Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Non-Violent Logic

Here's a video of women in India beating up a couple of rapists:


Strange how you can access some videos on YouTube but not via the "blogger" video upload system.

Oh well. Basically, I've seen a few videos of different instances where a large group of Indian women have one or two men, caught in the act of attempted rape, and are beating the men with sticks and any other objects that came to hand. Usually the men have been tied up to something, but I remember one where the man was free, but staggering, and occasionally making a pleading motion with his hands begging the women to stop.

Let's apply some of the standard "logic" of those who subscribe to the dogma of non-violence to pathological levels:

"Those women are 'discrediting' the cause they claim to be fighting for."

How does "don't rape" get "discredited"?? How does that work in practice?

"Those women are no better than the rapists they're attacking."

What a vile thing to say.

"Those women are losing the sympathy of the general public."

This is similar to the first accusation, and is generally what is meant by a cause being "discredited." The cause itself isn't discredited, but it might be in the eyes of those in the general public who haven't yet made up their minds on the issue, thereby decreasing public support for the cause. Of course, in this case, those among the general public who don't have an opinion as to whether rape is bad or not, are probably men. Which makes the statement: "Those women are losing the potential sympathy of men who don't care about rape one way or another."

To which those women would probably reply: "Who cares what they think?"

It's the same with other causes, such as homelessness, corporate human rights abuses, or Nazis. People who haven't decided where they stand on such things are either clueless, ignorant or callous. As such, they have removed themselves from the conversation or they're part of the problem.

"Those women are undermining all the work of non-violent anti-rape activists."


Once again,  I'm not asking people to go out and get their skulls cracked in fights with the cops. I'm not trying to be the Canadian Pol Pot. I'm just trying to gently nudge intellectual support away from the pathological adherence to non-violence that permeates leftist culture, because I think it is self-evidently counterproductive.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

George W. Bush & Rob Ford

Recently, there's been efforts to rehabilitate the war criminal (and moron) George W. Bush. Supposedly he respected the news media (when he wasn't lying to them about WMDs) and he isn't as obnoxious as Donald J. Trump. Yes, and for this thin gruel we forgive him his criminal war of aggression against Iraq; his vicious racism, his corruption. This lazy, stupid, ignorant man is now an "elder statesman" or something.

Why is so much our political culture self-evidently vile and stupid???

Similarly, the shameless hacks and hypocrites at SUN Media are reflecting fondly on the career of Rob Ford on the first anniversary of his death.

Now, first of all, of these two men, Rob Ford was the better. He might have been a vicious homophobe (and given that he's younger than me, that's inexcusable), and a hypocrite and abusive, but he also had a hard-working side to him. Bush was, and still is, irredeemably lazy. Also, Ford had the "common touch." He genuinely got along with a lot of people. Bush was an arrogant elitist. (Some achievement for an imbecile.) Ford had this endearing fuck-up aspect that charmed many people.

But let's not forget some other not-so-nice parts of our dear, departed ex-mayor. Now, normally, I wouldn't bother to write about Rob Ford, especially critically, now that he's gone. He wasn't a world-historical monster, whose grim legacy has relevance for us all still. But if the Toronto Sun is going to deliberately mythologize the man, and lie about his record and his behaviour, then their bullshit deserves a response.

Let's start with Joe Warmington's "Ford's Influence Still Felt": Around about the middle of the editorial he writes: "The headlines and interest in videos about his addictions are gone." "Videos about his addictions." That could be a video with two doctors talking about the nature of the drugs Ford was taking and their impact upon his health. Or, it could be a fucking video of him smoking fucking crack cocaine that was later used to try to extort money from him. And the newspaper headlines would be about that too. Isn't it goddamned newsworthy when the mayor of Canada's largest city is smoking crack cocaine with gangsters??? Especially a mayor with a stated "zero tolerance for drugs and gangs"?

Warmington continues: "So is the cat-and-mouse game of political opponents and media trying to force him from office." I have to say, Joe, that it's entirely common practice to expect that politicians caught engaging in illegal behaviour tend to resign. If Dennis Miller was caught on tape buying heroin, do you think Toronto City Council would ask only that he "seek help for his demons"? And the other time Ford almost lost power came when he stupidly spoke to and voted on the question of whether he should have to pay a fine. Ie., something on which he had an individual financial interest. This is called "conflict of interest." And he was being fined for hitting up lobbyists to donate to his highschool football charity.

[Now here's the thing about that: I have no doubt that Ford's football charity was legit. I do not believe he used it for personal gain. But it looks bad to ask people coming to City Hall asking for jobs or favours, to hit them up for money. Tolerating what Ford did would allow for all sorts of murky activity. Any idiot who isn't a partisan stooge would see and admit that. That Ford spoke to and voted on whether he should be fined for such behaviour was absolutely atrocious.]

Warmington goes on about how with Ford gone, the free-spending, lazy ways are back. Also: "Political correctness is back with a vengeance."  What the fuck??? Oh my god! "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!!!" Shriek! No! Won't somebody think of the children???

What is the dumb-fuck even talking about with that one?

"He believed every tax dollar was sacred and not to be wasted or squandered."

Except for the multi-million dollar fines he had the city incur for cancelling "Transit City" when shovels had already started digging the ground. Except for burying a report on the Gardiner Expressway because he likes that ugly white elephant and didn't want to have a debate about maybe tearing it down or burying it. And except for all those friends of his who got jobs in his office. And except for those assistants who ran personal errands for him on the taxpayers' dime while he was railing about other councilors buying an espresso machine for their office or a bunny suit to march in a parade.

Another article: "'He was lynched' Mother and brother remember late mayor'"

Now, obviously, someone who married Ford's obnoxious blowhard right-wing father, is going to have loved her obnoxious right-wing son. And she would naturally be hurt by the criticism of her son. But let's face facts: He brought international disgrace to this city. He was a monstrous hypocrite and a fiscal incompetent. Yes, he restrained (some) spending. But he obviously had no clue about the city's finances and would contradict himself as to whether Toronto had a revenue or a spending problem depending upon what he was talking about at the time.

Lastly, Adrienne Batra speculates about what Ford would say about Kathleen Wynne, Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump. Basically it's a bunch of pointless crap with constant references to how careful Ford was with the city's money.

If you want to know how loyal Donald Trump's fans are and will be, look no further than the loyalty of "Ford Nation." You can literally smoke crack with gangsters, after having rejected funding for anti-gang programs as "hug a thug" spending, and get away with it. Ford was a personal disgrace and a disaster as mayor. Do not seek to mythologize or canonize the man.

(I thought this edition of "24 Hours" also had the racist idiot Sue-Ann Levy's sycophantic article about fellow racist idiot Ezra Levant's talk at Ryerson University. But it must have been another one. What scum.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Trudeau Killed Electoral Reform

Just a reminder Liberal partisans: Hero boy has a solid majority. harpercon obstruction and NDP lately deciding they'd agree to a referendum were irrelevant in the face of this majority. Like harper with his omnibus bills, the Liberals could have passed anything they had a mind to. But this same solid majority reminded Trudeau and his Liberals why they liked "first past the post." Electoral reform died on election night.

So, any bitching and whining about anybody "splitting the vote" from a Liberal is monstrously hypocritical.

Friday, March 10, 2017

What's Going To Happen To Chris Alexander?

I've loathed Chris Alexander since I'd first heard of his existence, back in 2011. That was when he was first running for office as a Conservative candidate in the riding of Ajax-Pickering. He was saying that torture in Afghanistan wasn't a big issue, even though Afghanistan's entire justice/legal system was rife with abuses from top to bottom.

