Friday, November 28, 2014

Ezra Levant fuxxup AGAIN

I gotta say, there's so much more going on the world, but it just warms my cockles to hear that shitty lawyer, failed publisher, hack writer Ezra Levant was found guilty of libel and ordered to pay $80,000 in compensation:
An Ontario judge who heard a defamation lawsuit against Sun News Network host Ezra Levant has ruled that he libelled a Saskatchewan lawyer in a series of blog posts.
Justice Wendy Matheson has ordered Levant to pay $80,000 in damages to Khurrum Awan and remove "defamatory words" about the man from his website within 15 days.
It couldn't have happened to a fouler piece of vermin. Ezra Levant's continued ability to afford to feed himself as a propagandist is an indictment of our country.

You know, when you think about the thousands of Canadians who like Ezra Levant and agree with his bullshit, it gives you a twinge of indigestion.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"Sex without explicit consent"

A few days ago, some charming Liberal partisans were howling: "A man's career has been ruined because of some lying little bitch!"

I don't know what happened. I have found the whole thing to be confusing. Not as confusing as Sheila Copps, but confusing. Parliamentarians are supposed to be powerful people in theory. They're people trusted by tens of thousands of others to represent them. Once in Parliament, they're supposed to be colleagues.

But all this theory was designed when parliamentarians were all rich, white men. Poor people were dirt. People of colour were animals. And women were "a temple built over a sewer." Sexual harassment wasn't even a concept for these guys. The last thing they'd do would be to set up policies for how to deal with it.

Here's my idle speculation: It all happened just as the female NDP MP said it did. She found herself with the opportunity to speak with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau about something that was bothering her. She honestly (for whatever reasons) did not want to destroy this guy's career. But she didn't want to stay silent and contribute to a career like Ghomeshi's or Cosby's (alleged) serial assaults.

But Trudeau called a spade a spade. Now that he was made aware of these accusations, he couldn't be seen as contributing to a cover-up. He named and suspended the MP. I don't think he knew what else to do. The NDP MP complained somehow and Mulcair heard about it. He didn't know what to do either. His MP was upset. Certainly, Mulcair doesn't like Trudeau, and any chance to criticize him is going to be seen in a positive light.

But I think the non-existence of sexual harassment policies in Parliament is the root of the problem. These sorts of allegations are going to continue, not because female politicians are going to start "crawling out of the woodwork" as some Facebook strangers described the process of Ghomeshi's accusers coming forward. They're going to continue because we men do this shit all the fucking time. Especially the type-A ego-maniacs who go into politics.

John Turner used to pat women on the ass. He thought nothing of it because that's what you did in those days. (At least sexist Bay Street executives thought so.) It's probably still a joke (for guys) to "cop a feel." It's only been a couple of years really since women have insisted that they have the right to be walking down the street hammered, with a t-shirt saying "I am really asking for it!" and not be raped.

Times are changing.

Is it possible that this guy thought he had consent? Maybe. Is it possible that this whole thing is a partisan dirty-trick orchestrated by Mulcair and his army of nubile Quebec honey-pot assassin squad? Maybe. (But I doubt it.) (Even if some Liberals think "sex without explicit consent" is a string of weasel-words to accuse a guy of rape without necessarily saying so. Me, personally, I think she didn't say "rape" because she honestly thinks the guy made a mistake. That she actually wants the guy to get help and stop what he's doing. That's why she's refrained from calling him a rapist.)

About "explicit consent," ... this young lady has been doing these blogs for a while and they're very popular. If things went down the way the female MP described it, the man in question could use it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

harper government's nuanced views on Nazism

Just when you think these harpercon scum couldn't sink any lower! 

Russian gangster Vladimir Putin, takes advantage of the neo-Nazi orientation of the gangsters running the Ukraine by putting to vote at the United Nations a resolution to combat the glorification of Nazism.

The Ukraine government voted against it because they're nazis. Their excuse though, is that they also suffered under Stalinism. Right. You can't condemn the Nazis without condemning Stalinism. Why not propose a resolution to combat the glorification of communism, or imperialism then?  The real reason, again, is because the Ukraine government is fascist.

Who cares what the criminal Obama administration's excuse is. I loathe all the mewling hypocritical drivel that US Democrats fart out these days.

Canada's government explains its pro-Nazi vote by saying that the resolution conflicts with freedom of expression. They don't have a problem with attacking freedom of expression when it comes to criticism of Israel's crimes against humanity.

(Not surprisingly, the usual gang of idiots at Dawg's, especially Peter1 and MarkyMark, also have "nuanced" views on whether or not the glorification of the Nazis is a bad thing or not.)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Reflexive Distrust of Rape Victims

We interrupt our semi-frequent blogging about political-economy to talk about Bill Cosby. The thing about celebrities is that when they get into scandals, they get a lot of people talking about the wider issues of these scandals, because the nature of celebrity is that people know who you are and have an opinion about you.

