Friday, August 31, 2007

Another Loose End

In this post about the Montebello agents provocateurs, I wrote that I would like to see a leftist government do to the right-wingers what rightist governments do to left-wingers. The only difference being that a leftist government abstain from the criminal violations of Charter rights that right-wing governments feel compelled to engage in.

Here's what I actually wrote:

Short of actually illegal actions against them such as this, if a leftist political party takes power in Canada, we should do to them what they do to us. Take a page out of Ontario Puking Creep Mike Harris's playbook. Say that there's a constituency that supports us, and we'll work for them, and everyone else can go to hell. Raise their taxes, regulate 'em, eliminate their dodges, frustrate their media, ignore their opinions. And when they protest, let 'em scream their ugly heads off, and ignore, ignore, ignore. (Emphasis added.)

This has raised the hackles of one "fergusrush." Scary, authoritarian, blah, blah, blah. I'm probably entering Hugo Chavez territory in its eyes.

How do you identify "Harper's Harpies"? I am not being coy, it's a serious question because you advocate punitive measures being taken against "them" upon the election of a "leftist" government. I'd hate to be mis-identified.


And you still haven't said how a leftist government will go about identifying those Blogging Tories. Little arm patches, perhaps?

How to make this clearer? I shan't bother. But "fergusrush" and all its ilk can wear their little arm-bands if they want to. I just want to know, if "fergusrush" is so concerned about the speculative actions of a government in the future, which are to be based on the actions of right-wing governments in the present, ... why isn't this creature up in arms about these governments of the present?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Loose Ends ... Parts I (a), (b), II

I. a) I've been meaning to post something of substance about the agents provocateurs at Montebello for the past couple of days, but I haven't had the time to construct anything that I think is worthy of the effort of reading it.

But, in hoping to write something meaningful and failing, I've neglected to post anything at all.

I still don't have much time, but to meet my personal goal of posting daily, I think that I'll tie-up some loose ends.

Here (you'll remember), an anonymous right-winger takes issue with a Guardian news story from Iraq describing (with earnest support from army PR representatives) how exhausted US forces in Iraq are. It's quite clear:

It is a theme that is endlessly reiterated as you travel around Iraq. 'The army is worn out. We are just keeping people in theatre who are exhausted,' says a soldier working for the US army public affairs office who is supposed to be telling me how well things have been going since the 'surge' in Baghdad began.

They are not supposed to talk like this. We are driving and another of the public affairs team adds bitterly: 'We should just be allowed to tell the media what is happening here. Let them know that people are worn out. So that their families know back home. But it's like we've become no more than numbers now.'

Now, the anonymous one (who actually started his blathering at Canadian Cynic) and occasional commentor "hooligan" have (each in their own way) tried to educate this particular leftist that combat can be tiring, and that it's perfectly understandable that the troops are tired.

You can read for yourselves in the article that it's multiple deployments, inadequate rest periods, and so-on that is causing the chronic fatigue being described. I'd just like to respond to this nonsense on display here. Supposedly these "conservatives" (or whatever) thought that "leftists," being generally anti-military, might be incapable of grasping the real-world fact that combat can make you pooped. Not doing anything but laying around collecting welfare, or sitting on our fat asses watching the boss frantically do our work while our unions protect us from being fired, us lefties must be oblivious to the simple reality that the manly, heroic task of fighting can wear you out. So, the anonnymous one and hooligan decided to take me to school on that issue.

This is why right-wingers need to be in charge. Especially when it comes to something as important as "National Defence." Except for the reality: Everyone knows that you need "fresh troops" to fight effectively. Even a lefty such as myself knows that you don't turn your soldiers into barely functioning zombies through overwork and inadequate rest times. Seriously. You need to pull soldiers who have been in combat too long and give them time to recuperate. You keep them sharp by not keeping them out of the theatre of combat for too long. It's not like I imagine myself a brilliant tactician. This is commonsense. Something that a pro-war, soldeier-loving righty ought to know about, but apparently you can just keep soldiers in combat forever with no discernable impact on their performance. This is why you should reject right-wingers at every opportunity. They quite simply don't know what they're talking about, but they act as if they do. That's one reason why the Iraq occupation has been such a disaster, even by the neo-cons' own goals.

I was going to respond to something else, but I've run out of time this morning.

I. b) hooligan responded in the comments section by reminding me that he'd included the qualifiers about soldiers needing adequate rest periods, and so-on, in order to be considered "fresh" as opposed to "chronically fatigued." Did I forget that part? Quite honestly, I did forget that part. But seeing as how all the necessary information is in The Guardian article, I can't really see why hooligan needs to go elsewhere to find out if this problem (that moves US Army PR flaks to forget their assigned tasks in order to complain about it) is more than just being tired after an engagement.