But, aside from my own misgivings, the meme about him was that he was this "golden boy" diplomat from within Canada's Foreign Affairs Department who brought real ability to his new role as a politician. Obviously, I never saw it and still don't. It seems more likely to me that he was nothing more than a supreme butt-kisser/yes-man who took the position of Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan because he was determined to make something out of such a hideous job. He was prepared (as so many of his colleagues probably weren't) to turn a blind eye to all the war crimes and other abuses he would (and did) see, and to cheer-lead for whatever brazen hypocrisies the Canadian government of the moment uttered about "the Mission."

Which was why he ignored Richard Colvin's numerous e-mails about how ALL of our detainees were being tortured by their Afghan jailers. He presided over such barbarism and failure for years, and then he parlayed that into a career in politics, eventually rising to become a Cabinet Minister, where he similarly ignored the desperate cries for help of Syrians trying to flee to safe havens after the USA and its allies turned their country into a slaughter-house. Unfortunately for him, this policy of murderous cruelty ended up hurting him when Syrian refugees began washing up dead on the beaches of the Mediterranean in the hundreds as over-crowded, leaking boats they were on sank beneath the waves. And, sadly for Chris, some of them were tiny children, whose parents had tried to apply for refugee status in Canada, and they died during a Canadian federal election. Alexander had to "suspend" his campaigning and go back to Ottawa (ostensibly to "deal" with the crisis, but actually, simply to hide from the media until the storm subsided).

Chris Alexander subsequently lost his seat in that election. And now he is running for leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. But he isn't doing so well. He's barely registering. He's certain to lose. What then? Back to diplomatic service? Not fucking likely. He's been exposed as a dishonest, partisan rat. A sick joke. (Given his public behaviour, I'm willing to bet Alexander pissed a lot of people off on his way up the ladder.)

Canada is a rich country but we starve our culture. Canadian households spend their money on ordinary things. And Canada's super-rich spend their money on luxury goods and safe investments. That's why former high-ranking politicians often have to take jobs shilling for parasites like the pay-day loan people. Our media is on life-support.

What I'm saying is that the future doesn't look good for ol' Chris Alexander. And I hope it stays that way and he genuinely suffers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Glenn Greenwald on the US Democrats

Foolish chump, or mercenary Democratic Party hack Driftglass has a hate-on for Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald is a libertarian don't you know. He isn't a corporate stooge Democrat who mouths platitudes about the working class and minorities like Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Therefore his exposes of Obama and Clinton's mass spying and crimes against humanity are of no account.

But I have a helluva lot more respect for Greenwald than I do for Driftglass, so that's why I think it's important to mention Greenwald's latest evisceration of that party's overall uselessness.

The more alarmed one is by the Trump administration, the more one should focus on how to fix the systemic, fundamental sickness of the Democratic Party. That Hillary Clinton won the meaningless popular vote on her way to losing to Donald Trump, and that the singular charisma of Barack Obama kept him popular, have enabled many to ignore just how broken and failed the Democrats are as a national political force.

A failed, collapsed party cannot form an effective resistance. Trump did not become president and the Republicans do not dominate virtually all levels of government because there is some sort of massive surge in enthusiasm for right-wing extremism. Quite the contrary: This all happened because the Democrats are perceived — with good reason — to be out of touch, artificial, talking points-spouting automatons who serve Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and the agenda of endless war, led by millionaires and funded by oligarchs to do the least amount possible for ordinary, powerless citizens while still keeping their votes.
Everyone knows the popular cliché that insanity means doing the same thing over and over and expecting different outcomes; it illustrates why Democrats cannot continue as is and expect anything other than ongoing impotence and failure. The party’s steadfast refusal to change course even in symbolic ways — We hereby elevate by acclamation Chuck “Wall Street” Schumer and re-install Nancy “I’m a multimillionaire and we are capitalists” Pelosi — bodes very poorly for its future success.
For the last five years, the face of the DNC was the living, breathing embodiment of everything awful about the party: the sleazy, corrupt corporatist, and centrist hawk Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who — as a result of WikiLeaks’ publication of DNC emails — had to resign in disgrace after she got caught engaging in sustained cheating in order to ensure that Hillary Clinton would be the party’s nominee.
But her disgrace was short-lived: Upon resigning, she was quickly rewarded for her corruption by being named to a high position with the Clinton campaign, as well as having the D.C. establishment Democrats, led by Joe Biden and Clinton herself, support her in vanquishing a Sanders-supported primary challenger for her seat in Congress. As a result of the support from the party establishment (as well as massive funding from corporate and banking interests), she defeated that challenger, Tim Canova, and the nation rejoiced as she returned for her seventh term in Congress.
Perhaps worse than the serial cheating itself was that it was all in service of coronating a candidate who — as many of us tried to warn at the time — all empirical data showed was the most vulnerable to lose to Donald Trump. So the very same people who bear the blame for Trump’s presidency — by cheating to elevate the candidate most likely to lose to him — continue to dominate the Democratic Party. To describe the situation is to demonstrate the urgency of debating and fixing it, rather than ignoring it in the name of talking only about Trump.
So in Tom Perez’s conduct, one sees the mentality and posture that has shaped the Democratic Party: a defense of jobs-killing free trade agreements that big corporate funders love; an inability to speak plainly, without desperately clinging to focus-group, talking-points scripts; a petrified fear of addressing controversial issues even (especially) when they involve severe human rights violations by allies; a religious-like commitment never to offend rich donors; and a limitless willingness to publicly abase oneself in pursuit of power by submitting to an apology ritual for having told the truth.
That is the template that has driven the Democratic Party into a ditch so deep and disastrous that even Vox acknowledges it without euphemisms. That is the template that has alienated voters across the country at all levels of elected office and that enabled the Donald Trump presidency.
If you're interested in a true renewal of the political culture that enabled a Trump victory, you'd do well to take Greenwald's advice.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Profiles in Liberal Fuck-Wittery

Sorry liberals/Liberals. Not going to apologize for not supporting corrupt, mass-murderer Hillary Clinton. "Lesser-Evilism" brought us to Trump. It was HRC's job to get people to support her. It wasn't everybody else's responsibility to force themselves to want to vote for her. She could not get people mobilized, even against someone as loathsome and stupid as Donald Trump because she was running on her party's, her husbands and Obama's legacy. A legacy of destructive corporate rights "free trade" deals. A legacy of destruction of social programs. A legacy of austerity. A legacy of mass incarceration. A legacy of continuing Repug policies of torture and war and inhumanity.

The response of sane people is to reject BOTH Clintonism and Trumpism. If you want to vote for criminal, mass-murdering, elite-serving scum-bags liberals, that's YOUR mental affliction. And fuck you.

And, no, sorry Liberals; once again, let me repeat that Jack Layton was under no obligation to allow Paul (bullshit artist) Martin to continue to destroy public healthcare. If Paul-goddamned-Martin cared so much about his national daycare program (promised in 1992 and due for delivery by 2007), or his Keewatin Accord, he could have agreed to stop destroying pubic healthcare. I guess his priorities were to destroy pubic healthcare first over those other two.

Lately there's been some self-righteous anonymous prick in liberal Montreal Simon's comments section saying shit like this:
Left wing morons+right wing media working hard to take down Justin Trudeau so we can get Leitch or O'Leery as Prime Minister. Just look at the hype around Jagmeet Singh. Yes yes, he is in GQ, yes yes, split the vote you goddamn fucking morons.
I replied:
Split the vote? You mean that problem we have with our archaic first-past-the-post electoral system?
The one that Justin has decided to keep?
There really can't be anything to say after that. Blaming lefties for a problem that dreamy Justin Trudeau allows to continue.