O.J. Simpson, Jian Ghomeshi, and now Bill Cosby. (Just to name a few. Hey! They're all men of colour! Why is that? Truth be told, I thought about mentioning Bill Clinton, but decided he was a politician more than a celebrity. And I had a narrower point to make, based solely on the basically vapid nature of "celebrity." Then I thought of Jimmy Saville, but I really have no idea who he was. Thinking of Jimmy Saville made me think about Gary Glitter, but he was caught red-handed with child pornography, and, if anything, pedophiles are lower down on the public esteem charts than are female rape victims. Anyhow, those three guys are the ones that popped into my head. The O.J. Simpson trial was 20 years ago, but it was HUGE.)

So, the thing is, ... why are people only talking about Bill Cosby now? I know why I'm only talking about him now. I'd never heard of these accusations from decades ago until now. Supposedly, Cosby used his financial, legal, celebrity clout to squash these accusations in the past. Sometimes he'd settle out of court and pointedly refuse to comment on them afterwards. So, in all honesty, I'd never heard of them.

Oh! (And this is a blog post, not an academic treatise, so excuse the stream-of-consciousness flow.) The thing about the basically vapid celebrity culture means that even though the celebrities are just ordinary people and why should we concern ourselves with them, is that the issues behind the scandals, the issues driving the scandals, are often hugely important. So, people all know the celebrity. They all have opinions about the celebrity. And they're all talking about important social issues like sexual assault.

Notice the dearth of female celebrities with around a dozen men accusing them of rape across the decades?

So, Bill Cosby. I liked "Fat Albert." I was a kid and it was a cartoon. I had little to say about his Jello-Pudding-Pops commercials. (Apparently they were a mega-success.) I actively disliked "The Cosby Show." I heard he did great stand-up comedy over the years. I was a little put-out by his whole "black people have to get their shit together" routine. (Which now seems a little ironic, given the circumstances.)

So, at the same time as Jian Ghomeshi (another celebrity who I had little knowledge of other than who he was and what he did for a living) is in the news as a predatory monster, comes this avalanche of horror about Bill Cosby. It's alleged that for decades he preyed on young women, befriending them, before drugging them and raping them. There's now something like 13 women accusing him of having done this to them.

So, here's the thing; when the allegations against Ghomeshi surfaced, I heard a woman I know say "I hope it's not true." Publicly, Elizabeth May (who despite her religious issues with abortion, is definitely a feminist) and Judy Rebik (who is 100% a feminist) signaled their support for him (since quickly retracted). What's up with that? (I'll get to it.)

I didn't even know what his voice sounded like, when I read the first bit of that disastrous Facebook post of his. And I thought: "He says that he's into BDSM and a vindictive ex-girlfriend is accusing him of stuff? Well, maybe." But as things piled-up, "Bad-date Ghomeshi" and "Big-Ears Teddy" and two women came forward publicly about him, and many more did so anonymously, it became pretty to hard to argue that he was a victim of Victorian prudery and a woman scorned.

So why did it take all that for me to decide (personally) that Ghomeshi is probably guilty as sin? Because I believe in innocent until proven guilty.

But I want to admit to a personal triumph.

At no time did I think an ex-girlfriend was definitely lying. I thought "maybe" Ghomeshi is the victim of an vendetta, but I also thought "maybe" he was harassing female co-workers, or had beat a woman.

The phrase for what I was looking for, in trying to describe this was "the public’s reflexive distrust of rape victims." If you didn't click on the link, it's from an article called "Bill Cosby loses control: comedian no longer dictating the narrative -- and it's about time." It's pretty good. Give it a read.

Here's something; This DOES have to do with patriarchy. It is possible (it's very rare, but it's possible) for men to be falsely accused of sexual assault. It is therefore in the self-interest of men that society assume men are innocent, and, necessarily, that women are liars. In the same way, it is in the self-interest of women that men be seen as the guilty party and that women are the truth-tellers.

It is an indication of the power of men in society, that WE set the terms of the debate. That the default mode for people when hearing about allegations of sexual assault is to believe the man and not the woman. Even women do this. And it is a testimony (a disgusting indictment more like it) of the power of patriarchy in our society, that this holds true in spite of the fact that vastly more men are guilty of rape than women are guilty of making false accusations.

Let me give that it's own little paragraph:

Even though far more men rape women than there women who have made false accusations of rape against men, we still believe that men are innocent and women are liars when rape accusations are made.

I'm proud to say that I no longer do this. I do not reflexively believe that, not only is the accused innocent, but that his accuser is definitely a liar.

"Big-fucking-hairy-deal thwap! Don't dislocate your shoulder patting yourself on the back!"

So why did Jian Ghomeshi have to (allegedly) beat over ten women and two of them come forward publicly before thwap and the rest of society turn against him? Why was Bill Cosby (allegedly) to have raped a dozen (maybe more) women over a period of decades, and some people still believe him?

Part of the public support for people like Ghomeshi and Cosby doesn't come from patriarchy. It comes from "celebrity," but not from some brainless, but magical power that "celebrity" conveys in order to turn people into morons. To be a celebrity is to be famous. But people get famous for different reasons. Paris Hilton is famous because she's a wealthy heiress who had a private sex-tape leaked. Kim Kardashian is famous because she's a wealthy heiress who also had a private sex-tape that was supposedly leaked to the public without her knowledge. Brad Pitt is a celebrity because he's a really good-looking actor (and I would agree with anyone who says he has a helluva screen presence).

