Saturday, August 31, 2013

Nothing Interests Me

I don't even have the energy to waste time these days.

But my blood work says I'm fine.

It's a mystery.


Friday, August 30, 2013

What Dawg Said

This entry is why I still read his blog.
To begin with, there are several ways people tend to respond to an evil when they are confronted with evidence of it. They can say it never happened. They can say it isn’t what it appears. They can say it isn’t as bad as it appears. They can say they weren’t responsible for it—it’s ancient history. They can quibble with definitions. They can engage in legal prestidigitation: “Courts have rejected native claims of genocide against Ottawa and the churches because Canada had no law banning genocide while the schools were operating.” They can claim false closure: “We said we were sorry!”
There are too many examples of these and other moral manoeuvrings vis-à-vis the indigenous populations of Canada for links to be necessary.
Read the rest.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

More Replies and More Miley Cyrus ...

Commenter karen said this not too long ago:
I beleive that politics are not something that can play in the background of our lives. We either participate or we risk winding up victims.

One thing that I would like to suggest is that the focus NOT be on stopping something, or tearing something down, that the focus be on the building of something. It needs to be positive, not negative. I have a suspicion that the exhaustion comes from fighting, but that we can draw energy from building.
I totally agree about politics' being in the foreground. Politics is everywhere. There's politics in real-life; family politics, relationship politics, workplace politics. And formal politics, with the politicians and the laws, is not something that one can turn-off.

I remember this guy at the counter of an internet cafe saying he hated politics. He said it with such disdain. Engaging in some stereotyping, I noticed that he was an Arab and because of his accent, I assumed he was an immigrant and I thought that he must be disillusioned or disgusted with the politics in the home country and was here in Canada to be left alone and to try to make a living.

Continuing on with these groundless assumptions, I thought that "politics" (whether in Libya, Syria or Saudi Arabia) are damned important obviously, and that the "politics" in any of those places is probably quite awful. But Canada's success is not based on the idea that politics is unimportant and that since nobody gets tortured or killed (well, hardly anybody, and its officially denied) the political debates are is nothing but cultural froth. If we don't take steps to arrest the declining respect for politics, things will soon become as horrible as they are in a dictatorship. We want to preserve the generally peaceful sort of political debate we have now.

That's the tragedy of harper's methods. The whole neo-liberal, pseudo-conservative attack on the great social compromise of the post-1945 era has been assisted by the deliberate denigration of democratic politics and has made things all the more violence-prone/zero-sum. And that's why I thought it had to be resisted.

And I know what you mean about fighting FOR  something as opposed to fighting AGAINST stuff. I've proposed "Workers as Citizens" as a positive initiative. But I also think this initiative could have been positive in that it would strengthen Canadians' understanding and respect for their democracy and also show what a united people can achieve.

(Off topic: Have you read this book?)

Alison at Creekside told me the following at her own blog:
Hi Thwap. I didn't think it a poor little scheme at all - just don't think the necessary natural momentum is there for it yet when what we need is this. Still - good on ya. 
I feel moved to say that when mainstream journalists like Andrew Coyne are saying:
Coyne ... Coyne! : "As Canadian democracy spirals further down the drain : In what other democracy is it permissible for the government of the day to hide from the legislature for months at a time?"
 and
Boris : Resistance
.
One day we will look back on this time and say that this was when we lost it - the possibility of turning on our comfy little oligarchy into something that actually represents us.
That one of the key factors behind our failure to respond is the lack of a response. That there are a lot of Canadians sickened by the depravity of this government, but the absence of any sort of plan from the progressive leadership has been a main factor in stifling a response from these numbers.
Finally:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Miley Cyrus MTV MVA-2013

Long-time readers of this site know about my utter fascination for the cultural enigma that is Miley Cyrus. Well, all I could say about the Pop Princess's performance at this year's Music Video Awards is said here at The Onion:
So, as managing editor of CNN.com, I want our readers to know this: All you are to us, and all you will ever be to us, are eyeballs. The more eyeballs on our content, the more cash we can ask for. Period. And if we’re able to get more eyeballs, that means I’ve done my job, which gets me congratulations from my bosses, which encourages me to put up even more stupid bullshit on the homepage.
I don’t hesitate to call it stupid bullshit because we all know it’s stupid bullshit. We know it and you know it. We also know that you are probably dumb enough, or bored enough, or both, to click on the stupid bullshit anyway, and that you will continue to do so as long as we keep putting it in front of your big, idiot faces. You want to know how many more page views the Miley Cyrus thing got than our article on the wildfires ravaging Yosemite? Like 6 gazillion more.
That’s on you, not us.
Actually, no. I can't resist adding something else. I'll add that watching that whole thing made me think about how air-headed our culture is. That country has killed over a million people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Honduras, ... and millions of its own people are being eaten alive by corporate greed and corruption. But more people are focused on the astounding concept that a 20-year old woman exhibits her sexuality to draw attention to herself.

I'm still engaging with the people kind enough to extend thoughtful comments on my proposal. I'll do some more replying tomorrow. I've got a few things to do today.

Ha-ha-ha!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Reply to Karen

Karen provided a thoughtful comment yesterday:
Okay. I have been out showing the Rocky Mountains and some of my favourite BC places to my New Brunswick family for the last while, and, frankly, ignoring the situation.
I spent the last few years with a great group of people trying to keep the Enbridge Northern Gateway from happening. It's exhausting. There came points when I felt like I was living in an echo chamber, and I got tired of everyone else rolling their eyes when I mention it. I felt one dimensional.
I've engaged in some activism in the past; but never for as sustained a period as months at a time. One thing that I notice though, is that there's a disconnect between urgency and the intensity of the usual suspects and the general public. Sometimes I used to worry that I would get so into that world that I wouldn't be able to communicate with ordinary people. It's often either that progressive activists are hectoring moralists or there's this boring fanaticism.
On the one hand, I get it, Thwap. Its monstrous- the politcal and environmental tragedy going on is wrong, wrong, wrong. And I am more than happy to stand up and say it loud and clear. I am fine with being whatever kind of target that makes me. I don't want to be a part of the world where this level of corruption exists, I really don't. If my death would make any difference, bring it on, because if it all continues in this path, life ain't gonna be worth living anyway. On the other hand however, I do have a few people I love in my life, for whom I cannot make that decision. My parents are becoming somewhat frail. My offspring is just about to graduate university and hopes to pursue a dream overseas. Do I want to jeopardize them? 
Part of my point yesterday was that we shouldn't have these fears. Standing up for what's right (like blocking the illegal logging of precious, endangered rainforests) should not make one a target for a corrupt government's oppressive apparatus. This sentiment should be shared by all citizens, across the spectrum. If you're opposed to the views of one group of people you should still be outraged when peaceful protests are attacked and beaten.
For what it's worth, the group I am involved with on the pipeline have already been doing just the kind of thing you discuss here, having talks and conversations, and trying to widen the discussion, both in terms of content and participants. But the theme that I hear in private conversations is that they want a life outside of protest and dissent.

