Saturday, January 31, 2015

OMFG: "They hate us for our freedoms" in 2015?????

Not being a deluded, right-wing shit-for-brains, I was at first naturally taken aback by stephen harper's recent outburst about the source of the "violent jihadism" that's threatening every single Canadian:
Canadians, he said, "are targeted by these terrorists for no other reason than that we are Canadians. They want to harm us because they hate our society and the values it represents."
I thought; Seriously? "They hate us for our freedoms"???? You're playing that bullshit meme now? Today?? In 2015?? As David Cross said back in 2001: "Are we a nation of six-year olds??"

But, upon reflection, harper's insane babbling isn't all that surprising. In fact, it fits in fine with yesterday's post. harper's voting base believe in all of their party's stupid shittery whole-heartedly, and harper is only fractionally smarter than they are. The brazen lying, hypocrisy, etc., comes so easily to harper because part of him actually buys it.

harper continued to make an ass of himself. Conflating the genuine concerns for freedom and human rights that sane, not-stupid people have (the same freedom and human rights that he is running roughshod over) with some nonsensical right to "violent jihadism."
Violent jihadism "is not a human right," Harper stressed. "It is an act of war, and our government's new legislation fully understands that difference."
Take THAT you liberal dhimmis!!!!

It's all so perfect isn't it? The Great Bullshit War on Terror. It's a product almost entirely of their own making. US ally Saudi Arabia (and other assorted Arab dictatorships) get to fund and arm fundamentalist nut-bar terrorists. The CIA gives them places to play (Afghanistan, Libya, Syria). Occasionally some of them "go rogue" (Osama bin Laden, ISIS) and badda-bing! badda-boom! You have the great cause of our generation. The great battle of our time. A war of civilizations. The scourge of radical Islamicism.

And pants-pissing racist cowards (no, not stephen harper, but his fan-boys and enablers) vent and vent about the Muslim menace among us. And Muslims and Arabs are harassed and abused. And atrocities are committed against them and these same racists and fuckheads and anti-democratic thugs laugh and cheer and hoot and holler. Psychopathic murderers like the cretinous Chris Kyle are elevated to hero status. And, as a RESULT of all of this, we get the occasional individuals (usually marginal, low-functioning types) who decide to wage "jihad" against the oppressors. And this makes a low-life scum like stephen harper very happy (except when those marginalized desperadoes act-out in close proximity to him) because he then gets to ramp-up his assault on civil liberties and basic democracy s'more.

Because, don't you just know, ALL OF THIS is really about suppressing genuine dissent against capitalist theft. That's what the GBWT is all about. Theft of oil resources. Theft of Palestinian land. Theft of national autonomy. Theft of our jobs. Theft our our rights. Theft of our incomes. Theft of our futures.

The criminality and theft on Wall Street (and Bay Street) are intrinsically connected to the GBWT. Obama and harper and David Cameron, etc., etc., ad nauseaum, are carrying out different orders from the same masters.

It's true though, that being an idiot, stephen harper probably honestly believes that opposition to capitalism is akin to opposition to all that is good and true and right.  So it's therefore internally consistent that he make terrorism and anti-capitalism the same thing. All the better to justify these bullshit laws of his to try to stifle both.

Friday, January 30, 2015

harper Wants to Create More Damaged Veterans (so he can ignore them too)

... like all the wounded, maimed, PTSD'd veterans of Chretien, Martin and his own folllies in Afghanistan.

I think I got this idea from Sooey this morning. But the inklings of harper's brazen hypocrisy and cynicism must have been hovering around inside my skull before that.

How does he get away with it? Because, obviously, right-wing voters are stupid, ignorant, hypocritical, ideological partisans with short memories who don't even notice that they simultaneously hold contradictory positions on the issues.

Why does harper do it? First of all, because (aside from his cunning and his luck in his adversaries) he's a right-wing idiot himself. he is probably only dimly aware that while he's puffing up his chest as a great warrior-leader, he himself had been cowering in a closet from a gunman only a few short months ago. (Leaving the cretinous Michelle Rempel to wonder where her great protector had gotten to, as he'd abandoned both her and her fellow Conservative Party swine.) harper is likewise probably only dimly aware of the way he's betrayed and abused the veterans injured in the futile "War on Terror" and the propping-up of the super-corrupt Afghanistan dictatorship.

Secondly, there's the fact that harper is a total slime-ball. A mean, despicable, dishonest, amoral, vain and shallow piece-of-shit. When he has a sense of his monumental hypocrisy and his cruelty towards wounded veterans, it gives him a little thrill.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

This Didn't Sit Right With Me

For the record, I think that Hamas is no worse than the Israeli Defense Force. Hamas's charter calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. Whereas the IDF is simply the enforcing arm of Israel's unstated, but demonstrable intent to destroy Palestine. Furthermore, the pronouncements of an anti-democratic terrorist such as stephen harper carry no moral weight with me. Finally though, I want to state that I am a militant atheist. I hate all religion and wish it would disappear.

But I was trapped in a coffee-shop today, with only the Toronto Sun to read. I read this story, and some things didn't sit right with me.
MONTREAL — One of the country's largest Muslim organizations gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Hamas-linked charity, and vocally supported an Egyptian Islamist group, QMI Agency has learned.
So, Hamas, which is considered by the Palestinian people to be a legitimate political entity and the armed resistance to Israeli oppression, is bad. Hamas was supposed to be bad. Israel helped create it to act as a thorn in the side of the PLO. Ooopsie!

Here's one part that I found weird:
The Conservative government declared IRFAN-Canada a terrorist group on April 29, 2014 -- one day after the Mounties raided the charity.
The government said "between 2005 and 2009, IRFAN-Canada transferred approximately $14.6-million worth of resources to various organizations associated with Hamas."
Now, doesn't this say that IFRAN-Canada was only declared a terrorist group (by the criminals in the harpercon regime) FIVE YEARS AFTER the last time the Muslim Association of Canada gave them money??

Anyhoooo ...
The Mounties obtained their warrant as part of Project Sapphire, involving surveillance, wiretaps and undercover operatives in the Toronto and Montreal area. The warrant led to a raid on IRFAN's Mississauga headquarters and a Montreal apartment on April 28, 2014. Investigators seized computer files, donation forms, and promotional videos that "demonize Israel."
What does it mean to "demonize Israel"? Is that a legal term? Does it mean to condemn Israel for stealing the Palestinians' land, shooting Palestinian children in the head to provoke a response, and carpet-bombing Gaza? For the record; is it illegal to "demonize" Israel, but legal to "demonize" Russia or Iran?

Then we get this:
At the same time, MAC has expressed open support for Hamas' ideological forebears, the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt considers a terrorist organization.
By "Egypt" the article means the tyrannical military government, which regained power in a coup after the corrupt, tyrannical thirty-year old military dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak was overthrown by a popular revolution. "Egypt" in this case has been jailing people for criticizing the dictatorship and committing itself to mass executions. Oh yeah, the government that this dictatorship overthrew was that of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The whole thing seems to be a textbook example of western hypocrisy and scaremongering.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Few Books on the Go ....