Speaking of dreamy Justin Trudeau: While he does look nice in all those selfies, he must be pretty rotten on the inside to goddamned fucking ignore the SUICIDE EPIDEMIC among First Nations' youth. He's pretty fucking scuzzy to ignore a direct order to bring spending on social services for First Nations up to those enjoyed by the settler society. (Even after cynically voting for a NDP motion that he do so.) The asshole is planning on having a Canadian version of the Standing Rock tragedy.

Sorry liberals.

Monday, February 13, 2017

My "alt-right" Co-Worker

No. He's not a Nazi, or a white supremacist. First of all, he's Filipino. And, while he might be dismayed to find out what Steve Bannon really thinks of him when the chips are down, "Breitbart" (which he reads regularly) has a big enough tent that if features the gay, partly Jewish, Greek (and utterly vile scum-bag) Milo Yiannopoulis as one of their star editors. (Which is not to say that the "grassroots" of "Breitbart" wouldn't kill Milo along with my co-worker if given their druthers.)

When I first got transferred to his section of the factory I had a lot on my mind and wasn't in the mood to be sociable with anyone. Bizarrely, without having known me more than a couple of days, he asked if I wanted to date his cousin. (He's 56, I'm 50. I'm assuming that his cousin is also in late middle age, which is not a good age to be single in. So, her choices are probably fairly limited, but it was still bizarre.) I said no. Truthfully I'm not interested in a relationship. He also made intimations of having a drink after work. But by then I'd heard enough of his other views and, combined with my long-term bad mood, I chose not to take him up on the offer.

We ended up in the same strip-plaza restaurant for lunch once and sat with each other. Out of nowhere he told me that while he had guns back home in the Philippines, he couldn't get one in Canada, but if he'd had one he would have killed his ex-wife. I was flabbergasted. I mumbled something about how I tend to want to harm myself when my relationships go sour, but chalk one up for Canada's gun laws 'eh? He'd be in prison now and his children would hate him. (Obviously his ex-wife would be dead, but that might not have bothered him.)

A big part of our relationship is that I don't really know what I'm doing with this piece of machinery I'm operating and I need his help on a regular basis. So I'm not going to debate/argue with him about politics. But all our conversations ended up somehow into a chance to showcase his right-wing views. And he seems to get frustrated and angry quickly. I don't want to give him ammunition. Early on, I only asked him if he'd heard of the pipeline protest at Standing Rock. I wondered if the mainstream media was even reporting on it. Indeed he had. I was treated to a lengthy statement about how the First Nations (not his term) simply had to get with the program and forget about all their claims and nature and all that other shit. (Of course, none of that has anything to do with the markedly different treatment of the desires of the people of Bismarck South Dakota to not have the pipeline so close to their drinking water and those of the people of Standing Rock to not have the pipeline so close to their own drinking water supplies.)

I didn't get into it with him. I just repeated that I was wondering if he'd even heard about the stand-off.

So, it's been a couple of months or so. And I notice that the guy is fairly lonely. I'm thinking that more people don't want to end up having to listen to long-winded, right-wing tirades. (Especially about topics they might be blissfully ignorant about.) So, one day I was reading CounterPunch and there was a long article about the struggle for Mosul. It sounds horrible. Like a mini-Stalingrad. But I figured it being a manly topic (war) and dealing with attacking the terrorists where they live, that he and I could have some mutual agreement. Bringing up the topic I was treated to him telling me that they should just flatten the place. Bomb it to obliteration. Too bad about the civilians. Including the children. They'd probably grow up to be terrorists too. You can't reason with such people. Their religion makes them fanatics. They're all the same. Which is why it's so foolish for white liberals to say "let everyone in" when it comes to refugees. Why, did I know that Denmark is now 45% Muslim? [That struck me as implausible.] They've brought Sharia Law to Denmark. That's what they do. White people don't have big families. Because we're selfish and narcissistic. But Muslims do. They have 4-5 kids, minimum, and they abuse all those liberal multiculturalism values to establish their rights and they fucking just take over. Pretty soon, nobody has any rights. White people don't notice because we're all into "personal growth" and "personal development."

It wasn't until I saw one of these nut-bars standing right before me that I appreciated the murderous, fanatical bigotry that leads some of them to commit atrocities like the Quebec City mosque shooting. And then this guy's devotion to "Breitbart" (despite not being a Caucasian) made more sense. His contempt for white liberals and/or privileged white individualism became explicable. He's a salt-of-the-earth Filipino. He works hard and he has to know what's-what. He can neither afford to financially, or mentally, stick his head in the ground and dream about yoga classes, or the brotherhood of all mankind, or about degenerate liberal nonsense like sharing one's wives with Black men. He recognizes better than people like me the danger that Western Civilization faces from Islamic Fundamentalist Jihad. (Responding to his murderously bigoted drivel I only joked that the Muslims would have a fight on their hands if they took away my right to have bacon on my pizza.)

Just like the incoherent, rambling garbage that comes from fellow "alt-right" ("white nationalist on paper") Davis Aurini, this guy sees himself on the front-line of a cultural war. He sees liberals as being blind to the danger and even enabling the danger with their imbecilic values of "social justice" and "multiculturalism" and "human rights." That's why they're all so angry at liberals and Muslims. They stew in their conspiracy theories and they build their fantasies in exquisite detail. (Like Davis Aurini; who simply piles groundless assertion upon groundless assertion, until he can say stupid things like "anyone with an ounce of sanity is voting for Donald Trump.")

They believe this shit. They live this shit. They've worked themselves up into a state where they actually call out loud for bombing children to death. And then they go and shoot-up mosques.

So, the thing is, I'm needing this guy's assistance less and less as I become more proficient at my job. Should I confront him? I hesitate because we're a small team on this shift. It could end up creating an extremely stressful situation. ("Productivity is down because [thwap] and Ernesto are fighting over politics again. Fire one or both of them.") More likely the problem will be cognitive dissonance. As the years go by, I see this effecting people more and more. My faith in rational, fact-based discussion weakens when I read progressives saying stupid shit like "Barack Obama was a progressive" or "Trump avoiding nuclear war with Russia is bad, but threatening nuclear war with China is also bad." I can see only too plainly that trying to reason with this guy would be a complete waste of time.

More and more, I think I'll just write for myself and pursue my cartooning and to hell with everything and everyone else.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The LibroCons & Their Billionaire Pals

So, it seems Justin Trudeau took a helicopter to get to a billionaire's private island for some R n' R.(He's bushed from breaking all those promises with his bare hands.)

In the House of Commons, interim Snake-Pit of Closet-Cases n' Criminals Party leader Rona Ambrose waxed indignantly. That is until it was found out she was yachting with a different billionaire somewhere in the tropical sun.

Palin' around with billionaires. Both of 'em.

Speaks volumes about our whole society. Doesn't it?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Atrocity Stories From Syria

I've mentioned Diane Purkiss's The English Civil War: A People's History before. I remember being struck by the way she described massacres of defeated soldiers and ordinary civilians by both sides and how propagandists from each side would write self-righteous, self-pitying dirges about the evils of their enemy.

War tends to do that.

You shouldn't buy Gordon Corrigan's The Second World War: A Military History, because 1) It's more a history of the British army in that war, with a disproportionate focus on the fighting in Burma, and 2) He makes bitchy comments and sweeping claims without following them up. He says the failure of Operation Market Garden was the fault of one of Bernard Montgomery's toadies, but he never mentioned the man once in his section about it the battle and he never explains his statement subsequently. He says that some people criticized Stalin for moving his armies westward into Poland without having built defences for them if they were attacked, but blithely comments it wouldn't have mattered one way or the other. With no explanation. 3) He's a disagreeable militarist, sexist boor, who says that soldiers should have the fear of being shot for cowardice, and says that a lot of the poor London women who were sheltered in rural communities were dirty sluts.

