Friday, July 31, 2009

The Problem of Child-Rape

This was originally a reply in the comments section to Brian's "Canada-Afghanistan Blog." It turned out to be too long to be a comment so I'm posting it here. It's all about this article:

In Afghanistan, Child Rapist Police Return Behind US, UK Troops

I'd posted the link at Brian's and asked for a reply. Here it is, followed by my reply:

Thwap: I'll assume, probably foolishly, that you are asking the question in good faith.

Nobody denies the horrible problems that have plagued that Afghan police force since the overthrow of the Taliban. While the Afghan National Army is generally regarded as effective and trustworthy, the police have been almost universally condemned as corrupt and shady.

However, it should also be acknowledged that signing up as an Afghan police officer is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world right now. Police substations are magnets for Taliban attacks, and to work in one is a seriously ballsy job to take on.

There is a massive program in many provinces right now, including a Canadian-led one in Kandahar, to retrain police officers, give them new uniforms and equipment, and get them on to an electronic payroll system that prevents corruption. In a year or two, this program should make a huge difference in many provinces.

The place where the Marines are operating in Helmand has had almost no NATO/Coalition presence since 2001. This is surely one of the reasons behind the disgraceful and criminal behaviour of the Afghan police who were hired to work in the area. One hopes that if the Marines stay long enough and implement the retraining program, the bad cops will be weeded out, the good cops will keep their jobs, and the Afghan peopl.e will be able to regain trust in their police force.

Anyone who said the mission in Afghanistan would be easy is guilty of stupidity. Training a professional Afghan police force is one of the many extraordinarily difficult tasks that is necessary for a stable democracy to ever take hold.

One thing is for sure: the only way to turn things around is for the international community to keep their resolve and not give up on Afghanistan. Withdrawing international security forces is the surest way to hand the country over to the people you profess to abhor.


How could I NOT be asking the question in good faith??? It's similar to the sort of questions I've been asking all along. Questions which (up to now) you've been quite reluctant to answer.

We're talking about the rape of children, by a police force of a country paid for with our tax dollars!!!

Listen, you and your buddy Glavin don't have a monopoly on concern for human life, in Afghanistan or anywhere else. The heights of your self-righteousness are truly terrifying to behold.

I'll say one thing for you though, you possess greater moral and intellectual courage than the detestable Glavin. For someone who so pompously goes on and on about how he's the champion of the people of Afghanistan, and people like me are scum for wanting them to suffer forever under religious fanaticism, he has a strange way of proving it.

To wish to avoid discussing the fact that the Afghanistan police rape children because it doesn't fit with his self-image or his delusions is an abdication of all of his moral pretensions. I posted that link FIVE TIMES to his stupid blog and he erased it within an hour every time.

Gutlessness. Pure gutlessness.

Before digging into the meat of your reply, I'll point to your final insult:

"Withdrawing international security forces is the surest way to hand the country over to the people you profess to abhor."

Is it too much for me to ask you to kindly refrain from such drivel?? Or shall I speculate as to whether you only PROFESS to abhor those child-raping police? That you only PROFESS to care about the people in Afghanistan? That you only PROFESS to regret when they die at check-points or in NATO air-strikes?

Now, on to your actual reply:

"it should also be acknowledged that signing up as an Afghan police officer is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world right now. Police substations are magnets for Taliban attacks, and to work in one is a seriously ballsy job to take on."

I'm going to assume that you aren't using any of that as an excuse to justify the raping of children. (And I'll do you the honour of not attaching "assume - probably foolishly" because that's just the sort of straight-up kinda guy I am.) Since you're not using it to excuse raping children, it's entirely irrelevant.

"There is a massive program in many provinces right now, including a Canadian-led one in Kandahar, to retrain police officers, give them new uniforms and equipment, and get them on to an electronic payroll system that prevents corruption. In a year or two, this program should make a huge difference in many provinces."

New uniforms and equipment aren't the issue. It's their sheer moral depravity. I can see the possibility that the Afghan National Police (ANP for short) members might rob people to supplement their meagre, irregularly-paid salaries, but raping their children??? Also, did you note the section of the article:

"The restoration of Akhundzada to power gave the warlord and his militia the opportunity to use the police to take revenge on their Ishaqzai rivals. If you are the police under these circumstances, Neumann said, 'you take the people's land, their women, you steal from them - it's all part of one package.'

