Court Justices, producing the travesty we see before us today.
In Canada, persons are entitled to vote if they are Canadian citizens aged 18 or over.
The court said procedural safeguards of entitlement to vote include the list of electors, and various voting day registration procedures, and identification and vouching requirements that may be followed if a voter shows up at a poll and is not on the electors list. But they are just that.
A local poll clerk or deputy returning officer’s “failure to follow a procedural safeguard” should not necessarily invalidate a person’s vote, the court ruled.
“Only votes cast by persons not entitled to vote are invalid.”
What this means, in layperson's terms, is that any partisan goon can walk into a polling station in this country and either by taking advantage of the clerks' ignorance, stupidity, laziness or partisan corruption, get a ballot and vote for the candidate of the party of their choice, without having to show proof that they're entitled to vote in that riding.

That's it. We're done. Over. Finito. Elections Canada is a farce. The Supreme Court has been compromised. Parliament is a skeletal corpse.

There is nothing further that harper can do, short of assuming the right to order the assasination of his fellow citizens, a-la-Barack Obama, for Canada to sink any lower.

Our institutions have failed. It is up to us to pull our heads out of our asses and take things to the streets if democracy is to be redeemed and saved.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No Responsibility

So, I'm almost finished The Monster by Michael W. Hudson. There's a part in it where some state regulators are trying to shut down the predatory lending scam. Wall Street poured out billions and billions of dollars to predatory mortgage companies so that they can gouge people and Wall Street can then "securitize" these shitty loans. The regulators are saying: Make Wall Street liable for the fraud and theft of these lenders. These Wall Street assholes are saying that this will create "uncertainty" and unnecessary risk for them.

Supposedly it's beyond Wall Street's resources to do due diligence on the loans they buy back from the loan sharks they front the money to. Besides, what if an unscrupulous morgtage lender lies to, say, Lehman Brothers? Should Lehman brothers be on the hook for billions of $ in lawsuits just because they bundled one crooked loan into their securities?

It would have been nice if the ripped-off borrowers could absolve themselves of all responsibility for their predicaments too, no? Especially since Wall Street enabled the whole disaster.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Make the Rich Pay!!!


Posters like this used to adorn telephone poles in my hometown when the Communist Party ran candidates in federal elections. I was about ten years old. My friends and I used to snicker because we knew that communists were authoritarians masquerading as democrats and they were also looney-toons losers who seemed to split into tiny factions. Some of this sentiment is with me still while other stuff I've decided was the result of Cold War brain-washing.

But this phrase has started to resonate with me more and more. It continues to do so after reading this Toronto Star article about the perils of taxing the wealthy.

Taken at face value, this policy should be a winner for a deficit-weary public, as support for the idea of taxing millionaires and billionaires generally scores high in most polls.
But that’s not how it works. Particularly in the first presidential debate, and also in the two other debates since, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have turned the spotlight on Obama’s higher-tax pledge and have successfully managed to make many average voters believe that the Democrats, with their long-standing reputation as the party of “big government,” cannot be trusted to limit the increase to the very rich.
Ryan said it best in the vice-presidential debate: “You see, there aren’t enough rich people and small businesses to tax to pay for all their spending. And so the next time you hear them say, don’t worry about it, we’ll get a few wealthy people to pay their fair share, watch out, middle class. The tax bill is coming to you.”
Whether or not this prediction comes true is beside the point. Indeed, as political scientist Larry Bartels showed in his book Unequal Democracy, the economic conditions and the tax burden of the very rich tend to influence the perception of the less affluent regarding their own situation.

That's the whole jist of the article. It's "perilous" to tax the wealthy because lying pricks like Paul Ryan will say that the middle class will be taxed higher too. (They'll always be able to dredge up sludge like "Joe the Plumber" who will swear up and down that they're being taxed higher when the government has actually CUT their taxes.) And, evidently, people like Pierre Martin won't extend any effort to correct the picture.

Perilous 'eh? I've said it before; if it was given to Canadians that the government was going to cut the taxes for the wealthy and the corporations and that this was NOT going to increase productive investment but would only serve to increase spending on luxuries and financial speculation, and that this would eventually create higher deficits and the cutting of public services, NOBODY would have bought it.



Of course, it's not just tax policy. It's crushing unions. It's automating people's jobs. It's shipping jobs overeseas. It's attacking the public sector. But tax fairness has to be a part of it. Let the liars lie. After a couple of months of mocking their bullshit, a confident government would realize that it's only the bleating of a hypocritical elite and their irrelevant media hacks.

Monday, October 22, 2012

NAMBLA Gives Award to First Nations Individual


The North American Man-Boy Love Association today awarded a North American Aboriginal person (who has obtained a legal injunction against the publication of his name in association with this story) with their not-coveted "Person of the Year" prize.

All major media outlets are featuring this story. What the hell, why not? It's a nice compliment to all the stories about the Catholic Church making some woman their first Aboriginal saint. What makes one milestone/achievement less disgusting than the other? Why should I give a shit?