Jian Ghomeshi (apparently) had a persona as a sensitive, liberal, cultured male who had a unique talent for getting other famous and/or interesting people to open up to him and thereby obtain great interviews. People thought they knew him. (Evidently he read essays at the beginning of his show that were very popular, but people didn't know that he didn't write them.)

Bill Cosby? A lot of people found him lovable. Black people saw him as an inspiration. He was a respectable entertainment icon only a few years after Martin Luther King was murdered for the cause of Civil Rights in the USA. Supposedly "The Cosby Show" has a strong message of female empowerment with its characters or whatever.

(I watched part of one episode where the Huxtable kids were all bickering and squabbling with each other, and then, on their television, some commemoration of MLK began playing ... here it is ... reflecting upon it later, I figured that the message had been that while they might have their differences and their everyday conflicts, the Huxtables, and other African Americans, and everyone else who has benefited from the Civil Rights struggle, should pause and be thankful for the gains they've made. They [and we] should be thankful that we have such small problems, since heroes like MLK got rid of so many big ones for them [us]. But honestly? At the time, I thought that there's a big difference between ordinary people and spoiled, vapid, self-centered wealthy fucking air-heads. I thought the message was: "Here's a family of obnoxious rich morons. Let's tack a speech from Martin Luther King on the end, because.")

(The only other episode I watched, one of the Huxtable daughters had a fiancee or new husband, and one of his female college friends was in town and would he like to go for drinks with her and her friends? He asks young lady Huxtable if that's all right and she says sure, but he asks if she's sure she's sure, because he doesn't have to. She insists it's fine and so he goes out with his old friend [girlfriend? don't remember] and her friends for an innocent afternoon or evening, to come back to her giving him an angry cold shoulder. Whereupon Papa Huxtable explains that men just gotta know how to read women and even when they say "yes" they can mean "no." I was disgusted. If I was in that young man's place I would have told her to go fuck herself, and then gone out to get drunk with some other friends. Fuck's sake! Say what you mean!)

As unimpressed as I was with Bill Cosby, I had a hard time processing these accusations. "Avuncular" means "like an uncle" but I think it also means a kindly, friendly uncle. I thought of Cosby as this "avuncular" character, wearing the big colourful sweaters. Also, he's very rich. There is such a thing as a deranged fan. Is it possible that a celebrity could be accused of something by a mercenary person who wants to be paid-off? Of course it is.

But to trust a celebrity you "know" isn't entirely patriarchy. Parents of children who have been accused of terrible things (or even convicted of them) will refuse to consider the idea that their children are guilty. Good looking people are often forgiven for things far more than plain people. If you're already sympathetic to someone (and in Cosby's case, his persona was very much his own creation) it's natural to side with them against a stranger. So, it's not always, or not entirely patriarchy that makes even feminists doubt accusations against someone they know.

But, anyway, what's happening with Bill Cosby? Why are the rape allegations finally sticking
A major obstacle in changing attitudes about rape is there are literally decades of cultural endorsement of the idea that sex is a matter of a man getting one over on a woman, and therefore it’s okay to have sex with unwilling women using trickery, bullying or intoxicants.Popular songs like “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “Summer Nights” or “My Sharona” glorified force or exploitation as normal parts of seduction. More recently, “Blurred Lines” and “Blame It On The Alcohol” continued to push the notion that non-consent is something to be bullied or drunk away. Rape through trickery is treated like a throwaway bit in movies like Revenge of the Nerds or Face/Off. There’s a scene where handing a drunk girl off to be raped is treated like a joke in Sixteen CandlesBill Cosby himself had a routine suggesting that all men just really want a drug that would strip a woman of her ability to say no to sex, an idea that seemed like a light-hearted joke in the ’60s.
...
But now another conversation is happening: People are beginning to key into the fact that it’s not normal to want sex with someone who is laying there like a dead fish, crying, or otherwise giving in because she fears she isn’t getting out of this situation safely otherwise. In fact, that behavior is not funny or cool, but sad at best, and usually downright violent and predatory. A man who bullies an unwilling woman into bed isn’t “scoring” but a real creep. Sex should be something where both parties are interested in getting it on, not something that men inflict on reluctant or resisting women.
We're in a transition period. Genuinely "nice guys" can be guilty of sexual assault because, as I said a while ago, our society considers violence against women to be no big deal. Women as people are considered inferior to men, and men's desires are given precedence to women's desires. So if men want sex and women don't want to have sex, it was considered natural for men to try to conquer women. It has taken feminism decades to combat these attitudes. And these are complicated, entrenched attitudes. Certainly, some women have been instructed to play "hard to get," not because they're trying to "tease" men, but because they're trying to avoid the reputation of "slut." (Which is another neurosis of our culture. One that is also only now being attacked. "Slut shaming" is being met with "Slut Walks." (To which the more hopeless and cretinous of men respond with disgust and rape threats.)

So, we're starting to realize that even avuncular Bill Cosby can be a rapist. Decades ago, the even more reflexive distrust of rape victims than exists today, helped him to use his power to strangle these accusations. Nothing happened. Just a deranged female seeking to exploit the male celebrity. But now, things are changing. "Good men" can rape. And, not-so-good men, inflated by celebrity, money, power, can tap-into the underlying misogyny of our society and become serial rapists, drugging women and abusing them.