II. Now, in another post, ... gotta go .... later today

... or the next day, as it turns out.

Yeah, I was going to mention "hooligan's" contribution on troop suicides. This was a reference to another of "nonny's" imbecilic forays on Canadian Cynic.

But first, let's review. A newspaper lays out the case that the US troops in Iraq are stretched to the point of exhaustion due to repeated deployments, 15-month tours of duty, and etc., ... to the point where Army PR men can't restrain themselves from emotional outbursts about the crisis.

A leftish, anti-war blog posts about this and "nonny" seeks to educate "leftards" that combat is tiring and pats himself on his warmongering back about his superior knowledge of all things military.

Then, "hooligan" attempts to say that maybe under his caustic tone, "nonny" has a point after all, and that sustained physical exertion and mental concentration have been tiring people out for thousands of years, so why should we be surprised if the American soldiers in Iraq are tired.

Of course, the whole point of it all is that if, after four years, the US military in Iraq is starting to fall apart (which is the subtext of the article in question) that this is a cause for concern. Especially for those who support the US occupation of Iraq, or who claim to care about "the troops."

But of course, we on the left, are accused of sapping the morale of the precious troops (American or Canadian) if we (Americans or Canadians) even dare to debate the nature and effectiveness of the respective Iraq or Afghanistan missions. That this sapping of morale will cause the troops' and therefore their missions' failure is of no consequence to us on the left, because it's just one more sign of our burning hatred for them, for our countries, and for ourselves.

Of course, pro-war dipshits like "nonny" can belittle the exhaustion of "the troops" with no damage done to their troop-loving credentials. And the same thing goes for their response to rising suicide rate among the sacred "troops."

WASHINGTON -- Army soldiers committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years, and more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new military report.

That's from the Washington Post. Here's "nonny's" response:

Oh, boy what a shocking development, an increase over a 26 year average of 62 suicides per year to 99, a rate not seen since the last Gulf War! The logical conclusion of the article: War is stressful. As I said, shocking and surprising. What's next from the Washington Post? War increases the likelihood of soldiers' getting shot at?

So as not to be sloppy or unfair, I'll reproduce "hooligan's" entire statement about this:

As for my opinion that the suicide rate is being overblown, I base that upon the information I gleaned from the papers: there are 180,000 American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 99 have killed themselves, 28 while actually deployed, according to the link provided by the "Cynic". I hesitate to call these figures "insignificant" because of the subject matter, but it is undeniable that they wouldn't raise an eyebrow if the topic were different. The headlines, while not inaccurate, are misleading: relative percentage changes are often meaningless without knowledge of the base figures. A couple of years ago my speeding ticket total went up 100% with the second ticket I received, as an example.

More nuance. This is not that difficult to grasp however. Suicides have gone up. The highest rate in 26 years. People are suffering. The number of suicides in 2006 is larger than the number in the year before, and the year before that, and the year before that, and so on. Simple really. Some things don't require elaboration.

We're not even asking warmongers to give a shit about the people of Iraq, when they so clearly don't. Lord knows what their suicide rates are like. But here's the precious, precious, sacred, godiworshipthegroundtheywalkon TROOPS, and what does a right-winger get away with?

"Big deal. War is hell."

The respectful response (given the subject matter) would be to either dispute those numbers, or to try to justify the stresses, strains, deaths, etc., by saying that the cause they're fighting for is worth it, that the sufferings will be minimized.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Canadian Cynic's Important Work

This post, a survey of the ugly, authoritarian, and utterly clueless level of intellectual discussion among Harper's Harpies.

I like CC's blog because he's pretty cutting towards people who deserve it, and he does the painful work of monitoring these fools so that other good people don't have to.

I mean, to go surfing through that sewer of reaction to compile that group of nauseating quotes ...

In the face of compelling evidence that the police planted provocateurs among anti-SPP protestors, to incite violence, to "justify" a violent assault on a legal assembly of citizens, to entrap ordinary Canadians, to "justify" smashing our political, legal, and civil rights, ... all in defence of an undemocratic corporate pact, these "conservative," "individualists" [sic] line up to reveal the total ignorance about what they're talking about, or, worse, their support for the partisan manipulation of the law to punish their political adversaries.

Short of actually illegal actions against them such as this, if a leftist political party takes power in Canada, we should do to them what they do to us. Take a page out of Ontario Puking Creep Mike Harris's playbook. Say that there's a constituency that supports us, and we'll work for them, and everyone else can go to hell. Raise their taxes, regulate 'em, eliminate their dodges, frustrate their media, ignore their opinions. And when they protest, let 'em scream their ugly heads off, and ignore, ignore, ignore.