In other news, the psychopathic Wall Street shill homophobe who doesn't hate women is now neck-and-neck with the psychopathic Wall Street shill who is an even bigger homophobe and who hates women. Who will win this exciting race? Why are these two pieces of garbage supposedly the best that the United States of America can produce?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Readings ...

I feel sleepy today. So I'll just link to two books that I'm reading.


Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe. It was on sale at a reduced price. It's from 2003, before the Large Hadron Collider, so there you go. Some of the ideas about String Theory were good. It's a very good intro to theoretical physics for cretins such as myself. But towards the middle, it began to be a defense of string theory against some rather esoteric challenges that were met with equally esoteric counter-arguments. There was a part where advanced string theory ideas were used to solve very high-level mathematical questions that was very interesting. Then my high-school physics teacher friend told me that mainstream particle theory was still the biggest game in town. So I don't know.


Michael W. Hudson's The Monster. It's an apt title. I'm only about one-third into it, but I'm already disgusted with the moral emptiness of these Orange County and Wall Street pieces of shit. One asshole talked about how his salespeople had to be "hungry" and "passionate" about their jobs in order to succeed. "Hungry" to make a lot of money. "Passionate" about using psychological manipulation and OUTRIGHT LIES to trick poor people (in his case, elderly African-American widows mostly) into taking out loans using their hard-won homes as collateral, and then burying them in hidden fees and soaring interest rates and payback penalties, to bleed them dry.

These weren't people trying to use their homes as piggy-banks. One woman was convinced she could borrow $5,000 against her house to install better windows that would save her money on heating. She lost her home. "Passion" for their work was what motivated these guys. And "hunger" for hookers and cocaine and fancy cars and just being a mindless, materialistic cretins.

These monsters are still in charge. They're Obama's people. (Well, not really. They've displayed their ingratitude for his services by abandoning him and putting all their money behind Romney. One of their own. That's how much they're still in charge.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rape?

I've long had a problem with the argument that "rape is not about sex; it's about power." If that were the case, there'd be a lot more bar fights between men, ending with the loser getting forcibly sodomized, than there are. I mean, if it's not about sex, but about power, who has more power in the world? Men have more power. Therefore, if I guy wants to establish his status and power in the world, it would make more sense to rape another man.

If it wasn't about sex, then why are there so many guys who convince themselves that they're not raping anybody? "No doesn't always mean no." "I thought she wanted me." A lot of education has gone into having to convince guys that "No means no." If part of the problem is guys stupidly convincing themselves that they're all ultra-studs and that all women want them underneath all the play-acting of refusal, how does "power" involve itself (and not sex)?

I think it's more accurate to say that it's about respect, or the lack thereof, towards women. In the instance of your stereotypical rapist lurking in the bushes, it's the idea that women are objects that can be used as necessary. For the stereotypical frat-boy/jock rapists, it's pretty much the same thing. For the husbands, boyfriends, fathers, brothers, acquaintances, who think there's some sort of emotional give-and-take going on, it's the idea that women don't really know their own minds and that men know them better than they know themselves. It's based on hatred and disgust of sex and the attraction towards women (for heterosexual men) that afflicts twisted puritans.

Here's something: Some have said that a large portion of sexual assaults occur in the early hours of the morning, around sunrise because this sort of rapist has been up all night unable to sleep because of his urges. What urges? The urge to exhibit power over another human being? Or the urge for sex?

The place where a lot of male rape of other males happens is supposedly in prisons. I would suggest that the absence of females has something to do with that.

 Stacey May Fowles, writing in the National Post said something that really affected me:
The week the Bloor and Christie suspect was revealed by the police, a male friend walked me home through the neighbourhood where the attacks took place. It was late on a Friday night, and he insisted on accompanying me after sharing dinner and ice cream, noting the sheer lunacy of me doing it myself after the constant reports, tweets, blog posts, Take Back The Night and self-defence course invitations.

While we were walking past Bloor and Grace, where one of the assaults reportedly occurred, two extremely drunk boys, estimated to be in their teens, staggered towards us and slurred their directions. We obliged them, and watched as they stumbled on their way, towards the subway.

In that moment, I realized they were enjoying a freedom I had never had and could never have. Blind drunk and exposed in the middle of the night, they wandered gleefully, happily and safely, conversing with strangers and inviting attention. The very things the written words that week had told me I wasn’t allowed to do.

The idea of it — their liberty vs. my need to be gratefully, soberly escorted by virtue of my sex — enraged me. In fact, we should all be enraged, every moment of every day, in a way that words can never express.
I think the root of this shameful male behaviour is the profound disrespect that a patriarchal culture has for women. I think rape is about sex, but it's about sex with people you don't respect. No, I don't mean that rape = sex. Sex, mixed with contempt, becomes rape.

I don't want to sound patronizing in this next part. It's more a product of my thinking now that I understand what women are up against, just trying to live their lives. And I'm not a feminist, because due to a number of habits that I've got, I know they wouldn't have me as a member, but I have this sense of admiration for women now, when I encounter them. Half of the human race, treated like "the Second Sex," blamed (usually by some twisted patriarchal religion) for being attractive (to heterosexual men) or completely unattractive (by some homosexual men), having to live constantly on guard, having to work twice as hard.