I still believe in "innocent until proven guilty." It's entirely in my self-interest to do so. The problem is that women accusing men of sexual assault are the only complainants who are treated with contempt. If you report that your house was robbed, the police don't assume you had gave your possessions to the "thief" willingly but now you're jealous about something, so you've fabricated this "break-in" story. When you complain about someone causing a traffic accident, the police don't assume that you're making everything up and that the other party is innocent. They take everyone at their word and do an objective investigation. I don't believe it's necessary to remove the presumption of innocence:
I mean, the problem is that we'll have (for example) a teenaged girl go to a party at some guy's house and she winds up dumped in the snow on her front lawn in the cold of a freezing winter's night, and she's only barely sober enough to tap on the front door so that her parents can find her and save her from dying from hypothermia. Then it turns out that the charming young men at the party have used their cell-phones to record themselves plying her with booze until she's incapacitated, whereupon they record themselves raping her, and this is further corroborated because the girl's mother takes her down to the hospital the next day and examinations show she's been raped .... and police don't lay charges because there isn't enough evidence.
I'm sorry, but is the only antidote to that bullshit to be that you automatically believe that the accused is guilty from the get-go?
Sexual assault, by its very nature, is a difficult crime to convict someone of. But when an entire group of young men brag about raping someone, and circulate pictures, ... at least as a society, we're close to the point of calling that rape and convicting them. At least now, the word of ten women is thought to count for something against the protestations of one man. The almost identical stories of women who don't know one another are enough to turn many people against the man being accused.

Sad to say, this is progress.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Coalition NOW!

I'm not talking about the opposition parties. They've had years to clue-in to the reality that harpercon "conservatism" is a greater danger to this country than anything else and they continue to waste more time fighting against each other and treating the harpercons as if they're just disagreeable.

I'm talking about people.

I'm talking about the environmentalists, the unions, the peace movement, feminists, the First Nations, angry veterans, angry scientists, angry artists.

Can they (we) not find common ground and unite to destroy this threat to Canadian democracy? Can groups of so many people not carry out an effective grassroots campaign to destroy harperism and then build the country we want?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Whitby-Oshawa and the Ukraine

So, it seems that only 31% of the electorate turned out for the Whitby-Oshawa by-election.

What does that mean?

It means that most voters there, like most voters in the rest of Canada, don't care enough about the harpercons' serial abuses of the fundamentals of theirs and our democracy. Nothing has sunk in. Violation of the principle of responsible government, covering-up of crimes against humanity, contempt of Parliament, .... oh well, you know the drill. Unlike the majority of voters.

It also shows that the opposition parties have done a terrible job of educating the people about the dangers of the harpercons and the necessity of their total destruction.

There should be a daily call for a no-confidence vote against the harpercons, in the same way that Cato the Elder always said "And Carthage must be destroyed."

Now, on to the Ukraine. It appears that the conventional wisdom has settled on believing that Putin is the aggressor. The fact that the EU offered the Ukraine a worse deal than Putin did: down the memory hole. The fact that the new rulers in the Ukraine are gangsters and Nazis who tellingly don't seem concerned with finding out who was shooting and killing demonstrators before their coup? Gone. That Eastern Ukraine's majority is ethnically Russian and that the coup government in Kiev took away their language rights? Gone. That NATO has allowed provinces to vote to unilaterally secede from national governments? Forgotten.

Putin is a kleptocratic thug. But he is not the aggressor here.

And, no matter how often they scream their delusions, these are basically the same sorts of idiots who were obsessed with Saddam Hussein's WMD's over a decade ago. Stupid, deluded, hypocritical criminal scum.

Humanity's only hope is their cowardice. Putin is not Saddam Hussein or Mommar Qaddafi. They're well aware of that fact. They're trying to play a long game, but their resources aren't infinite. And their self-destruction of their own economies and societies mitigates their long-term strategies.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Whitby-Oshawa Voters Drive Another Nail Into Coffin of Canadian Democracy

Who knows what it is they like about the Conservative Party of Canada?

Is it harper's armageddon-inducing denial of climate change? (Which is not so much based on "skepticism" about the science as it is on his being a bought-and-paid-for shill for the oil industry.)

Is it the way the harper selects career criminals and unstable morons as senators and heads of government agencies?

Is it the election fraud that they like?

Is it the anti-democratic omnibus bills?

Part of the reason why we have these disgusting results can be found in the complete absence of any sense of mourning on the part of our corporate media at the election of yet another vapid ignoramus to the Contempt of Parliament Party caucus in the House of Commons. (Obviously it's foolish to imagine these idiots would mourn when the last time out, all the newspapers except the Toronto Star endorsed cowardly stephen harper's party.) The complete absence of any firm understanding of the danger of this party of corruption and dictatorship in this country is why, of the 63% of the electorate that went out yesterday, 49% of them picked a harpercon.

At this CBC link, you can see the usual debased hooting and howling from anti-democratic harpercon shills in the comments section. Parading their economic illiteracy and general political ignorance for all to see. Certainly they have a different point of view from us.