The predatory rule of Akhundzada and his militias was interrupted for a second time when the Taliban took control of large areas of the province in 2008.

So not only do you have to train these fellows, you also have to alter the fact that they're lording it over their ethnic or clan rivals. (I read the same thing in a newspaper editorial from "Espirit-des-Corps" wherein another local warlord governor had given himself total control over the water supply in his area and was using it to completely dominate the people, who were from some rival group or other.)

The point is, these guys aren't just blank slates who need to be brought up to speed. They're deliberately inflicting these depredations as conscious policies.

"The place where the Marines are operating in Helmand has had almost no NATO/Coalition presence since 2001. This is surely one of the reasons behind the disgraceful and criminal behaviour of the Afghan police who were hired to work in the area. One hopes that if the Marines stay long enough and implement the retraining program, the bad cops will be weeded out, the good cops will keep their jobs, and the Afghan people will be able to regain trust in their police force."

There's that possibility, as well as this one mentioned in the article:

"But the Afghan national police command has little real power over the police in Helmand Province. As of mid-2007 the national police command controlled the appointments of only four of the 13 districts in Helmand Province, according to an International Crisis Group (IGC) study in August 2007. The remaining nine were evidently controlled locally - meaning that the Akhunzada was able to keep his own men in position in most of the districts.

Although the IGC study did not specify which districts were not controlled by the national police command, the districts which are the objects of the U.S.-British military operation in Helmand are especially sensitive because they include the main opium poppy fields in the province.

Akhundzada maintains his power in Helmand in part because of a firm political alliance with President Hamid Karzai.

It all goes back to the problem that Karzai's government depends upon gangster warlords and their raping and marauding private armies. (That is, when Karzai's survival doesn't depend upon foreign troops.)

I'll attack your arguments further at some other time. But I thank you for at least answering.

Ah, but there's this:

"Anyone who said the mission in Afghanistan would be easy is guilty of stupidity."

I never said I expected it to be easy. I've said consistently that it is NEVER going to happen because the people in charge don't give a shit about the people of Afghanistan.

"Training a professional Afghan police force is one of the many extraordinarily difficult tasks that is necessary for a stable democracy to ever take hold."

Yes, well we've been there for eight goddamned years, haven't we? And if you try to dodge the monumentality of THAT failure by saying that it's "extraordinarily difficult" to rebuild a country in the middle of a war with a ruthless insurgency, then I'd reply by saying that DOING NOTHING ABOUT or ADDING TO the factors that contribute to the GROWTH OF THE INSURGENCY is going to make a successful resolution even more difficult.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Political Mobilization in Haiti

"Lavalas and Haiti's Student Union Unites"

Given Canada's big "investment" in Haiti, I wonder why there's been no mention of these stirring events in our corporate newsmedia. (No I don't.)
Thousands of demonstrators marched through Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince on July 15 to mark the 56th birthday of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The demonstration, which was called by and adhered to by two rival factions of the Lavalas Family party (FL), was considered a great display of unity by its organizers.
At 9 a.m. the crowds gathered at the gate in front of Aristide's still gutted home in Tabarre. It was decorated with flowers and large photographs of the party's leader, who remains in exile in South Africa over five years after the Feb. 29, 2004 coup d'├ętat against him.
The multitude then moved, like a great river, towards the capital.
Lavalas leaders said that the demonstration was a birthday present for Aristide. "Long live the return of President Aristide!" read some of the posters in the march. " Down with the MINUSTAH [UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti, the military occupation force]! Release of all political prisoners! Reinstatement of all fired State employees! Down with the neo-liberal plan!"

The USA, France and, disgustingly, Canada (under the detestable Liberals and the craven, neoliberal stooge Paul Martin), decided that they didn't like the elected president of Haiti. Jean-Bertrand Aristide. They contributed to an international economic stranglehold on the country and fomented a rebellion with torturers, death squad leaders and other assorted criminals and thugs. The kidnapped Aristide and exiled him to Africa and are preventing his return.

Of course, "liberal" politicians must have "elections" to convey "legitimacy" upon their depredations. Haiti was a problem. Faced with the ruthless brutality of their ruling class, Haiti's poor have united almost unanimously behind Aristide and the party "Lavalas." How to have an election when the vast majority is going to vote for democracy? Easy. Brand the party of the majority a criminal organization and count on international apathy and the powerless of the Haitian people against the military weaponry of MINUSTAH to allow this farce to continue.