My mother was born in 1931 and can be described as a socially conservative feminist. I used to roll my eyes when she'd get into a rant about men. (They were usually brief, disparaging comments, but they were pretty frequent.) I can say that women have their problems and as individuals, some of them are more likely than any man will, to get under my skin and infuriate me. But it's we men, who, as a group, need to do more to put our act together and stop being such disgusting and stupid rapists.

Women should be as free to walk alone at night as I am. If some young twenty-something is drunkenly asking you for directions on the street at night, respond to her as if she's a human being asking directions, not some bitch who is "asking for it." Don't be an asshole rapist scum-bag.

Thank you very much.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

McGuinty's Prorogation


Back in the immediate aftermath of harper's fraudulent majority win I argued that harper had no claim to legitimacy because he had eviscerated the whole concept of "responsible government" with his first controversial prorogation (the one that was called specifically to avoid an impending no-confidence vote).  His second prorogation was controversial because his request was phoned in to the Governor General (exhibiting a total lack of respect for the forms of our system of government that belies his reactionary pandering to the institution of the monarchy in general), because it was used to obstruct an inquiry into something as deadly serious as possible Canadian complicity in war crimes against humanity, and, finally, because at that stage of the session a LOT of legislative work had been done and it was all trashed and needed to be started all over again in the next parliament. But, from a constitutional point of view, the first prorogation was the inexcusable one. The one that showed that harper cares not a whit for a democratic heritage.(Jean Chretien was himself guilty of proroguing parliament when it was starting to get inconvenient and he had a majority. It's detestable but it's not unconstitutional.)

Then, when harper stood by Bev Oda for doctoring an official government document and then lying to Parliament about it, he again showed himself as irredeemable. Then, when he refused to provide Parliament (the people's representatives) with the official cost estimates for his prisons and his planes, he showed himself to be irredeemable. How are our representatives supposed to be expected to vote for policies when they don't know their costs?

Sickeningly, when the opposition parties DID THEIR JOB and voted his government down, AFTER he stole his majority through electoral fraud, we came to discover that his verbal assurances for the costs of the fighter-jets were blatant lies.

This is unprecedented anti-democratic behaviour. But, once you do something unprecedented, you've set a precedent. And it didn't take long for the decay of Canadian democracy to infect other legislatures. There's a whole tsunami of contempt for democracy that was just waiting for the first crack in the dam apparently. Lo and behold, the soulless doofus Dalton McGuinty decides that being the first government in the Ontario legislature's 220-year history to be found in contempt is okay if it helps him delay coming clean about the half-a-billion of the taxpayers' money he was willing to spend to help keep two MPP's in office.

When this, and other scandals started to weigh too heavily upon him, along with the failure of his bankrupt neoliberal policies, McGuinty decided to call it quits This calling it quits is, like Chretin's abuses, deplorable. But he's in his rights to do so.

It is his contempt of the legislature that makes him such a vile piece of shit.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

McGuinty's Crimes, Not the "Robamney" Scam


I have almost zero interest in the sham debate between the two representatives of the oligarchs. What we should be talking about is condemning anyone who praises Dalton McGuinty's era of corruption and contempt. OUR own democratic process, which is teetering at the edge of the abyss is what should concern us. NOT the contrived spectacle of the country that fell into the depths long ago.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

McGuinty's Resignation


Assuming that Dalton McGuinty doesn't have a secret, life-threatening illness, I'm going to assume that Dalton McGuinty's surprise, sudden resignation as the leader of the Ontario Liberals is rooted in frustration and petulance. McGuinty discovered that incompetent, scandal-plagued government is difficult to manage when you only have a minority government. Especially when your whole shtick as the government is to rationalize yourself with tossed-off platitudes that could have been stolen from sappy greeting cards.

I once read an interview with Dalton McGuinty in the Hamilton Spectator. It really was nothing more than some robotically-delivered string of buzzwords, catch-phrases and wigs. You could tell you were reading the words of the worst sort of politician.

If anything reveals the hollow core of McGuintyism, it was his blatant pandering to what he perceived as the right-wing electorate in Elizabeth Witmer's old riding. Respect for teachers? Fostered after they were desperate to replace the teacher-hating failed teacher Mike Harris and his high-school drop-out dip-shit Education Minister John Schnoblin? Fuck that shit! In a sleazy ploy for "conservative" votes, I'll impose a contract on them before there's even a strike vote!

Then it all blew-up in his stupid face and he knew his precious majority (where he could govern on nothing more than the platitudes that he lives his life by) would never be attained.

Another example of McGuinty's callowness is his discipleship to the detestable stephen harper. At least with stephen harper, you know the guy's a monster who wished there was an actual "Lady Liberty," so that he could take a shit in her mouth. That's why harper led the way in trashing just about every basic fundamental of our system of representative parliamentary government. Say what you will about harper, at least he's a goddamned INNOVATOR! McGuinty (who the pathetic Bob Rae says can be proud of his record) quickly followed in harper's hoof-prints, exhibiting his own contempt for Queen's Park (the first in the 220 year s of the legislature) over the cancelled energy stations.

