Monday, September 30, 2013

The Rob Ford Revival

Rob Ford's chances for re-election have improved lately:
Almost half of Torontonians approve of the job Rob Ford has been doing as mayor of Canada’s largest city, a new poll suggests.
Forty-nine percent of the 1,082 Toronto residents over 18 surveyed on Sept. 21 and 22 indicated they supported Ford, an increase from 44 per cent at the end of August.
It's because 1) Rob Ford will never lose the support of the most stupid and/or ignorant of the electorate, and 2) Ford's opponents sought to steal his thunder on the idiotic Scarborough Subway and only ended-up playing into his hands.

Let me deal with the latter factor first.

The subway idea is a stupid one. There isn't enough money. Despite the surprise announcement from dim-bulb, Jimbo Flaherty (more on that later), there still isn't enough money. (At least from the present set of political-economic circumstances.) With neither the city, nor the province, nor the federal government willing to pony-up the tens of billions of dollars necessary for an integrated system of subway lines that the city needed ten years ago, the Metrolinx light-rail system was the most realistic alternative. It even had its own long-term benefits, including integrating suburban riders better integration with existing bus lines and lower maintenance costs for the TTC. Finally, the lower cost for the LRT's would mean more money to improve services in the desperately under-served hinterlands.

But Rob Ford has stoked the anger of a vocal minority of Scarborough residents who have come to believe that the LRT is a slap in their collective face. Too clever by half, transit committee chair Karen Stintz thought she'd get behind the proposed subway line proposed by the too-clever by half Ontario Liberals, who fucked everything up by proposing a shitty two-stop subway for one billion dollars more than the longer LRT route would have cost. Suddenly, Rob Ford was back in play. He led the charge against the two-stop route, not Stintz. And then, sleaze-ball harper and shit-head Flaherty found (at the drop of a hat in the age of austerity) $660 million dollars. Now THERE's co-opertative urban transportation planning for you. "Hey! We've got $660 million to buy votes for our pal Rob Ford, if you want it!"

Disgusting.

But none of this should matter if actions and words had consequences in right-wing politics. Rob Ford is the incompetent, ignorant fuckwad who said there was hundreds of millions of dollars in wasted spending ("gravy" as he put it) at City Hall. Once he became mayor, Mr. Gravy Train was slashing TTC service, library hours, park wading pools, and on and on, and even mused about closing women's shelters to save half-a-million dollars.

And everyone with half a brain also knows that Mayor Stupid, the same asshole who turned down provincial money for anti-gang initiatives because he called them "Hug a Thug" programs, is actually smoking crack with those gangsters.

He's the scum of the earth and he should be political poison. But you can say and do any fool thing you want when you're a "conservative." These people are idiots and fuck 'em.
 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Scott Neigh's "Talking Radical: Gender & Sexuality"

So, a while ago, I reviewed my friend Scott Neigh's book Talking Radical: Resisting the State. Now I'm working on the other volume in the series (I believe they might be the first two in a larger series): Talking Radical: Gender & Sexuality.

I believe that this is the more powerful of the two. And I don't know why. Maybe because I'm acclimatized to the structure of the books more or what. But I thought the account by the First Nations woman, Doreen Spence, who as a nurse in a Catholic hospital, spoke out against the involuntary sterilization of a First Nations girl (remarking how the Catholics are always whining about how we need to respect their values when they say they won't do abortions ... waitaminnit! This bears looking into! Because the Catholic Church is supposedly against birth control as well! Including sterilizations! It's possible that in this instance, the leadership at this hospital were prepared to put racism over St Thomas Aquinas. They're supposed to be against riches, usury, torture and etc., as well. So who knows.) was very gripping.

The account by the Quebec labour leader, Madeleine Parent, struggling to unionize Dominion Textiles workers (especially the women) in the face of criminality and oppression from the Duplessis government, the Dominion Textiles company and various corrupt police and judges, was inspiring.


And the account by the women's rights/anti-violence activist Lee Lakeman, on the rise of feminist activism in the 1970s and 1980s is similarly well told.