I can't forget what Canada did to Haiti. It sickens me.

It's Easy to Criticize ...

Gaze, if you please, at the fly-encrusted putrescence of the following that was left in my comments section for this post ... The title of this blog entry is "It's easy to criticize" because I'm often at my most eloquent when I'm criticizing the drivel that passes for commentary from the right-wing. In fact, it seems us lefties are often at our most eloquent criticizing the revolting garbage of the right-wing (see "pretty shave ape/AKA/Lindsay Stewart's brilliant tirade that preceded his co-blogger status at Canadian Cynic. My original post was about how I was a free-speech absolutist, generally opposed to anti-hate speech laws. I didn't have time to complete what was supposed to be a major post and said that I'd type more the next day. The commentor self-identifies as "Wakefield Tolbert" and I guess that means he isn't "Colin" or "Abu-asshat" (two of my recent victims). Here's the commentary:

Please do NOT write anything tomorrow. I beg of you.

Do you really think we've NEVER seen this kind of "yeah, but" condescension to the ideas of free speech before. How many thousands of bloggers from the Left have said such?

Obviously, people on the left have NEVER NEVER had to deal with limitations to their freedom of speech! Spare us all your self-righteous snivelling please.

Said, that is, to the effect of (and I always am SO pleased that the Stalin Lite Left finds a moral position pulled from the wreckage of their other notions) "yeah--we EVEN have to allow speech we don't care for!"

Well...yeah...else, what's the big deal and then what's the point?

Well that's just it then, isn't it? I don't know what sort of straw-man this idiot is wrestling with. (Aside from the straw-man argument that social democracy is "Stalin-lite"! What a frikken' tool!)

As to the Dark Night of Terror under the Chenian/Rovian White House minions doing wiretappings on the Allah Knows Best crowd, of which the North Canukistanians are more amply supplied than we Yanks, we are in fact sorry that MILLIONS of people got listened to while baking chicken and were enslaved in internment camps for liberals, then shot dead by the truck load and shoved into
shallow pits.

On second thought, spare us any continuation of such hyperbole.

"Continuation"? I didn't even know that I'd started! Losers like Glen Beck like to imagine President Obama ("the socialist") plans internment camps for "conservatives" but I'm unaware of any such fantasies on the left. But check it out Wakefield, nobody knows who all the bush II regime was spying on. You can't say if it was limited to the "Allah knows best crowd" (or the "Pope knows best" or the "Yaweh knows best" or the "Buddha knows best" crowds either) because we don't know the limits of this spying program that almost caused the majority of the bush II Justice Department to resign in protest!!

But note, dear readers, that Wakefield appears to be completely unconcerned about state spying on private citizens. Mr. Champion of Free Speech apparently isn't Mr. Champion of Individual Privacy. Trust me Mr. Tolbert, it isn't due to people like yourself that individuals in the West have any respite from Orwellian nightmares like "Big Brother." (Say, wasn't Orwell a LEFTIST of sorts? A "Stalin-Lite Leftist" in Mr. Tolbert's parlance? What's up with that?) Mr. Rock-Ribbed Conservative Individual-fucking-ist "Wakefield Tolbert" is actually a "Certainly Mr. Government Sir, you may spy on me, my wife, my children. You may listen to my phone conversations, my wife's phone conversations, my childrens' phone conversations. You may look into what subjects I'm researching on the internet. You may read my mail. I think that I can always trust my government. I think that if a bush II Republican government can invade every aspect of my personal space that there will be no ill consequences should a government that I oppose expect the same rights. I think that governments should be able to spy on all their citizens, because only then can we truly be free." What a putz you are Tolbert. What a complete fucking putz.

US and Israeli Imperialism?

Uh-oh! This oughta be good ...

I wish that were so.

Does this moron even know what he's saying? Hey champ! The USA used to be proud to advertise itself as an enemy of imperialism. Just saying, doofus.

For the moment, it seems more likely that for the big nation, it looks more like
a reluctant paper tiger afraid of getting it's nails wet on the world front.