It was a pretty sweet deal. All McGuinty had to do was be less scuzzy and stupid that the OPC's of Mike Harris (and now, the doofus Tim Hudak). Harris slashed welfare rates by by 22 percent, and kept them there for his two terms in office. McGuinty takes over and "raises" them by a measly 3 percent upon taking office, but essentially, with inflation, welfare recipients have seen a 60 percent decline in their incomes. On top of that, McGuinty cuts the special diet supplement (after OCAP notified people that they could access it) and has now cut the "Community Start-Up" program as well. But nobody cared, except the poorest and their powerless advocates. What were their options? Vote for the Tories again, led by the brain-dead psychopath Hudak?

Yep. All McGuinty had to do was not be a world-class asshole like Mike Harris. But, instead, McGuinty tossed hundreds of millions of dollars at Liberal-friendly consulting firms so that they could drink coffee (expensed of course) and NOT build the E-Health database. And, he let some other Liberal-friendly dork mismanage ORNGE. (McGuinty has refused to testify as to his own involvement in this debacle.) Then, on another one of his desperate vote-buying schemes, McGuinty cancelled two contracts to build energy stations, incurring perhaps $500 million in penalties. (Perhaps more. McGuinty has placed himself in contempt of Parliament for refusing to disclose the information.)

It's all too much for the petulant, no-talent asshole. So he's decided to take his ball and go home. Good riddance. Some reports say that McGuinty is refusing to rule-out a federal Liberal leadership bid. Methinks that if he tosses his hat into the ring he's in for a horrible surprise.
 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Policies that Benefit the Wealthiest ...


 I remember hearing for over a decade about how Brian Mulroney, then Jean Chretien, the Paul Martin, the Mike Harris, etc., etc., ... all were accused of pushing tax-cuts that benefited the wealthiest and which would deny governments of revenues to help the poor and the middle class.

Now, here we have a rancid turd like Dalton McGuinty pushing austerity and declaring tax increases on the wealthiest as off-limits. We've had an explosion of inequality as the richest 1% got something like 15% of all the income gains of the past decade.

You know, given that harper and McGuinty are promising yet more austerity in the coming years, and given that the dimwits who dominate the political discussion in the mainstream predicted that their policies would bring growth and prosperity for all, ... shouldn't those on the left who predicted this dismal result at least get a tip o' the hat for having been right?

(Nah. Because that would give the whole game away, wouldn't it?)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

1812 & stephen harper

The cartoon above is dedicated to the principle that the real reason harper is going as far as airing television commercials to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 is because it feeds into the militarist culture he's trying to foster in Canada, which itself is really to create the proper environment for war profiteers to flourish.

harper's cabal tries to portray 1812 as some sort of national struggle. It wasn't. Most of the inhabitants of the Thirteen Colonies (like most people today) didn't give a shit about the political struggles of their time. They wanted to be left alone to live their lives. It wasn't until they were forced to choose sides that things got bloody and some of them had to leave as "Loyalists." The Loyalists got free land in what became Upper Canada to compensate them for their losses to the American rebels. When land started to become scarce in the new USA, the British opened up more free land in Upper Canada and thousands more people than the original Loyalist influx crossed the border. In return for taking an oath renouncing the Republic and swearing loyalty to the Crown, these derisively labelled "Late Loyalists" supposedly surrendered their love for democracy to enjoy the superior political gifts of elitist, monarchical government.

When tensions between the USA and Britain governments (over British outrages at sea during the Napoleonic Wars) caused the War of 1812, the governments of Upper and Lower Canada formed militias to meet the threat. 80% of the members of these hastily formed militias would desert. These were mostly former American colonists who wanted no part of a war with their families and friends. When the British at one point in the war captured Vermont, the population didn't care one way or the other. The war was fought between the British professional forces and their First Nations allies (who were hoping for recognition for their services and better treatment from the British government) on the one side and Southern US firebrands on the other.

The British professionals won. The assistance of the First Nations troops was crucial. The majority in Upper Canada didn't give a shit. Now harper is trying to make this a nation-building propaganda orgy. The only group that genuinely fought and which is still here, he treats like garbage. It's fitting. harper's whole glorification of the war is based on ignorance and eviscerated by his hypocrisy.