Don't know what else to say today. Think I'll mention some books I'm working on ...
First up is David Nasaw's biography of Andrew Carnegie called Andrew Carnegie. Dig, ... I bought it a long time ago, for $6 at Sears. But it's a good book. Comprehensive and fair. I think it's important to learn how the USA become an industrial super-power and these biographies by honest historians help give the story a human scale.
Nigel Hamilton's The Mantle of Command, I don't like quite so much. There haven't been many books that focus on FDR's role as actual Commander-in-Chief during WWII. This book does and it makes a good case that FDR really was in command. He pushed forward a lot of plans that became victories. He actively disagreed with his military advisors about the invasion of France and faced-down an almost-mutiny from them. But Hamilton appears to overstate his case to me; presenting FDR as a god, a master, and pretty much anyone who disagreed with him as clueless or delusional.

More to come. I've got to do the dishes.
Now I'm 2/3rd's through God: the failed hypothesis bu Victor J. Stenger. He decides that the evidence is against the existence of a God who is everywhere, who designed the universe, created it, maintains it, interacts in our affairs, performs miracles, etc., etc. I found the first part, where he constructs the hypothesis of "God" that he intends to de-bunk, a little dry, but the rest is pretty good. I especially like the part where he deals with whether we have souls, and the question "Why is there something and not nothing?". (I think that section is a little too light-hearted for my tastes, but even then, the ideas he plays with are much deeper than the nonsensical and unhelpful "God" hypothesis for creation.

Well, I guess that will do for now.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Syriza's Victory

After six years of crippling austerity, imposed by neo-liberal zombies and implemented by visionless, careerist politicians, roughly 37% of the Greek electorate chose the far-left Syriza Party to chart another path.
Greek voters swung to the once-marginal left-wing party after five years of punishing austerity measures demanded under €240 billion (about $336 billion Cdn) bailout deals threw hundreds of thousands of people out of work and left nearly a third of the country without state health insurance.
What are the chances that Syriza will keep its word?  (Here's hoping they do.)

What are the chance that Syriza and the Greek people will successfully replicate the same autonomist policies of the Bolivarians in Venezuela and elsewhere?

What are the odds that either the loathsome Barack Obama, or some European variant will not do to Greece what Obama did to Honduras?

What does this election result say for Canadians? Personally, I think Canadians turned to the NDP in clear-eyed disgust at the failure of the elite prescription for the economy. And that, furthermore, had harper not stolen the 2011 (and had we not acquiesced to that crime) Canada would have had an NDP-Liberal coalition government.

Even still, Mulcair's inexplicable move to place the NDP at the discredited centre of the political-economic spectrum, only served to alienate those voters who took a chance with the NDP. Now, faced with a choice between a grumpy, bearded Liberal and a dreamy, young-looking, Trudeau Liberal (backed by a cynically partisan attack-pug Elizabeth May of the Green Party), voters are split.

Canadians haven't gone through what the Greeks have gone through. We aren't as polarized and we don't have the strong leftist political culture. It's going to have to get a lot worse for us, and the Canadian left will have to do a lot of growing up, before we're able to pull-off something like what Syriza did.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gettin' "Radicalized" ...

Apparently there's a scene in the film "American Sniper" where lunk-headed, budding psychopath, fabulist, Chris Kyle watches the Twin Towers fall down on 9-11, and this "radicalizes" him into going to Iraq to murder people who had nothing to do with 9-11.

This is the okay form of getting "radicalized."

Sometimes people go on the internet and they get "self-radicalized." No stranger on the street approaches them who turns out to be a Christian cleric or a military recruiter to use sophisticated "radicalizing" techniques to turn them into cold-blooded killers. It's just the mysterious power of the internet, or the "information super-highway" as the hipsters are calling it, ... Well, maybe it's not so mysterious.

There's just web page after web page about how "Islamists" hate the poor, poor Israelis. And they're always shooting at each other. And their religion is vile. And they treat their women like shit and don't let us see their tits and asses. And they don't like bacon. (And that's like, fucking crazy.)
And they hate America. And they hate freedom. And they're trying to take over Europe. "Gates of Vienna" anyone? Just like Latinos are attempting a "re-Conquista" of the South-West United States by sneaking over the border to get jobs as maids, seamstresses, general labour, janitors. It's a long-term struggle. You gotta think long-term. Big picture. The sort of big-picture that only deluded, racist conspiracy theorists can provide. They're only pretending that neo-liberalism wrecked their economies and forced them north to find jobs so they wouldn't starve. Check it out!!! Latinos are on the dusky side. And so are Arabs! They're practically indistinguishable from each other. So, what happens is that these Arab guys are sent over to Mexico by their Saudi paymasters see, ... and they have sex with these hot Latino mommas, ... who like, totally look like Jennifer Lopez or Sofia Vergara, ... and they impregnate them all with terror-babies who grow-up all diseased because of the conditions in the barrio, ... and they send 'em over the border where libtard bleeding-hearts scream and wail to let them stay and they give us all Ebola.

Where was I?

Oh yeah; getting "self-radicalized" on the internet.

Isn't there a certain kind of person who sees getting a gun as a sensible way to respond to international events? Sometimes, they're psychopathic self-labeled "Christians" like the revolting Chris Kyle. Sometimes they're psychopathic self-labeled "Muslims" like Osama bin Laden.

Depending on your delusions, you'll either get on the internet and become obsessed with the crimes and atrocities of Muslim terrorists, or you'll get "radicalized" by the vast, decades-long campaign of murder and terror on the part of the USA in the Middle East (and elsewhere).

What I find idiotic are these "terrorism experts" who drone pompously about the "radicalization" phenomenon of Islamic fundamentalists, while they and the newscasters ignore the elephant in the room of the "radicalization" on their team. The whole thing is really sad.
I'm thinking these pictures really jazz-up the site. (Until the original url's are taken down anyway.)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Mission Creep in Iraq

A truly democratic people would not have tolerated this crap. A truly democratic people would have dragged Paul Calandra out of the legislature and given him a stern talking to. A truly democratic people would ask for regular updates on the financial costs of this mission. stephen harper is not an emperor. he is not Atilla the Hun. he is a pants-pissing, cowardly slab of rancid goat-cheese.

This is bullshit.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Leftists in Hell

Think about the laffs! They'd wonder why the right-wing damned souls always vote for the worst demons. They'd form discussion boards and blogs where they'd complain and complain and complain, and braver souls among them would say they were going to defeat the devils n' demons.

And the more activist of them would send petitions to Satan calling for better treatment.
Others would have rallies ...
Looks kinda like the cops beating on "Occupy" doesn't it?

You get the idea.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

EEEK! A Deficit!!!!

So, there's talk that the falling price of oil, the damage it'll do to Alberta's economy, etc., etc., will prevent the harpercons from meeting their promised surplus in this, an election year.


Thanks to the failure of the unregulated, neo-liberal economic model, since 2008 the economy of the world has been teetering between stagnation and austerity. The opposition wisely forced dim-bulb harpercon finance minister Jim Flaherty, to launch a round of stimulus spending to help Canada avoid a recessionary spiral. They've now spent, what? $100 million? Advertising this piss-poor stimulus program as "Canada's Action-Plan."

The US stock market has been kept on an upward course by massive infusions of taxpayers' dollars. It's all a scam. 93% of the economic growth since 2009 went to the wealthiest 1%. And less and less of that is taxed. So that the rich can keep more of the wealth they've scraped out of the skins of workers, the environment, and the consumers (who are those very same workers suffering with job insecurity and stagnating or declining wages). And, the government gets less revenue.