"Reluctant?" Wakefield Tolbert looks at the outrageous thuggery of US foreign policy in the past ten years and talks about "reluctance"? bush II, under the sway of Dick Cheney, concocts ludicrous accusations of Saddam Hussein's WMDs and invades Iraq for its oil, foments ethnic and sectarian conflict that has left over a million dead and four million as refugees, conducts an 8-year long occupation of Afghanistan that has left countless (or "uncounted") dead, and this piece of shit talks about reluctance??? Notice how this piece of shit (that's you Wakefield, just in case you've gotten lost) mindlessly picks up the right-wing meme that Barack Obama is "Bambi" because he wants to pull-back (slightly) from bush II's extreme failure in Iraq to concentrate on Afghanistan and West Pakistan.

We came up with the United For Israel, a nation almost bisected down the middle
and in constant battle for mere survival,

You fucking wingnut shithead. Who is threatening Israel's "survivial"? Hezbollah's 3,000 militiamen? (Unless the 100,000 active-service IDF is really, REALLY pathetic!) Hamas? (If only they could stop Israel from kidnapping their members, and blasting them to bits with their families, they'd have Israel on the ropes by now.) Jordan? Saudia Arabia? Iraq? Iran? Ah yes! Iran threatens Israel's very survival! Iran MIGHT some time in the indefinite future, develop a nuclear weapons program, which could then be grafted to a nuclear missile program, which could (if the entire Iranian leadership loses their minds completely) be used to strike against tiny little Israel who would then launch a massive retaliatory strike that would turn the entire country of Iran into radioactive goo. Um, ... waitaminnit, that doesn't seem very likely does it? Whew! That was close! I'm glad that I'm not as bone-stupid as "Wakefield Tolbert."

which it IS an interesting notion that it's fighting back represent...."imperialism" in some minds.


"Wow" indeed. In all fairness, there are people like this young woman (I hesitate to call her a "lefty" because she seems to also have praise for bush II within her ramblings) who would make a somewhat articulate individual like this "Wakefield Tolbert" imagine that "the left" in general is beyond foolish,

but as I've established, other people's failures don't make him infallible. And there's also stuff like this from the rightwing that needs no further explanation.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Don't Think About Politics! Watch This Instead!!!

1963 Jason and the Argonauts

There were some mad skills needed for that stop-motion stuff!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Free-Speech Absolutism (title changed)

This entry had originally been called "Political Protest and the Rule of Law" because it was supposed to be some long piece about how, given our weakness, the Left ought to exploit every freedom that liberalism has made available in order to promote "liberal-socialism" or "liberal-anarchism," and this means having a mature respect for the rule of law. If we consent to play the game then if we win, we get to expect that our opponents will consent to listen to us. At the same time I wanted to argue that there are many instances where illegal acts are necessary to communicate "non-negotiable demands" to power, especially to neo-con and neo-liberal vermin who believe that democracy is only operative (if ever) during elections. We can protest extra-legally and so can our opponents should we win. But there are consequences for these actions, and we should be prepared to accept them.

I'm a free-speech fanatic. I'm opposed to Canada's "hate-speech" laws. I think Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn should be free to print every fool thing that pops into their stupid little heads, short of slander or direct calls to violence. I think it's extremely short-sighted for the Left to give the system one more club to beat us with. When our pointed criticisms of US or Israeli imperialism are then labelled as 'hate-speech" then we see how convenient our own attempts to protect persecuted minorities are for more amoral enemies of freedom.

Obviously, the state, the corporations and their legal functionaries are not going to respect absolute freedom of speech in any case. Their silence on censorship issues that don't threaten them, their silence in the extreme violations of civil liberties in the idiotic "War on Terror" attest to this. Silence? More like enthusiastic complicity in the suppression of freedom!! Obviously they're going to be hypocritical about freedom of speech and everything else.

On the other hand, as I said, why give them another weapon? On top of their blatant, shameless hypocrisy on civil rights, we can give them more hypocrisy ammunition in the form of anti-hate-speech laws? With free speech absolutism we can at least point to their violation of a sacred, hugely important freedom. With hate-speech laws they're able to cynically exploit the possible damage to the tender feelings of USians, the police, the military, white males and etc., as a result of our "mean-spirited" criticisms.

The only defences I've heard when this danger has been pointed out have been incomprehensible sophistries.