But his candid writing was helpful in at least one part: Writing about the rape of Nanking, Corrigan states:

All armies do go off the rails from time to time. Soldiers are aggressive and trained to be so and are a lot less squeamish about blood and slaughter than their civilian counterparts. During the Peninsular War the British Army frequently and regularly misbehaved in captured cities, but this rarely lasted more than a couple of days before exhaustion and the provost restored order. Rape is not uncommon after a period of intense fear and danger. In Nanking however what happened was far worse than a temporary loss of control.

So, what I take from that is that everyone is capable of committing atrocities and many often do. In a battle between the armies of a torturing dictatorship and jihaadist mercenaries, there's no doubt that they have. It's also true that both sides will condemn the outrages of their enemy and embellish things if need be.

These are reasons for wars to be avoided by the way.

If you want to know what I think about Syria's agonies, you can read this.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Canadians Held Hostage

"I live in a riding where a lot of people are so ignorant and/or racist and/or stupid and/or whatever that the Conservative Party of Canada candidate might win. I'd rather vote NDP/Green/Liberal but the likeliest candidate to defeat the Conservative fuckwad is the Liberal/NDP candidate. Once again, thanks to our antiquated electoral system, I'm voting AGAINST something instead of FOR something."

That, in a nut-shell, is how sane Canadian voters (or at least "not deplorable Canadian voters") are held hostage by First-Past-The-Post. And that's what we'll all still be subjected to by Justin Trudeau's blatant betrayal of a much stated election promise.

The Liberals have a huge majority. They could have done anything they wanted. What's more, if they'd imposed their Preferential Ballot as our new system, supposedly they wouldn't have to fear any backlash for their "arrogance" in having done so.

Some will blame the powerless minority parties for demanding a referendum or for doing some other thing that somehow sabotaged the Liberals' dreams of rescuing us from our plight. But re-read the words "powerless minority parties" again and think about how completely stupid that notion is. Justin himself is blaming Canadians for not all being united as one behind one version of electoral reform. However, when looking back on the Liberals' antics from the very beginning of this farce, we can see that they were never serious about electoral reform. They might have been partially serious while on the campaign trail. The start of that election saw them in one of those periods when anger and disgust against them saw them reduced to far fewer seats than their popular support indicated they would have.

But once in power with a massive majority, they remembered why they like First-Past-The-Post so much. And so, at least from election night onwards, electoral reform was dead. They just had to come up with some plausible way to kill it while seeming to try to bring it about. In the end, it was not plausible. It was an insult to our collective intelligence.

I'll conclude by talking about how liberals create monsters. Now that he's put electoral reform behind him, Trudeau can engage in the wholesale give-away of public assets to the private sector that his whole "infrastructure bank" is designed for. He'll strip the federal government of its assets, enrich the wealthiest, allow the real economy to stagnate, toss crumbs to the poor to ameliorate the worst sufferings (paid for with deficit spending because LibroCons have slashed government revenues and eliminated assets). And while he's doing this, Trudeau will continue to indulge himself with soaring rhetoric about equality and justice and inclusivity that (together with ignoring the material well-being of the majority of the population) makes the stupidest, mentally ugliest 25% of the population seethe with rage. Just like the Ontario McGuinty-Wynne Liberals, he'll engage in super-corruption combined with social values bullshit that only serves to discredit those values among the ignorant and the stupid. And then, thanks to his betrayal of us on electoral reform, the vile Conservatives sweep back to power.

In the end though, this see-saw between Bad and Worse is in the best interests of Canadian capitalism. So it'll stay that way. Because there are some things more important than narrow partisan interests.

Edited to add:

Personally, I'd even like the preferential ballot/instant run-off system over the piece-of-shit system we have now. I'd vote NDP and Green would be my second choice. Once people realize that a different electoral system isn't traumatic, future governments could change it more easily if need be.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Don't Call Mosque Shooter "Deplorable"

It hurts the fee-feez of other Deplorables. Or, it forces "Deplorable Commanders" like Ezra Levant to have to type out words to the effect that however much they might be stirring up murderous bigotry with their wholesale smearing of all Muslims as terrorist death-culters, and how their refusal to condemn and banish all of those nut-bar fans of theirs who post murderous fantasies in the comments sections of their blogs, the LAST thing that they want to see is the murders of innocent people.

One of the only honest things that Hillary Clinton said after she stole the Democratic Party nomination for president was that Trump's followers were a "basket of deplorables." When called on this, instead of repudiating that statement, she should have refined it. The most outspoken Trump supporters are all homophobes, Islamophobes, misogynists and general racists. It's their whole fucking debased world-view. It's their whole hateful attitudes.

It's like this: They hate Black people because they believe that they are violent, lazy, greedy, sub-human parasites. And I hate the Deplorables only because they have such hideous, murderous bigotry festering inside their puny brains. I don't want to take away their legal, political, civil or general human rights. I don't want to deport them back to wherever it is they came from, because human stupidity is universal. I want society to change so that they are not pandered to by wealthy con-artists. I want our culture to change. I want our culture to be elevated so that the least stupid of the deplorables has the sense to be embarrassed enough about their hateful views so as to shut the fuck up and stay shut-up. And I want the culture to be elevated so that garbage like Islamophobia isn't blasted before their vile, hateful, tiny brains in such quantities that some of these individuals do what just happened in Quebec City.

I'd like a world where someone like Nick Kouvalis could just get a job somewhere, or decide on his own initiative that there's no place in the world for a hate-baiting huckster like him so he'll quietly drink himself to death.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Okay, my critics ...

So, a couple of weeks ago (or something) I left a comment at Montreal Simon's place. It was another post going after Trump for saying good things about Vladimir Putin and piling on to the whole unproven (and probably non-existent) Russian hacking of the US 2016 federal election. I was rather harsh in my assessment:
While it's entirely possible that Putin himself masterminded this nefarious hack which helped corrupt mass-murderer Hillary Clinton to lose to corrupt rapist Donald Trump, ... I have to beg you Simon, to please pull your head out of your ass and stop parroting Democratic hacks who treat these ALLEGATIONS as proven facts.

Stop doing your small part to re-ignite a useless Cold War.

The leaders in Washington DC and Moscow are ALL scum-bags. It matters little who is in power. You debase yourself with this nonsense.
Simon and I have since made up. Which is good, because I actually don't like fighting with allies. But my comment inspired some criticisms that I found remarkable. Here's the first one from persons unknown:
 Oh look it's another Both Sides™ moron. Let me guess, Trudeau=Harper as well?
"Both Sides." That was a Phil Collins' album. In the Irvine Welsh novel Filthy, the crooked Edinburgh cop says that "Both Sides" refers to Collins' fucking his wife's pussy and asshole. But I digress. "Both Sides Do It" AKA "Both-Siderism" is also the main pet peeve of stupid Democrat chump or evil Democrat hack "Driftglass." This is the phenomenon in US mainstream political culture wherein it is claimed that both the Democratic Party USA and the Republican Party USA are moral and intellectual equals. This phenomenon has the effect of increasing the vile Repugnican's moral stature while decreasing that of the Democrats.

So, for example, the Republicans can petulantly threaten to shut-down the government if Obama doesn't give the super-rich another tax-cut and they can stymie almost every initiative he comes up with, and the Democrats will, meanwhile, seek compromise and "grand bargains" with the Republicans, and the Sunday news talk-shows and major newspaper columnists will blame both parties for the partisan rancour and gridlock. The Republicans can indulge in brazen homophobia and get caught on tape claiming that they're targeting African-Americans with their voter suppression laws, but if a Democrat somewhere complains that die-hard Republicans are low-information voters, then its BOTH SIDES who are creating the culture of division that is harming the republic.