 

So, I'm about one-third into it and I thought I'd recommend it. I loaned it to a teacher at my son's school and she's wanting to get her own copy now.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Failure of Human Agency

I wrote this in a recent comment and thought I'd expand upon it.
Larger forces (environmental, economic, technological) are going to have to blindly guide blind humanity towards a different form of social organization.

We are incapable of doing it ourselves. (By "we" i  mean the better sort of humanity, like us, who act as our species' rational conscience.) Our elites, meanwhile, will lead us to ruin.
In other words, human beings are incapable of thinking about a better world, seeing what needs to be done in order to attain that world, and doing the work necessary to see that that world is built. I now agree with Marx in privileging the power of larger social-economic forces to decide things, over the autonomous agency of individual human beings.

The social-welfare state of the 1945-73 period was the product of Fordist manufacturing processes, the Great Depression and the social organization of resources in the capitalist democracies that ended unemployment, brought widespread prosperity and temporarily destroyed the self-serving myth that a more just and equitable society was possible.

Certainly, individual human beings (tens of millions of them) made decisions and steered little pieces of their world towards that end, but their efforts would have been for nothing without the assistance of those blind larger forces.

And it's not as if that pro-capitalist, consumerist, anti-environmental, population-explosion inducing world didn't contain within it the seeds of its own destruction. Hell, it's still possible that we'll destroy ourselves with the nuclear weapons we built during that era.

We "progressives" simply have to face the fact that we're outnumbered by the dismally stupid and the totally ignorant. The "Occupy" movement failed because camping out in the park discussing and debating forever while police truncheons split the skulls of the discussants isn't a viable revolutionary strategy. "Idle No More" has restored some pride to many First Nations in Canada, and it briefly impugned upon the consciousnesses of the people from the settler society, but flash-mobs in shopping malls aren't going to bring the Canadian state to its knees.

The best we can do is conduct an orderly retreat; forget holding the line. We're out-gunned and overwhelmed. Especially by the stupid.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

No Vision

What does the opposition stand for? Free pot (maybe)? The environment? (Elizabeth May will need more friends then.)

We're supposed to vote without knowing anything.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

On the road ...

I'm in transit today. Doing a lot of errands that have no money attached. Hope it's not as stressful as this:

Happy trails to me.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Miley Cyrus, Rob Ford and Skyler White


I was FRONT PAGE NEWS that 20-year old pop super-vixen Miley Cyrus and her fiance Liam Hemsworth have definitely called it Quitsville. I'm not sure of the reasons for the split, but it was a long time coming. Also, the bungling Obama's attempts to start World War III appear to be stuttering to a halt; the hunger-strike in California prisons is over, teachers are being clubbed by riot police in Mexico City, global warming, financial system tottering ... but on the front page of newspapers is the denouement of the wedding plans of two celebrities.


Despite his aides tweeting (on "Twitter" 'natch!) that he'd be there for a mural unveiling, crack-cocaine abusing Toronto mayor Rob Ford was a no-show. It was a "scheduling issue" apparently. An unscheduled hang-over is more like it. Like the big blob of incompetence didn't even wake up until 10 am (the time of the scheduled event) and was capable of nothing more but puking all over himself before dragging his ass to the medicine cabinet for some headache pills.


Finally, ... There's lots of hate on the intertoobz for television character "Skyler White" (played by Anna Gunn) on the fictional television story "Breaking Bad." For those of you not in the know, Skyler is the wife of Walter, an underpaid high school chemistry teacher who finds he has lung cancer and in desperation, begins cooking and selling crystal meth to try to put money away for his family after his death.

Walter's plans go bad from the very beginning and his secret life as a meth cook/gangster begins to take up more and more of his life. Skyler goes from being suspicious, to angry, to frightened, to unwilling accomplice, and always a thorn in Walt's attempts to hermetically seal off his two lives from each other. Throughout this process, a lot of viewers have decided that Skyler is a big pain in the ass who should be killed.

If you google "hate skyler white" you'll get lots of analysis of this phenomenon, but here's my take: Because of the excellent writing and acting, viewers are led to sympathize with Walter White, at least somewhat, and at least in the early seasons. Some people, forgetting that it's all fiction, or forgetting the simple fact that Skyler's character isn't privy to all the sufferings and traumas endured by Walter's character, see her as being unreasonably unsympathetic to the poor guy. Skyler's character doesn't watch all the scenes that we do. That's the whole point.