I've run out of time for writing my shit today. I'll write more tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Article debunking Aristide slanders

A little terse, from Global Reasearch:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Talking About Haiti

Haiti was one of the countries that got me interested in international politics. Since the 1970s I'd heard that Haiti was governed by an extremely corrupt, extremely brutal regime. When there was a revolution I was happy that they'd managed to remove the monstrous Duvaliers from power. The Duvaliers were so bad that even the USian newsmedia could condemn them, just as they did Somoza of Nicaragua and Marcos of the Philippines.

Not being politically involved, I lost track of Haiti until President Aristide was overthrown in a coup, but by then I was interested in politics and followed the story through the wonderful Z Magazine and through numerous books. I was appalled at the blatant hypocrisy of the USian (and mainstream Canadian) response to Haiti's plight. Aristide's return and second removal enraged me. The fact that Canada had joined in directly in this abomination sickens me to this day.

From time to time I go to check up on what our officials are saying on Haiti. Here's a big, honking committee [pdf] report from Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee. There's just a couple of snippets about Haiti apparently:

Hon. Lawrence Cannon: Thank you.

Of course, I think Canada is quite clear that we've made a long-term commitment to
Haiti, which is at the heart of Canada's vocation in the Americas, so to speak.
We're directing unprecedented financial and political resources towards ensuring
the success of international efforts in Haiti, with $555 million between 2006
and 2011 going to the poorest country in the Americas.

As a matter of fact, and I've mentioned this before, it's our single largest
investment in the Americas and our second worldwide in terms of our
contribution. After the United States, we're the second-largest donor in

Our involvement is based on strong national interests, security, and values, and basically reflects the close cultural and demographic links between Canada and that country.

We've participated and are participating, of course, in the UN stabilization mission
in Haiti, with a current contribution of four Canadian Forces personnel, 96 civilian police officers, and eight corrections experts. We're a leader in security system reform in Haiti.

As you know, I think, probably going back to the larger picture, the Prime Minister
did name a Minister of State for the Americas. There's a renewed engagement on the part of the government to do work with the Americas. Minister Kent has been extremely active.

In our earlier discussions, we alluded to the free trade agreements with both
Colombia and Peru. Minister Day is very active there as well.

We expect that all of the efforts Canada is putting into the Americas are certainly
going to help us in the short, the medium, and the long terms.


Mr. Peter Goldring (Edmonton East, CPC): Thank you, Mr. Minister, Mr. Hirst, and Mr. Edwards, for appearing here today.

Canada's re-engagement in the Americas certainly is a positive step. It's being very well
received by almost all countries of the region. It certainly is a direct contrast to years past, where Canada has been seen as though it has been disengaging from the region.

Particularly now, with the evolving geopolitical landscape of the region, it even becomes a strategic imperative. Economically, the area is being viewed by other world powers too, whether it's the European Union or the two Chinas or other Asian countries, so there's a reason to participate. China has a tax-free port on St. Lucia, which is indicative of their interests throughout the area.

One of the countries in the region, though, where certainly Canada makes one of its
preeminent efforts to help, is Haiti. Haiti is a very big priority in the region, of course, not just for humanitarian reasons but also as a necessity, and politically and economically as an imperative, as a sign of Canada's whole-of-government engagement throughout the region, to participate not just politically and economically in the region but also in a humanitarian way. It's a kind of symbol for that.

Mr. Minister, I'm wondering if you could tell us what steps are being taken with the
efforts to help Haiti evolve politically and stability-wise.

followed by:
Canada is re-engaging in the Americas. Our strategy for the Americas is
designed to promote economic prosperity, security and democratic governance
through bilateral and multilateral engagement.

In addition to focusing on promoting social safety nets and a Canadian model of
democracy, we are focusing on a robust trade liberalization agenda to ensure
Canadian access to growing markets.

In Haiti, Canada will maintain its engagement and focus on high level political
engagement, as well as stabilization, reconstruction and long-term development.
Canada is Haiti's second largest bilateral donor.

The fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago in April of this year will
provide the opportunity for Canada to reinforce our security and economic interests in the region.

Also this year, Canada hosts the Caribbean Development Bank's Board of Governors
meeting in Halifax.