I understand what they are saying, while thinking in my private little heart that I need to find people who don't mind protest and dissent being their lives.
I think that's excellent what you're doing. It's very important. With regards to most people's desire to make formal politics a smaller part of their life, I've always tried to incorporate that into my systems. "Workers as Citizens" has always tried to address this by making it dependent only upon the people voting for a party that is bound to implement a life-shifting piece of legislation.

It's human nature that people are more concerned about their direct personal experiences than about some battles of words among representatives. But when it comes to the issue our limited parliamentary democracy and harper's assaults on it, I think more people would come out if their eyes were opened and there was some sort of POINT to their being called out into the streets.
I also think a real self defence strategy has to be formulated when we talk about protest. Didn't I just read this week that a protester at the G20 died injuries sustained at the hands of cops? I may be willing to risk that myself, but I don't really want you to. I want to know that there is someway I can have your back. And the kind of training that requires, to keep strangers from being mere bystanders, to defend one another, that is a whole other thing in this conversation. 
 This initiative has all sorts of gradations of participation for all sorts of comfort levels.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The People's Right to Go Ape-Shit

Ahem. I have about ten people who comment sporadically at this blog. I've had one anonymous commenter comment on my plan to have toppled harper. One person.

This is why we can't have nice things people. Because we're captivated by the ease of internet bitching, with the more ambitious of us wedded to the failed tactic of meaningless afternoon protests.

My plan might be a ludicrously over-ambitious piece of nonsense, or it might be the only feasible means we had for redeeming Canada's democracy. I don't know because nobody debates it with me.

What really saddens (and bewilders) me is that there is nothing else out there being proposed. There's no overwhelming avalanche of options. People just seem to prefer to stare vacantly into the middle distance rather than actually do something.

(I had one other comment. The spammer who always types "Canada is a cess-pool of corruption. Harper is selling us out to Red China. Canada will soon be infested with South Asians and Chinese." I no longer post those comments.)

Canadian democracy is in for further abuses, given the incapacity of its citizens to defend it.

Anyhow, here is the one comment my plan received:

I think your plan is an excellent one. I also think that it is one of the scariest things I could ever do given the wonderful treatment real Canadians received at the G20 and that was only to protest the idiotic economic shit harpo refers to as his "action plan".
It will require people to walk the walk and face the fire (I know; trite little quotes but they say it exactly the way it will have to be). Taking back a hijacked-by-fascist-terrorists democracy is and always was a very dangerous and highly laudable endeavor. Real heroes are found and made here. Finding women and men of that ilk will be the real test of this country's resolve to survive as a semi-democracy.
To be perfectly blunt, I'm not sure that I have that kind of incredible courage to face down that retribution/revenge that will be brought down on the front line protestors. I would, however, be more than willing to lend whatever financial support I am able to so as to help support and sustain their efforts.
Again, all in all, your plan is truly worthy of someone who calls himself a Canadian citizen. Now we need to hope that not everybody who reads this blog at my age or any age, for that matter, has the same reservations that I do with regards to getting off their asses and getting out there and doing something. The pamphlet passing around thing; I am definitely down with that. Cheers, Thwap
 I'd like to address this (justifiable) worry that one will get one's skull cracked for standing-up against illegitimate, arbitrary government.

Why do we think this way?

Is it technically legal for  the police to smash us? We talk as if it's a given that our governments spy on us, steal from us, and abuse us if we protest, and that this state of affairs, while not acceptable, is unalterable.

We're like people who insist upon going to a casino that is so corrupt that even when the little ball on the roulette wheel lands on your number, the dealer just picks the ball up and drops it somewhere else to rob you of your winnings. And, of course, they beat you up in alley out back if you complain.

We have inquiries and reports into these violations of our rights. We have commissions. And nothing gets done. Nothing changes.

But oh goodness gracious me! We must never become violent. Because that would lower us to their level (or some other asinine, incoherent argument).

Let me just put it out there for discussion that the people of Canada have an inviolate and inalienable right to go absolutely ape-shit when faced with blatant violations of our Charter Rights and Freedoms.

This does not mean that we should tolerate attempts to violently overthrow the system. I'm saying we should have the right to go berserk to defend our system. We can never stand up to our state police and military forces in a sustained fight. But lightning strikes of public fury are less easy to predict and therefore control. They'll happen and then they'll be gone.

And if the forces of oppression want to introduce laws to restrict our rights to assemble and to communicate with others, we should (as one) physically resist these efforts. Because I'm talking about the justified pushing-back against the abuses that have become so pervasive in the bullshit "war on terror/war on drugs/war on democracy" era. There is no justification for corrupt elites seeking to restrain the possibility of the people's righteous anger. They are only trying to make themselves completely unaccountable. We shouldn't be their chumps in this process.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Don't Everybody Comment at Once ...

So, I typed a plan ... competing (perhaps) with all the other plans to do something about harper's desecration of our democracy and our human rights ... and I'd like some feedback please.

It's the previous four posts.

Maybe it's the most asinine plan in the world. Maybe it's realistic, when all is said and done.

I won't know unless you tell me.


Friday, August 23, 2013

My Plan (Part the Fourth)


 So, in Parts One & Two I made the case for harper's illegitimacy and why we are [were] therefore justified and even obligated  to force him to resign.