My only problem with these deficits is that they're partially caused by round after round of income and corporate (and then sales) tax cuts. Tax cuts for people who demonstrably have more money than they know what to productively do with. I wasn't a fan of Paul Martin's ruinous austerity policies and I'm not a fan of harper's cretinous obsession with surpluses either. harper made a stupid promise, and now the falling price of oil is making it difficult for him to keep it.

harper has always been afraid of facts. (Among other things. harper is a shuddering, fearful wreak most of the time.) Facts tend to have a liberal bias. So it's only natural that harper try to dismiss the facts about the government's finances until after he's stolen the next election. Hence delaying the budget until April. And musings about further cuts to public services. Because, oh my god! We can't have a country with a GDP larger than $1,000,000,000,000.00 have a $1,600,000.00 deficit! The earth would swallow us faster than a falling sky could crush us!

Sadly though, even after 70 years of knowing that deficits are necessary during economic downturns, we still hear crapola about bloated government budgets and corrupt unions and chiselers on welfare.

Now, what would happen if, because of some bad news, everyone curtailed their spending? It's been known since the Great Depression that the simultaneous reining in of spending by business and consumers means a recession, which means lower revenues for government, which used to mean cut-backs by the public sector, which would create a downward recessionary spiral.

What the government is supposed to do during times like these is to perform counter-cyclical public spending, to halt the downward spiral and attempt to re-start the economy. Now, obviously, it would help to have had surpluses in good times. And in this day and age, reversing the tax-cuts to the wealthiest (simply because they haven't produced the economic growth that we were promised they would) is necessary to maintain surpluses in good times. The harpercons (and the Liberals) didn't do that. But just because they fucked-up then, doesn't mean that they have to fuck-up now. Austerity in the face of a tanking economy will still make things worse, even if you think the deficits up to now have been harper's fault.

Austerity would, actually, DESTROY the Canadian economy. We've been trundling along with single-minded determination to promote the Tar-Sands, ... buoyed by a real-estate bubble and corresponding construction boom, ... but really it hasn't been all that spectacular. Because to keep things at this anemic pace, Canadian households have now got a household debt-to-income ratio of 162%. Imagine if the feds, and the provinces, decide to slash spending under these conditions!

In all honesty, it's going to take YEARS of reversing the neo-liberal bullshit spewed by economists, to get the economy back on track. To get society back on track. It will take pro-union legislation, and rising wages for workers, and investing in the green, zero-growth economy, and puncturing the real-estate and stock-market bubbles and preventing them from ever inflating again, and closing tax-loopholes and ramping down wasteful spending on imperialist wars.

Don't be sucked-in, yet again, by this stupid deficit hysteria.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Baird Shouldn't Go

From the CBC: "Baird invited to 'make or break' meeting on Syria at Davos"
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has been invited to a high-level meeting this week about the future of Syria —  one that could include his Iranian counterpart.
Norway is hosting the meeting, billed as a 'make-or-break' discussion, on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Friday.
Invitees include senior political figures from Iraq, Jordan, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and the League of Arab States.
A copy of an internal memo obtained by The Canadian Press, stamped "strictly confidential," says that half the Syrian population — some 9.5 million people — have been forced from their homes.
The internal violence that erupted in Syria in March 2011 has left an estimated 220,000 dead.
There's a lot of quotes from third-party foreign affairs critic Marc Garneau (nothing from the official opposition strangely) saying that Baird must go or it's an abdication of Canada's responsibilities in the world.

I suppose it's good tactics to insist that Baird go or he's irresponsibly ignoring an opportunity for peace. But it's also pretty clear that sending a racist  buffoon like Baird to such a serious discussion is worse than a waste of time. At least the scum-bags from France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the rest, have the potential to take this issue seriously. You know, the Saudis might say; "This might just blow-up in our faces. Maybe we should stop supporting these maniacs." (It's doubtful, but you never know.)
But to send an idiot like John Baird? A complete waste of time.


"A Complete Waste of Time" - - - That about sums up Baird's whole existence.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Paddington Bear" vs. "American Sniper"

I saw on some subway platform television screen that the film "American Sniper" had an "astounding" first weekend with ticket sales over $100 million. I think the main factor influencing people to buy those tickets was mindlessness. Did those ticket-buyers think they were specifically endorsing the real-life murderous racism of the film's protagonist, US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle? I don't think so. I think they wanted to see a gritty, realistic war movie. Plenty of excitement. Based on true events when real people actually went and fucking killed each other man!

From the sounds of things, it doesn't appear  as if Chris Kyle thought about very much of anything at all.
“I am not a fan of politics,” wrote Chris Kyle, the 38-year-old former Navy SEAL sniper who was shot and killed with a friend at a Texas firing range on Saturday. Yet, in his best-selling memoir, “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History” — originally published last year and currently experiencing a sales bump in the aftermath of Kyle’s death — the commando also wrote, “I like war.” The problem, as Kyle would have known if he’d read his Carl von Clausewitz, is that the two aren’t separable; war, as Clauswitz wrote, is the continuation of politics by other means.
Chances are, though, that Kyle never heard of Clausewitz; certainly there’s nothing in “American Sniper” to suggest that he ever thought very deeply about his service, or wanted to. The red-blooded superficiality of his memoir is surely the quality that made it appealing to so many readers.
In Kyle’s version of the Iraq War, the parties consisted of Americans, who are good by virtue of being American, and fanatic Muslims whose “savage, despicable evil” led them to want to kill Americans simply because they are Christians. (Later in his service, Kyle had a blood-red “crusader cross” tattooed on his arm.) While he describes patriotism as the guiding force in his life, Kyle’s patriotism is of the visceral, Toby Keith variety. It consists of loving America — specifically, being overwhelmed emotionally by the National Anthem and flag, and filled with a desire to dedicate one’s life to such symbols — rather than a commitment to tangible democratic principles, such as civilian oversight of the military. That Iraqis, too, might have been patriotically motivated to defend their own country against foreign invaders like himself does not appear to have ever crossed Kyle’s mind.
And a lot of what he did think about turned out to be imaginary! He claims he punched-out Jesse Ventura for an anti-American rant in a bar. He claims to have killed two car-jackers (and to have received praise for this from police all across the country). He claims to have been hired to shoot "looters" (re: "black people") from the roof of the New Orleans Super-Dome. He claims to have been harassed from the Iraq War-version of the meme of the peaceniks spitting on soldiers and calling them baby-killers. He claims they found the WMDs in Iraq, but that this was covered-up so as not to embarrass the French. (!)

From what I've heard, Barry Cooper, who produced the film and plays Kyle, made the character a lot more introspective than he actually was. On top of that, director Clint Eastwood combines patriotic celebration of American goodness and glamourization of combat with cynicism about the Iraq war itself and much more of a focus on the mental scars that combat produces. (I might watch a pirated version of this movie a few years from now, but I won't subsidize this sort of thing.) It's my belief though, that none of these nuances would matter to most of the people who went to see "American Sniper." It's violent enough, and pro-US American enough, to thrill a lot of idiots. The same sort of idiots I rail about on a routine basis here at the schoolyard.

If you don't already know. Chris Kyle died when he and a friend took a buddy of theirs who was suffering from PTSD and substance-abuse and a myriad of other issues, and brought him out to a shooting-range as some sort of lunk-headed version of "therapy" for these problems. Their buddy allegedly shot and killed them and is now on trial for murder. Sane people of average intelligence don't take mentally-ill people to shooting ranges and put guns in their hands. But this is the whole problem of Chris Kyle the man and Chris Kyle the myth. Both the man and the myth were the embodiment of the dangerous delusion and ignorance that I'm always going on about. America itself might eventually be done in by the national version of Chris Kyle's delusion, hubris, narcissism and militarism. (Ecocide, Wall Street corruption, picking fights with Russia and China, etc.)