They believe that torture is useful. They believe that the government can lie about the costs of its policies to the tune of billions of dollars. They believe that the government should spy on all of us and have the right to arrest us without charges and imprison us indefinitely. They believe that the government should send us into wars without debates. They believe in unilaterally tearing-up our treaties. They believe that bribing senators to cover-up previous incidences of corruption is okee-dokee. They believe that elections are about "winning" by any means necessary (financial fraud, electoral fraud). They are, basically, scum. Most of them are too stupid to understand this, but at some point, you can't make any more allowances.

CORRECTION: I misread the CBC link. I thought it said that the turn-out for the by-election in Whitby-Oshawa was 63% and that the expected turn-out for the by-election in Alberta was a quarter of that. It actually says that the turnout for the last federal election had been 63%.

The Schoolyard regrets the error.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Stop harpeer"

What did you propose to bring down the cowardly monstrosity?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

It Is Perfectly Fine to Advocate harper's Overthrow

For the zillionth time, the cowardly closet-dwelling stephen harper has placed himself outside the law. This time it's part of his revolting policy of denying health care to refugees.  A federal court ordered harper to restore funding for refugees' health care by November 4th. As of November 13th, they have not done so.
It lost this request: on Oct. 31 the Federal Court of Appeal confirmed that the government had to follow Justice Mactavish’s order beginning last week.
It has not done so. While certain refugee claimants have had their coverage restored, others have not.
Since the 2012 changes creating different levels of coverage for different people became void on Nov. 4, the government has no legal authority to draw these distinctions.
Its public statements that it is following the court’s order are blatantly false.
Contempt of Court. Contempt of Parliament. Election fraud. War crimes. 

It just goes on and on.

Has there ever been a time when veterans' associations campaigned to try to get all members of the military to boycott the government? Especially a Conservative one? How shallow, how disconnected from reality harper must be to show up preening for the cameras at Remembrance Day ceremonies!

harper the coward has no claim on our obedience. If only more Canadians could seize hold of the reality that harper has no legitimacy. Then perhaps we could do something about him. Something other than trusting in our rigged electoral process with our ridiculous voting system and our corrupt Elections Canada looking the other way as harper commits one crime after another.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 12th Musings

In 1914 Canada's population stood at around 8 million. Our economy was productive enough that we were able to mobilize over half-a-million citizens (mostly men) for the war. This was, technically, a remarkable achievement. It was an achievement met by more or less all of the combatants. Never before had it been possible to mobilize so many inhabitants for the wasteful business of war without producing immediate mass starvation and economic collapse. (Although, eventually, the absence of men in the farmer's fields did produce starvation in Germany. And there was collapse in the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires.)

The art of war hadn't come to grips with industry and technology. It was a horrible convergence of things. You could put hundreds of thousands, millions of men in uniform, you could move them swiftly to the front and then provide them with steady streams of food and munitions, but you couldn't solve the problem that once they got there, they would be reduced to marching into the withering fire of that technological marvel known as the "machine gun." You've been inculcating habits of obedience and deference to authority, as well as nationalism and patriotism, martial valour, into your populations. And this gives you the ability to order them into one shooting gallery after another.

This is a pretty good read. I take some issue with their characterization of the attitude about the British ruling elite's eagerness for actually going to war with Germany. A lot of them did, but a lot of them were genuinely reluctant to abandon the peace established at Vienna in 1814. Whatever else one thinks of him, David Lloyd George's decision to side with the war party over Belgium's neutrality was a hard-thought one. The reference at the link to Germany's promise to respect Belgium's integrity in return for allowing them free passage to attack the French is a little foolish. What is a small country, situated between two powerful rivals, supposed to imagine the future holds for it, if it allows one country free transit through it to attack the other? This source shows that the issue of Belgium's neutrality was an important one that England had told all parties it would honour. Here's the wording of the German ultimatum and the Belgian response.

In writing the above, I'm not praising the British and Belgian leadership. I'm just talking about serious things that involved the world as it was in 1914. Just as I'm sure that the "Stop War" writers were not trying to justify Germany's ultimatum.

Their article also disputes the historical consensus that the war was popular at first. They say that in fact there were significant demonstrations against the war that both the anti-war Liberals and Labour party members could have sided with, and that the same held true for socialist politicians in France and Germany. That might be true and, therefore, it's significant that it's been essentially forgotten by the mainstream. But it's also the case that tens of thousands of men voluntarily signed-up in the first months of the conflict and that hundreds of thousands more volunteered as the years progressed. If the war wasn't universally popular at first, it did have enormous and enthusiastic support.

The capitalist class did not want that war. Some of them grew rich on munitions work and war loans, but at first they were worried about the disruptions to international trade and some of them honestly believed that disruptions in the flow of credit and raw materials would end any war within a matter of months.