Part Three outlined the process of grass-roots outreach and organizing to build the movement necessary to force the government to resign. It was based on the idea that the fact of a really-existing campaign to impose accountability on harper and to defend Canadian democracy would have a snowball effect and would become a viable, nation-wide campaign in a matter of months.

Part Four then, describes the strategy for forcing the government to resign and to call a new election based upon respect for our parliamentary traditions.

If one-million people gathered somewhere and told me to stop drinking during an afternoon of speeches and chanting, while doing nothing else, and with there being a strong possibility that they'd do nothing more when the rally was finished, it might have the effect on me to stop drinking. But if the one-million strong afternoon rally was telling me to stop something I've dedicated my whole life to and which nets me a nice income and lots of power and prestige, there's no way in hell it would have any effect on me.

At the other end of the coin, any campaign of violence we could come up with, besides being dehumanizing, would be nothing compared to the violence that the elites could bring upon us and the subsequent crackdown it would provoke. I do not condemn justified violence, but I don't advocate it either.

But something big is needed to have an impact on a government, any government, if you want it to resign.

So this has to be something overwhelmingly big, but peaceful.

I proposed that when we have a broad-based, nation-wide movement, that we then have a dedicated core of pro-democracy activists (on short notice) begin the permanent occupation of every Conservative Party of Canada's constituency office, across Canada. They will vow to stay there until harper resigns.

These occupiers will be accompanied, and protected, fed etc., by a larger ring of supporters, consisting of people who take turns holding the line with each other, leaving to attend to daily life calls and etc., for as long as it takes for the government to resign.

If this initiative is attacked on the first day, it will 1) have made the news at least, and 2) it will be repeated, by people prepared to put their futures on the line to stop these assaults on their democratic system of government.

If this initiative is successfully carried through but has no impact on the harper government, then the stakes must be raised. The occupations will be extended to federal government offices, in an attempt to halt the business of government until the government resigns.

If that doesn't work, there will be a call to the federal public service to go on strike until the government resigns.

If that doesn't work, then, Parliament itself (which I believe is occupied by a fraudulent, contemptuous, anti-democratic government) is to be occupied.

I believe that there are hundreds of thousands of Canadians who hate harper as I do. I also believe that there are millions of Canadians who just can't stand him. As this initiative continues, more and more people will become aware of the arguments for his illegitimacy and the dangers he poses to our democracy. I honestly believe that if there is something real, something ACTUALLY HAPPENING that is trying to do something tangible, that this will have an educational and inspirational effect.

If it fails, then it fails. But at least people can say that they did something. When people look back on this shameful period in our history, they would at least have been able to say that a lot of Canadians attempted to genuinely resist. (Alas, as it happens, we did nothing, did we?)

If it succeeds, then we have a new election, and the whole movement switches into campaign mode. Bringing up, again and again, that this election is about respect for our democratic traditions and the harpercons' appalling contempt for them.

Hopefully, this whole movement will have inspired Canadians to care about voting and thereby produce a larger voter turnout. We will be like hawks, watching and listening for any sign of the disgraceful, sleazy behaviour that the harpercon scum conducted in 2011. (Fraud will be much easier for the harpercons' thanks to the majority Supreme Court ruling. Now, harpercon agents will get positions with Elections Canada and let there own stooges vote and vote often, with no paperwork, and anyone who wants to argue fraud will have to PROVE that the ballots that can't be accounted for were the result of deliberate fraud on the unknown voters and not the incompetence of the polling clerks.)

But, given the low-level of support for the harpercon party of Canada, it's most likely that they will be defeated and then there will have to be a reckoning. Election fraud, investigated, torture accusations investigated, ... all the crimes and malfeasances of the harpercons' investigated and the guilty punished with prison terms.

The opposition must agree to implement proportional representation, so that no longer will we have majorities based on the support of a minority of 30% of the electorate. No longer will the millions of Green Party of Canada voters be insulted with one seat or no seats in our Parliament.

Anyway, I guess that was the plan. But it's too late now. 2015 is one-year and four months away. I don't foresee that anything substantial, ... hell, I've given up on it. I have very few resources and many demands on my time. Too little to give to pipe-dreams.

It's "business as usual" in harper's Canada.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Plan (Part the Third)

In the first and second parts of this series, I wrote about why something as radical as a constitutional insurgency was required in response to the actions of stephen harper. I am talking about putting into actions, the notion that we should be "in the streets" to "do something" about stephen harper's abuses of democracy. This system (as compromised as it is) is OUR system and it is therefore up to US to do something about it.

So, harper's CONTEMPT for Parliament, his human rights abuses, his unilateral abrogation of sworn treaties, and his violations of election laws, all make him a demonstrated enemy of democracy; a menace to democracy.

Do we believe this or do we not?

If we do, then we MUST bring him down. But, as I said, we - the usual suspects - aren't numerous enough to accomplish this on our own. We have to mobilize more people among the general citizenry to join us.

Bring down the government???? Like a violent insurrection???

NO.

Through peaceful tactics (to be described later) this movement would force harper to resign, attempt to force some sort of one-time electoral agreement amongst the opposition parties (the not-contemptuous-of-Parliament parties), and have a national election fought on the principle of respect for our democracy.

How do we do that? How do we get enough people to make this achievable?

I am not going to slag "the media" for not having alerted Canadians to the problem. Lawrence Martin, Tim Harper, Carol Goar, Linda McQuaig; numerous Canadian journalists and pundits (including Andrew Coyne) have reported or commented on stephen harper's dangerous assaults on our democracy, in no uncertain terms. The problems though are that 1) Most Canadians don't read newspapers, 2) These writers tend not to offer solutions or suggestions as to how we should respond to harper, and 3) The newspapers they work for all supported harper and continue to report and write about him as if he's a legitimate political figure to be treated as any other politician, no better, no worse. 

Television news is probably worse. I simply do not watch television news (unless clips are put before me by friends) so I can't say for television. I'm reasonably sure though, that the systematic outlines of harper's threat to our democracy are few and far between though.