Although the Government of Canada has been presenting a picture of stable relations with and improved living conditions for Indigenous Nations, the reality on the ground shows many Indigenous individuals, families, communities and Nations suffering from multiple, over-lapping crises. Although federal, provincial, Indigenous and independent researchers have all verified the crises, Canada has refused to act. This is resulting in the pre-mature deaths of hundreds, even thousands of Indigenous peoples every year. Many of those that do survive, do so with higher levels of injuries, disabilities, diabetes, TB, heart disease, and other preventable health issues.
There is a children in care crisis where 40% of children in care in Canada (30,000) are Indigenous children. The crisis of over-incarceration of Indigenous peoples in state prisons shows 25-30% of prison populations are Indigenous and increasing. The water crisis of 116+ First Nations not having clean water and 75% of their water systems being at medium to high risk is well-known. The housing crisis is particularly staggering when you consider that 40% of First Nations homes are in need of major repair and there is a 85,000 home backlog. There is a growing crisis of violence against Indigenous women with over 600 murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada. The health crisis results in a life expectancy of 8-20 years less for Indigenous peoples due to extreme poverty. This does not include the cultural crisis where 94% of Indigenous languages in Canada (47/50) are at high risk of extinction. These are all exacerbated for communities who suffer from massive flooding due to hydro-electric operations.
The gap between Canadians and Indigenous peoples with regards to education, employment, skills training, food security, water security, health care, and mental health services continues to increase. Statistics are often manipulated by Canada to show that conditions are getting better, but when reviewed over a 20 year period, the statistics are clear that the socio-economic conditions of Indigenous peoples are on a downward trend. The levels of poverty and ill-health in northern Indigenous communities are even more acute. Suicide rates are amongst the highest in the world with suicides starting at much younger ages, like 9 years old. While Canada rates in the top 4 countries when measuring the human development index, when Indigenous peoples are isolated, Canada drops to 78th.

Friday, October 12, 2012

"Economic Treason"

Argh! I'd do something, ... but, ...
Osgoode law professor Gus Van Harten, an expert on such international doings, quickly found out why. After reading the brief document, he declared it a travesty and a formidable assault on Canada's democratic traditions. For starters the deal gives Chinese investors more rights and protections than Canadian entrepreneurs could ever win in China's incredibly corrupt markets.
Moreover the deal "allows Chinese companies to sue Canada outside of Canadian courts. Remarkably, the lawsuits can proceed behind closed doors. This shift to secrecy reverses a longstanding policy of the Canadian government."
Appallingly, the treaty would give Sinopec, one of the big Chinese backers of the Northern Gateway pipeline, the right to sue the government of British Columbia if it blocks the project. Sinopec could also demand that only Chinese labour and materials be used on the pipeline. Moreover the treaty gives Chinese state owned companies "the right to full protection and security from public opposition."
The agreement, like all bad deals, comes wrapped in totalitarian paper. The deal does not require provincial consent. It comes without any risk-benefit analysis. And it can be ratified into law without parliamentary debate. The more Harper wants to do business with China, the more he acts like another tank in Tiananmen Square. Barring a revolt within Harper's own party, the trade deal automatically becomes law on Nov. 1. (Italics mine.)
[A tip o' the hat to the Mound of Sound.]

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Whitewash of Friedman and Pinochet

Make of it what you will ....


Who is the Left-Wing KKKate MakkkMillan?


It's been awhile since I bothered to check, but I believe that KKKate MakkkMillan's SDA blog is still a very highly trafficked blog. So, is there a Canadian left-wing equivalent?

Is there a left-wing Canadian blogger who either types or has regular commentators who type:
  • That Israel really should be wiped off the map
  • Wants to take away the vote from right-wingers
  • Thinks an entire religious or ethnic group should be targeted by the government as an insidious menace
  • Supports police busting heads at right-wing rallies
  • Fantasizes about the sexual humiliation of female right-wing commentators
  • Enthusiastically supports left-wing assaults on democracy in Canada
It was difficult coming up with that list. In many respects there is no left-wing equivalent of right-wing psychoses. For instance, what's the ludicrous polar opposite of the right-wing disregard for the environment? What's the inverse of KKKate's racist contempt for the First Nations? (Is there a popular left-wing blogger who advocates hatred and oppression against the settler society? Would that be it?) Some aspects of right-wing belief systems are just incomprehensible gobbledy-gook. Right-wingers tend to give up reason and argument for bullets because genuine debates tend to go badly for them. (What with their being really stupid and all.) As well, it's stupid people who tend to feel threatened by harmless things. (That woman is wearing a veil! She's obviously a masked gunwoman/terrorist! Sharia law is going to be imposed on me TOMORROW unless I MOBILIZE!!!) Right-wingers can't grasp that torture, slaughtering of entire families, maiming of "the troops", lies and corruption, the whole bloody tragedy of war is the inevitable result of their constant war-mongering. This is because they're unimaginative and shallow. Either that or they're blood-thirsty cretins who masturbate themselves to the imagery of war (from a safe distance). The left-wing's tendency towards peace can't really be presented in as similarly idiotic a fashion as KKKate and her minions' lust for war.

But, is there any lefty as similarly popular and similarly deranged as KKKate? Any suggestions would be welcome!

P.S. That image came from today's image search for "mirror mirror on the wall." The thing is, I think I've seen that image before and maybe actually used it somewhere else years ago. Weird.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On the Debasement of Canadian Democracy

 
This post (about Dalton McGuinty and Chris Bentley's contempt of the Ontario legislature and the Toronto Star's partisan attempt to belittle it) describes something that we should all take seriously.

The Star article mentions that finding a minister in contempt is unprecedented in the legislature's 220 year history. But this was only two years after the harper government was found in contempt for both the Bev Oda lying scandal and the harper cabinet's refusal to share vital cost estimates with the House of Commons.

"How fast you learn the downhill slide."