Me? I didn't go to see "American Sniper." I took my seven year-old to see "Paddington" after it received a rave review in Toronto's NOW Weekly.
But writer/director King’s remarkable adaptation of Michael Bond’s beloved children’s books spins the story of the lost little bear from Darkest Peru – voiced by The Hour’s Ben Whishaw – into a thoughtful and genuinely moving metaphor for the immigrant experience. ... The film is cartoonish in precisely the right way, situating its talking, marmalade-loving, tragically accident-prone protagonist in a lush, just slightly exaggerated universe of delightful British actors. And on an emotional level, it’s the story of a lost child finding friends and a place to belong. I’d have loved this when I was a kid. Hell, I love it now. 
The trailer is definitely not the "Paddington Bear" you know from the books and the older cartoons. But rest assured, the film in its entirety conveys enough of the original spirit.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Palestine, Road Map to Nowhere and the Egging of Baird

I've been reading Tanya Reinhart's The Road Map to Nowhere lately. It's about the cynical dithering and posturing and continued theft of Palestinian land during the bush II - Ariel Sharon era.
Read it. And try to put yourself in the place of a Palestinian under the conditions described in the book. It's a horrifying read, made worse by the knowledge that our own society has degenerated to the point where almost half of Canada (and all of our political elites) are now completely okay with the deliberate carpet-bombing of innocent civilians.

One would have to be either a complete ignoramus, frighteningly deluded, or a gutter-level racist to be a supporter of Israel's brutalization of the Palestinian people. Speaking of ignorant, deluded racists, our Minister for Canada's International Disgrace, John Baird was egged by Palestinian protesters while visiting Ramallah as part of some pointless trip to the region.
Photo Credit: National Post

I can only pause and reflect in awe at the enormous patience of the Palestinian people in the face of such a provocation as the presence of the racist apologist for mass-murder, John Baird.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Ontario Liberals Take Another Cue From harpercons

Gotta hand it to those Ontario Liberals! First, Dalton McGuinty blows around $750 MILLION of OUR money to save the political careers of two of his MPPs. Then, not wanting to own up to this fact, he refuses the will of the majority in the legislature to turn over the records that provided the people's representatives with the accounting of his partisan extravagance.

In this, McGuinty was only taking a page of out of stephen harper's playbook. There are now TWO first ministers in the history of the Westminster system of parliamentary government found to have been in contempt of a legislature. And they're BOTH in Canada. (A "Canadian First" that can probably be blamed on our proximity to the super-corrupt, mindless pantomime that passes for "democracy" in the United States of America.)

No, McGuinty's successor, Kathleen Wynne, has replicated one of harper's earlier acts of criminal scuzzery on the national stage. In trying to bribe former Liberal candidate Andrew Olivier to step aside so that the party could run a NDP turncoat in a Sudbury by-election, Wynne is behaving similarly to harper when he tried to bribe  independent MP Chuck Cadman to vote against a budget and thereby defeat Paul Martin's minority Liberal government.

Both actions are brazen criminal acts and both should result in jail sentences for all concerned. But this is Canada and the law is for little people.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Incompetent Scum-Bags Dither

So, the Great Economist/Warrior leader is having his finance minister delay the budget. It appears that our Great Economist/Warrior leader is as big a coward on facing the economy as he is facing down terrorists.

Unthinking right-wing fuck-faces used to crow about harper's sterling handling of the economy. During the 2008 - Present financial crisis, Canada's banks only needed an injection of $114 of taxpayer's money to save them from their own mistakes. The dollar was strong. Deficits were low. Unemployment was low. The economy grew.

In reality, harper hadn't had the time to free Canada's banksters from the regulations that kept them from emulating the super-criminals in the USA's banking sector. He wanted to though. Just as he wanted to emulate all the ponzi-scheme antics behind the US real-estate bubble. harper was only saved from himself by his relatively late ascension to power. Then, in response to the crisis, his cretinous finance minister, the late, un-great Jim Flaherty, wanted to embrace the austerity policies that have mired Europe in recession, high unemployment, deficits and civil unrest. Thankfully, the incompetent "conservatives" were forced, kicking and screaming by the opposition, to implement counter-cyclical spending that averted catastrophe.
Of course, "averted catastrophe" doesn't mean "economic nirvana." Unemployment remains high. Wages have stagnated or shrunk. Canadian households have gone further and further into debt to keep the economy wheezing and huffing along.

Now, however, the bloom has gone off the rose. harper's policies of class war were all to be mitigated through his delusions about making Canada an "energy super-power." Ignoring the vast scientific consensus about catastrophic global warming, and ignoring his obligations to the lands of the First Nations, and through eviscerating our entire environmental regulatory edifice through omnibus bills, and through harassment of environmentalist groups with CSIS, the RCMP and punitive audits from a corrupted Canada Revenue Agency, harper would use all his fraudulently-arrived at power to champion the Tar Sands over sanity, humanity and the Earth.

Unfortunately for him, Saudi Arabia decided to declare war on fracking, and Obama let them do so because the side-effect would be to weaken the economies of Russia, Iran and Venezuela. stephen harper means shit to the Americans. Always has, always will. Canada means shit to Washington actually. If we get clobbered as an innocent bystander watching the big-boys fight, well, too bad, so sad.

So, now Alberta's economy is going into the shitter. Precious Alberta! The province that super-patriot harper wrote he wouldn't mind if it separated from Canada. (The same way the owner of the super-patriotic "SUN News" network would like Quebec to separate from Canada. Just what is it with these anti-Canadian right-wingers????) Some people are expecting Ontario's manufacturing sector to benefit from a weaker dollar and lower oil costs, but is there much of a manufacturing sector to be revived? And will it produce the jobs?

Friday, January 16, 2015

USA and Allies' Support for Fundamentalist Extremists

So, the first stage of getting a majority of Canadians to turn against the Great Bullshit War on Terror (GBWT) is to point out the important fact that Saudi Arabia, the USA's main ally in the Middle East (after Israel) funds extremist groups and that the USA employs them to destabilize countries with governments that imagine they can enjoy some form of autonomy.

Because, if you're told that "There's a war on fella', ... some evil-doers are out to destroy your whole way of life, ... and they don't respect borders or laws of war, or anything, and they use our protections and democratic safeguards and constitutional rights as cover for their murderous conspiracies, and they could be anywhere, so we have to monitor your internet activity, and follow you all over the place, and access your banking information, with no justification and no oversight, because who knows who is aiding terrorism, ... oh yeah, watch what you say and what you think, because who knows if you're just a malcontent, ... maybe you're in line with them!"

And then it turns out that the governments giving you that song and dance are actually allies with the governments that fund these terrorist groups and that these groups are given chances to destabilize other governments and acquire more training and weapons and treasure and power-bases, .... well, wouldn't you start to feel like you've been had? Like you're being played for a goddamned chump?

i know I sure would.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How to Win the War on Terror

If I'm wrong, correct me and I'll happily change my mind. But it seems to me that when it comes to the Great Bullshit War on Terror (GBWT), the Left (as it is with most things) is dismally unable to articulate a strategy to actually stop it. ("Stop Harper" anyone?)

As "Sibyn" from "EnMasse" knows, I dare to be different! For instance, while most people are patting themselves on the back for their standing-up for freedom of expression in the wake of the killings of the Charlie Hebdo staff, I can only look on with nausea at the ignorance, hypocrisy and narcissism.