Also, what Skyler does to try to protect her family, is to try to divorce him and lock him out of his own house and keep him away from his kids. (She also has an affair with her boss.) This part, I could see some men being uncomfortable with. While it's true that men have dragged women through the shit since time immemorial, it's also an undeniable fact that some women have taken the steps to equalize justice in family law to maliciously devastate hapless men. Watching the painful battle between Walter and Skyler at this point is going to twing the heart-strings of some men taken to the cleaners by ex-wives, despite the fact that these two fictional characters are inhabiting quite a different context.

Finally, and at the root of it all, is plain old sexism. Skyler inhabits the traditional role of stay-at-home mother. (At least until she takes a job which Walt chooses to see as emasculating him.) She's not doing all the awesome crimelord-problem-solving-action-shoot-outs and stuff her husband is doing. She's trying to protect herself and her children from whatever the hell it is that Walter is doing. That isn't as sexy. You couldn't make as outrageous a show from this story based on Skyler White's perception. But her choices would make more sense if the (most definitely overwhelmingly male) haters could just get over the fact that she's a woman. But since she is a woman, she's a stupid bitch who should STFU and get out of the fucking way and make them a sandwich and give them a blow-job while she's at it and ha-ha! aren't we funny for talking this way about the stupid ho's?

It's not funny and you're fucking morons.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Sickening Stupidity of Obama Fans


 "Driftglass" is at it again. In this case, he's apparently elaborating on something that Digby said.

Well, let's take care of Digby first.
I don't know why it's so important for people to believe that the president is a Jedi Master but he clearly isn't. However he is willing to change course (on foreign policy anyway) when an opportunity presents itself and I think that's praiseworthy in itself, particularly after our last experience with a stubborn president determined to go to war no matter what.  I think it's a good thing that they can take advantage of an unseen possibility. 
 Ahem. Obama's stupid desire to attack Syria is not some hermetically sealed event, completely separate from the last TWELVE YEARS OF WAR. Obama's dodgy case of hypocrisy and lies, are a continuation of bush II's hypocrisy and outright lies. They come after over a decade of corruption, torture and failure. On top of this, this desire to spend hundreds of millions (perhaps billions if the US were to put boots on the ground in Syria) was being voiced while the vast majority of US Americans suffer stagnant or declining incomes and are fleeced by both Washington and Wall Street. The people of the world are sick of the wars, sick of the lies, sick of the hypocrisy and sick of the evil. The vote against the government by the British Parliament was perhaps the strongest manifestation of this sentiment.

Obama retreating in the face of this overwhelming rejection is not a sign of mental flexibility and a willingness to change. It's an acknowledgment of harsh reality.

Furthermore, Obama is being faced with a united front of Russia and China; two great military powers with Security Council vetoes, who are no longer willing to lose influence in the region.

Furthermore, Obama (unlike a Repugnican) is faced with a political opposition who will not shrink from the massive hypocrisy needed to go from condemning him for being weak if he doesn't bomb Syria to condemning him for violating the Constitution if he ignores Congress and does attack Syria and therefore demands that he consult Congress so that they can vote against him.

Obama, through his own stupidity, got himself into this mess, and as reality made it abundantly clear, it was going to be a horrible disaster. That Secretary of State Kerry bumbled his way into giving Putin a chance to pull their nuts out of the fire (Kerry was taking questions from British journalists who asked him "gasp!" a genuine question) is no testimony to Obama's pragmatism and reasonableness. The man is an idiot and war-monger who just found out that you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

Now then, on to Driftglass and another of his hysterical rants against Glenn Greenwald and other principled critics of his hero, Obama:
But I also have to ask why it's so important for other people to believe that President Dronekill McWorse-Than-Boosh is a war-hungry sociopath but he clearly isn't?  