And if they get frustrated and pick up a rock, just read all their authoritarian nonsense back to them.

That includes YOU Tommy D'Aquino. You lil' "democrat" you!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tom D'Aquino - true democrat

Responding to protestors against the secret Security n' Prosperity Partnership [sic] pact, and against the anti-democratic elitism wherein bush II, Stephen Harper, and the guy who stole the Mexican presidency; Felipe Calderon, were getting together with 30 CEOs to discuss the SPP, while ordinary Canadians were pointedly excluded, ... Canadian Council of Chief Executives (and summit attendee) Thomas D'Aquino opined:

"I do not say to myself, 'If I don't get an hour with the prime minister in the next six months, I'm going to go out and protest and reject the system outright,' " he told CBC News.

"I don't do that because civilized human beings — those who believe in democracy — don't do that."

Boy Thomas, what are you talking about? Is that shit-stain supposed to be relevant to what was going on outside the summit? So, a guy like you, who has had near-instant access to the highest political levels in Canada for over a decade, and who has had all of his moronic, destructive initiatives transformed into public policy, you think that you'd be big enough not to protest if you didn't get an hour with the prime ministser every six months?

Try this one on for size you dumbfuck: You never get an hour with the prime minister. You might get five seconds, when he strangles you for getting in his way to talk about tax cuts, but that's not likely. You never get any of your ideas taken up by the political elite. The only stuff they seem to care about is getting together with like-minded union and social justice and anti-imperialist elites and hatching plans to fleece you and frustrate you.

My bet is that Aquino, the Aspers, Stronachs, Irvings, Eatons, Bronfmans, etc., etc., would be out protesting furiously if a series of governments dedicated to their impoverishment and disenfrancisement were elected in this country. I'd also bet that their protests would be miniscule, because aside from the knuckle-dragging dupes and stupid thugs who form the "Conservative" hard-core of electoral support, most people are smart enough to know what's in their own best interests.

That's why you get sizeable anti-corporate globalization protests, whereas the numbers of people who give a shit what Canada's corporations and wealthy elites want is tiny.

That's why the "civilized democrat" Thomas D'Aquino needs riot police, soldiers, and mercenaries to protect him when he's conspiring against the people with the current crop of neo-liberal political hacks.

[While I was putting in the links for this post, it occurred to me that uber-democrat Aquino is blathering on about his principles whilst attending a secretive summit nominally led by a trio, two-thirds of whom had not been democratically elected but instead, installed via fraud. You really have to take notes and keep a list of the extensive hypocrisies and shameless stupidity of our political leadership.]

Oh yeah, a cartoon about corporats' notions about "democracy."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Vicious Minorities

Watching the growing unpopularity of the bush II regime, and how losing two elections and hovering near 30 percent in popularity for YEARS now hasn't slowed this regime down, ... I was moved to reflect upon the ability of the Nazis to dominate Germany and cause so much damage to Germany and the world, when Hitler never had more than a minority of the German people's support.

The book The Third Reich in Power by Richard J. Evans, one of my recent reads, is quite clear about the qualified support the Nazis received from a few sectors of German society, and is also clear about the lack of enthusiasm the German people had for Hitler's forward foreign policy.

I know there's supposed to be some internet law, ... lessee ... ah yes, Godwin's Law, which doesn't appear to state that comparing anyone to the Nazis is necessarily bad, just that Nazi comparisons become increasingly likely the longer an online discussion goes. It's also true that there are some quite justifiable bush II regime/Nazi comparisons.

The point isn't really bush II and Hitlerian social-political-foreign policy parallels. Leninists, Maoists, ... most political groups never have more than a large minority, maybe a bare majority, of a country's support. The point is that all you sometimes need is a minority of ruthless thugs and you can do a lot of damage.

Mindless, lying, so stupid they're insane, ... the current far-right media and blogosphere.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Human Beings Like This ...

I wonder about the impact on our political culture, on the marketplace of ideas, when one has to deal with people like "nonny." ["nonny" is, in case you haven't figured it out, a play on the word "anonymous."]

In the post: "Things always look better from the wilds of Delisle," Canadian Cynic riffs about how KKKate (from the comfort of her computer in Delisle, Saskatchewan) imagines things are looking up in Iraq, while the reality is that the endless redeployments, short-staffing, insufficient rest periods, etc., etc., etc., are taking their toll on the US army:

'The army is worn out. We are just keeping people in theatre who are exhausted,' says a soldier working for the US army public affairs office who is supposed to be telling me how well things have been going since the 'surge' in Baghdad began.