I have to straighten up my office. I'll type more and fix formatting later. The point though is that this is pretty weak stuff for such an allegedly important initiative. I searched for all FAIT Committee hearings from January 1st, 2008 to June 30th, 2009 and that was all that was said.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Cute Ali-G Interview

Sometimes he's hilarious. Sometimes he's dreadful. This one's got some surprises and comes off as just plain cute:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

From Peace-Keeping to Counterinsurgency

That appears to be the thrust of Canadian defence policy. Yeez kin read about it where I read about here: Here at Znet.
Capping a sweeping transformation that began in the late 1990s, the Canadian Forces recently issued their first counterinsurgency (COIN) operations doctrine, which will help Canadian soldiers prepare to fight the wars of today and the "foreseeable future," alongside its chief ally and the sole global superpower, the US. ...

Insurgency will be a large and growing element of the security challenges faced by the United States in the 21st century...Whether the United States should engage in any particular counterinsurgency is a matter of political choice, but that it will engage in such conflicts during the decades to come is a near certainty. This Guide will help prepare decision-makers of many kinds for the tasks that result from this fact.

According to Lt. Gen. Leslie, the Canadian Army is "at the cutting edge" of Western armies readying themselves to fight 21st-century wars.

"The paradigms of the past based on the Cold War have changed a great deal. We have demonstrated beyond any doubt that we can adapt our doctrine and training quickly in order to meet scattered, complex operations focused on counterinsurgency missions," Leslie told a Senate defence committee meeting in March.

Shifts in Canadian policy adhere closely to those of her allies, like the US, the UK and other NATO partners. These governments are at the forefront of institutionalizing COIN principles and practices in military culture, across the "whole-of-government," and, eventually, within the "whole of society."

This was Rick Hillier's mutated baby apparently:
In October 2003, Hillier made the Three Block War scenario "a guiding concept for the Canadian Army."

Hillier's support for the Three Block War was one of the reasons he was selected to be Chief of Defence Staff in 2005. According to then-Prime Minister Paul Martin, "[Hillier] advocated a concept called the 'three-block war,' to describe the [military's] mission...This was not a rejection of our peacekeeping tradition, but a revision to suit tougher times, and I supported it."

Ah yes, the world is such a dangerous place! If you constantly smash people in the face, occasionally they strike back. Simply dreadful.

In all seriousness, this is a horrible, absolutely horrible direction for Canada to be going in. Utter craven dweebs like Paul Martin, out-and-out liberal imperialists like Michael Ignatieff or contemptible strutting buffoons like harpercon might shake their flaccid weiners with excitement about sending young citizens to die in order to help prop-up the American empire, but we should be more circumspect about making enemies. Especially when these "enemies" are just poor people, pushed to the wall by a dying system.

Edited to add: This excellent post by Alison at Creekside reinforces this sad story:

Among others, there's a link to this editorial bemoaning Canada's recent history of unstable minority governments and how they limit Canada's ability to be a dependable ally to the "dynamic" Obama administration. (It's ridiculous, promoting Obama as "dynamic" and "new" when he's simply continuing bush II's policies both at home and abroad. This debases the word "change" even beyond Obama's misuses.)

It is difficult to imagine a government in Ottawa that would be able to escape the current pall of political instability and weakness any time during the first two years of the Obama administration. This does not mean that Canadians or their interests will be maltreated, punished, or maliciously ignored by Washington. U.S. policymakers will pity Ottawa, indulge it when possible, and ignore it only when necessary.

However, the sad truth is that while Canadians have much to gain from an energetic partnership with the new Obama administration, it now looks as though the Canadian government will be too sick to come out and play.

Given that "coming out to play" with the USA in the past has meant destroying democracy in Haiti, joining 8 years of murder and failed state-building in Afghanistan, and would have meant signing-on to direct participation in the Iraq Occupation clusterfuck, I'd say that not "playing" with the psychotic bully down the street sounds like a good fucking idea.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Negative Inflation

The inflation rate is at its lowest level since 1955 apparently. We're not seeing deflation because this is mainly stagnation combined with a lower price for oil as opposed to falling prices across the economy. But it signals the continued weakness in the world economy, testimony to the absence of a real economy to "stimulate" as described by Paul Craig Roberts at CounterPunch.

Obama, harper, and all the other status-quo politicians are moronically trying to use deficit spending to restore the economy to where it was right before last summer's meltdown. Somehow, they imagine, cleaning up the financial sector mess will allow the world to get back on the path of falling incomes, debt-driven consumerism and ponzi-schemes that is the basis for solid growth. (The sound fundamentals if you please.)