So, we have to go directly to our fellow Canadians to bring our case to them.

How do we do that?

My plan was that I would give some talks. At each talk, I would get maybe five people (maybe one person) to agree with me. They would help me organize other talks to other groups. When I had 25-50 people, we would then pick a neighbourhood in the city we were operating in, and divide it up amongst us, handing out fliers and, when possible, providing a very stripped-down version of the case against stephen harper that I've provided here. (Two people would work a street together to provide moral support.) We would then ask questions to gauge the level of support for an initiative to force the harper government the harper government to resign and call a new election fought on the question of respect for our democratic traditions.

Do you agree that we are justified in calling for harper to resign? Yes or No?

If "Yes," would you be prepared to say so in a petition or to a polling firm?

Would you be able to host an event where these ideas were presented in more detail to a larger group of family/friends, co-workers, members of a group you belong to?

Would you be willing to donate money or time to help spread awareness of our initiative?

Would you be willing to take part in the actual campaign to force harper to resign?

My belief was that this would be a long, painful process. I believed that it would take at least six months to spread awareness of this initiative. That actually sounds like a short time, but I believed that if, say, in Toronto, there were 150 activists going door-to-door, and giving lectures about harper's danger to democracy and a genuine, non-internet-bullshit-activism effort to actually DO SOMETHING about it, that it would start to be reported on and people across Canada would start to become inspired to get started on something like it themselves.

That is where the internet would come in. There would be a website outlining the entire initiative and a discussion board for (among other things) strategizing and organizing.

I imagined a snowball effect where a first few difficult months would slowly build awareness that would inspire others to action.

Here's a good question though: Why on earth should we believe that harper would ever have tolerated this? Aren't we talking about something that could be arguably called "treason" and therefore punished?

My main argument against that is that in this stage of the initiative, all we are doing is TALKING about getting the people to force the government to resign and call a new election. Now, would this be a conspiracy to commit a criminal act? I don't think so. Remember, I said this was a "constitutional insurgency." We aren't talking about tearing down the system. We're talking about defending the system. I honestly believe that our best chances of achieving anything tangible as progressives is through active participation in the democratic process; not through mindlessly chanting at rallies or "organizing" the same old groups to listen to one another complain. That's why I think harper's (so far successful) assaults on our Parliamentary system are so dangerous.

I believe that if I stood before a judge who had integrity and defended myself and my initiative, that I would be met with some degree of understanding and agreement. And this is important in this digital age. At present, through their vast, undeclared spying powers, our governments can learn more about us via the internet, in seconds, than the East German Stasi could find out about their victims in hours.

Which brings me to something else: This whole thing has to be above-ground. This is a rebellion that is being organized in plain sight, because otherwise, provocateurs can be sent in to cause trouble and produce arrests.

So, let's say that after six months (or a year) (oh, and remember I had attempted to start this a year and a half ago) we've got the whole country talking about standing up for democracy and forcing a new election on stephen harper. We've put pressure on the opposition parties that defeating the contempt-for-Parliament party is more important than their petty, short-term interests, we've got an internet presence that is more than just a site for pointless bitching and whining, we're getting national (and other) media exposure, what then?

Well, that will be the subject of tomorrow's post.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Plan (Part the Second)

"Whaddaya mean 'Part the Second'??? Where's 'Part the First' ya dweeb! All I saw yesterday was another one of your pompous rants about how bad stephen harper is!"

Ah! Ye of little faith!

Isn't it the case that many of us, from time to time, remark that it's shameful that harper didn't even need to call out the troops to defend himself from an enraged citizenry when he violated the last election? Don't many of us say that we should rise up and do something about harper?

Well, what does that mean exactly?

You see, right after the Toronto Police Service gunned-down Sammy Yatin (shot him nine times and then tasered him while he was lying on the floor of a streetcar) somebody on facebook posted a link to some example of trigger-happy cops in the USA. One person remarked how the police in the USA are like fascist enforcers and another person said the same thing would happen here "unless we fix things."

I think I related this story before, but it bears repeating: I immediately asked the person who said that we had to fix things what he had meant by that. How would we do it? I got some confused reply about how he wasn't qualified to make suggestions. I said that of course he was; he was a citizen in a democracy. I said that I was pressing him on this because I've been listening to progressives blurt out such statements for years only to watch them do nothing. So, here we go: How did he propose that we, the people, fix the problem of out-of-control, unaccountable police?

I received some pathetic answer about how we post mindlessly on facebook, spread awareness of how shitty things are, and then, somehow, eventually, after some unstated point of social saturation has been reached, a public conversation occurs (initiated, presumably by other people besides himself) and that leads to proposed solutions.

I mention this person, not because he's remarkable, but because he's typical of the empty bluster of progressives.

My point is that if we want more than mere words to bring down harper and hold him accountable for his crimes, then WE are going to have to be the ones to propose how that is going to happen.

Very well then: How are WE going to bring down stephen harper?

We can't do it alone. "We" (the usual suspects who blog, or demonstrate, or write and sign petitions, write letters to newspapers, get RCMP files made about us, etc.,) are not numerous enough to take down the government. We need to get a sizable number of ordinary, generally apolitical Canadians onside.

How do we do that?

Well, one of the first things to remember about bringing down a government with claims to democratic legitimacy is that you have to expose its claims to legitimacy as a fraud. THAT is what Part One was about. Establishing for ourselves that our cause is justified. We have to believe this (I certainly do) before we can propose to other Canadians that they should join us.

So, what I typed yesterday was yet another attempt to argue that harper is indeed, illegitimate. Which is to say that he has no legitimacy. That he has no claims on our obedience. That he has no right to sit in Parliament and ram legislation through it.

He himself has no respect for the institution. Why should we respect him?

Today, I want to focus on the third reason why harper's rule is illegitimate and why he needs to be cast down (the first being his first abuse of prorogation to evade a vote of non-confidence, the second being his contempt of Parliament conviction): harper's assault on the principle of free and fair elections.