Is it the case that familiarity (with universal suffrage) breeds contempt? Or are we on a deliberate downward slide as the masters of society have decided that democratic oversight and the rule of law are simply too pesky to be bothered with in the hellish neo-liberal future that their shriveled brains have in store for us?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Congrats to Chavez!


Hugo Chavez won re-election last night. This is a good thing. The concern trolls can go fuck themselves. US client regimes rape, torture and kill innocent people. The US rewards them. Chavez wins elections and reforms his country legally and democratically, and he's described as a dictator. He's in a genuine struggle with murderous oligarchs who already instigated a coup against him and ripped up Venezuela's constitution (before Chavez loyalists in the military and his supporters in the streets took their power back). If Chavez occasionally departs from the rules to stay in power and work to provide education and housing and healthcare to his fellow human beings who his opponents (and their US puppet-masters) would rather condemn to illiteracy, homelessness and disease, ... well so be it.

Mark Weisbrot describes the significance of this latest Chavez victory quite well here:

But Venezuela is part of a "Latin American spring" that has produced the most democratic, progressive, and independent group of governments that the region has ever had. They work together, and Venezuela has solid support among its neighbours. This is the former president of Brazil, Lula da Silva, last month: "A victory for Chávez is not just a victory for the people of Venezuela but also a victory for all the people of Latin America … this victory will strike another blow against imperialism."

It's true. For centuries these countries have been under the thumbs of blood-sucking oligarchs. Occasionally a Zapata or a Sandino or an Allende or a Guevera or an Aristide would emerge to lead resistance, but since 1945, the southern countries of the Western Hemisphere have been condemned to poverty, misery and oppression. Now, with the USA's strength declining and the people's eyes opened and their hearts stronger, the people of South America (at least) are slipping free.

The US imperialists aren't going to be happy. Well, too fucking bad.

As depressingly slow as it is, the victories in South America and in the Middle East, which the imperialists are trying to either subvert or destroy are real and they are happening. Idiots like Barack Obama imagine that they can manipulate things to the oligarch's perpetual advantage but this will not be the case. The growing autonomy of Egypt is an important thing. The dismal failure of capitalism is a real thing. The ecological crisis is a real thing.

In a few years, the new versions of the Romney vs. Obama show will be unable to conduct a debate because their droning and platitudes will be drowned-out by the hordes outside calling for their blood.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ephemeral asks ...





If we root for Al Pacino in "And Justice For All" then would we root for the lawyer of Tori Stafford's killer if he turned on him?


God is not Great


I liked Hitchens' books For the Sake of Argument, The Trial of Henry Kissinger and at least a good part of No One Left to Lie To. I read somewhere that his book on Orwell was, unoriginal, to say the least and I think there's no justification for his support for the US invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I think there's even less justification for his absurdities on that score having read his God is not Great. If he thinks Zionism is based on pointless delusion and that Christian apocalypse fantasies are ludicrous, then why does he imagine that the box-cutter armed Muslim hijackers are such a vital threat to civilization that they require the legitimation of wars of aggression and imperialism?

That aside, God is not Great is the book-length trashing of religion that I wanted Richard Dawkins' God Delusion to be. Religions are old stories, cooked-up by small, geographically limited communities in ancient times, to attempt to explain a confusing existence. Whatever sincerity they possess has always been marred by cynical, power-hungry deviants and sadists. Religion poisons everything and it's time has past. It is not a neutral thing, producing good or evil depending upon who is using it. It lends itself best to bad things and it is so easily deformed by frauds and monsters because of its inherent properties.

The day after I finished it, some guy at Yonge and Dundas tried to give me a pamphlet on Islam and, later in the afternoon, a whole troop of Mennonites (or Amish) were belting out some hymns on the opposite corner. Having my contempt for the continued adherence to these incoherent myths so recently strengthened, I found the whole thing hard to take.

These idiotic stories are pointless diversions. They deform your lives. Abandon them.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Disgusting Liberal Hackery at the Toronto Star

Glenn Greenwald is forced to ruefully observe that Democrats who decried bush II's regime of illegal spying on US citizens and his regime of rendition and torture (denied by bush II in that dunce's own clumsily fraudulent way) are now completely onside with Barack Obama's stated claims of the right to detain US citizens without charges and even to assassinate them. These former defenders of the US Constitution are now enthusiastic destroyers of it. All due to the sickness of partisan politics.

Is this disgusting Toronto Star article evidence of the same disease amongst Canadian Liberals when it comes to Canadian parliamentary democracy? Are the Liberal Party supporters who were so enraged by harper's abuse of the power of prorogation, his contempt of Parliament, his omnibus legislation and his election fraud going to show themselves as infinitely understanding of such crimes if only a Liberal politician is doing it?