You know, NO IF's, AND's, or BUT's, ... those murders were inexcusable, wrong, immoral. Nobody should be killed for their ideas or their writings or their cartoons or their films. But as Glenn Greenwald explains, there are more enemies to freedom of speech than just Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. Anti-Christian works of art are routinely banned. Criticisms of Israeli war-crimes are condemned as "anti-Semitism" and those who express those criticisms often find themselves unemployed. Calls for violence against US and other NATO troops result in police investigations and imprisonment, while calls for the mass-murder of Muslims are ignored. (The former is "radicalization" while the latter is as common as the air we breath.)
I’ve previously covered cases where Muslims were imprisoned for many years in the U.S. for things like translating and posting “extremist” videos to the internet, writing scholarly articles in defense of Palestinian groups and expressing harsh criticism of Israel, and even including a Hezbollah channel in a cable package. That’s all well beyond the numerous cases of jobs being lost or careers destroyed for expressing criticism of Israel or (much more dangerously and rarely) Judaism. I’m hoping this week’s celebration of free speech values will generate widespread opposition to all of these long-standing and growing infringements of core political rights in the west, not just some.
There were plenty of opportunities to stand-up for freedom of expression before these murders. The reasons why nobody did have something to do with the systemic failures of our political culture.

Also, you know, while it's a terrible tragedy that those 12 people were viciously murdered, I just can't bring myself to be too emotional about it. Because, after all, haven't we all grown used to people dying in the GBWT? You know, a million Iraqis? How many tens of thousands of Afghans? A quarter-of-a-million Syrians? Thousands of Libyans? Thousands of Palestinians? A newspaper headline today read "France is on edge." I guess they must be. Who knows where the next crazed gunman or bomber will strike? Imagine how people in Pakistan and Yemen feel knowing that a predator drone could be flying unseen above them in the clear blue sky, waiting to literally come out of the blue and kill them, often for no discernible reason. (Three Afghan men picking over a garbage dump for scrap metal were killed by a drone strike once. Apparently, one of the men was tall. So, it might have been goddamned Osama bin Laden picking for scrap metal there. Jeeziz Fucking Christ!)

Now, we read that ISIS has targeted Canada, along with other active participants in the GBWT. And not because of our freedoms, but because of harper and the harpercons' cartoonish, stupid view of the world that has Canada as a loud and proud attack-poodle on the side of US imperialism.

And the insanity of it all! Some guys who got their weapons and their training from the USA, Saudi, Qatar, etc., - backed war between the secular Assad dictatorship and fundamentalist whack-jobs (with said "guys" being on the side of the fundamentalist whack-jobs) go back to France and kill some people, and that means we're supposed to shut-off our brains and cheer on the current (and past, and future) round of bloody US imperialism, and nod our heads in silent agreement to the latest attacks on our freedoms from state surveillance and our legal and human rights!

So, as I said before, after years and years of this GBWT, we're finally starting to see genuine signs of "radicalized" young men acting-out and killing here in Canada (without they're having been instigated by an RCMP informant/provocateur). And it's harper's fault (with a small assist from the craven Liberal governments of Chretien and Martin who signed-on to the illegal US war on Afghanistan, rammed-through the idiotic Anti-Terrorism Act, allowed the donut-munching incompetent desk-jockeys at CSIS to incarcerate innocent men and submit Canadian citizens to torture in Syria, Egypt and the Sudan, and allowed Canada to be implicated in war crimes with their bungled, ignorant, stupid policies for handling prisoners in Afghanistan.

But if we acknowledge this simple truth; if we say that the stupidity and buffoonery of stephen harper has brought bloodshed and death upon us and that the smartest thing we could do would be to STOP taking part in the GBWT, the we'll be accused of cowardice. The lamebrain right-wing morons (for many of which the mass deaths of Muslims and Arabs is gratifying for its own sake) will drag out the word "appeasement" (because everything is Munich, 1937 in their blinkered world-view).

But let's return to that thrilling world of 2001. What was the impetus behind Osama bin Laden's campaign of terror against the United States? Was he disgusted with Americans' freedom, so much that he wanted to rule the world from Baghdad and take their freedoms away? Why don't we stop thinking like six-year-olds and remember what David Cross had to say on the matter:

So, contrary to what the slobbering imbeciles and drooling cretins from the right-wing of the blog-o-sphere insist, ... Islamic fundamentalists are not trying to conquer us (including the USA, and thereby including most, if not all of the entire world) and take our freedoms away. In 2001 it was about Israel, "infidel" military bases in Saudi Arabia, and, if I remember correctly, the mass-murder by sanctions of over 100,000 Iraqis.

After 2001, it was the invasion of Afghanistan and all the torture and degradation that implied.

After 2003, add the invasion of Iraq and the brutal occupation of same. It became the torture and degradation at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. It became the state harassment and popular bigotry against Muslims in Western countries. It became the official support for corrupt dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia.

All this time, the US political elites were fine with providing Islamic fundamentalist fighters to hone their skills and obtain resources by attacking quasi-independent governments in Libya, and now Syria. Again, these fighters are Sunni fanatics, supported by Sunni fanatic governments. The civil war in Syria went off the rails somewhat when these Sunni fanatics decided to attack Shia-dominated Iraq.

In short, it is a clusterfuck. It has brought untold misery to millions and millions of people. But it is not a clash of civilizations. It is not even a genuine threat to the US world order. Even today, ISIS would not be a threat to the US-imposed "order" in the Middle East; especially if they lost their backing from the Sunni monarchies. The "appeasement" metaphor is therefore completely stupid. We are not in danger of a new Nazi Germany if we simply STOP traipsing around like frenzied psychopaths in the Middle East. The third-world military of Assad's Syria managed to fight them to a stand-still for fuck's sake! (Lately though, ISIS's success in Iraq has prompted other anti-Assad factions to flock to their banner. Which just goes to show again, the Great Bullshit of the BGWT. Supposedly we have to move heaven and earth to prevent ISIS taking over Iraq, but it will be fine if they take over Syria??)

The idea that Al Qaeda will overthrow the West with a few bombings and hijackings should always be laughed at for the ridiculous garbage that it is.

So what can we do about this? As Canadians, what can we do to stop the insanity? What can we do to fight the Great War of Ideas against the conventional wisdom that there is a Great War of Civilization, with "freedom" hanging in the balance? What can we do to STOP creating alienated Muslim men who get access to weapons and training and who seek to lash-out against the societies that enable the slaughter of Palestinians, and Lebanese, and Iraqis? (Which is not to say that these young men busy slaughtering Libyans, Syrians, Iraqis, and Westerners are innocent little lambs. The sorts of young men who would sign-up to do these things were doubtlessly already fucked-up, incoherent idiots for the most part. But there's a lot of that sort of behaviour in the world. It takes certain material conditions, - such as massive support from insane Sunni monarchs -- to give such men the tools they need to actually hurt people.)

As Canadians, we cannot hope to impact the US government. But we can influence our own society and perhaps our own unelected, anti-democratic, criminal scum-bag regime of harpercon religious fanatics, closet-cases, racists and thieves.

1. Condemn the Sunni Arab monarchical dictatorships for the funding and general fostering of Sunni fundamentalist terrorists.