They are not supposed to talk like this. We are driving and another of the public affairs team adds bitterly: 'We should just be allowed to tell the media what is happening here. Let them know that people are worn out.'

Pretty clear right? Only the first commentator to show up is this "nonny" person, who blathers that "leftists" don't understand that combat is tiring and that the US army has been busy defeating "AQ" and so obviously they're tired.

Among various insults, I told "nonny" that "leftists" must include the US soldiers who were telling the reporter that people were exhausted, worn-out and falling apart. I could not resist adding that "nonny" should shut-up, because so many people were suffering due to the stupidity, gullibility, and dishonesty of people like him/her/it.

You know, if someone discovered a hole in one of my arguments and called me on it, I'd like to think that I'd be embarrassed. I also think that I'd be grateful for a chance to correct myself. I'm opinionated, but I try not to blurt out stuff that can't be defended. The point of that is that it was possible that "nonny" just let its deluded enthusiasm for the US invasion and occupation of Iraq to cloud its senses and didn't really see that this report of troop exhaustion is inarguable.

But when it's pointed out that "nonny's" trashing of "leftists" and denials of troop exhaustion was all rubbish, "nonny" showed all the class of a cockroach. In reply to my comment about the people suffering because of the stupidity of the "nonnys" of the world, it replied with the following:

You say that as if you give a damn. Faker.

"nonny" then went on to repeat the same stupid arguments, followed by lame attempts at comedy.

Why am I spending so much time on this unremarkable shithead? Because in the capitalist political culture of the United States, shitheads of varying right-wing affiliations (religious, militarist, capitalist) have coalesced into a powerful voting/media bloc that has an influence out of all proportion to its abilities.

Their brethern here in Canada have managed to eke out a minority government and have their Sun, National Post, Global Television, and Maclean's Magazine to deform our political discussion here in Canada. They don't have the mental skills for genuine debate, but that doesn't affect them as they lack the sense of shame to stop pontificating after they've been exposed as lying, ignorant (or both).

What do we do with such people? You can't really count on ignoring them and providing the majority of undecideds with superior analysis that will supposedly vindicate our position. I've noticed that there are thousands of awesome, incredible leftist news, analysis, perspective coming from the United States: Znet, Counterpunch, CommonDreams, and on and on, easy to find, no need to provide links. The point is, they haven't redeemed the overall US political culture. Look at France, look what the mindless, vapid Sarkozy has accomplished. The man is an unreconstructed fascist, spouting the same neo-liberal bullshit as Margaret Thatcher, and getting elected president for it.

People like "nonny" have an impact. And we have to find some better way of nullifying it. I've got work to do today, so that's my post for the day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Just a Reminder ...

From "A Tiny Revolution" about complaining about bad journalism:

Of course, in terms of helping people learn about the world, they are an eternal catastrophe. But why would we ever expect any different? The mainstream media is made up of gigantic corporations. Like all corporations, they manufacture a product, which is their audience. They sell this product to their customers, which are other huge corporations.

Informing people about the world is not just irrelevant to the purpose of making money, but in many ways actually HURTS a corporation's profitability. No business goes out of its way to piss off its owners and customers.

So we can complain about lies, bad journalists, and what-not, but we mustn't see this as inexplicable. It's called capitalist media, and it serves a purpose.

The thing to do is to work seriously at replacing it, and the conditions that foster it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Epilogue for Global Warming Controversy

Turns out that the "big scandal" about globabl warming stats I posted on recently was more about something else of equally little importance.

The story began rapidly spreading through the conservative blogosphere. In most tellings, it contained the following elements:

a) NASA was forced to admit an error.
(Truth: NASA promptly corrected the error and acknowledged it)

b) The revised data were dramatically different than the unrevised data


c) The error was a Y2K bug

(I can’t confirm or refute this, but I doubt it)

d) The uncorrected data were a big part of the case for global warming

(wildly false. As noted, worldwide temperature records are far more important. And direct temp measurements are only a part of the reason we think the world is warming.)

e) The Mainstream media are burying the story (Er, there isn’t a story to report)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Canadian Military Spying on Peace Activist?

From Canadian Military Keeping Tabs on Peace Activists?

As the article makes very clear, there is nothing unusual about government employees or representatives attending presentations relevant to their work. That isn't what the problem is:

"It was clear that somebody had been tasked by the Canadian military to sit in on the session,” Staples said in an interview with IPS. “My problem is that the military initially denied it. Governments send staff to attend meetings all the time to prepare briefings — there is nothing wrong with that. It’s when they deny it and hide it that it becomes something more nefarious."

So, the Canadian military could have avoided this public relations disaster by simply being upfront about the fact that they were listening to what Mr. Staples had to say. Instead, they launched into a keystone kops surveillance program that was extended by one Lft. Col. Jamie Robertson:

Steven Staples’ talk was on the Americanisation of the Canadian military. We have public affairs officers and representatives from National Defence, which normally attend conferences and compile information. We will summarise what is happening at conferences, but we don’t engage in monitoring. That is not the job of the Department. As public affairs officers, we need to be aware of factual information and trends in the policy debate. In this instance, the debate has been politicised. (italics added.)

Think for a moment about how it might be possible for any debate on the military to not be politicized. Not content with that bit of incoherent babbling, Robertson added:

We have a robust media environment. We want to engage as openly as possible. Everyone is allowed to speak to the media on the Afghanistan mission. In this case, journalists are raising conspiracy theories that are completely of context

Do tell?

In other news, ... I'll hop over to the Parliamentary web pages to see if "Canada's Incompetent Government" has gotten back to the NDP's Dawn Black about where General Hillier got the authority to block access to information about Canada's prisoners in Afghanistan ...

Nope. Can't find anything.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Temperature Monitoring Stations

The ugly, racist thugs (AND the pathetic, gullible dupes!) at s.d.a. ( are crowing about some "report" by two climate-change deniers who have taken some pictures of weather monitoring stations to prove the uncontested charge that a number of these stations are in urban areas where they are subjected to building heat vents, air conditioners, and what-not. This reality means that global warming is a myth. (You can go to the link if you want to hear how this latest explosion of a smidgen of factoids supposedly demolishes the entire edifice of an influential scientific theory, I can't be bothered to translate it.)

I've said that I'm not sure if global warming is real or not and I mean it. It just seems that there's a lot of evidence that it might be real, and if it is real, then it means something really, really big. Much bigger than bush II's "WMDs in Iraq" that was known to be a myth by anyone with a functioning brain-cell at the time the myth was being propagated.

Also, given the intellectual and moral calibre of the climate-change deniers (bush II himself, the oil industry, the mouth-breathing cretins at sda, etc.,), I (personally) am going to lean in the opposite direction just to be on the safe side.

So, upon hearing about this latest offering, some "facts" that demonstrably prove the anti-global warming case (as opposed to "facts" that supposedly support global warming but which, to the keen, skeptical eye of KKKate McMillan and her ilk, don't prove anything at all) I went to the comprehensive repository of global warming science: There I found ("No Man in as Urban Heat Island") which writes that the issue has already been acknowledged, dealt with, and incorporated.

It's clear, coherent, and most importantly (to the "skeptics" and "contrarians" who oddly believe the most laughable shit so long as it came from Dick Cheney or Stephen Harper) it has links to references that back up the arguments.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Democracy Reading

I've found something else for you to read. It might be profitable. It's about strengthening democracy in response to neo-liberalism.

Representative democracy's legitimacy stems from the minimal but equal participation of all through the vote, whereas the legitimacy of participatory democracy lies in the high degree of activity of what is likely to be a minority through institutions that are transparent, open to all and based on mutually agreed rules. Representative institutions determine the principles and general direction of an elected government. The processes of participatory democracy provide ways in which the people can play a further decisive role in the detailed elaboration of these principles. The open, rule-governed process of popular participation in proposing the detailed priorities of a budget, for example, or managing a local public facility, has more democratic legitimacy than a group of officials working behind closed doors, often doing their own deals with certain social groups and economic interests. Participatory democracy also plays a vital role in monitoring the work of the executive and state apparatus, able to go where and know what politicians cannot.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

John Roth of Nortel

The following is a work in progress. This is my post for the day while I drink my morning coffee thing before getting on to the newborn, the fourteen year-old, the lovely lady, and work.

I'm going to see what they were saying about John Roth of Nortel before and after the fall of Nortel's share prices. Was there anything like the ... simply, what were business commentators saying about this guy?

First: Forbes

Speed without vision doesn't mean much, but fortunately for Nortel Roth also had the vision, telling
employees, "We are going to build a better Internet." How? By placing a huge bet on optical equipment, which was then just starting to gain acceptance as the preferred way for corporations and Internet providers to increase bandwidth.


Roth isn't finished--not by a long shot. He's become a crusader for the "pervasive Internet," a service that's always on and available everywhere, just like the dial tone you get on your telephone. "Ultimately, Web tone will be the thing," he predicts. And don't be surprised if Roth-led Nortel is one of the companies that will make it happen.

Next: Networkworld

John Roth is a man of boldness and vision, one who would rather strike than be stricken. Nortel's Bay acquisition is an example of Roth's resolve. Arguably, Bay was the most attractive target of the Big Four data network vendors. Its market valuation was one-tenth that of Cisco's, yet Bay was the No. 2 supplier of IP routers and a leader in LAN hubs and switches for enterprise networks.

Indeed, Roth's play for Bay was a preemptive strike against archrival Lucent and new enemy Cisco. It instantly gave Nortel a stronger, more credible IP data network story than Lucent and created a formidable competitor to both Cisco and Lucent in the IP convergence battle.

Next: Nothing. I'm bored and I've got work to do.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth (spoilers)

Just watched "Pan's Labyrinth" last night. A good movie. But it made me wonder about stuff.

The fascists were bad. Nobody with even half-a-brain likes fascists. Even at the height of their influence, people knew that they were a hodge-podge of thuggery, insecurities, mindless devotion to traditions, and incoherent ideas about rigid and marked social inequality.

With the help of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy (and the hypocritical acquiesence of France, Great Britain, and the USA), Spain's Fascists managed to overthrow the legitimate government and install a decades-long dictatorship.

This film is a product of over three decades of post-fascist Spanish politics and culture. While there are a lot of fascist sympathizers in Spain, overt anti-fascist sentiments are strong, and the majority of the country probably finds fascism a tiresome embarrassment.

The anti-fascist resistance, "the people" are presented heroically. Fighting for equality, fighting for freedom. The embodiment of all that is decent and true. (It's a fairy tale after all.)

The truth of the matter is that these people were fighting for social equality. But how many of them sided with the Stalinists? How many of them, in support of their values, behaved as ruthlessly and brutally as the fascist captain in the film did for his values of religion, and traditional social hierarchies and militarism?

I myself believe that the proper response to a lawless, corrupt, and murderous government is revolutionary violence, and I don't delude myself into thinking that once the guns start firing people can still hold back from terror and cold brutality and unrestrained sadism.

Maybe we're all just deluded mortal animals, squabbling over the planet.

Or, maybe, some values really are more valuable than others.

Finally, I like how the movie ends. Did the little girl really return to her timeless kingdom or does she die hallucinating in the centre of the labyrinth? You can believe whatever you want to believe. Either one is okay. She's either rightfully returned to her magical family, or she died a young heroine who refused to sacrifice an innocent for her own personal gain and who retained the innocence of youth herself until her last breath.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Good Yves Engler Article

From Znet.

I just want to point out a particularly stupid comment from a Canadian mercenary in Iraq:

the head of the company deflected criticism of its 5,000 private soldiers in the Middle East by claiming, “we’re perceived differently because we’re Canadian.”

Saturday, August 4, 2007


Today's BBC reports on flooding ins South Asia, specifically India and Bangladesh, that has killed hundreds and uprooted Twenty Million People.

Now, I know that there have long been floods in that part of the world, and I know that some people think that global warming is a hoax, a fraud, an effort by the environmental-bio-fuels complex to soak dollars out of a gullible public.

But I also know that most climate-change deniers are funded by big-oil, or can't get published in accredited academic journals, and that the people who remain "skeptics" on global warming are generally pretty easy targets for government propaganda like Saddam's WMDs, and how we're "winning" in Afghanistan or Iraq. I know that these people who will always have their vague, pointless "doubts" about global warming, became instant converts to the theory that the solar system is warming up.

So, I'm not really concerned about convincing those people, because 98% of them are corporate shills and useless dupes.

But, for what it's worth, the maddeningly conservative National Geographic has a little story about the potential floodings from continued global warming, for your consideration.

Friday, August 3, 2007

100 Movie Quotes

I don't have any time for much today, so, ... uh, ... somebody put this together and it's kinda neat:

Thursday, August 2, 2007

CPC=Chit-head Partee of Canaduh

Whoa! I was reading further into that HofC Foreign Affairs Committee meeting evidence this morning. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Conservative Party is full of contemptible shit-heads.

Just check it out:

Ms. Dawn Black (New Westminster—Coquitlam, NDP): We will share our time.

I want to respond to the concluding remarks Minister Day made, because I was the first member of Parliament to raise the issue of detainee transfers in the House of Commons, the very first day Parliament sat last year. I want to clearly put out that no one in my party or, in my estimation, in any opposition party made any kind of aspersion or comment about Canadian Forces personnel on this issue. What we were questioning was your government's commitment to human rights. And we were questioning the inadequacy of the agreement that was signed on detainee transfers. Never once were we questioning the role of the Canadian Forces. I just want that on the record.

During the whole discussion and the questions—I'm responding to what you said, Minister—in relation to how this whole issue has been handled, we've had instances when we've been informed by ministers in the House--misinformed by ministers in the House--about the role of the International Committee of the Red Cross. We've been misinformed about the role of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and the resources they have to do their job. Clearly, our questions at all times were on the role of the government and on the government's handling of human rights.

We've had a board of inquiry into detainees, and there's been a report from them saying that detainees whom Canadians have taken have gone missing; they can't find them. I want to ask Minister O'Connor this: Of the detainees Canadians have taken in Afghanistan, do you know where they all are now? Can you tell us the status of the detainees taken by the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan? (Emphasis added.)

For some reason, Stockwell Day was chosen by the Chair to answer:

Hon. Stockwell Day: Thank you, Chairman.

I don't know that it was so much a question to me as a commentary. I appreciate the commentary. It's exactly the type of response I've been trying to elicit for months from opposition members instead of having them, in their questioning, casting a negative pall over the actions of our soldiers. In fact, we have heard today again from the Liberal member, Mr. Coderre, that there's some kind of game going on—with sort of a wink, wink, nudge, nudge—with our soldiers and theirs. So that type of veiled accusation continues.

We have no difficulty in any way, shape, or form being questioned about government actions. I'm talking about the actions of soldiers who have been noted, even by Afghan forces and those who've been apprehended by Canadians, in their reflections on the actions of our soldiers, to have been nothing but exemplary.

It has been unfortunate. I said that I'm not saying it is intentional, but it has been unfortunate that our soldiers feel an accusatory tone towards their actions. There's nothing wrong with questioning government actions, but our soldiers have been honourable in this whole process.

Did you catch the answer there? No? That's because there was no answer. But Stockwell Day has long been known to be a moron. Let's move on:

Hon. Gordon O'Connor: Yes, to my knowledge, our forces have recorded every detainee they've taken since the beginning of the Afghan mission. We also have medical records for them, and so on. But the Canadian Forces do not have any responsibility, as such, to monitor what happens to detainees in the Afghan system.

Now, this O'Connor fellow, he's a lot slicker. He's almost able to make it look like he's answering the question. Of course, anyone with half a brain can tell that he isn't answering the question. No, he doesn't know what happens to prisoners. He doesn't know where they are.

"Who gives a fuck if some Islamo-fascist ragheads get summarily executed while we liberate their shit-hole of a country?"

So goes the thought processes of your typical right-wing asshat who will forever wonder why Western missions of "benevolence" always seem to be so vulnerable to failure.

But here comes Peter MacKay, who eventually says that he knows where the prisonsers are:

Hon. Peter MacKay: Perhaps I can pick up on that point, Mr. Chair and colleagues. That is exactly what this enhanced arrangement is very much aimed at achieving. Clearly this arrangement that was placed in effect a few months ago is still morphing into an effective system of monitoring.

There were shortcomings in the previous arrangement that we know were highlighted by some of these complaints by detainees. What we have now is a greater system of reporting. I would suggest we have a higher standard when it comes to the obligations placed upon the Afghans themselves. We have greater unfettered and private access available to Canadian officials, diplomats, and personnel from Corrections Canada. That also extends to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. It is also meant to enhance access from the International Commission of the Red Cross.

So this enhanced arrangement, Mr. Chair, as it has been referred to by many, including noted journalists and others who have closely followed this issue, is now the standard. In fact other countries are looking to this example as a way to improve their own monitoring.

Ms. Dawn Black: The question is, where are the detainees now? Do we know where they are? Monitoring, Mr. Minister, is supposed to be part of what's taking place here.

Hon. Peter MacKay: As I said, Mr. Chair, this is exactly what's happening. We now have a much greater ability to track the detainees to ensure the standards that are expected are being met. The Afghans themselves, of course, clearly understand the expectations when it comes to detainees who were turned over by Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. They will not only ensure that we know about their whereabouts, but their treatment will conform with international standards—the standards we have clearly set out. Our ambassador in Afghanistan, Arif Lalani, now meets regularly with Afghan officials, including the head of the security, with whom he has met very recently, to continue to underscore our expectations.

So, at long last, Peter MacKay tells us that yes, he does know what happens to all our prisoners in the problematic Afghanistan penal system. Only they can't reveal any proof for this claim. Earlier, Gordon (Lobbyist) O'Connor barfed out the following embarrassing bit of drivel:

Hon. Gordon O'Connor: I can confirm, Mr. Chair, that for operational reasons we do not provide information on how many persons have been detained or transferred by the Canadian Forces, or any other details. The public release of information on the number of detainees held, transferred, or released by the Canadian Forces and any related details would be detrimental to our military operations. For instance, the enemy could exploit the information for propaganda purposes and towards other operational objectives. The enemy could use the information for planning, surveillance, and other operational purposes.

I must point out that operational security is a military decision, not a political one. This is a military decision. We are conducting military operations at this time. The military have declared this to be operational security.