In this instance I agree with Driftglass. The Republicans are repugnant. They'll bash homosexuals and then they'll cover-up when one of their own is found to be a not-so-closeted one who is trying to seduce teenage Congressional pages. Their spokesperson Ann Coulter can gleefully call for the murder of her political opponents, but if Michael Moore angrily criticizes someone, then it just goes to show that BOTH SIDES are equally angry and dangerous.

But going beyond all of that surface stuff, when it comes to the interests of ordinary US-Americans, how different are the Democrats and the Republicans? BOTH SIDES support the surveillance state. BOTH SIDES serve Wall Street with slavish devotion. BOTH SIDES were united in bringing "regime change" and all the death and devastation that entailed, to the Middle East. BOTH SIDES have sided against organized labour. BOTH SIDES have conspired to keep public health-care for all (as opposed to cheaper health insurance for most) off the table.

I once described US politics as professional wrestling. It's all sham contests but they keep people's interest by having the Republicans as the cartoonish villains or "heels" and the Democrats are the "good guys" or "faces." Some US-Americans self-identify with the "heels," ... they hate "social-justice warriors" and Blacks and gays and they believe that Christ is being insulted by the lesbian secularist big-government, blah, blah, blah. Other US-Americans self-identify with the "faces" and bawl and whine when their heroes get a folding chair smacked into their heads while the referee is looking the other way. But more and more US-Americans have decided that the contests between the Democrats and the Republicans are insults to their intelligence and tune the whole charade out. So that, despite all the pissing and moaning from people like "Driftglass," mass-murder in foreign policy and corruption and corporate control is bad no matter WHICH SIDE does it.

Which is why when offered the choice between mass-murdering Wall Street shill Hillary Clinton and obnoxious, corrupt, racist, misogynist, boorish reality-tv celebrity/real-estate developer, sexual predator scum-bag Donald Trump, I reject both. As did many other US-Americans.

Next, commentator "rumleyflips" doesn't so much criticize me as offer some extra analysis:
Thwap: I don't know when far right websites became pro Russia and pro-Putin ( I should have been paying more attention ) but the about turn was amazing. Some of these sites are saying what they have been paid to say while others use misinformation dispensed by services like Wiki Leaks and RT. Now unpaid trolls are along for the ride using Russian " facts " to praise Trump and curse Clinton. It's pretty one sided.

It is not just the US that is being attacked by far right Russia supported groups. Farange and his Brexit boys have close ties to the Kremlin just as Trump and his cabinet do. Far right groups in France, Greece, Holland etc. receive Russian funding and attend expenses paid conferences in Russia. Just a few years ago, Russia backed left wing groups as a way of disrupting the West . Now they have decided the best way to damage the EU, UK, US, Nato etc. is to assist and finance far right wing politicians . The most interesting and frightening thing is the choice , by Putin, of Trump as the person most likely to damage the security and economy of the US.
Okay. Let's take this apart:
I don't know when far right websites became pro Russia and pro-Putin ( I should have been paying more attention ) but the about turn was amazing.
Whereas progressives and liberals hysterically stoking anti-Russian sentiment and sounding like paranoid 1950's Cold Warriors isn't?
Some of these sites are saying what they have been paid to say while others use misinformation dispensed by services like Wiki Leaks and RT. Now unpaid trolls are along for the ride using Russian " facts " to praise Trump and curse Clinton. It's pretty one sided.
Hold on! What "disinformation" has Wiki Leaks dispensed? The DNC/Podesta emails were either hacked or (more likely) leaked. Which means they're genuine. Which means the DNC did conspire to stifle the surprisingly strong candidacy of Bernie Sanders so that entitled ego-maniac, corrupt, mass-murdering monster Hillary Clinton could go out and take her decades of baggage and massively unpopular policies to the people of the United States and promptly lose to an unstable imbecile like Donald Trump. As for RT, sometimes they show themselves to be hacks, but in so doing they're no worse than the whole stable of lying hacks and corporate servants of the US media of the major networks and newspapers like the NYT and the Washington Post. I mean, is it even a serious question whether those news providers are liars and servants of their super-rich owners and advertisers? Don't we have decades of evidence of their deceit and stupidity?
It is not just the US that is being attacked by far right Russia supported groups. Farange and his Brexit boys have close ties to the Kremlin just as Trump and his cabinet do. Far right groups in France, Greece, Holland etc. receive Russian funding and attend expenses paid conferences in Russia. Just a few years ago, Russia backed left wing groups as a way of disrupting the West . Now they have decided the best way to damage the EU, UK, US, Nato etc. is to assist and finance far right wing politicians .
Well, first of all, here I thought that most on the Left were self-propelled activists. Now I find out we've been "fellow-travelers" or "useful idiots" or even paid mercenaries of the former Soviet Union. Now it appears that far-right nativists are dupes of the Russians! British and American and French and everyone else who has seen their living standards stagnate or decline under neo-liberalist "free trade" scams aren't voting as a rejection of their arrogant elites' ruinous policies. They're merely "sheeple" under the sway of Putin.

And heavens to Betsy! Who but a monster would want to disrupt NATO??? An alliance against the now non-existent Soviet Union that has found a new lease on life as military enforcer of the United Nations (or, just an enforcer of Washington regime-change if the UN won't go along).

And if Putin is funding right-wing groups in Western Europe, it's not as if the USA doesn't fund its own subversives worldwide, including in the former Soviet republics. There's no reason to ratchet-up international tensions over such one-sided, hypocritical outrage.

Finally, someone calling himself "Mr. Perfect" lets loose with a truly bizarre tirade:
Thwap spends very little time anywhere other than his own site. He has come to hate anyone who doesn't buy into his dog whistle for revolution statements while hiding away expecting others to get run over by the machine he demands be overthrown by the rest of us. I've lost all respect for him and no longer peruse his site, it's almost reading the rantings of a want to be Pol Pot. Go away thwap, you have nothing to contribute any more.
Thwap spends very little time anywhere other than his own site. 
This actually isn't true. For a long time after the 2015 federal election I was at other sites more than my own.  I admit to visiting less sites than I used to, but I still read and commented more at other people's blogs n' stuff than making my own original content.
He has come to hate anyone who doesn't buy into his dog whistle for revolution statements 
I have been critical of people for refusing to offer original tactics and for doing the same thing over and over again, but I don't "hate" the left anymore than I hate humanity in general. (Which I admit is quite a bit of hate, but nowhere near what Mr. Perfect imagines.)
while hiding away expecting others to get run over by the machine he demands be overthrown by the rest of us.
I'm sorry, but that's complete bullshit. Show me anywhere where I've told people they have to get their heads smashed in or I'll think they're phoney-baloneys. My aborted plan to bring down the un-elected, anti-democratic harpercon government was specifically designed to first build the movement so large that the police and etc., would not be able to bust heads.
I have not called for violence. I have not said that non-violence is the policy of cowards and wimps. I have only said, again and again, over and over, that I will not reflexively condemn violence when frustrated, oppressed groups resort to it. Sometimes it's justified I think. I think that when non-violence becomes dogmatic it becomes ridiculous and self-evidently self-defeating. Mr. Perfect has totally misinterpreted me.
I've lost all respect for him and no longer peruse his site ...
As I asked him at Simon's; how does he know what I'm doing here then??
it's almost reading the rantings of a want to be Pol Pot. 
Jesus Christ. Words fail me.