Why the need to make it less than it is? 
Because there sure as hell seems to be a lot of people dining out on the theory that President Obama just fucking loves to indiscriminately bomb innocent civilians.   For kicks.   Especially when those innocent civilians are children or American citizens just puttering around minding their own damn business.  It sure as hell seems as though a lot of my friends on the Left with fairly large megaphones are irrevocably invested in the notion that President Obama is defined by an unalloyed contempt for the rule of law, and feels compelled to act only because he is thrall of shadowy Pentagon plotters who invented the entire country of "Syria" out of whole cloth just to help goose up their budgets.
 Just listen to the imbecile! So, just because Obama murders people with a tear in his eye, he's all right in your books Driftglass? Is that it? Because Obama DOES murder people. He murdered a 16-year old American citizen (non-citizens have even less legal rights to life than do American citizens in the eyes of US American presidents) and several others, after he'd murdered the boys father. He murdered the boy's father for doing nothing more than speaking out against criminal US American governments. He murdered that man for doing what the SCOTUS had already said was permissible. Obama is a murderer. And his drone policy is mass-murder. End of story.

Okay? This is a goddamned FACT. This wasn't an act of war. This was the open assassination of a US American citizen. MURDER. 

Anyone who can't process this simple fact is an absolute dunce who doesn't deserve a respectful hearing.
 
Driftglass continues to whine:
It sure as hell seems as though a lot of my friends on the Left with fairly large megaphones are irrevocably invested in the notion that President Obama is defined by an unalloyed contempt for the rule of law
What's that? Suggesting that Obama has contempt for the rule of law is out of line? The torturing Obama? The Obama who defied Congress and implemented [disastrous] regime change in Libya? The Obama who believes he has the right to kill his fellow citizens because he subjects them to a [secret] "process" before he murders them? The Obama who invites coddled Wall Street super-criminals into his administration?
 
It doesn't sure as hell seem as though a lot of your friends are invested in that notion Driftglass, it's a goddamned fact! Because he DOES hold the rule of law in contempt. You stupid jackass. 
and feels compelled to act only because he is thrall of shadowy Pentagon plotters who invented the entire country of "Syria" out of whole cloth just to help goose up their budgets.
Whereas you think yourself intelligent for asserting that Obama actually gives a shit about murdering innocents with poison gas? That this is US American idealism and Obama sees himself as a guardian of human rights around the world? You fucking moron.  
 
The sickening level of stupidity displayed by so many "progressives" as they allow themselves to be hoodwinked by Obama for six fucking years, destroys my faith in the human species to recognize and save itself from disaster and suicide.
 
Imbeciles. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Thoroughly Depressing State of Canadian Democracy

Both the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party have presided over the torture of Canadian citizens. Torture was widespread in Afghanistan. Everyone knows this. But the thing about crimes against humanity (it appears) is that they're not really that big a deal. It seems that you can even witness a brutal murder, but if nobody does anything about it, after a while you start to force yourself to live with it.

It's only the people who were tortured, and their loved ones, who have a vested interest in seeing that justice is done. The supreme dick-wad, stephen harper, continues to fight, every step of the way, the efforts of Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin, to obtain compensation for their extended torture-by-proxy in Syria and Egypt. CSIS questions were put to Canadian citizens by Syrian torturers.

If only for that bit of scuzzery, stephen harper should be treated as a criminal by our leading media and political lights. But no, besides being a torturer, he's been convicted of contempt of Parliament and everybody (except for shit-eating harpercon hacks and similar sorts of human garbage) knows that it was his party that orchestrated the vile election law violations in the 2011 federal election.

But we continue to treat this monster as just another politician.

We aren't in the streets SERIOUSLY attempting to say "No!" to this criminal. Our politicians are continuing to play the game. There's no concerted effort (because there's no genuine appreciation of the significance of his crimes) on the part of our political representatives to unite against him.

The NDP has turned neo-liberal under Thomas Mulcair. The NDP across the country has turned into just another sleazy gang of opportunists and corporate boot-lickers.

The left is hopeless. 

Power at the federal level is going to be based on a beauty contest it seems, with the vacuous male model, Justin Trudeau competing for undecided voters with stephen harper, who will be solidly supported by his dullard, toilet-bowel-licking hypocrites and rapists.

The whole stupid contraption will roll along, with little explosions and wheezes. And there's nothing I can do about it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

DARK

The thing about Tim and Eric is that they present failure so gut-wrenchingly real that you have to admire their artistry. The failure looks so real, but it isn't, because no two guys could fail so convincingly is so many different ways. All that having been said, the following two characters are about the blackest in black humour about failure.