R-i-i-i-g-h-t! Didn't Peter MacKay once promise not to hand over the Progressive Conservative Party to the far-right nutjobs in the C.R.A.P.? Now he expects us to trust him on the safety of prisoners he was caught-out lying about in the past? I believe the expression is "Fuck You Peter MacKay."

"The enemy could use the information for planning, surveillance, and other operational purposes."

Holy shit, I'm convinced. What sort of "planning" could the Taliban and/or resistance forces do with knowledge of how many prisoners Canada has taken, and how many of them are still alive?

"Hmmm. Omar, according to the documents that the decadent Westerners were forced to reveal by their homosexual and harlot democrats, they took four of our men prisoner last week."

"Well then Osama, we can PLAN to lose from three to five men in our next assault!"

"Excellent! With detailed PLANNING such as this, we're sure to win!! Ha-ha-ha-ha!!!"

"Indeed!!! OH-ho-ha-ha-ha!!!"
It turns out that "other operational purposes" is military code for "I'm not that smart. Please don't force me to come up with more creative bullshit, I beg of you."

Immediately following Dawn Black's question, Alexa McDonough attempts to get some thoughts from "Canada's Stale, Conservative, Minority Government" on the significance of the suspension of Malalai Joya's suspension from the Afghanistan Parliament for having disrespected it by comparing it unfavourably with a stable. (The sensitive, swooning Afghan MPs who were so offended by Malalai Joya's criticisms had themselves called for her to be raped and tossed bottles and other objects at her while she was speaking in their sacred Parliamentary halls.)

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP): Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I want to say that in your opening statements today, Ministers, you once again cited the security of women and children and the protection of human rights as the principal focus of Canada's efforts in Afghanistan. Yet, during the recent visit to Afghanistan by the Prime Minister, he remained dead silent—dumb as an oyster, as we would say in Atlantic Canada—while the leading human rights campaigner for Afghan women and children, an outspoken advocate for bringing warlords to trial for human rights abuses, was arbitrarily suspended from the Afghan Parliament. For what? For criticizing the ineffectiveness and corruption that is rampant in that body.

Why was the Prime Minister and your entire government absolutely silent on Malalai Joya's suspension? If the Canadian government doesn't support this proven champion of Afghan human rights, why would the people of Afghanistan believe that Canada's mission in their country will protect their human rights?

Recall that before Alexa's repeating of the question, "Canada's Stupid Government" had been completely occupied hemming and hawing trying to avoid Dawn Black's question.

Ms. Alexa McDonough: Mr. Speaker, if I could, we wouldn't want the record to show that once again five ministers remained dumb as an oyster in the face of Malalai Joya's plight, so I wonder if I could ask for a response around the status of Malalai Joya and whether it is still the government's position that they have no comment on this grotesque, undemocratic, arbitrary suspension for having criticized the corruption and the ineffectiveness of parliament?

Hon. Peter MacKay: Some oysters have pearls, Mr. Chair. I'll allow my pearl to the left to respond to that question.

Some hon. members: Oh, Oh!

Hon. Josée Verner: Mr. Chairman, I appreciate being given the opportunity to remind all of my colleagues of the degree of commitment of the Canadian government and my department to women and to girls.

Within our world of communications, news travels fast and we have perhaps forgotten what the Taliban regime meant for women. This is perhaps a good opportunity to remind everyone. This regime is certainly one of the most atrocious the planet has ever seen. Women were not allowed to work nor to walk alone in the street, and when they went out they had to be accompanied by a close family member, of the male sex. They were denied access to the public baths and to education, and this also applied to little girls.

I think we should remember the arbitrary executions that took place in public arenas, before tens of thousands of men and teenagers, for minor offences.

One story I was...

Ms. Alexa McDonough: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I twice asked a very specific question about Malalai Joya and the government's position. I've heard nothing but filibustering, with all kinds of vague references that this committee does not need to have a lecture on.

I'm asking if any of these five ministers cares enough or knows enough to speak about the status of Malalai Joya, or have you never even raised it to this date with the Afghan government?

And no, I won't stay home and stick to my knitting.

The Co-Chair (Mr. Rick Casson): I didn't hear that comment.

Unfortunately the time has expired for that round of questioning. We're moving over now to the government side, to Mr. Obhrai. To start off, you have 10 minutes.

And there you have it. "The government of Afghanistan isn't the Taliban. (They might be worse in some respects, but they're still NOT the Taliban. They're a different government.) And we're not as bad as Hitler or Stalin, and what more can you ask from democracy than that?"

Stupid fuckers.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Link to Parliament Fgn Affr's Comm. on Prisoner Transfers

Right, about, ..... HERE! (I've been reading bits of it this morning.)