Monday, January 23, 2017

SUN Media, Kevin O'Leary, and thwap's critics

So, if you haven't already heard, I do the daily crosswords in the free dailies "Metro" (from TorStar) and "24 Hours" (from SUN Media). (The one in "24 Hours" is easy enough to do in 15 minutes. The "Metro" one I sometimes can't finish, not knowing the names of small towns across Canada, or the "stars" of Canadian television shows from the past few decades.)

I skim both papers with little interest. There's stuff here and there. "24 Hours" has a lot of empty fluff about celebrities. It's really easy to see how right-wing media creates a culture that elevates something like Donald Trump to the presidency. This constant attention on the "lifestyles of the rich and famous" drivel resonates with some people somehow. Gawd knows that these semi-fascist media types push it constantly.

So, now it seems that SUN Media has decided that former CBC "star" Kevin O'Leary is to be Canada's Donald Trump. As if Canada needs its own Donald Trump! Just yesterday, they featured him on the cover of the Toronto Sun, comparing him favourably to Kathleen Wynne. (There's "liberal vs conservative" for you. A corrupt, sleazy, arrogant corporate shill who happens to be a lesbian, against a boorish, loud-mouthed, ignoramus con-man. I won't root for either of them.)

What's the matter SUN Media? Do you miss your glory days of championing ignorant, racist, sexist, drunken, lazy, stupid, complete hypocrite, international laughing-stock Rob Ford? I mean, seriously, what is your fascination with giant, thick shit-stains? (Perhaps you see enough of yourselves in those glistening brown lines?)

Kevin O'Leary made a lot of money by selling a lot of garbage to some moron at Mattel toys. That's it. How he avoided jail time for selling that crap and then dumping Mattel stock before everyone else did is a darned good question. After that? Nothing. Apparently his picks for business ventures to fund on his tee-vee shows haven't been very good. His other business ventures have been duds. His investment fund has been a failure. And, while it's not entirely fair to point it out, it is darned good fun to watch him lose embarrassingly while playing Celebrity Jeopardy.

He blurts out a lot of simplistic right-wing crap. Just like that ranting, racist, demented codger calling reporters "lying pieces of shit" at one of stephen harper's last, doomed rallies. (It's touching that the codger showed he didn't have the slightest clue about what he said the journalists were lying about. Typical right-wing moron.)

Here's my prediction for O'Leary: I give him a 40% chance of winning the leadership. If he manages to win the leadership, he'll lose the subsequent election. He's not as big a "star" as Trump was. He's not as clearly racist as Trump is. He hasn't spent decades in the public eye with fine pieces of female eye-candy on his arm the way Trump has. (Trump trades them in for newer models every ten years or so.) And this has allowed sexist, white "alpha-male" wannabes in the USA to admire and want to emulate him. In short; O'Leary is and will be a non-entity to most Canadian voters, no matter how desperately the asshole-idiots at SUN Media try to fluff him.

I'll respond to my critics tomorrow. Time's a-wastin'.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Putin's Head Rears

A couple of days after the 2016 US-American election farce, I could not contain my relief that at least Hillary Clinton wasn't going to start World War III. (Unlike liberal-progressive idiots, I was unnerved by her talk of imposing a no-fly zone over Syria even if the Russians and Assad said that they would refuse to comply. Unlike liberal-progressive idiots I tend to want to avoid provoking another nuclear power. Because unlike liberal-progressive idiots, I can process the fact that nuclear war is bad even if a Democratic president causes it.) (Also, don't get me wrong; I wasn't happy about Trump. Just re-read the previous bracketed sentences.) It was before the start of work and I sat with a co-worker. He's a white guy about my age. (We're a minority at this workplace.) I expressed my sentiments about avoiding nuclear war and the conversation soon descended into general observations about the whole election. He told me he agreed with Trump about illegal immigrants. How dare poor people want jobs. Or, if it's to Canada they're sneaking into, free health care.

I pointed out that in the case of the Mexicans, NAFTA had destroyed their agricultural economy and that three million people would have starved to death if a million of them hadn't fled to the USA to work and send money home. His response?

"Let them starve."

I can't fathom what such a mindset produces as it goes through the motions all those waking hours. I'm pretty sure I don't want to know.

Another co-worker is from India. I'd gotten inklings that he likes the BJP government. I showed him an article from CounterPunch about India's economic reforms saying it had caused living standards to fall. It also said something about a de-monetization program which I knew nothing about. I told my co-worker that I, personally, didn't know what to think. I wanted his opinion on the article. He read it and, ignoring all its major claims, told me that the de-monetization program was about stopping political corruption. Paper money can be used to bribe officials and by politicians to bribe others. He then said there were critics of it. Including:

"Poor people can't get food and blah, blah, blah."

I would think that people (poor or not) being unable to feed themselves would be a serious charge worthy of more than just "blah, blah, blah." I mean, how else could we use this phrase? "He's just angry at me because I killed his family and blah, blah, blah." "So I drove drunk and hit people and blah, blah, blah."

Poor people in India can't raise the wherewithal to pursue a better life in Canada. That takes resources that they don't have just to get started. They're stuck there and if they can't buy food because they have no paper cash and no bank accounts or access to a bank at all, then they'll be more upset than "blah, blah, blah."

I guess I have more empathy than a lot of people do. There was an explosion in Scarborough. A house blew-up due to a gas leak. A woman in the neighbourhood is still traumatised by it. It broke all her windows and shook her whole house violently. If a car back-fires she panics, almost half a year later. I was reminded of another co-workers contemptuous dismissal of the idea that refugees from war-torn countries would be traumatised by hearing the fighter-jets of an air-show display over Toronto.

So, apparently there's nothing concrete in any of these US intelligence agencies' claims about Putin hacking the DNC and Podesta emails to help Donald Trump. It's a ridiculous idea anyway, that Trump would be Putin's puppet after Putin provided marginal assistance to Trump. I can't begin to imagine the continued thought processes of anyone stupid enough to believe such drivel.

It's become quite clear to me that liberal-progressives will swallow anything if it's in a pretty package. Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama are cool, groovy, progressive dudes because they look nice and act nice. So forget about the wars. The assassinations. The denial of social-economic justice to oppressed groups. The pro-corporate policies. All of it.

I give up.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Hillary's "identity politics"

I was re-reading this post of mine when I read this:

Trump will probably abandon any pretences about controlling the avariciousness of corporate America if faced with their genuine opposition. He'll only be allowed to retain those policies that benefit capitalists or those to which they are indifferent too. This means his mass deportations, police harassment of Blacks, slashing taxes, and generally making the world safe for billionaires.
And I thought: "That's the same thing with the Democrats! "only allowed to retain those policies that benefit capitalists or those to which they are indifferent too."

"So what do we care if the person maximizing our profits is Black, or a woman, or a fag? So long as they produce!"

Whereas with Trump:

"So yeah! Who cares if some Spics get deported or some Niggers get shot? So long as we're maximizing profits!"

Selling your soul (by which I mean your mind) to a political party is always and everywhere a bad idea.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Putin's Rearing Head

So, yesterday it was established that Russia is much poorer and weaker than the United States. As such, it would be foolish of any Russian leader to provoke a conflict with the United States. Unless said leader was insane. Which Putin isn't. At least not to that extent. (It was also established that almost all the top politicians in evil systems of political-economy are a little more psychopathic than average folks.) (Oh yeah. I also discussed the evil and insane nature of capitalist society.)

"But what about the Ukraine thwap?? What about Crimea??? What about Syria??? What about the murdered journalists???? Putin is a BAD MAN!!!!!"

First of all, the murdered journalists: Yes. Putin IS a BAD MAN. I've never said otherwise. (Just as I've always agreed that Trump is a bad man. Just as I agree that many of Trump's most fervid followers are troglodytes.) Putin has had people killed. This is bad. But should we start a war with Russia then? Should we support US efforts to destabilize Russia and topple Putin? In the actual world that we're living in, what would be the results of the USA successfully removing Putin from power?