I hope and pray that this article is not symptomatic of a trend among Liberals. That it is an isolated case. And that respect for the spirit and the forms of our limited democracy is stronger than partisan ties.
Energy Minister Chris Bentley faces extraordinary punishment — possibly jail time — after opposition MPPs used their majority in the legislature to ram through a motion to probe the $230 million cancellation of two power plants.
Oh my! How horrible! Those nasty opposition MPPs are "ramming through" a motion to force the government to provide information that they, as the people's representatives, have a right to see! And poor Chris Bentley might have to go to jail (on an outside chance) just because he's violating the spirit and the letter of the law and the basis of parliamentary democracy! What is this world coming to when elected governments are forced to be accountable for their decisions????
“It’s a very difficult thing to have to listen to,” a sombre Bentley told reporters Tuesday after the 53-50 vote to send his fate to the legislature’s finance committee.
Kindly Chris Bentley! I'm starting to feel as bad for him as I did for those victims of police brutality at the G20 in Toronto or in the cells of the Ottawa Police Service that Bentley presided over and didn't do shit about! Oh, poor, poor, stupid Chris Bentley!
In their zeal to investigate how Liberals scrapped the plants to save the seats of five Grit MPPs in Oakville and Mississauga, the Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats believe the minister could be in contempt of parliament.
Why not just say "fanatical zeal" and get it over with? Why not just come right out and say that it's not fair that the Liberal Party of Ontario has to respect the right of the people's representatives in the legislature? Why not just come right out and say that you (as journalists or as employees of the Liberal Toronto Star) don't believe in open, responsible government when it's your team on the hot-seat?
If the legislature concludes Bentley is — something that has not happened to a minister in the 220-year history of an assembly predating Confederation — he faces penalties as severe as incarceration.
Another way to put that would be "No minister of any government in the legislature's 220-year history has ever demonstrated so much contempt for it's rights." Why is this continuously being framed as some unreasonable thing that is going to happen to poor Chris Bentley? Why are we hearing more from him about his reaction to this process and still nothing from the people (our representatives) who are initiating this process? (I already know btw, this is just typical partisan hackery. These are rhetorical questions.) 
Rallying behind him, Premier Dalton McGuinty charged opposition MPPs are smearing an honest man for political gain and setting a “terrible precedent.”
“These attacks, these threats, this heavy handed, unprecedented process — using the full force of the legislature against one MPP — these are decidedly not in keeping with the standards and traditions we seek to uphold,” McGuinty told reporters at a hastily called news conference at Queen’s Park prior to the noon vote.
While I don't approve of this partisan blustering, I am partly grateful that it has been presented here. It just shows what a shameless bull-shitter McGuinty is. It shows that even when he's being hypocritical and pompous he still comes across as a total dweeb. He tries to twist the fact that it's HIS government that is so unprecedentedly bad into blaming the opposition for having to resort to unprecedented actions (in this legislature) to deal with it. What a shameless, lying, dishonourable man. (And I find it hilarious to portray McGuinty's hypocritical yammering as his "rallying behind" Bentley. McGuinty has made Bentley the fall guy here. (Although it is of his own free will that Bentley has decided to spit on the principle of the rights of parliament and democratic accountability.)
The premier had been scheduled to make a “good-news” announcement at the University of Toronto’s Leslie Dan School of Pharmacy, but scuttled it late Monday night to refocus on the political crisis that has engulfed his one-year-old minority administration.
 Awww! Those nasty opposition MPPs! Such party-poopers! McGuinty was going to announce some "good news"! But you assholes, standing up for the rights of the legislature against the miss-use of public monies, had to instigate a crisis and spoil everything! Oh wait; It's McGuinty's government that instigated the crisis!!!! Assholes! 
Tory Leader Tim Hudak conceded it’s “a sad day” for the legislature but said the chips must fall where they may for Bentley and the Liberals.
 Obviously, I don't like Tim Hudak. I can't even be sure that either the Ontario PCs or the ONDP won't stoop to the same depths of the Ontario Liberals in this political culture that has been so totally debased by stephen harper at the federal level. But I do know that in this instance, Hudak, as leader of the opposition, is legitimately empowered to do what he's doing here, and the essence of what he's doing (whether he's genuinely loyal to the traditions of democracy in this province and in this country) is defending the important power of democratic oversight. It's as simple as that. So to instead write that he "concedes" that what he's doing is terrible, to twist his words "sad day" for the legislature and make it seem like he is the one doing all the damage and causing the "sadness" is simply atrocious. 
“They made the choice and now they have to live with it,” said Hudak, adding “it’ll be up to committee” to recommend to the legislature by Nov. 19 whether the minister should be jailed or face “the appropriate sanction.”
The crisis stems from the delayed release of 36,000 pages of documents related to the Liberals’ cancellation of power plants in Oakville and Mississauga.
More details are expected to emerge as witnesses appear before a legislative committee, which has until Oct. 24 to begin hearings.
McGuinty noted Bentley is at risk being the first minister ever found in contempt of parliament in the Ontario legislature, a serious offence with “profound consequences for his career, his reputation and his life.”
For fuck's sake! Can we make this less about McGuinty's snivelling about poor Chris Bentley and more about what is actually going on here????? That McGuinty is denying the people's representatives some very basic information about his use of our money??? That McGuinty is (unprecedented for this legislature's 220-year history) in contempt of parliament????
Ignoring the premier’s emotional appeal, the Tories and the New Democrats exploited their political advantage, although the two parties differ on strategy moving forward.
Naked partisan hackery. I don't know what else there is to say.
“We’re less concerned with penalizing Bentley,” said NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson, noting the important thing is finding out why at least $230 million was spent for partisan electoral reasons.
Horwath emphasized that the committee wants to investigate the power plant debacle, not Bentley’s personal conduct.
“It’s not all the responsibility of the minister, the premier has some responsibility to hold here as well,” the NDP leader said.