We should make it an uncomfortable, unavoidable reality in the minds of 85% of the people (I think 15% of the country is totally, completely hopeless) that US allies, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, are all deeply involved in providing the money, the weapons, the training, the manpower, for much of the terrorism that we face coming out of the Middle East.

2. Condemn Israeli expansionism for what it is. Take serious steps to provide the Palestinians with a viable state to call their own, even if this includes the "heart-wrenching" dismantling of racist settlers' homes that should never have been built on occupied lands in the first place.

3. Refuse to take further part in occupations and military campaigns that CREATE MORE TERRORISTS.
The FACT that the USA supports Al Qaeda-type groups in Libya, Syria and who knows where else, should have made it obvious to the world that the great fear of terrorism is, for the most part, a fraud.

Well, I'm bushed. I think I'll expand upon those three points in tomorrow's post.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

"Workers as Citizens" could replicate Piketty's world crises ...

A little while ago I posted about Thomas Piketty's insight that the ONLY thing that really altered income and wealth inequality in the west, despite over 250 years of revolutions and capitalist development, was the collective world crisis of the two world wars and the Great Depression.

For one thing, for one advanced capitalist country to defeat another one required the full mobilization of industry and manpower. In other words, "full employment." The Great Depression showed how a mass production, consumer economy requires masses of consumers with stable incomes at wages high enough to allow discretionary spending. That required unions. Full employment and unions.

In Europe, they had reconstruction after the war. The United States also had military Keynesianism, to confront the Soviet Union (a product of World War I).

As you know, I asked the fine people at EnMasse about what we on the Left had that could match the impact of these combined crises, and thereby reverse the increase in inequality that's been occurring since the 1980s. Alas! "Sibyn" took my challenge as an opportunity to trash me as a deluded and abusive egotist. Super-radical anarchist "Slumberjack" schooled me on the fact that shop-lifting from chain stores was just as important as any of the history-changing events described above.

Just thought I'd point out that using our present political system to legislate the citizenship rights of workers within their workplaces (full access to the workplace's financial information, rights of free speech and association, the right to employment [similar to a citizen's right to return to their country], and more besides) could effectively challenge the present power of capitalists to weaken us with unemployment and poverty if we don't dance to their tune, and to corrupt politicians and journalism with their money and their ownership.

Of course, I say this fully realizing that shit-heads like "Slumberjack" will continue to espouse simply not voting (in the belief that once our system collapses, a better society will be formed out of the ruins) as well as (we mustn't forget) shop-lifting, and occasionally demonstrating in the streets so that Veterans Affairs offices remain open. [?!?] Other people believe giving themselves heart and soul to Thomas Mulcair or Justin Trudeau, and cheering on whatever it is they plan on doing is the best option. Others have more eclectic sets of actions and beliefs I'm sure.

I can't be bothered to write anymore today.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

"Team Civilization"

Iraqi Sanctions, Starvation in Afghanistan, Consistent support for and use of torture across decades, "Operation Protective Edge",  ... Bah! It should go without saying, that the murder of some racist cartoonists doesn't absolve us of all of our crimes.


To even have to say that!

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Charlie Hebdo Killings

I haven't read any of the news reports about the killings at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. As I admitted recently, I don't read or watch the news very much anymore. So all this is based on my reflections on commentary about these killings. (I'd also never heard of Charlie Hebdo before yesterday.)

Now then, I hate all religion. It's all the same stupid bullshit. Or, to put it more politely and precisely; Religions are all human inventions, created by peoples with less understanding of the universe they lived in, in order to try to describe and make sense of a very confusing existence. But they have no divine origins. They are relics of our specie's intellectual infancy and we would be doing well to put them all behind us. Because, when all is said and done, they all contain some pretty fucking stupid bullshit that nobody should kill or die for.

Nobody should be killed for satire. Nobody should be killed for their ideas. Nobody should be killed for the pictures they draw. Nobody should be killed for imaginary gods and their deluded prophets.

That having been said, I've always had mixed feelings about getting on the bandwagon and cheering for those Westerners who mock Islam. One reason is that I'm more comfortable mocking my own culture and the religion that was inflicted on me personally, this being Christianity, and the Catholic form of it in particular. I'm also more comfortable with other people mocking their own religion. There's a part of me that thinks that people mocking other people's religion are mocking other people's cultures. It's not entirely rational of me, but it feels like I'm listening to someone mock somebody's language as "monkey-talk" or their appearance as ugly, or their artistic achievements as garbage. Then, even worse, there are those who mock Islam not because they're atheists who mock all religion, but because they're devotees of some other religious delusion. In this case, their mockery is just one side of a ridiculous sectarian divide. The Sunni-Shia conflict that is so important to the medieval tyrants of the Middle-Eastern monarchies is just as pointless and stupid as that between the Christians and Islam.

Finally, for me there's the very important fact that a lot of the people who identify as Muslim are in societies under attack. Pretty much the whole Arab world is targeted by the United States. And a good deal of the Islamic world. From Libya to Pakistan, Muslims are under direct military assault or under the boots of US puppet governments. I'm of the opinion that the time for a debate about the delusions of Islam should wait until AFTER we stop killing them.

Because, you know, there's nothing like being under attack from the outside to make a society rally around the flag, God and country.

Personally, I think you really have to wonder how genuinely opposed to terrorism our elites are. You really have to wonder how much those pieces of shit cheer for things like the murder of those Western writers and artists. This all feeds into their bullshit "war on terror" doesn't it? The "war on terror" is a very convenient form of social control. Unthinking people happily surrender their rights to the state, to be protected from the evil terrorist threat. The fucking FACT that the evil terrorist threat has been created by elite policy is obscured by an avalanche of corporate media bullshit.

Wait.               Stop.

Here's an example of the sort of reaction to this thing that's really bugging me.
Did you hear that?

"Stark reminder, that for the most part, the legislators and journalists and institutions that we jab and ridicule are not, in any way, the enemy. For however frustrated or outraged the back and forth can become, it's still back and forth, a conversation  between those on, let's call it 'Team Civilization.'"

I'm sorry, but "for the most part" you mock people like george w. bush, dick cheney, donald rumsfeld, condoleeza rice, barack obama (sort of), john mccain, mitch mcconnell.

THAT is your "Team Civilization"? Thieving, torturing, mass-murdering scum-bags???

It's true, that "Team Civilization" doesn't go into newsrooms in Paris, London, New York City, and shoot people in cold blood. But let's be fair here. What makes it more tragic for 12 Western cartoonists to have been killed for their views, than for 12 Pashtun-speaking citizens of Pakistan to be killed by a predator drone while attending a funeral of another innocent person who was killed by another predator drone? Or 12 Afghan villagers, blasted to bits by a NATO air-strike against insurgents taking shelter among them? Or 12 Iraqis, shot by US marines on a rampage because one of their own was killed by an IED? Or 12 Syrians killed by being in the crossfire of the civil war between the Baathist dictatorship and the fundamentalist, fanatic rebels? Or 12 Palestinians, blasted to pieces from a bomb dropped by an Israeli war plane?

What reasons did those other people die for? Is it better to die for US imperialism? Or Israeli expansionism? Are those deaths less tragic, and more "civilized" because the final source of them was in Washington D.C. or Tel Aviv?

"Team Civilization" has a lot of blood on its hands, doesn't it?

But we're trained (most of us anyway) not to notice it. ISIS beheads its prisoners! Horrible! Barbaric! It is by the way. But is it any more barbaric than condemning men to die of thirst and suffocation in closed shipping containers?  Is it less barbaric to imprison an innocent man for over a decade, with no end in sight, and to torture him intermittently? (And, then, when that man is driven to attempt suicide by self-starvation, to force-feed him so that his incarceration and torture can be continued?)