Understand this: I tried to make it clear at the time by stating explicitly that my position has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with my opposition to harper's stupid policies. I am to the left of the NDP. Virtually every government in my lifetime, at every level, has been a disappointment to me. I've personally opposed the Persian Gulf War, the Occupation of Afghanistan, the anti-inflation policies of the Bank of Canada, Mike Harris's labour laws, the Tar-Sands, the security certificates, our treatment of the First Nations, etc, etc., etc.. If harper was just another politician implementing legislation that I hated, I would NOT be saying this.

What harper is, is a politician implementing hateful legislation WHEN HE HAS NO RIGHT TO DO SO.

(Even when I said this over and over again, people have tried to say that I'm a sore loser who endangers democracy by proposing a rebellion against a government I disagree with.)

So, finally, the unnecessary third spike in the heart of the vampire of stephen harper's claims to authority - his assault on the principle of free and fair elections.

Those of us who criticize the limitations of capitalist representative democracy often say that it's depressing that we only get to choose from between a narrow spectrum of elite politicians every four or five years and then we're supposed to go home, shut-up and let them rule us in the meantime.

harper would deny us even that.

Look at the abomination of the US political system, especially its electoral system. Enormous barriers prevent the existence of third-parties in the USA. Having (as we do) a first-past-the-post voting system, the battle is between two wings of the right-wing business party. Gerrymandering has produced a system where it is very difficult to unseat incumbents. Election finance laws are lax enough so that these incumbents can be wined and dined at posh locations by their puppet-masters, and everything is charged to their "Political Action Committees" which are actually funded by the puppet-masters. Thanks to an infamous ruling by their Supreme Court ("Citizens United"), billionaires and other assorted scum-bags can donate unlimited amounts of money to buy elections. State governors are allowed to run shamelessly partisan, biased elections favouring their own parties. Citizens' right to vote can be curtailed by private-sector mercenaries empowered to strike unfriendly demographic groups off the voter rolls. Registering to vote is menaced by fraudsters who throw registration forms in the garbage. And the final votes themselves are corrupted by voting machines that are rigged among other abominations.

The entire US political system is hopeless and a revolution is needed in that country. Nothing short of that will fix anything.

Here in Canada, the harpercon party has done everything in its power to import these sleazy methods. They use their publicly funded fliers to trash their opponents. They get donations from "ordinary Canadians" that are actually donations from friendly corporations and wealthy individuals. They violate election financing laws via schemes like the "in-and-out scandal," and that is only when they were getting warmed-up.

In the 2011 federal election, which was called after the opposition parties found them guilty of contempt of Parliament, the harpercons went all-out. Using a highly detailed database, the harpercons targeted opposition supporters with harassing phone calls, purportedly from the opposition candidates' campaigns, insulting and annoying voters at all hours of the day and night, in order to dissuade them from voting for them. Assholes like Michael Sona and Ted Opitz would show up at advanced polling stations or at polling stations in tradtionally opposition-friendly areas and disrupt the proceedings by bellowing about voter fraud and other imaginary crimes. These bogus concerns were only meant to delay things and prevent people from voting against them. Infamously, the harpercons paid communications firms to live-call unfriendly voters on election day and masquerading as Elections Canada officials, to tell them (falsely) that their polling locations had been moved to distant, inconvenient locations, all to SUPPRESS THE VOTE.

It turns out that the integrity of Canada's electoral process is very, very weak. I've worked for Elections Canada in the past and I've been a scrutineer for the NDP. The polls that I worked on or scrutinized were fine. But when harpercon scum-bag Ted Opitz won against the Liberal incumbent, Boris Wrzesnewskyj (in a dirty, hate-filled campaign) by only 26 votes, the dumbkoff person in charge signed-off on an election riddled with omissions and errors. Wrzesnewskyj appealed and a federal court judge (looking at only a fraction of the polls in the riding) found dozens of cases of votes that couldn't be accounted for. He overturned the election. Opitz appealed to the Supreme Court.

Disgustingly, the party of Michael Sona and Ted Opitz, who did all they could to shriek about voting irregularities in order to disrupt polling locations in areas unfriendly to them, now adopted the tactic of mewling about how it would be "unfair" to cancel votes for which no paperwork can be found to support them. Having ballot boxes stuffed with more ballots than there are names on the voters list isn't a problem for them, at least when those stuffed ballot boxes worked in their favour. And, even more sickening, a CORRUPT majority on the Supreme Court agreed with them.

I've already gone through my condemnation of that ruling here. This is taking too long.

Again, my point of rehashing these crimes is because a lot of progressives shoot their mouths off about how we should be out in the streets against harper. But none of them proposed anything.

I proposed that we progressives who believe that harper is a menace to democracy, go door-to-door, handing out fliers, grassroots communication campaign, informing people that we wanted to bring down harper, arguing our case and gauging our level of support. I'll go into the details of the actual tactics to have been employed tomorrow. But the thing is; if you're going to confront people you don't know and ask for their help to bring down the government, you have to be SURE that that's what you really want to do. If you want to be a genuine rebel, you have to accept the reality that the system you're rebelling against will defend itself and you have placed yourself outside the protections accorded to ordinary citizens. You are an outlaw. In the case of this campaign, I wanted to make it clear that this was (as I've said elsewhere) a "constitutional insurgency."  This is about standing-up for the integrity of our system so that we can improve upon it.

I would have thought that fighting back against the deliberate abuse and corruption of what semi-democracy we have as Canadians would be a winning platform. If people honestly believed what I (and most of my readers) believe about what harper has done, then it should be no problem going out and speaking to others. More than that, if things are as I have portrayed them in my last two posts, it was imperative that we do so. Otherwise these wounds to our democracy will only fester.

But big-time journalist critics of harper wouldn't answer my email. A retired journalist who made a lot of noise about how something needed to be done, whined that in reality, he was too busy to do anything (including reading about my proposal). Heads of progressive citizens' groups wouldn't. Facebook groups of nobodies (of whom I was a member) wouldn't answer my calls for meetings. Campus meetings went unattended (even by the campus groups sponsoring the event). I got five people from a Hamilton citizens' group of 40 interested in further discussion but then when it came time to organize further talks to broader groups, things fizzled. Another talk in Toronto was hijacked by some pompous old blowhard who I should have told to shut-up.