Well, this is where you liberals have to pull your heads out of your asses and face reality! The US political-economic system is evil. It's leadership is evil. They would either let Russia fall entirely to pieces, causing great dislocation and misery. Or they will install yet another loathsome stooge in the tradition of Boris Yeltsin. And we remember how bad Yeltsin was. He was so bad that a great deal of Putin's domestic support comes from the fact that he has reversed the steep decline in Russia's fortunes that were the result of the drunken buffoon Yeltsin's slavish devotion to Western diktat.

I was going to find a link and a quote to how badly the Russian Federation suffered under Yeltsin, but all I could find was propaganda. Either sources like Russia Today, which I didn't bother reading, or (and in much greater number) pro-Western drivel that downplays the role of neo-liberal hack economists and neo-liberal scum politicians in thoroughly discrediting "democracy" in the eyes of the Russian people. One British source disgustingly referred to the "proclivity" of Russian men to die young during those years. As if this "proclivity" was only indulged during the Yeltsin years and (for some reason) discarded in the Putin years. No. I remember at the time reading about the explosion of vast inequality, incredibe poverty, intense suffering and misery, caused by Yeltsin's imposition of these barbaric and stupid policies. I remember how the IMF blatantly intervened in Yeltsin's final re-election campaign with an entirely political multi-billion dollar loan. (Because otherwise he would have been defeated and the looting of Russia's resources would slow down.) You can read the chapter on Russia in Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine for background on this. The Russians were made homeless in the tens of thousands. Their health care system collapsed. Unemployment sky-rocketed, inflation sky-rocketed and savings were wiped-out. The people who died in their millions to defeat Hitler for us; the people for whom Western leaders and propagandists extended so much concern for their well-being when they suffered under the yoke of communism, were left to their miserable fates by these same leaders and propagandists so long as the "free-market" was obeyed.

Putin is a gangster. An autocrat. He has his own circle of oligarchs. But he brought the worst of the Yeltsin era policies to an end. The Russian's living standards went from hideous to merely grim. And for that, the Russian people are evidently grateful. But to do this, Putin has had to exercise some independence from Western, which is to say, US-American demands. And make no mistake about it: THAT is what the vermin in Washington D.C., London (and Ottawa) finds so objectionable about Putin. Just as they did with Libya's Qaddafi, Iraq's Saddam, Venezuela's Chavez and now Syria's Assad. Look at the subsidies, favours, indulgences given to the mass-murdering but pro-Western Israelis or the vile, head-chopping but pro-Western House of Saud to see what you can get away with so long as you toe the line.

Putin used Russian satellites to tell the world that the supposedly ultimate evil of ISIS was using mile-long convoys of tanker trucks to ship oil from their Iraq conquests to Turkey. Who in Turkey was receiving this oil? Why hadn't the NATO air campaign targeted these convoys? If Russian satellites could see them, then surely US-American ones could? Make no mistake about it: This is Putin's sin. He has enough power and enough independence to frustrate US policies. That's it. For that he must be toppled. For exposing the "War on Terror" for the bullshit that it is, he must be removed. The plan for the Middle East is weakness and instability. Because this is a breeding ground for terrorism. And terrorism helps continue the justification for the Military-Industrial complex. This also keeps Arab alternatives to the super-corrupt stooge dictatorships from ever being realized. And don't forget, Baathist Syria once annoyed the racist scum in Israel. It must be destroyed.

The US-American leadership want a world safe for capitalist monsters to gambol and cavort and exploit and destroy. There must be no opposition; none whatsoever to their monstrosity. No matter how willing to play along they might be: Any shred of independence is intolerable and must be stamped out. Putin has elevated a highly conservative Russian Orthodox Church to great social inflluence (and this is to the great social regression of the Russians), he has created within Russia's borders a capitalist paradise of no regulations, miniscule taxation and little in the way of workers' rights. But he exercises an independent foreign policy and restricts the power of foreigners to embezzle Russian wealth. That is why he is being targeted.

That and because the mass-murdering, corrupt scum-bag Hillary Clinton needs to deflect from her own miserable failure and unpopularity and her corruption.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Putin and the Rearing of His Head

I've actually been fairly productive in the 3-d world. But it's the damned holidays so I've blogged a bit. A bit too much about USA stuff. I was hoping to say something about the Canadian scene before I go back to work. Alas! Responses to a comment I left at one of Montreal Simon's recent posts have caused me to wish another post about domestic US-American politics and US-Russian relations.

Let's begin with some stuff we can all agree with, shall we?

A nuclear war between Russia and the United States would be a bad thing. (Agreed?)

596 is a bigger number than 66. Much bigger really. Considering that those numbers describe the relative military budgets of the USA and Russia.

18.6 is bigger than 1.3. Which is to say that the USA's $18.6 trillion GDP dwarfs Russia's $1.3 trillion.

Again; can we agree on these simple facts? If so, then maybe we can try to agree on more speculative issues.

For instance; can we agree that a much smaller person, if they are of sound mind, will not pick a physical confrontation with a much larger, stronger person? Is this generally true? Because it seems to me that a sane Russian leader would not initiate a military confrontation with the USA. And, while we're all of us, at least a little bit crazy, and that those who enter into and rise to the top of evil and insane systems are, by default, crazier than we are, they are obviously still rational on some levels. Moreover, none of the actors I'm going to be talking about are absolute dictators. Were they to act insanely in such a way as to jeopardize the continuance of the insane, evil systems they are a part of, others within those systems would restrain them.

For example; both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are evil psychopaths. These qualities have helped them rise to the top (or so close to it!) of the system of evil insanity that is US politics. But Obama's insanity is not such as to lead him to chop his country's military budget by 99% and spend the savings on untied foreign aid. And even if he did try to do that, others around him would prevent it. In the same way, were the evil psychopath Vladimir Putin to decide to try to re-conquer Eastern Europe (much of which is now part of the NATO alliance) and also expand the Russian Empire into the Middle East, others around him would see him risking the continued existence of their country and they would restrain him. But Putin is not insane in that sort of way. In fact, he is fairly rational in that respect. Given the power imbalances between his country and the USA, he is forced to give much more consideration to his actions and he appears very rational.

Now then, while these assertions of mine are more subjective than the simple number comparisons that preceded them, I can't see how anything in them is controversial or really debatable. Neither the leaders of Russia, nor those of the United States, are gibbering lunatics screaming at their hallucinations between playing with their own faeces. In many respects Vladimir Putin is a rational actor who will have coherent reasons for his actions. Especially in foreign affairs.

Of the leaders, I will even say that when it comes to foreign affairs, Putin is more rational than Barack Obama and much more so than Hillary Clinton. He has to be because he has a weaker country. A much weaker country. If you have two high-schoolers, each of normal intelligence, and (by all of society's standards) fairly sane and rational, with one of them being a bully of great physical strength, and the other being a diminutive freshman, it first of all stands to reason that the diminutive freshman will not initiate a fight with the bully. (Just as I've been saying all along.) If either of them is going to start a conflict, it will be the bully. And in this scenario, it is easy to imagine that the bully's target will exert much more consideration and brain-power in trying to avoid a confrontation and to extricate himself from the conflict. The bullied person will be trying to preserve their physical integrity, their dignity, their capacity for future activity, etc., whereas the bully can spend more of his brain-power on pursuing his cheerleader girlfriend's best friend, and getting the answers for next week's math test from the nerd and about his campaign of bullying against other dweebs and frosh.