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Given their prediliction for denying people of colour their rights

... as Canadian citizens, perhaps it'd be best if we simply started portraying harper, Jason Kenny, Peter Van Loan, and Lawrence Cannon in klansmen's robes.

And if the whining, petulant, snivelling "conservatives" say that that's "hurtful" we'll just laugh.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One Disaster After Another ...

Being on my sabbatical from blogging my comments on political issues, i've watched numerous things come and go from the news cycle (even the progressive news cycle where serious things last longer) and my intention to refrain from speaking has made me notice that it's just one disaster after another.

I'd really like it if sane people could take control of the narrative.

Okay. But here's a comment on something that doesn't require a lot of thinking.

Recently, some right-wing USA blog showed a photo of Obama in Europe that appeared to show him ogling some woman's ass. I saw a clip from the MSM (on some pro-Democrat blog) showing the MSM actually "investigating" this important story and revealing (imagine!) that the right-wing blogger was wrong. A video shows Obama clearly helping someone else down a flight of stairs and not looking at the ass at all. The MSM anchors all got a chuckle at the French Sarkozy's obvious staring though.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there was no MSM coverage of John McCain's obvious staring at Sarah Palin's butt when he introduced her at the Repug national convention right? That was on video-tape and it was quite obvious.

I took away two important things from this idiocy.

1. Obama's blackness is a huge problem for the right-wing. Right down to obsessing about his sexuality (in their minds it being so difficult for black men to control their raging animalistic urges). And the MSM's even deigning to look at the accusation while ignoring McCain's ogling of Palin (on top of his history of being an obviously horny fellow) shows that stereotypes and "concerns" about black men's sexuality are held by the "respectable" press as well.

2. All of this stupidity is a convenient smokescreen for Obama's service at perpetuating Wall Street's greed and the USA's imperialism that the bush II regime was (with some minor differences) implementing as well. Instead of substantive debate about the domination of democracy by finance capital, we get arguments about Obama looking at a woman's ass, and the racism implicit in even caring about this makes it semi-meaningful that it's being discussed at all.

Then, when I related this story to my partner, a third observation occurred to me. That there would be people in the USA (hundreds of thousands of 'em, constituting a large part of the "politically active" minority of the most powerful country in the world) who would have a position on the most superficial aspects of this incident ("Obama is an over-sexed disgrace to the United States of America!" "NO! Obama is being slandered* by your racist obsessions! He didn't look at that woman at all!") and they would say that this constitutes following "politics."

[*I can't resist saying that Obama's been given a bum rap here.]

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Greatest Rock Video EVER ... [STILL!!!!]

The words that come to mind are "Sublimely Stupid Cinderella Story."

ZZ-Top's "Legs":

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

One of the Worst Things About Being a Parent

Is getting these catchy children's songs in your head. You'll be humming something or singing some lyrics that pop into your head, and then you'll realize you're singing one of those tunes that your toddler likes hearing again and again and again, f'r instance:

or Australia's super-group "The Wiggles" (!) with "Toot-toot, Chugga-chugga, Big Red Car":


Friday, July 3, 2009

Reading "Scoop!"

That's Scoop by Kuldip Nayar. Part of the load of reading brought back from my trip to India in the New Year. Having already read two histories of India since independence and a nice biography of Nehru I've got some background for the issues Nayar speaks of. I'm on the fourth chapter.

So, that's what I've been doing lately (among other things).

And, now for no reason whatsoever, here's the painfully funny David Bowie appearance on "Extras":

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Automated Garbage Trucks

I've always had a healthy respect for sanitation workers, because of the unpleasantness and heavy physicality of the very important work that they do. (Except for one time when I was around 10 and self-conscious about a recent haircut and walked by a group of workers with an apple in my hand. A sanitation worker called me "Charlie Brown" and asked if he could have my apple. With thoughts of Charlie Brown's round head in my mind I threw the apple at him with a degree of force which surprised him. He caught it and thanked me. I was glad because as soon as I'd released my temper I was worried I'd hit him in the face and he'd beat the shit out of me!)

Anyways, I saw this yesterday and I thought about lost jobs, but a job that would be good to automate nonetheless: