Thursday, April 2, 2015

Terry Glavin, a special kind of stupid

Terry Glavin has long had a habit of conflating the Canadian peace movement with barbaric fundamentalist murderers. If you were against NATO's occupation of Afghanistan, you were obviously (at best) a useful idiot for the Taliban or (at worst) one of their dedicated fans.

Curiously, this process could not be applied to Glavin and his support for western imperialism. Terry Glavin could support the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq without being linked to the awful corruption and violence of the Karzai-warlord government, or the US military hunter-killer teams with their trophies of human body-parts, or the depredations of "Blackwater" or other mercenary groups, or the bloody corruption of the oil industry.

Given this self-serving contradiction, one could be forgiven for thinking that Glavin is just a scum-bag. But I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I would say that, actually, the term "useful idiot" mentioned above, is the perfect definition of Terry Glavin when he writes about the GBWT (Great Bullshit War on Terror).

Glavin is coy about the details (probably because if he laid them out coherently in the cold light of day, it would be easy to point out their shortcomings and logical failures) but something happened to him that made him think there was enough to be said for at least some members of the then-"Northern Alliance" and enough to said against the Taliban, that we should take sides in that battle. That we should support the Northern Alliance against the Taliban. This meant military support. This meant fighting, killing and dying, to support one side against the other.

It isn't the point of this post to argue the case against Glavin on Afghanistan. I'm going to merely assert the obvious. The Karzai-Warlord government was appallingly corrupt, incompetent, and murderous, pretty much from top-to-bottom. Non-Pashtun war-lords were given majority Pashtun provinces and ran them like personal fiefdoms, to be raped (literally in the case of their female inhabitants) and plundered. Stupidly, Canada took part in the eradication of the opium cash-crop that was all that stood between Afghan farming families and utter starvation. Karzai's military and police would supplement their salaries with kidnapping and extortion, killing anyone whose family wouldn't (or more likely couldn't) pay their ransoms, and dumping their bodies at road sides.

Now, in the real world, of course there were successes in post-Taliban Afghanistan. Considering the Taliban's insanely misogynist philosophy, the women of Afghanistan enjoyed definite gains. (Let's forget that the roots of the Taliban's rise to power began with the US-backed war between the Mujaheddin and the Soviet Union in 1979.) But did we really have to go in there and kill farmers fighting against a corrupt government? Did we really have to spend $10 billion on this? Did we really have to become complicit in torture? Did we really have to abuse our parliamentary traditions to cover-up our behaviour in Afghanistan?

No. Fucking no. Full-stop: NO.

But, Glavin, for his own stupid incoherent reasons, places himself at the side of the murderous police force, the murderous war-lords, the corrupt, misogynist Karzai, the US mercenaries, the torture cover-ups, the "national security" liars against democratic accountability, the harpercon chicken hawks, and Rosie DiMoron, and says it was worth it.

And he's become such a gibbering, stammering idiot defender of the GBWT that he even penned a disgraceful column condemning Eric Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, because he believes there are Islamic terrorists hiding under all our beds, plotting to blow-up  a building or a train somewhere and then WHAM! Canadian women will be prisoners in their own homes, nobody will be able to get listeriosis because there'll be no more bacon on our pizza and etc., etc., it's so stupid I could go on for hours about it.

Now, Terry is shrieking about how Canada should put boots on the ground (not his presumably) in Syria. Apparently bombing a sovereign nation uninvited is for wimps. You aren't serious about war unless you literally invade it with troops.

Terry's rantings were inspired by a speech Justin Trudeau gave about Canada's aspirations to being a country that shows respect and tolerance for other cultures. (I'm going to assume Trudeau's speech was in response to harper's recent display of bigotry and xenophobia about niqabs.) As near as I can make out, Glavin is calling Trudeau a namby-pamby, clueless dolt, who, through his espousal of cultural tolerance, is leaving the door wide-open for fundamentalist, misogynist radicals to conquer Canada.

[There might be SOME truth to Glavin's fears. Just the other day, I was at Yonge and Dundas and a swarthy looking fellow in black and white robes with a scimitar at his side was leading a parade of five niqab n' burqa wearing women, who he had all chained together to a chain he was carrying in his left hand. An old Canadian veteran (Korean War) was so appalled that he dropped his Toronto Sun and his Tim Horton's double-double and confronted the guy about how that ain't no way to treat a lady in Canada. Without a word, the Ay-rab (or whatever) took out his scimitar and beheaded the old guy, then and there. Then, with an exultant cry of "God is Great!" he proceeded on his way. There were some mutterings from other people in the crowd, but me and a gay cultural studies professor from Ryerson quieted them down with a dose of cultural relativism. Now though, I'm wondering if I did the right thing.] *

Let's read together, shall we?
In a week that marks the fourth anniversary of the Syrian uprising — that most pivotal of events during the most critical juncture of what we all heralded at the time as the Arab Spring — it is stirring to see the passion for liberty that welled up in the breasts of millions of Arabs back then now being summoned from the stout patriotic hearts of Canadians. It’s because of that speech about liberty that Liberal leader Justin Trudeau delivered in Toronto on Monday. Liberty, if you don’t mind.
First of all, somebody needs an editor. (At least to be paid for their writing.) I had to read it three times to figure out that he was saying that it was Trudeau's speech that had summoned "passion for liberty ... from stout patriotic hearts of Canadians. At first I thought a sentence or at least some crucial words had been left out. Secondly, I think very few people really talk about the Arab Spring anymore. Not since it descended into bloody tragedy and imperialist cynicism in Libya, Egypt, Syria and Bahrain.
You have to admit it took some serious campaign-strategy cunning to ensure that the counterrevolutionary terror of Islamist barbarism that went on to immolate the Arabs’ dreams of liberty, even though it was the dark anti-subject of much of Trudeau’s meticulously constructed manifesto, was at the same time entirely unmentioned.
Really Terry? The brutal military coup against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was an example of "the counterrevolutionary terror of Islamist barbarism that went on to immolate the Arabs’ dreams of liberty"? The NATO air-war against Libya's Qaddafi that brought to power the same Saudi-backed fundamentalist nut-bars that the GBWT is supposedly all about and has reduced Libya to a failed-state contested over by fundamentalists, ... entirely the work of Islamists? The fundamentalist psycho-warriors in Syria are entirely independent? The government of Bahrain and the Saudi-led war on Shiites are both fueled by their own military industries? The brutal government of Iraq is led by Islamist barbarians with no connection to the West?

What contemptible, ignorant, ridiculous bullshit Terry. What a stupid ass you are.
The word “Islamism” doesn’t appear once. The word “terrorism” appears only in the form “terrorist,” but only by way of mocking what some Conservative may or may not have insinuated in reference to the sympathies of not one, but two NDP leaders, and also in this construction: “Ultimately, my friends, the antidote to repression is liberty. It is this idea that will defeat terrorism and totalitarianism in the long run. It always has. The lethal enemies of terrorists and dictators are societies that are open, thriving and free — not just on paper, but in the streets.”
It would probably help me to read Justin Trudeau's speech. But the thing is, I don't want to. Probably because it would just be another example of useless, hypocritical, self-deluded liberal bullshit. Most mainstream politicians don't give a shit about liberty and freedom. They're all either willing servants or cowed dependents of corporate greed-heads. What I'm doing here is exposing the ridiculous, ahistorical, fact-free rantings of Terry Glavin in response to Trudeau's speech. (Whatever it was.) And, again, pointing out the simply bad writing  that he cloaks his nonsense in. What is the significance of the disgusting Conservatives having made insinuations of "the sympathies of not one, but two NDP leaders"? Is he criticizing Trudeau's speech or the Conservative's insinuations? If he's not criticizing the Conservative's insinuations about the NDP being riddle with Terror-symps, that says a lot about Glavin's intellectual degeneracy right there.
This is narcissism on methamphetamines. To flatter ourselves as being among the “lethal enemies of terrorists and dictators,” we would have to be prepared, as a country, to accept the sacrifices demanded by the duties of liberty and freedom, and to put our backs into it. These are things Justin Trudeau isn’t even prepared to talk about.
I suppose it is laughable. But not as laughable as what Glavin is about to say on how we should REALLY live up to "the duties of liberty and freedom" ...
The Conservatives are up to it in only the most token fashion: six warplanes and about 600 ground crew along with perhaps 70 special forces soldiers and they’re all prohibited from entering Syria without the permission of the tyrant and mass murderer Bashar Al-Assad.
The Conservative effort is a token one. It's for domestic political consumption mainly. The fact of the matter is that harper is saving all his money for propaganda and trying desperately to limit the damage to federal revenues from the combination of his budget-busting tax-cuts for the wealthy and the plummeting price of oil. harper has been cutting military spending, gouging wounded veterans all while committing the Canadian Forces to opportunistic posturing in crisis zones around the world. It's disgusting. But Glavin shows his true qualities by demanding more. To hell with international law! To hell with peacenik worries about the evils of war! To hell with the tyrant and mass murderer Bashar Al-Assad! (Question for Terry Glavin: Do george w. bush or Barack Obama qualify as "mass murderers"? What about Benjamin Netanyahu? Is Bashar Al-Assad the only dictator in the Middle East? Or anywhere else in the world? Should Canadian soldiers just kick-in the doors wherever they find liberty and freedom being violated and to fuck with the sickening dictators of those shit-hole countries?

Is that what you're saying? Do you conceive of these flights of moral fantasy with the help of super-hero comics you complete and utter idiot?
Trudeau’s Liberals were against going even that far, and the NDP insists that some sort of conspiracy is going on, that the Conservatives have been lying about what our soldiers are really up to. They might even be engaged in (horrors) occasional “combat” with the rapists, slave merchants, mass executioners and crucifiers of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s Islamic State.
Terry forgets that, unlike him, most Canadians looked at the wasted sacrifice for a corrupt government of a failed state in Afghanistan as being something less than a good investment. They might not be able to see that our adventure there failed because Canada is ruled by scum who never cared about the people of Afghanistan in the first place, but they're sane enough to understand that it wasn't a blazing success. And they are justifiably loath to get involved with another murky, open-ended contribution in Syria. As well, sane, sensible experts in diplomacy and international law disagree with Glavin's nit-wit demands that we just rush in there, with guns blazing.

Radicals ("terrorist lovers" in Glavin's imbecilic parlance) would also contribute by saying that ISIS/ISIL are not the only rapists, slave merchants, mass executioners in the world. We find some of these among our own allies. Why should we send young Canadian men to die to kill this one set of barbarians while fighting beside another set of barbarians?

If we ARE going to make these hard choices, then let's be honest about it. Let's discuss it HONESTLY in Parliament. Because in the fiction of Canadian democracy, Parliament is the place where through our representatives, Canadians discuss what they're going to do together as a people. But for an anti-democratic ranting lunatic like Terry Glavin, it is a fine thing if a government installed via election fraud, uses its majority to get approval for a campaign of air-strikes and military training only, and then violates that mandate by sending troops into combat.

Apparently, to this astonishingly stupid man, the Canadian Forces are not ours, but the government's, to do with as it pleases. We just foot the bill and accept whatever stains on our reputation might incur if a vile asswipe like harper sends them to do something nasty.
It is quite true that Conservative campaign strategists are making absurdly florid uses of the very real menace of Islamist crackpottery at home and abroad. 
As opposed to Terry Glavin?
Only the week before Trudeau’s address in Toronto, the Conservatives mounted a fundraising appeal via Facebook that cannot be read except in this way: Jihadists from Al Shabab are on their way from Somalia to blow up the West Edmonton Mall. Be afraid. Vote Conservative.
Whereas Glavin's war-cry is "Defend freedom! Fight with the USA and Saudi Arabia! Just like we fought for Karzai and the War- lords!"
For his part, Justin Trudeau would prefer we substitute Al Shabab with a Conservative bogeyman straight out of the shameful injustices visited upon the Japanese, the Greeks, the country’s indigenous peoples, the Irish, the Chinese and so on. 
No, you idiot. Trudeau wasn't doing that at all. He was, as you yourself pointed out, not talking about "Islamism" at all. It was only at the beginning of this same fucking rant of yours! Trudeau was referring to harper's grandstanding about the way some Muslim women dress.
“Leading this country should mean you bring Canadians together. You do not divide them against one another,” Trudeau said, and then proceeded to do precisely that, in words that cannot be read except in this way: Stephen Harper is being unspeakably beastly with the Muslims, and it’s going to get worse. Be afraid. Vote Liberal.
Right. Let me see if I follow you Terry. harper stirs up anti-Muslim bigotry in Canada to divide Canadians and strengthen his bigoted base. (This anti-Muslim bigotry is a byproduct of a process of which your own apocalyptic ravings about "Islamism" is a contributor.) To point out this shameful and cynical exercise in bigotry is to hypocritically divide Canadians as well? Where'd you get that from Terry? Watching FOX News or having Rush Limbaugh over for dinner?
“To me, pluralism means diversity,” Trudeau said. Except that it doesn’t. Pluralism requires a constant, vigorous muddling-through of the challenges that arise from diversity. Without a fierce and unbridled exchange of values and ideas, diversity degenerates into a myriad of competing voting-bloc identity banlieues. That was one of the legacies of the uses Liberal governments made of multiculturalism, and it’s been at times deeply corrosive to the cause of liberty that Trudeau now hopes to reclaim as a Liberal standard.
Ignoring the incoherence of that last sentence, I'll just say that Glavin is packing too much into Trudeau's rather innocuous statement. You can't have "a fierce and unbridled exchange of values and ideas" without first having diversity. You also can't have diverse opinions if the majority gets to inflict its own values and ideas fiercely and unbridled upon minorities. Yes, identity politics can be divisive and multiculturalism can contribute to that. But stephen harper's stoking of bigotry is the antithesis of multiculturalism and it, too is identity politics. (As is Jason Kenney's pandering to the reactionary values of select immigrant communities.) Whether Trudeau was being dangerously vapid on what pluralism and diversity are, is not central to your main argument and you should have refrained from opening that topic with your own simplistic assertions.
Also unmentioned was his dad’s invocation of the War Measures Act in 1970, unless that was what Trudeau meant by his oblique reference to those times when we must “moderate our freedoms in order to ensure we maintain them in the long run.” 
Good point. Trudeau Sr., invoker of the War Measures Act and author of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Or maybe that was meant to account for the supine posture he’s adopted in response to Bill C-51, perhaps the most brazen trespass on liberty in the nearly half-century that has passed since the War Measures Act itself.
Whereas you once trashed Snowden, Poitras and Greenwald because of the danger of the Muzzies, or some such stupidity? 
What seems certain is that Trudeau’s manifesto shouldn’t be taken as an encouraging sign of maturity in this country’s debates about the menace of Islamist terrorism at home or abroad, which tend to be encumbered by either insinuations about or eruptions of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia, or pearl-clutching whimpers of nostalgia for the good old days, before the warmongering Stephen Harper came along, back when we were all Swiss.
Jesus Christ! Dr Dawg said that you can write like an angel when you want to. You're not doing it here! Besides the fact that you're refuting your own nonsensical ravings, that sentence was just a run-on, meandering nightmare.
This brings us straight to Trudeau’s refusal to allow that people might reasonably disagree about the propriety of new citizens claiming an Islamic prerogative to swear their oaths while shrouded in niqabs (to test the limits of the argument, is it also unreasonable to disapprove of lunatics in Klansmen’s hoods being sworn in on the basis of the claim, as that sort invariably makes, to be Christian?).
Here Glavin reveals the shallowness of his understanding of our constitutional rights and freedoms. Let this atheist explain it for him. Under the Charter, we have freedom of religion. That's why the Church of the Universe in Hamilton, Ontario, was allowed to smoke marijuana in their church. Because it was, they claimed, a "sacrament" of their faith. (They got busted for later trying to sell some of their weed to a parishoner who happened to be an undercover cop.)
Sikhs can wear turbans and carry ceremonial daggers because it's their religion. And people can reasonably disagree on whether that's safe, or whether if they want to serve as RCMP officers the uniform should be altered to accommodate them. But Muslim women are legally entitled to swear the oath of citizenship wearing a niqab. (I defy anyone to explain just what nefarious purpose the "Islamists" could make of that right.) It is a violation of their Charter rights to refuse to hear them in court or to take their testimony because they're wearing a veil.