Some of you might object to my characterizations of the USA's political system as evil and insane. Some of you might concede to that characterization but not extend it to Obama and Clinton. (I'm going to assume that none of my readers have any objection to describing the grim, authoritarian cesspool of violence and corruption of Russia's system as evil and insane and extending this diagnosis to Putin.) This is a sign that you have been successfully brainwashed. Of course the USA's political system is evil and insane! It is based on capitalism! And standing alone, on its own merits, without any deflections about other political-economic systems, capitalism is based on the inhuman, amoral, psychopathic notion that personal profit is the highest aspiration and that other human beings are merely means to this end.

When the hero of "free-market" nincompoops, Milton Friedman, said that shareholder profit was the ONLY moral obligation of a corporation, he was being serious. For Friedman (and for all his deluded followers) environment, community, compassion, and much else besides, are all irrelevant. Putting such "values" into practice ... well, we don't have to imagine the consequences, we see evidence enough of the disaster throughout the history of the capitalist system and into the present day.

The United States is dominated by its capitalist class. In recent decades the leadership of that class itself has fallen almost entirely into the hands of the financial sector. In 1999, thanks to the determined efforts of both Democrats and Republicans, this sector was relieved of the legislative restrictions that had been imposed on them in 1933 after they had almost destroyed the world economy back in 1929. And what did they do with their new-found freedoms? They engaged in reckless and often criminal behaviour that ended up blowing-up in all our faces in 2007 and, as in 1929, almost destroying the world economy. Since 2008 we have been mired in economic stagnation as financial sector parasites, having been rescued from the consequences of their actions by taxpayer bail-outs, strive to wring whatever wealth has been created in the aftermath, leaving practically nothing for the rest of the population.

The US political system is about aiding and abetting these selfish monsters. That is why Barack Obama violated the US Constitution and had the Department of Homeland Security conspire with local "law enforcement" services to harass and crush the "Occupy" movement that arose to protest the travesty. It's why, after having had hearings (mainly to satisfy public outrage), the US legislative bodies eviscerated the laws that were debated (again, mainly for the public's consumption) to control these monsters.

The US political system serves capitalism. "Capitalists" are people with "capital." "Wealthy" people tends to refer to people who have a lot of financial wealth. Which is to say: "capital." (You can be "wealthy" in friends or good health. But see how far that takes you in this society.) To serve the wealthy (capitalists) the governor of Michigan cut their taxes. This resulted in revenue shortfalls to the extent that water treatment services were no longer affordable. Rather than reverse these cuts and restore the funding to ensure that the majority of citizens had safe drinking water, the governor of Michigan (himself a wealthy man) implemented some cost-cutting measures which ended up inflicting lead poisoning on the mainly poor and Black population of Flint Michigan.

Here, have a look at the impact of lead poisoning:

Lead poisoning usually occurs over a period of months or years. It can cause severe mental and physical impairment. Young children are most vulnerable.
Children get lead in their bodies by putting the lead containing objects in their mouths. Touching the lead and then putting their fingers in their mouths may also poison them. Lead is more harmful to children because their brains and nervous systems are still developing.
Lead poisoning can be treated, but any damage caused cannot be reversed.
Signs of repeated lead exposure include:
  • abdominal pain
  • abdominal cramps
  • aggressive behavior
  • constipation
  • sleep problems
  • headaches
  • irritability
  • loss of developmental skills in children
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue
  • high blood pressure
  • numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • memory loss
  • anemia
  • kidney dysfunction
Since a child’s brain is still developing, lead can lead to intellectual disability. Symptoms may include:
  • behavior problems
  • low IQ
  • poor grades at school
  • problems with hearing
  • short- and long-term learning difficulties
  • growth delays
A high, toxic dose of lead poisoning may result in emergency symptoms. These include:
  • severe abdominal pain and cramping
  • vomiting
  • muscle weakness
  • stumbling when walking
  • seizures
  • coma
  • encephalopathy, which manifests as confusion, coma, and seizures
Here's an example of the moral degeneracy of Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder:

This was only days after Snyder was heckled so intensely for his scandalous non-governance during the Flint water crisis that he had to leave a bar—a bar next door to the site of this birthday party. You can understand why he wanted to have the windows “blacked out,” lest anyone see that he was actually enjoying a cake pressed into the shape of luxury store boxes, a Michael Kors bag, and a diamond necklace while his poorest constituents were drinking toxic sludge.
Look at the thing! The good attention to bad detail! There’s sugar tissue paper coming out of a sugar Chanel box. Is there a pair of confectionary gloves inside? 
What evil person’s Pinterest board was this lifted out of? What instructions were given when the cake was ordered? Was there not enough room for a Gucci receipt made out of sugar? Why not just make a cake that says FUCK YOU in red icing?

Finally, here's a look at how other capitalists (these from the pharmaceutical sector) responded to this humanitarian crisis:

Outrage is growing this week amid revelations that the pharmaceutical company Valeant raised the price for its critical lead-poisoning treatment by more than 2,700 percent in a single year.
Before Valeant took control of the medication, known as Calcium EDTA, in 2013, the average price for a package of vials was stable at $950, the medical news outlet STATreported. But once the notorious pharmaceutical company bought it out in a multi-billion dollar deal, it swiftly boosted the price to $7,116 in January 2014 and to $26,927 by December of that year.
"This is a drug that has long been a standard of care, and until recently it was widely accessible at an affordable price," Dr. Michael Kosnett, an associate clinical professor, toldSTAT. He also contacted U.S. Congress. "There's no justification for the astronomical price increases by Valeant, which limit availability of the drug to children with life-threatening lead poisoning."

This is just one example of how the USA's political-economic system is evil and insane.

The USA's foreign policy (which includes the exercise of military power) is overwhelmingly dedicated to preserving access to the foreign resources that the USA's elites need to maintain their system as well as to spread the system itself world-wide. Here's former US Marine Major General Smedley Butler:

WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few -- the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.
And what is this bill?
This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

Is anyone still so stupid as to believe that the USA invaded Iraq so as to destroy Saddam Hussein's "Weapons of Mass Destruction" and to implant the seed of democracy in that land? (They don't even have democracy at home!)

If anyone wants to dispute these simple facts with me, by all means, leave a coherent argument in the comments section.

I'd like to conclude this post with a proposition. This is that while neither the Democrats or even the Republicans are shrieking lunatics, they are more unstable psychologically than is Putin's crew. And the reason for this is "hubris."
exaggerated pride or self-confidence
The USA is, by far, the most powerful country in the world. It is arguably, relatively more powerful than at any other time in its existence. In 1945, all of Europe was prostrate, Japan was in ashes, China was an undeveloped, devastated basket-case. Russia though, ruled the Soviet Union. And while it, itself was devastated, it had a mighty, well-trained, experienced, permanent army and a new empire. The USA was just moving into the political space being vacated by the former European great powers.

Today, Russia is at a fraction of its powers. US-American corporations dominate pretty much all sectors. Its ideological strength (think popular culture) is paramount. Europe and Japan are wealthy subordinates. China is a rising power but in no way capable of initiating a serious challenge. It is not outlandish to imagine that growing up and coming to maturity within a country as powerful as this, and being such people as to wish to control and guide a country as powerful as this, that people like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain, Mitt Romney, etc., are all at least a little bent and that they would be susceptible to become mad with power. That like a bully who has no challengers and therefore has never felt truly threatened, the USA could become arrogant, sloppy, careless. (I left Donald Trump out of that list because there is no question that he is more unstable than all of them. He is, in fact, a symptom of the malaise that I'm talking about here.)

To make me sound smarter than I am, I shall appropriate for this argument the phrase "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."

If there is any country in the world in dangers of hubris, and therefore endangering the world as we know it, it is the United States, and not Russia.