And, in the meantime, while I was trying desperately to get a hearing, what were the big progressive organizations doing?

?

What had they proposed to defend our democracy and bring down harper?

?

Nothing.

And so we have omnibus bills that eviscerate our environmental protections and unilaterally abrogate the treaty rights of our First Nations and we all do NOTHING.

So excuse me when I get a little cynical and a little sick inside when I hear some progressive variant of "Organize! Educate! Resist!" or "Hey-hey! Ho-ho! Stephen Harper has got to go!"

It's all bullshit. We do not deserve the level of democracy we have. We either don't appreciate it or we're too timid or apathetic or deluded to bestir ourselves to fight for it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

My Plan (Part the First)

I have believed that harper is illegitimate ever since he was found guilty of contempt of Parliament. Even before I knew his majority was stolen (based as it was on election fraud) I believed this. Because the fundamental premise of our pseudo-democracy is that the government gets its authority from Parliament. I argued (with little effect) that if harper didn't feel bound to respect the basis of his own authority over us, why should we respect his authority?

Think about it for a minute: If that ugly, rancid tower of shit came into your home and tried to order you around, you'd tell him to fuck off. The only reason some of us feel obliged to obey the laws concocted by him and his imbecilic and/or criminal associates, is because he is said to be the prime minister. The prime minister is the leader of the largest single bloc of MPs in the House of Commons. But the prime minister must carry the support of the majority of the MPs in that legislature. harper's illegitimacy really began when he lost the support of the majority in Parliament in 2008 and pressured the witless and craven Governor General Michelle Jean to grant him a prorogation to avoid a vote of no confidence.

That really was a seminal moment in Canadian political history. The will of the majority in Parliament thwarted by a relic of our monarchical past; harper's abuse of our system of government; "Team Ignatieff's" destructive narcissism. That was really when the system started to buckle under harper's wholesale contempt of Parliament.

Scandal followed dismal scandal, culminating in the contempt of Parliament ruling in 2011. The way had been prepared though, by harper's continued attempts to deny Parliament to see the facts about the way the Canadian Forces' detainees in the Afghanistan Occupation were being handled. In that instance, harper managed to avoid formal contempt charges by eventually acceding to a a multi-party committee process to investigate the facts (which the NDP to its great good credit soon pronounced a sham and quit) and a triple-checked, sworn-to-secrecy whitewash of our crimes against humanity was released. In that whole process, harper continued to deny Parliament the information to which it was ENTITLED until the last possible instance. harper did it all over again when the majority in Parliament demanded the official cost estimates of harper's insane "anti-crime" policies and the purchases of the useless F-35 fighter jets. Throw in for good measure harper's absolute indifference that Cabinet Minister Bev Oda repeatedly lied to Parliament about the crude doctoring of an official document, and you can see how little harper cares about the basis of his presumed authority to govern us.

Again I ask you; Why do we tolerate this man? Why do we at all heed the hypocritical yammering of his stupid supporters? Why are we now acquiescing to his environmentally destructive policies (rammed through in massive omnibus bills thanks to his having a majority of seats in an institution HE DOES NOT RESPECT)???

Stupid, shallow or deluded people sometimes think that "politics" is a waste of time. They themselves treat Parliament as a joke. They treat it with contempt. We Canadians have this beautiful gift of semi-democracy and we think ourselves wise to laugh about it and leave it as a plaything for the elites. We aren't wise when we do that. We're imbeciles. Are the tar-sands going to continue to poison the north and belch their exhaust into the atmosphere and bring on global warming? It's up to the federal government's plans (or non-plans) to address the issue. Are we going to spend billions and billions supporting pedophile dictatorships while domestic needs are ignored? It all depends on who controls Parliament. Is the Bank of Canada going to be run by an anti-inflation zealot who thinks other people's unemployment and massive deficits are less important than preserving the wealth of the elites? It's up to Parliament. Is Unemployment Insurance going to be restricted while job security is eroded? It's up to Parliament. Will we spend billions on policing and prisons to criminalize and ruin the lives of tens of thousands of people every year when it comes to the use of marijuana? It's up to who controls Parliament.

Parliament is damned important. Any federal politician who decides to treat it with contempt is unfit to govern. We are unfit to call ourselves a democratic people if we tolerate such a villain as prime minister.

This is the first installment of my plan. This portion is to convince people of harper's illegitimacy. I will continue this with a discussion of harper's election fraud tomorrow. Because the first phase of this plan is to get people comfortable with the idea that just because harper is costumed in the traditional sources of power and just because he's treated as a genuine prime minister by many in the media, instead of as the usurper that he is, it does not mean that his power is legitimate and that it would therefore be illegitimate to physically resist his pretensions.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

So Maybe harper Implodes On His Own and Nothing Really Changes

harper should have gone down at the hands of an enraged, democratic citizenry. I had a plan, but no resources to carry it through. And the geniuses had no time to even hear me out. I don't think it's because they were too busy with their own plans, because there's been deafening silence from them in that regard.

What nonsense.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Soviet Collectivization

I'm reading a book. Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe by Robert Gellately. It's got this self-righteous Anglo-American tone to it (Massacres of the First Nations, slavery, two centuries of slavery and mass starvation in India, Africa and elsewhere).  But I've always said that the best criticisms of the West come from its opponents and the best critiques of communism can come from scholars in capitalist Western nations.

It's a good, detailed introduction into the process whereby communism created fascism and together produced the horrors of the Second World War. (Interesting how the Tsarists and the capitalists worked together to crush the working class and their champions in the mid-19th Century as detailed in The World That Never Was by Alex Butterworth eventually bore such bitter fruit.)

Right now I'm reading about the grim horror of Stalin's collectivization of agriculture in the 1930s.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

This Is What FULL EMPLOYMENT Looks Like

... in case you're wondering:


... Yes! I noticed the sub-texts of racism and misogyny too! This is a great historical artifact!

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

Just so weird.





Saw this:


And wikipedia gave me the back--story and then some ...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Faust

Here's the classic silent movie ...


And another ...