I might not like the niqab and I might pity the Muslim woman who has decided all on her own that embracing this misogynist- inspired garment brings her closer to her imaginary god, but I'm not going to berate her in public for her choice or deny her the right to make that choice. I'm not going to engage in a public shaming campaign that will only cause stress and anguish to Muslim households that have made their peace with it.

So, at last, if some idiot wants to insist that wearing a pointed hood is central to their religious character as a "Christian" under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we would probably have to accommodate them. That's how laws and rights and stuff works Terry.
“We all know what is going on here,” Trudeau said. “It is nothing less than an attempt to play on people’s fears and foster prejudice, directly toward the Muslim faith.” 
Here I agree with Trudeau one-hundred percent.
Except it’s no such thing, 

Yes it is you fucking idiot! Yes it is!
and neither is the expectation that oath-taking new Canadians should show their faces an offence against liberty comparable, as Trudeau so weirdly claimed, to the cruelty inflicted upon 900 Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis in 1939, when Canadian authorities turned away their ship, the St. Louis.
Okay, this I gotta check out for myself. Here, in real-time, I'll say that I think Glavin is probably twisting Trudeau's meaning. I'll go find the speech ...

Okay. I read the speech. Glavin (as usual) was being an idiot. Read it yourself
That episode does invite a modest present-day analogy that Trudeau might have drawn, however.
Over the past four years, for having risen up in the cause of liberty, nearly 250,000 Syrians have been slaughtered, their cities have been demolished by barrel bombs and roughly half the country’s population of 22-million people is living in refugee tents and ruined buildings. They cower in fear of Baathist death squads to one side and rampaging Islamic terrorists on the other.
Right. And Saudi Arabia and the USA have had absolutely nothing to do with that. (At least in your own stupid fantasy-world.)
Without exaggeration, you could say it’s a bit like Poland in the late 1930s, during the savagery of the Third Reich. 
Yeah. Just a bit. If, say the government of Poland had been as militarily powerful as the Germans and if the Germans were being armed, financed, aided and abetted by the USA and Saudi Arabia, it might be seen as "a bit" similar.

Just like back then, Canada’s political class has been mostly content to look away, to concoct self-aggrandizing excuses for the obscenity of its indifference and to have us all slapping ourselves on the back for what plucky champions of liberty we all are.
And so, once again, yet another hysterical crack-pot, obsessed with the grave threat of the Saudi and USA-backed Islamist fundamentalist terrorist menace (who, bizarrely, attempts to mock other proponents of the Islamist bogeyman) says it's all the 1930s all over again. "Munich" has been overused in this worn-out, erroneous argument about "appeasement," ... even Glavin recognizes this, but he stupidly decides to use "Poland" as the watchword to replace "Munich." Except, tellingly, he's gotten it all totally, unforgivably wrong. So fucking wrong that you have yet more cause to doubt the man's sanity.

Terry Glavin! Britain and France declared WAR on Germany for invading Poland! You stupid fuck!! And Canada followed a week later. I can't believe I had to write that. That takes a special kind of stupid to have said that about Canada in 1939. I could sum up my case against Glavin here, but I think exposing the monumental ignorance displayed in his Poland reference would make that superfluous. Glavin is a ranting dullard. He should be ignored, not encouraged by getting paid for shit like that.

* I played the old guy's abandoned "Roll-up the Rim" game for him. It said "Play Again." I think I might have felt too guilty to claim a prize if I'd won.


susansmith said...

amazing rant thwap.

thwap said...

Well, it was an amazingly terrible original article.



Chamcook said...

I found your post by googling "is Terry Glavin stupid?" I enjoyed it and agree 100%

thwap said...


I wish I could say that I was happy to have been of service, but i'd rather not have such stupidity as Glavin's to contend with in the first place.