I agree with the "Stop War" writers that attempts to rehabilitate the reputation of Field Marshall Alexander Haig are seriously misplaced. You'd think that after the first 100,000 men getting slaughtered as they trudged through barbed-wire towards machine-gun nests, that you'd stop to reconsider your tactics. Haig would order battles at random places on the map, and order mass charges for the insane reason that:
The plan now was to kill more German troops than the British lost. Since there was no way of reliably measuring the casualties on the other side, Haig relied on estimating it through the losses of his own side. On this basis he began to be angered when the army suffered too few losses, as when he complained that one division in September had lost under a thousand men.
In World War I, the politicians had been wary about challenging their Generals. Eventually, the murderous folly and waste would compel them to intervene. But by that point, hundreds of thousands had been killed or wounded. Ask yourself how many politicians, then or now, would be able to say: "This has all been a dreadful waste. We're simply going to stop. Sorry about your sons, fathers, husbands." It's a tragedy that the famous "Christmas Truce" of 1914 was squelched by bloody-minded officers. But that's the nature of insane societies. (Which Europe very much was, and is. As is Canada, and all the other imperialist, elitist, capitalist, racist patriarchal states.)

Because this brings me to the crux of my post for today. Remembrance Day and all the war memorials to it in all the communities across Canada, were built by people who honestly didn't want to think that their losses had been for nothing. Deluded, yes. But honest. We can do nothing about their delusion now. They're almost all of them dead. Canada has Remembrance Day because after 1918, people needed to think that their sacrifices meant something.

If anyone is to blame for World War I, my money is on the diplomats of Austria-Hungary. One of them actually said that if the Empire is to go down, it might as well go down in a blaze of glory. But every other power stumbled into the war. Which means that it was all a waste. Slaughter for nothing.

I don't know what it was like in Germany or Austria. I haven't read enough. They must have their war memorials I imagine. I do know that Germany was plunged into economic disaster following the war and that the militarists and the right-wing in general invented the "stab in the back" conspiracy that drove Adolph Hitler to distraction. Revolutions, uprisings, economic crises, poverty, unemployment, ... all of these probably kept many Germans from spending too much time pondering the meaning of it all. But I'm sure they did think about it from time-to-time. Some probably ached for a re-match, as Hitler did. I think the vast majority were disgusted with it. Much more than the British and the French. Again, they "won." Their systems stayed intact. Especially Britain's. And Canada's. We, especially could lie to ourselves that it had been terrible, but "worth it."

I have mixed feelings about the day. However much our mainstream culture denies it, there is an element of glorification for what was basically a sordid, horrible, meaningless waste. But it is, also, a moment to reflect on the ordinary men and women who suffered and died in that conflict and in every other hateful conflict in our species' insane history.

Finally, it's also (sadly) a chance to focus our contempt upon vile pieces-of-shit, like the cowardly stephen harper, who thinks nothing of desecrating the ceremonies with his presence, arrogantly posing for the cameras, and looking like the pathetic wreak of a human that he is.

Monday, November 10, 2014

We're More Powerful Than We Think

What really grinds my gears with radicals is their idiotic, ahistorical delusions about how we have zero power within Canada's quasi-democracy, and that we should reject it altogether and hold-out for the REAL democracy that will be won after a "struggle" that hasn't even begun, and which they therefore have absolutely nothing to tell us.

If our elections were clean, and if our human rights were respected, and if we could somehow assume democratic rights within our workplaces, ... if we could somehow reduce the power of money within our political system and the power of economic blackmail within our society, we could go on from here to build better democracy.

If we build on what we have, rather than, ... rather than ..., well, rather than embracing complete and total idiocy.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

On the Cusp of Nuclear War?

There's a lot of other serious shit going down everywhere. But I have to say that this crisis in the Ukraine has me spooked. And the fighting in Iraq and Syria. It's all connected to the USA's deluded attempts to maintain full spectrum dominance over the entire earth, all of human civilization.

From 1945-1991 they had to contend with a rival super-power. The USSR's implosion meant that the USA was now the world's only super-power. But by 1991, the USA had its own problems. And, for the rest of the world, 1991 wasn't 1945. In 1945, Europe and Japan were in ruins. India and China were basket-cases. Brazil was almost entirely non-industrialized. (If my undergrad essay about Getulio Vargas and the steel industry is correct.) Today, all of these countries are industrialized competitors. OPEC didn't exist in 1945. The natural resources of the colonized, soon-to-be de-colonized, and de-colonized countries could be had for a song.

That unnatural state of affairs began to fall apart in the 1960s and things have only gotten more competitive since then.

There is no need to support the USA as it struggles to maintain its dominance over the world system. The Wall Street banksters, the fossil-fuels industry and the military-industrial complex do not have anyone's best interests at heart besides their own. Respect for the human rights of every human being on the planet; respect for international law; democracy within every country; these are the pillars of a world system far better than the idiocies of the bush-obama doctrines.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Cowardly harper's Kinks

Is it possible that harper was so emotionally moved by his ordeal of hiding in the closet during the stand-off on Parliament Hill that he introduced cowering in the closet into the BDSM role-playing at 10 Sussex Drive? But then he got too much into the mindset he was in during the stand-off that he evacuated his bowels and made a horrible mess thus bringing an end to this new scenario?

I'm just asking here.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cowardly stephen harper

I've heard that the latest tax-payer funded installment of "24-7" is mainly his harpership hiding in a dark closet and whining. (I wouldn't know for sure. I haven't watched a single second of a single one of those episodes.)

Last night I was thinking what sort of person would marry something like stephen harper. Maybe, just maybe, stephen harper is like the fictional talk-show side-kick, all-around loser-doofus Hank Kingsley. Maybe the harpster has a massive shlong? (As was revealed in Kingsley's case with an accidently released sex tape):
I don't know. I need more information.