I don't believe I have a soul to sell. But I still recall thinking these films were groovy when I was a teenager.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I Had a Dream

Part of it was that I was in the lobby of a mental hospital and this woman who was in a very agitated state was being told by the nurses at the front desk that they didn't have any room for her. The woman was short, late middle-aged, with a cheap printed knee-length dress on. She was depressed and frantic. The nurses/bureaucrats were all very simpering in their "I'm terribly sorry" routine.

Dejected, the woman walked away. She held out her hand to take her sister's "hand." Her sister was, if anything, in worse state than she was. She was about a little over a meter tall. She had a sleek, pear-shaped torso. Her arms and legs extended down into narrow, rounded points like an amputee. She was naked. Her body was a blue, rubbery substance. Her head was also a featureless appendage, narrowing up into a point. Silently, she joined her sister and left the building.

I went home to the basement apartment that I was living in in this particular dream. The whole thing a brownish, retro-recreation room feel to it. The fridge was along the main inside wall. I opened it. The freezer compartment was almost solid ice, except for a narrow cavern in the middle. Ice had attached itself to the taller items on the top shelf in the refrigerator and was working its way down. I absent mindedly began to punch at the edges of the ice block in the freezer.

I began to talk to ephemeral about the woman and her sister. Ephemeral took offense at my referring to the sister as a "creature" but I said that she was a blue, rubbery, headless thing. What the hell else could I call her.

There was more but there weren't any coherent connections to that section.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The harpercon spirit can NEVER be vanquished!


Never say die! That's what keeps these "conservatives" going you know. Too insane and stupid to know they're beat. They're like the resourceful heroes in an implausible Hollywood adventure. Except that they're assholes who most audiences would hate. If your average North American was watching these puss-balls on the silver screen, they'd groan with dismay at the resourcefulness of these criminal scum.

They're more like a virus. Changing themselves or their environment to continue to spread and grow.

Case-in-point: The recent CRTC ruling denying the loathsome SUN News channel the mandatory carriage they need to stay in business might be seen as a sign of the system working the way it's supposed to. But harpercons are famous for not letting little things like rules and the law push them around:

In a story in yesterday's Edmonton Sun headlined "Sun News battles on," the parliamentary bureau reporter for the self-described "plucky, upstart news channel" and its newspaper arm noted that the CRTC's decision "lays out a proposal for a new category of licenses for Canadian all-news channels" that may solve SNN's problem with the flaccid market for market-fundamentalist bromides and hateful on-air rants.

Shorter CRTC shills: "We're unable to remotely justify saving you under present rules. But be patient; we'll just change the rules so that your vile propaganda can get a pass."

And Kory Kenyukyuk's patrons have deep enough pockets to wait.

That's the other strength these scum have, besides resourcefulness and dedication: MONEY AND POWER.

Assholes.

Friday, August 9, 2013

"The Human Spirit Can Never Be Vanquished!"



 
 Well, to the extent that "the human spirit" is just a concept, that statement is true. Obviously though, since it's just a concept, it can't do much of anything.

The individual human spirit? I can get a handle on that. It's somebody's optimism and will to survive and triumph. That can be broken. It's been broken countless times in the past. Countless individuals have committed suicide or been tortured into compliance. Renouncing their beliefs. Betraying their comrades. It's nonsense to say that the human spirit can never be vanquished.

"The people united can never be defeated." Sure they can. Build strong enough coercive institutions and arm them sufficiently and "the people" will be defeated. Brainwash them. Whatever. It's doable.

When I read about World War II, there are more and more moments where Hitler (and Goebbels as well) start referring to how the "superior wills" of the German troops will prevail despite the (what would prove unbeatable) superior military resources of their opponents.

Mystical clap-trap is mystical clap-trap. Even if his soldiers had "superior wills," that isn't as important as control of the skies and greater reserves of petroleum and iron ore.

It's the same with us and our witless slogans. It's magical thinking to imagine we're going to blog our way to victory. Or petition our way to justice. Or discussion circle into being the world we want to see. Or demonstrate our opponents away.

Alas! Alack! The Canadian Left is capable of nothing else. We're addicted to magical thinking. Perhaps because the reality is too awful.

But the reality wouldn't be so awful if we'd just think with focus for a day or two. If we made that one mental leap over the magical thinking about token protests and petitions and empty slogans.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Farting in a Hurricane

Just pointing out that Canadian progressives have been "mobilized" against the Alberta Tar Sands for over a decade now. To zero effect. Just like successive Liberal and Conservative governments managed to defile our democracy and our reputation in Afghanistan for over a decade while we were completely ineffectual in getting them out.

Just for the record, the next time somebody blames an isolated violent act somewhere for derailing all the work being done by genuine non-violent activists blah, blah, blah, blah.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

OUR Future





And the Canadian Left's response will be to blog about it. Form a facebook page to "organize" a bitch-fest. Circulate a petition. And, finally, to bring out the big guns: Get a bunch of young and old hippies out into the streets to face the cops like lambs to the slaughter.

Pure fucking genius.



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hey! It's Eric Margolis!

A while ago, I wrote a post about state-sanctioned thuggery and murder in Canada and Iran. Essentially my point was that letting Robert Dziekanski's RCMP murder-squad avoid penalties for his death was going to put us on the fast downhill slide to our becoming like countries such as Iran, where, fairly recently, Canadian (of Iranian birth) photojournalist Zahra Kazemi had been tortured, raped and murdered by torturers within Iran's official repression apparatus. That when state-paid killers enjoy immunity from prosecution ... well, it's so obvious a truth that it doesn't need elaboration, right?

Not for drooling moron/psychopath/racist KKKate Makkkmillan of small dead braincells. I don't really know how big a readership KKKrazy-assed KKKate still has in her echo-chamber. I really don't care either. But she used to be a big deal in the Canadian blog-o-sphere. There are a lot of really fucking stupid people out there apparently. Anyhoo, KKKate took issue with my argument there and posted a link to it. She entitled her post "Eric Margolis, is that you?" At the time I didn't get the connection because it didn't make sense and it still doesn't. It doesn't make sense because "making sense" is something that KKKate is only capable of once in a while, being the nut-bar cretin that she is.

I think if you were to try to fill in the gaps between what reality is and KKKate's unfortunate brain-fart, it would be something like: "Eric Margolis is harshly critical of US policies in Afghanistan and Iraq. This 'thwap' person is also saying something critical of a US ally. Therefore, he is just like Eric Margolis. Unh - Dahhhh! I will call my post 'Eric Marolis, is that you'! Dahhhh!"

I mean, it's not like I totally disagree with Margolis. As I said here:
Eric Margolis isn't my cup of tea. There's a reason why he's carried by fecal-brained Toronto Sun. He was a strident anti-communist and was quick to condemn the Soviet Union or People's Republic of China for their violations of human rights, but also seemed to give the United States the benefit of the doubt in its "Cold War" foreign policies. He appears, however, to be a man of principle. 
But that post was where I was agreeing with him about the destructive impact of our support for Afghanistan's sadistic NDS.
Fahim and the Tajik-Uzbek-Communist Northern Alliance took over the revived secret police, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the prison system. In short order, the KhAD's old torturers were back in business. 
...
Prisoners taken in the dead of night to Lubyanka were systematically beaten for days with rubber hoses and clubs. There were special cold rooms were prisoners could be frozen to near death. Sleep deprivation was a favorite and most effective Cheka technique. So was near-drowning in water fouled with urine and feces.
I recall these past horrors because of what this column has long called the gradual `Sovietization’ of the United States. This shameful week, it became clear Canada is also afflicted.

This morning, I find myself in agreement with Margolis again when he asks the question "Are we becoming what we once hated?" with regards to the Orwellian surveillance programs being used on us ostensibly in the "Great War on Terror." And so I'm posting a link to it and entitling it the way I'm doing as a tip-o'-my hat to the ever-clueless, ever-stupid, KKKate Makkkmillan (wherever she is and whatever she's doing).
Today, the military trial of document leaker PFC Bradley Manning has echoes of the Soviet era: a show trial in which a lonely individual is slowly crushed by the wheels of so-called military justice, an oxymoron.
The dramatic revelations of fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden brings back sharp memories of Soviet-era dissidents, jailed, banished, locked in foul psychiatric hospitals for daring to speak the truth.
In my day, those seeking justice and freedom used to defect from the East Bloc to the United States and Britain. Now, ironically, we see a major defector, Ed Snowden, fleeing to Russia.
While the corporate-owned US news networks sugarcoat or obscure the NSA and Afghanistan War scandals, it’s left to Russian TV (RT) to tell Americans the facts. Who would have thought?
We journalists used to mock Pravda and Trud as party mouthpieces. Today, it’s the party line all the time from the big US networks, online news, and newspapers.
 The answer to the question "Are we becoming what we hate" is "Yes."

This answer is to the shit-heads like KKKate who fall for whole "War on Terror" scam. Because it is a scam. "Terrorism" is far less of a threat than was the nuclear-armed super-power Soviet Union. That would go without saying to a non-shit-head. To the extent that terrorism is a threat, it has "root causes" (a term disparaged by right-wing shit-heads), mainly to do with US imperialism in the Middle East and, increasingly, by US violence against civilians in Muslim countries. (This is only in regards to the terrorist violence that is being used to justify the shredding of civil rights here. Right-wing violence and non-Middle Eastern terrorism is of almost no consequence to Washington.) It's all a scam when you consider that Saudi Arabia is a big exporter of the terrorism in question and it's a close US ally. When you consider that the USA is employing Al Qaeda among its other cats-paws in Syria as they did in Libya. To think that with one hand they arm and fund them and with the other they paint them as an existential threat necessitating the suspension of our civil liberties! Who false for such an obvious scam? Right-wing shit-heads of course!

WoT is not targetted at miniscule terrorism threat. But on us. Hammer iss coming down. And dunderheads like kkkate are the cheering section. When it does come down, they'll blame the Muslims or the fags. But I will blame them.

And I will also blame the "liberals" who are so fucking deluded that they continue to support the president behind this exposed surveillance abomination. The Obama-zombies who can't escape the two-sides only nonsense of the US-American political system and the Canadian liberals who would like nothing better than for us to be stuck with such a bullshit political system here.

Who knows what the future will hold? An anti-communist group tried polling Romanians about the dark days of the thuggish Ceauşescu regime found that almost half the population say things were better for them under communism. (23% said things were better and the remainder had no opinion.) Just like with us today, where the vocal, politicized tiny minority are the ones targeted by state violence, Ceauşescu's victims only constituted a small minority of the population. For most people, having a job and a roof over one's head is found to be preferable to the stress of uncertain employment and the resulting homelessness of 21st Century capitalism. With no real viable ideological opponents, capitalism is growing arrogant, callous and careless. They're building a world revolution this time. A truly global consciousness. But they're also building a powerful surveillance-repression system. Barack Obama, stephen harper, bush II or Justin Trudeau. It's all the same.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Organize! Educate! RESIST!


"Organize" - Kind of hard to do when your game plan is to do nothing but mill around in disgruntled confusion. (I wish I was more gruntled.)

"Educate" - We tend to do a decent job of this actually.

"Resist" - This, not so much. At all. (See "Organize.")

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sorting Through the Dregs

Wallowing about today.


and ... that's all folks!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Right-Wing "Democracy"

 
I miss Canadian Cynic's blog. It really exposed the average right-winger for the imbeciles that they are.

Here's two related posts:

Rob Ford's supporters. (As I ask there; how are we supposed to respond to people who will continue to support a guy guilty of "hugging" the same "thugs" he built a great deal of his career as bashing? Are these voters we're obligated to respect when we present our case?)

Authoritarian populism in Eastern Europe. Leninist "socialism" failed. Neo-liberal exploitation "failed." Perhaps fascism is the answer!!!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Song In Your Head Boy strikes again!


Hunh. It was a remake. This is an earlier version:

Somebody said I looked like this guy once:

 The hair, anyway.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tim & Eric Describe the Wonders of the Universe

I've started listening to trippy documentaries about outer-space to help me drift off to sleep. For that reason, I really appreciate the efforts of weirdos Tim and Eric to parody these sorts of films ...