Listen to the self-serving dreck of Western commentary! The murderers of the writers and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were "radicalized"! Oh my goodness gracious me! How is it any different when young American men signed-up to the US military after 9-11? After all, aren't both these groups of young men motivated by seeing their society under assault, and responding with a blind urge to kill someone, anyone, whoever, on the "other side"?

Why don't we consider all the Keyboard Kommandos who write lengthy disquisitions about how we should drop a nuclear bomb on Mecca during the Hajj to be "radicalized" and try to discover the source of this "radicalization" and eliminate it?

Because the source of this insanity is official government policy!

It's the COMPLETE BULLSHIT of the "war on terror"!

What country is the main exporter of Islamic terrorism? Saudi Arabia! It funds it. It provides weapons for them. It often provides the men. (Google "9-11 terrorists, hijackers.") On top of this, Saudi Arabia places intrusive restrictions on the basic human rights of half of its population, ... women. As a monarchical dictatorship, Saudi Arabia denies almost its entire population their basic civil and political rights. But this terror-exporting, women suppressing, torturing and beheading dictatorship is a cosseted US ally! (Along with a handful of other similarly retrograde Arab dictatorships.)

It is a long-standing tenets of Western imperialism to ally with the most conservative, reactionary elements in the countries to be exploited. Pretty much every single time. Because these tiny, selfish cliques are the sorts of people who will sell their countries' resources for a song, and happily condemn the bulk of their peoples to poverty and misery.

The USA supported the mujaheddin in Afghanistan, and then walked away when the conflict with the Soviets was over. This policy produced Osama bin-Laden the Great Satan terrorist mastermind (who was apparently killed by Navy SEALS and his body dumped into the ocean [out of "respect for Islamic customs"] before anyone could prove he was dead).

Again and again and again, we're told that Islamic fundamentalism is the great evil of our time. A danger that necessitates our surrendering all of our rights to privacy, and freedoms from arbitrary search and seizure and freedoms from cruel and unusual punishments. And yet, US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar are allowed to export Sunni fundamentalist fighters to Libya and Syria and Iraq and Pakistan. And NATO ally Turkey allows them to cross into Syria through its border.

And yet, and yet ...

Let me end this by saying that I do not see the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo to be evidence of a Great War of Civilizations. I do not see the "radicalization" of young Muslim men as a mysterious, terrifying phenomenon that threatens our way of life. I see it as the flip-side of the coin that sends so many Aryan Nation-type dipshits to want to go to the Middle East and kill "rag-heads" because "they attacked us on 9-11."

And I see the whole thing, BOTH SIDES, as pathetic dupes in a disgusting, bloody, cynical, stupid, deluded, campaign of imperialism.


For the past couple of days I've been irritated by going to the gym and seeing on the change-room TV how they've been fixated by a missing plane that went down somewhere in the Indian or the South Pacific Ocean. Ten-fifteen solid minutes of blather and speculation as if nothing else is going on in the world, and only because such an apolitical subject allows them to go on at length without stepping on any important toes.

I noticed that today CNN was spending all morning covering a stand-off between the killers of the Charlie Hebdo staff. Again, as if there's nothing else going on in the world. As if it's vitally important to tell people EXACTLY when the police killed them so that you have to have minute after minute of speculation while the camera stays fixed on the building 100 meters away, where the police have the killers cornered.

And CNN can talk as much as their pretty heads desire about the police-work that tracked the killers there, and the route they took, and how many hostages there are, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah-fucking-blah.

I couldn't resist telling this older white dude also watching "At least they've stopped talking about that fucking airplane." I was delighted when he answered: "Well, they've got a new toy."

Somehow, if somebody traced the predator drone that killed 12 Pakistanis attending a funeral, to a specific drone pilot in Las Vegas, and then to the "terrorist masterminds" at the Pentagon and the White House, I don't think CNN would be doing a second-by-second coverage of the stand-off between those war criminals and the authorities.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Questioning the Kryptonian Cult

I don't feel inspired to write about anything else today, so I think I'll bash religion. (Especially since society - which is greatly infected by the religiosity virus - has asininely concluded that anti-religion atheists are "discredited" because Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris are jerks.)*

A while ago, I offered the example of a cult, whose members believed that they were all from the planet Krypton and therefore, thanks to the different light of Earth's sun, they all had super powers.
I present to you, the Superman Religion. I and my fellow adherents of the Superman Church believe that we are all Kryptonions from the planet Krypton and we are possessed of super-human powers as a result of the effect of the rays of Earth's red sun. We all believe we are capable of leaping tall buildings, outrunning speeding bullets, and can beat powerful locomotives in arm-wrestling, shot-put and what-not. We also believe that we should help our adopted planet and we therefore pursue truth, justice and the American way on a daily basis.
Of course, our religion is based on the probably false claims of the original church members who demonstrated all these abilities in secret 400 years ago and who wrote all the texts of our Church. None of us has ever really "tested" our faith by trying to fly from jumping off a sky-scraper or stopping an 18-wheeler from running over a puppy, or anything like that. But it certainly gives us confidence when we walk around having convinced ourselves that should we ever try to do any of those things we might just pull it off. And, the idealism of our faith inspires us to live with self-respect and as valuable members of the community.

Waitaminnit. Did I say that NONE of us has ever tried to fly or stop a truck or outrun a speeding bullet. Okay, okay, ... A FEW of the Church's membership has tried to do these things over the years. They were members of the Church, but they were obviously frauds, because they failed utterly and died. Only true Kryptonions can do these things. It's gauche though, to enter into contests with Church members to see who's a bona-fide Kryptonion and who is a wannabe.
In case it isn't clear, let me spell it out for you: It is nonsensical to believe that you come from a fictional planet mentioned in a comic-book story invented in the 1930s by a guy who ended up doing bondage comics later in his career (in a desperate attempt to pay the rent). It is just as nonsensical to believe that one bronze-age set of stories written by one particular set of pastoralists comprises divinely-inspired universal truths.

If even ONE person leaps from a tall building in the belief that they can fly, and subsequently falls to their death, because of a groundless, asinine belief, that is one person too many.

If people believe that the source of their moral conduct stems from the fantastical belief that they're super-powered beings obligated to protect and defend ordinary earthlings, because of these nonsensical beliefs, instead of basing them on some sort of coherent ethical theory, then that's a waste too.

To argue that people shouldn't believe that invented human stories are really truths delivered by God, is just to argue for the facts. Anyone who objects to arguing for the facts against myth is deeply confused.

To argue that crazy beliefs with absurd claims can have dangerous consequences is not bigotry. It is not intolerance of different ways of thinking. 

To kill and die for false beliefs is a tragic waste.

To live by a moral code with a basis in myth is to live a lie.

Religious people are not stupid. There has always been some good mixed in with the bad with religion. But religion is an anachronism, that we no longer need and that we would be much better off without.

And to say that is not just the flip-side of the coin of religious fanaticism. To insist that is the height of stupidity and incoherence.

(* That the case for religion hasn't been "discredited" by the likes of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, ISIS, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam, ad infinitum, speaks volumes about the insidious hold this virus has on the general consciousness.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Can We Not Agree That the USA Has Made the Middle East an Inferno of Misery & Despair?

Imagine if the Russians, in 2001, had invaded Afghanistan. (They did invade in 1979, the same way the USA invaded South Vietnam. They were invited in by a puppet-government.) Then they invaded Iraq in 2003. The whole time they were backing Israel, including those times when that racist country carpet-bombed civilians. Then they enabled the same fundamentalist nut-jobs they were fighting in Iraq to overthrow Qaddafi and plunge Libya into bloody chaos, and to start a civil war against Assad in Syria that has killed 250,000 people and added to the area's millions of refugees. And then that war spread, destabilizing Iraq, which stood on the verge of splitting apart.

Just close your eyes and imagine how the shameless propagandist hacks would be discussing the state of the Middle East if it was the fault of the Russians.

Monday, January 5, 2015

CNN and the Plane Crash

Jayzuzz Fookin' Kee-rice-tah!

So, I go the gym. I go to the change room. The big screen TV is playing CNN and they're talking about that plane from somewhere in East Asia that went down in the ocean somewhere. I shave and then get into my work-out clothes and head out to the gym floor, ... probably around ten minutes, and when I leave, they're STILL talking about the goddamned plane crash!!

My condolences to anyone who lost a loved one in that disaster.

But this has nothing to do with most anybody else on the planet. What are we going to get out of this extended coverage? Are they uncovering problems with planes belonging to less developed countries? Like, maybe the costs of operating an airline aren't being met by the fares and they're cutting corners? Is there SOMETHING that CNN is talking about other than that it's a mystery as to why it crashed and where it is? That bad weather is impeding the search for the black-box?

Is there a reason you're spending 15 minutes on this story and NOT about comparing the NYPD's whining about how protesters against police brutality have the blood of those two slain officers on their hands, but all the racist cops who sang racist songs about Michael Brown, or who say all sorts of other racist things about murdered black men and black men in general, ... why they shouldn't have anything on their consciences?

Maybe you could have an honest interview with anyone skeptical about the Obama administration's case that North Korea was behind the SONY hack?

No, CNN just LOVES plane crashes. The let them pretend that they're journalists, covering an important story, talking with experts, bringing you updates as they happen, blah, blah, blah, fucking-blah.

The sad thing is, the air-heads doing all this actually believe that they're journalists doing journalism. And they are where they are because their owners (and the system their owners serve and profit from) select people who can babble on and on about a lost plane without giving a second thought to the story's overall irrelevance to most people's lives, and who can't bring themselves to question the narrative that their country is democracy and that their leaders are democratic.

Tax Revolt: An Idea Anti-harper Canadians Could Have Gotten Behind?

In a recent comment at someone else's blog, it occurred to me that those democratically-minded Canadians who are sickened by the idea of having a government led by a guy who has contempt for Parliament (you know, the place that writes our laws), and who openly supports lying to Parliament and cheating to win elections (and who cheated to win his last election, might deal with their sickness by refusing to pay their taxes.

If it got widespread enough, even merchants would have to deal with the masses of people refusing to pay the HST (especially in Ontario where those asshole Liberals blew at least half-a-billion dollars of OUR money in order to protect the seats of two of THEIR members and then tried to cover it up), and either pay it themselves or, if they believe in what little democracy there is in Canada, to likewise refuse to pay it.

Remember, harper is not a democratic politician. He's a lying, cheating, cowardly thug.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Dawg's Grassy Narrows Post

I don't comment at Dawg's blog because, as I've said numerous times in the past, he tolerates the most vilest of trolls and he had the audacity to publicly upbraid me for being uncivil towards them.

But he's got one of the best blogs around and I read it on a daily basis. (Not so much the comments.)

So, a few days ago, he left this post: "Premier Wynne, #Aboriginal Lives Matter"

Hasn’t Grassy Narrows suffered enough? Residential-schooled, human rights denied, forcibly relocated, and then, in the late ‘sixties and early ‘seventies, poisoned with mercury. Fish, fowl, animals—and people. And, as the late Warner Troyer explained back in 1975 in the CBC documentary above, there were cover-ups and casualties all the way through, as mercury levels rose to highly toxic levels in the rivers, fish, and First Nations inhabitants who lived on the fish.
Mercury poisoning is irreversible. In humans the symptoms include muscle weakness, a narrowed range of vision, loss of hearing, and slurred speech. It can progress to insanity, coma and death. The syndrome is called Minamata disease, after a city in Japan whose inhabitants were slowly poisoned by a corporate polluter for decades.
The Ontario government of the day got wind of the massive pollution of the Wabigoon River system by Dryden Chemicals Inc., which dumped 20,000 pounds of mercury into the waterways, and it stopped commercial fishing. But it resisted doing anything at all to help the First Nations people affected, and has never publicly accepted, despite the abundant scientific evidence, that the affected populations in Grassy Narrows and Whitedog reserves indeed had Minamata disease. Japanese scientists visited, bringing with them sufferers from from Japan—but the response by the Progressive Conservative government response was to mock them. Natural Resources Minister Leo Bernier called them “Japanese troubadours.” Yuk, yuk.
It took another ten years after Troyer’s documentary for the First Nations to win compensation. But the bands are still fighting against corporate pollution to this day, as well as continuing to suffer the lingering effects of mercury poisoning. The only scientists interested in their plight are Japanese. In official Canada, it’s all yesterday’s news.
Except that it is anything but. The Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne is happy to give these long-suffering people another dose of poison. And, unlike the Progressive Conservative government forty or so years ago, when Minamata disease was poorly understood, she cannot fall back upon the alibi of ignorance. By approving massive clearcutting by logging companies, which will release soil-bound mercury into the waterways once again, the Ontario Liberal government is condemning more First Nations people to sickness and quite possibly death. A request by the First Nations for an environmental assessment before logging begins has been brusquely refused: Wynne and her government know perfectly well what they’re doing.
It is impossible to miss the comparison here with the Harper government’s promotion of asbestos, despite its proven link to a particularly horrible cancer called mesothelioma. As long as Quebec was producing it, the federal government was happy to see it exported to the Third World, where countless lives would be shortened or lost as a result. The spectacle of Dr. Kellie Leitch, who has presumably sworn the Hippocratic oath (“Do no harm”), refusing to speak out against this outrage was stomach-churning. And Harper wheeled and dealed internationally to prevent this virulent cancer-causing substance from even being labelled as dangerous. Only when the government of Pauline Marois closed the mines did the pro-asbestos Conservatives (and Liberals too, by the way) stop their drive to sicken and murder Third World workers in the cause of profits and votes.
Because that’s really what all this is about, isn’t it? Back in the ‘sixties and ‘seventies, it was tourism, especially sport fishing, in northern Ontario; now it’s logging, and for the feds (and Quebec mining companies) it was asbestos. What difference do the lives of Aboriginal people and brown Third World workers matter when there’s money to be made and votes to be bought?
A fairly recent Supreme Court decision set back the reserve inhabitants even further, exempting the federal government from responsibility for the health and lives of the people in Grassy Narrows. Clear-cutting logging companies may face further court challenges, but there is little cause at this point to be optimistic. Money talks. And because of that, our sorry history of genocide has not yet run its course.
I hope to hell it got more of a response on twitter. Because there's only one comment there ("sooey" of "sooey says"). And I hope more people did what I did; which was to email the premier (under my own name obviously) and ask her to explain that decision.

I really hope, I really REALLY hope, that the response to Dr. Dawg's post on Grassy Narrows was more than one comment. (I also re-posted his blog entry to my facebook account.)