Thursday, September 12, 2013

Protecting Mayor Stupid


 So Toronto's incompetent buffoon of a crack-head continues to get protection from facing the consequences of his criminal hypocrisy:
The Crown recently provided lawyers for the media (reporters are not yet allowed to see the material, or report it) with an 119-page police document, of which 110 pages are entirely blacked out, according to documents filed with the court.
Un-fucking believable! Waitaminnit! What am I saying? This is Canada! Two-tier justice for scum like Rob Ford is standard operating procedure.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Stuff You Find Out On The Inter-Toobz!

Here's excerpts from a 1978 season of "The Dating Game" where one of the eligible bachelors would later be found to have been a prolific serial killer:


Here's what Wikipedia has to say about that:
In 1978, despite his status as a convicted rapist and registered sex offender, Alcala was accepted as a contestant on The Dating Game. By then he had already killed at least two women in California and two others in New York.[37]
Hunh. (Emphasis added.)


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Was Miley Cyrus Racist?

Apparently one of her fellow dancers was dressed up as an exaggerated version of a black woman with a huge ass or something.


Would my blog be any less relevant if I focused on the pop-cultural significances of Miley's hyper-drive career rather than rancid lard-ass stephen harper's daily defecations on Canadian democracy or such world-historical topics as the betrayal of the "Arab Spring"?


I'd like to type something about popular responses to the character of Skyler White from "Breaking Bad."


But, for now, I'll just take you back to those thrilling days of Yesteryear. When the big wrestling thing used to be called the WWF and homophobes would shout down Adorable Adrian Adonis because they wanted to watch the oiled-up he-men fondle each other:


Monday, September 9, 2013

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Anti-War Sentiment

Well, you can describe blow-back against decades of imperialism in the Middle East and adjacent areas as an unprovoked attack based
on a medieval hatred for your freedoms.

You can invade a country and kill anywhere from 50,000 to a million people (they couldn't be bothered to keep track) because they wouldn't turn over a suspect in the terrorist attack unless evidence of his guilt was produced. You can then impose a super-corrupt, oppressive government on that country's people and blame all resistance against it as being part of an evil conspiracy.

You can then attack a country with nothing to do with the original terrorist attack and cause the deaths of over a million people, through violence, sectarian warfare, civil war, torture and mutilation.

You can back dictators against their people in the "Arab Spring." Except for one dictator who you don't 100% control. Then, you can arm and train the same terrorists who are supposedly your worst existential enemy to topple that dictator and thereby bring down a nightmare of gangsterism and chaos upon that dictator's country.

But it now appears that the imperialist elites' bringing up the same old bullshit about WMDs and humanitarian intervention and the need to subsidize cannibalistic Al Qaeda fanatics in Syria has brought the world to the boiling point.

More people are catching-up with us on the lying nature of US-American elites' concern for world peace and human rights.

This video kept pausing on me but I think it'll be a good one:


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Argle-Bargle

Hootenany!


Holy-fuck! But that so totally sums up my political activism at the moment! (Except I guess that I'd have a maple-leaf emblazoned across my manly chest.)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nothing II

Hey twap! Didn't you just outline some bitchin' strategy for a campaign to bring down the government? What's with all these videos and whining and shit?

Ahem.

If you go back to the beginning of that, you'll see that it was to outline a plan that I've abandoned due to my complete inability to get it off the ground. No resources. No support. Even third-string lefty leaders were too busy staring at their navels to even give me a hearing.

Fuck it.

Watch this instead. I thought half of it was pretty good before I fell asleep:


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

Nothing

Pointlesssssss


happy labour day

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Robert Jensen on US American Democracy

I agree with many of the sentiments here and think they apply to Canada as well.
Let me be clear: I’m not suggesting that there is nothing democratic about the contemporary United States, nor am I suggesting that we live in a fascist state. It’s important to avoid rhetorical overkill. Rather, I’m simply recognizing that, counter to the mythology of the United States, no existing nation-state is a democracy in any deep sense. The question is, to what degree are the features of a society—not just the formal political process, but the economic and social structures as well—truly democratic. Formulating the question that way opens up a more meaningful discussion of those realities.
Worth the read.