What sort of an idiot would vote for something like harper though?

I KNOW! I KNOW!

Really greedy people. Really ignorant people. And really stupid people.

Of course it's possible for someone to be greedy, ignorant and stupid all at the same time. That's where you get Conservative Party MPs!

Or, maybe it's the case that harper is a degenerate of some sort?

I don't know.

All I know is that with his contribution to the appalling disaster of climate-change, and his abuse of the First Nations, and his gleeful participation in mass-slaughter, and his contempt for the very basics of democracy, the man is scum, and any who would associate with him are my enemies.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

How Do We Change the Culture?

The Repugs have control over both houses of Congress. I don't think there'll be any appreciable differences on economic or foreign policy now, but I do think there'll be a more gung-ho enthusiasm for official racism, ecocide, homophobia and restrictions on abortion rights.

I hear the turn-out for these elections was 38%. And this was partially because there were state elections and local ballot initiatives (like banning fracking) that brought Americans into the polling booths.

So, people don't vote. And why should they vote in the USA? The only parties that are viable are both bought-and-paid for corruption machines.

People not voting is one of the revolutionary tactics of dim-witted anarchist radicals. Supposedly, we all open our eyes to the sham that is our democracy, stop voting, and then everything magically transforms itself for the better and we all live happily ever after.  (Or not. I don't know. I've tried, Lord knows I've tried, to extract something more from these witless fools.)

It's said that if more poor people had voted in Toronto's recent elections, Doug Ford would have beat John Tory. This is sick and wrong. We have a silver-spoon moron, who used to gouge Torontonians (and everyone else) as the CEO of Rogers Telecom, who has a farcical transit plan that requires $1 billion in funny-money in order to be built, as the elite candidate. Then we have a silver-spoon moron, who has enough alleged business skills from his alleged high school has dealing, to run his father's flourishing label business, but who's stint as city councilor was marred by secrecy, bullying, stupidity and ... and he's the choice for the non-rich?

What is to be done? How do we get people to take democracy seriously without at the same time becoming serious partisans for ignorant and stupid beliefs? We need to change the culture. We really do. We really do.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What US-America Needs is a Revolution

Two super-corrupt political parties. Murderous imperialists. Torturers. War criminals. Who are now possessed of the idea that they have the right to arrest people without charges; hold them without evidence; and imprison them forever or kill them, without due process.

Sorry "liberal democrats" but you lost me at "arrest people without charges."

And shameless Wall Street shills. Wall Street banksters committed deliberate, genuine fraud, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, requiring (for them) bail-outs to the tune of trillions of taxpayer dollars. And not one of them was prosecuted. Under Obama. Not even when his party controlled both houses of Congress.

And, beneath the financial sector, both parties are shameless servants of world-destroying fossil fuels industries, of media monopolists, GMO and pharmaceutical pushers, weapons manufacturers; ...

Enforcing it all; defending this system of elite criminality, is an out-of-control, police goon squad. Needle-dicked sadists, tasering people at the slightest provocation. Racist fuckwads shooting black people for kicks.

If you count the people who don't vote and the people who hold their noses when they vote (especially to block an obvious lunatic from the other side winning) you probably have a majority of the population down there who utterly loath their political system.

They should revolt, rather than enable it or stay at home in disgusted resignation.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The "World Community's" Hypocrisy About the Ukraine

Here's a headline from CBC News: "Ukraine rebels hold election despite international outcry." The "international community" in this instance appears to be the USA (the country that funded the fascist coup d'etat in the Ukraine and then recognized the plotters as the legitimate government of the Ukraine), the USA's tame poodles in the EU, and the United Nations, which appears to be only the compliant Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. (I suppose the cowardly boot-licking stephen harper and his boorish foreign minister john baird could also be found crying about this.)

Here's the thing; Putin is a dirty-minded gangster who is oppressing and impoverishing his people. But the mess in the Ukraine is a US-led plot to bend the entire world to its whims. And it failed. And Putin is in no way capable of attacking NATO, but he is quite capable of defending Russia's interests.

The US leadership simply wasn't mature enough for their place in the world. What would be so bad about the USA weakening the dictatorships of Russia and China and forcing them into subservience to a US-led world order?

Just look at the Wall Street banksters and the fossil-fuels frackers, and the criminality and scum who dominate the US system. There's your answer.

The fascist attempt to re-conquer the Russian portion of what had been the Ukraine has failed miserably. Their army was vanquished and the government is even more bankrupt than before. Putin has told the West he's through with playing games and he's completely unconcerned with their bluster and insults.

I think the US elites are so delusional that they'll bring on a war with Russia and China as they maniacally attempt to preserve the world domination they truly believe is theirs by divine right.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

stephen harper: COWARD

Boris over at "The Galloping Beaver" says it well:
You and I don't know precisely what went on in the Conservative's caucus room last week. That said, the information we do hvae suggests that when the gunfire was heard, a good number of Tory MPs acted swiftly to barricade the doors and create makeshift weapons to defend against whatever lethal violence might come through them. Gunfire indicates a very real risk to life and those who took action in that room might legitimately be said to to have risked their lives to defend their colleagues. There are few actions we humans hold in higher regard.