Did you read that? Hudak says it's a sad day for the legislature. This statement is presented as some sort of “concession.” It's even being presented that Hudak is saying that Bentley's potential punishment is what makes it a “sad day” for the legislature! And, finally, at the very end of the article, we hear the ONDP member say that they're not even concerned with going after poor lil' Chris Bentley!! For fuck's sake! Was the whole article an exercise in diversion, spiced with partisan self-interest and slathered with contempt for parliamentary demcoracy?

This is the nadir of Canadian democracy people. The Toronto Star reveals itself as a hopelessly hypocritical liberal rag. The Globe & Mail's coverage of this brings to mind Jon Stewart of The Daily Show hooting “Awwwkwaaard!” what with their corrupt support for the anti-democratic stephen harper.

Is it really the case that neither the professional political class nor the professional media grasps the significance of Canada's parliamentary system? Leftist pinkos like me might think that our democracy needs to be improved. But we don't think it's something to be abused and derided.

I have to say that sometimes the comments section of online corporate news breaks one's heart, but as of this writing, the comments to this story are uniformly unsympathetic to Bentley and the Star's hackery.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Arbitrage" - An Important Movie?

If you haven't seen it, Woody Allen's 1989 film "Crimes and Misdemeanors" is a good one. I remember at the time reading how the actors (especially Martin Landau and Alan Alda) played their characters as much nicer people than Woody Allen had intended them to be. The result was a much more believable story. Because few people live their lives full-time in "asshole" mode. There's often a thread of logic rationalizing their idiotic or selfish behaviour, allowing them to see themselves as good people; sane people in an insane world. (Again, one of the great significances of the Margaret Wente plagiarism scandal is how it exposes the extent to which so many people don't have to justify their views in a genuine debate. With no counter-arguments [that they have to defend themselves against] people like Wente get to drift along in blissful smugness, believing they're vindicated.)

I think something similar might be happening in the film "Arbitrage" starring Richard Gere:


I was reading an interview with Gere about the film and he was saying that he wanted to play the character (a corrupt Wall Street tycoon and a philanderer trying to cover-up the accidental death of his mistress) sympathetically. His character wasn't supposed to be a cartoonish villain, but a flawed, selfish, rather ordinary man.

Saul Landau from CounterPunch has an ambiguous response to the film; Is it a loathsome attempt to paint a sympathetic portrait of a man who epitomizes the super-corrupt US ruling class, or is an attempt to paint a realistic portrait of this archetype?

What emerges is a Hollywood portrait of the modern villain. Gere’s character no longer resembles the one he played as the “Pretty Woman” millionaire. In “Arbitrage”, he portrays modern evil, a compelling looking man willing to do whatever it takes to help himself, in business and lust, but without social conscience or a sense of responsibility.
This façade of a philanthropic patriarch. who philanders as naturally as he dines with his family, emerges on screen as a realistic portrait of the kind of felon who could wreck the world economy and think only of saving himself as the world collapses around him. Realism, Hollywood style. Justice? Not in the “Arbitrage” script, nor in the reality of the US economy or justice system. Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered raids on marijuana distributors that have licenses, he’s prosecuted John Edwards and former Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens, all unsuccessfully, but has indicted none of the criminal bankers who broke the system. Will a film about this lapse of governmental action provoke the AG to arrest a real bad guy?
The film's catch-phrase - "Power is the Best Defense" - seems to show an awareness of the issues involved.

Because to a great extent, these Wall Street criminals aren't evil super-geniuses cackling and giddy. A lot of them are just stupid shmucks. They buy up financial junk because there might be a big pay-off, sometimes they get burned, and they cast about for some way out of their predicament. Enormous wealth means comfort, pleasure and security. It's not a world they want to leave. Walking around in their bubbles of privilege they justify gross social inequality by denigrating everyone else (the 47% from Mitt Romney's blathering) and looking for other people to blame for all that's wrong in their worlds.

[SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!]

Gere's character accidentally kills his mistress by falling asleep at the wheel of a car. Martin Landau's character deliberately murders his mistress and successfully covers it up. But at the end of the film (set a year after the events of the film) he appears to have re-connected with his wife. He's a genuinely loving and happy family man and successful, caring physician. The body of his mistress is quietly mouldering away somewhere, forgotten. He's a criminal, but he sees himself as a decent guy who has been given a second chance. He's a murderer.

"Arbitrage," if it gets across the way that our elites function and gives us a grown-up understanding of the pathetic reality of the so-called "1%"  could be a very worthwhile movie.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Another Busy Day = Another Video

Right now it's 8:43 p..m. and I'm cooking tomato sauce ... "I make good spaghetti sauce, mother fucker!" (Looking for the first video brought me to the Joe Walsh tune that I haven't heard in years, so ...)