However, one prominent MP seems to have found it more convenient to locate himself in a storage cupboard.

Now, it's a perfectly normal and evolutionarily helpful instinct to hide in fear of your life when violence closes in, and I personally cannot fault most people for it. However, most people are not political leaders who have made it their thing to militarise foreign policy and turn an otherwise serviceable peace-creating nation into a "warrior-nation" and deploy military forces on combat missions where they die.  It's this point that sticks in the craw.
For what it's worth, I had a gun pointed straight at my face (from perhaps 3-5 meters away), so I know they're scary. I might have wanted to hide when there had been shots fired in the hallways outside the Chamber. I'm also sure that there were security personnel who were obligated to protect the prime minister (even though that position is occupied by a usurper) and they would have been very insistent that he be taken to a safe place. I might have allowed myself to have been convinced by their insistence.

But then, if I was a guy who had bullied and brow-beaten my cabinet and caucus for a decade, and lied, cheated and stole to get where I am, I think I would have no problem telling those security people to forget about dragging me off to a broom closet.

Justin Trudeau's "slut" of a father (to quote the doughy puss-ball Ezra Levant) ignored his security detail when angry rioters were tossing bottles (and god knows what else might happen sir!) at a St. Jean-Baptist Day parade. He stayed put while many others ran for cover and earned enormous political capital for it. Here was harper's chance to prove himself an equal in courage. And he blew it.

I know one thing for certain; if I had gone into a broom closet while my colleagues faced danger, I would NOT then say "We will not be intimidated." Because, harper, you most definitely WERE intimidated.

Boris continues:
Maybe it's a truism that politicians who send soldiers to die in optional wars end up being found hiding in small spaces when the shooting gets closer to them.
Indeed. It's not hard to read his life as one spent in hiding. Hiding from the Opposition when scandals and coalitions were proposed. Hiding behind the certainty of ideology. Hiding from the press. Hiding from questions in Question Period with his scripted answers. Hiding in the loo at international meetings. Hiding behind a trained voice and rhetoric. Hiding behind an emotionless face. Hiding behind specs that hide the eyes.  Hiding behind the boys in short-pants. Hiding behind the protections of his Office. Hiding behind power.

You know, I don't think we've ever had such an emotionally troubled Prime Minister hiding in plain sight. 
I've pointed out this trait of harper's a few times.

Here:
harper senses, in ways that animals sense, that something is wrong. Prolonged exposure to alternative views would eventually bring about a painful, disorienting mental crisis, as his defences cracked and his pitiful world view escaped and dissipated in the wind. Whatever he would become following this is unknown and therefore terrifying.

Here we have one of the primary reasons for harper's contempt for Parliament. It's fear. harper prefers to hide from parliamentary debate, blatantly lie when forced to say something, and hide behind empty platitudes and character assassination of his opponents in lieu of argument. Luckily for him, such mental
 vacuity is more than enough for his cretinous voting base.
Here:
There he was. Taking a cheap photo-op with the National Men's Lacrosse Team. As the Globe and Mail titled it: "Lacrosse Trumps Torture." What a fucking putz.

stephen found out in the days before the Governor-General stupidly granted him a prorogation that he's really not all that much of a tough-guy after all. He was so terrified of losing power, and so stressed out from the harsh words from his enraged caucus that he almost started tearing up while giving one of his stream-of-platitude speeches about the deaths of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. (Usually he's able to drone his way through those events without incident, but that time he actually felt some emotion. Too bad it was all about him.)
Here:
The big, bad harpercons are shitting bricks. These gutless wonders are pretty good at ordering other people to torture but they run screaming from the room if you ask to see their handling of the Afghan detainee files. harper can't function in the light of day. He's like a vampire except nowadays vampires are supposed to be sexy (pale, porcelain skin and thin from dining on nothing but the blood of the living, as opposed to pink and blotchy and lumpy from dining on the ground-up meat of diseased cows and the fried lard of donughts).
Here:
It's so obvious by now that he's a complete coward whenever it comes to accountability. It must be because he knows he's an utter fraud in everything.
Today I only ask if he's so cowardly that he'll resign before having to face the voters in the face of Mike Duffy's revelations of his serial lying to Parliament.
Here:
It's one of the sickening puke's most revealing traits; his cowardice. Proroguing Parliament, squeezing out a tepid throne speech, leaving the country the very next day to continue hiding from the Senate scandal, and then ordering a military assault on the First Nations as well.
What a disgusting excuse for a human being.
There's probably other statements to that effect in the archives. The point is that harper's cowardice is so obvious and so extreme that it should be referred to constantly. Just so everybody is forced to deal with it. he runs from everything. And when you're the sort of craven, boot-licking, militarist scum that harper is, you DON'T get to bluster and preen and then hide in a fucking closet while your colleagues face danger. harper should be made to wear this failure. It won't be unfair of anyone to throw this in his face. he's a bully. he's a powerful man with a six-figure income. he was in a room with dozens of other people, some of whom were preparing to barricade the room. All he had to do was stand there and hope for the best. And he failed. And he sends our troops into harm's way, to rain death upon innocent people. To hand farm-boys over to rapist-torturers. And to nickel and dime our soldiers if they return home wounded.

To hell with that gutless coward.