Friday, January 29, 2010

What's Next?

I think the Anti-Prorogation rallies were successful in that they gave harper a major public-relations black-eye. But as someone wrote on some other blog's comments section somewhere, back in the day, various parliaments blithely ignored hand-written petitions with over ONE MILLION signatures, so there's no reason for harper to tremble in fear at 200,000 people on Facebook (quite a few of whom are there to troll and rationalize for harper) and tens of thousands of people standing a shouting for an afternoon.

Furthermore, the NDP and to a lesser extent the Liberals are proposing necessary reforms to limit a prime minister's recourse to prorogation in the future. I think it was actually Ignatieff who had said there weren't rules before because no prime minister was so debased and anti-democratic as to have so blatantly abused their power the way harper has. So, if they get passed these reforms will be a good thing.

But what I'd like to focus on, once again, is harper's obstruction of open inquiry into the treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan. What I want to focus on is holding harper to account for his behaviour in Afghanistan. I'm tired of the secrecy. I'm tired of the lies. I'm tired of putting up with this undemocratic imposition of an unpopular imperialist project.

Both the Liberals and the harpercons knew (and know) that full disclosure and discussion of "the Mission" (tm.) in Afghanistan would mean the end of "the Mission" and that's why the whole thing has been smothered in a blanket of obfuscation and lies. harper crossed the line though. It will be so healthy for our team to send him to prison. And everyone else who ordered these abominable practices.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Too Busy 2 Write

So I'm linking to KITH:

Hope you liked it. (I didn't have much to do with it though, did i?)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

harpercon bleat: "B-B-B-ut Prorogation is 'Constitutional'!!"

That's one of the things that I've been reading on the "Blogging Tories" response to the Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament movement. Duh. The proposed Liberal-NDP coalition was constitutional too. But they called it a "coup."

Anyway, CAPP isn't against proroguing parliament so much as we're opposed to harper's unprecedented abuse of this privilege as a means to escape his own self-created crises.

Suspending the legislature when you get yourself into trouble is a sight more problematic than having a majority of the people's representatives decide that a sitting government isn't representative of any of their views and doing something about it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Post About Patrick "Asshole" Ross

[Edited to Add: Patrick, in this post I'm asking for an apology from you necessary to sustain your commenting privileges here. You can read all about it! But I'm here attaching one further condition. Since I've mentioned "Canadian Cynic" ("CC") and your obsessive stalking of him, you'll probably make a comment about it and I'm going to ask you to not refer to him here by his real name. I think it's in bad, creepy taste, to out someone who chooses to blog anonymously and while CC's real identity is now public knowledge, I'm going to insist that you pay him the respect of referring to his online persona the way he would prefer it.]

I've been cursed for days with the sustained presence of right-wing doofus ("It's NOT a mullet!!!") Patrick "Asshole" Ross. I'm aware that I owe this displeasure as part of "Asshole's" childish vendetta against Canadian Cynic. C-C has tired of "Asshole's" stalking and trolling, which "Asshole" has expanded into a campaign of trolling on other sites friendly to C-C. C-C has declared that any other blogger who grants "Asshole" commenting privileges on their sites will not receive any links from him. "Asshole" apparently has no life, because he's found the time to comment on numerous blogs friendly to C-C in order to test his ultimatum. For all I know I'm one of the blogs that "Asshole" is pathetically crowing about at his own piece of shit blog.

The fact of the matter is that I never got many links from Canadian Cynic, so I can live without getting links from him. If C-C had said that anyone who allows comments from "Asshole" on their blog doesn't get to comment at "Canadian Cynic" that would be something else altogether. I consider the privilege of posting at "Canadian Cynic" infinitely more important than debating with a lying thug like "Asshole" and I would delete all of "Asshole's" comments entirely.

That having been said, it's also the case that I ban commentators who post and post and post the same old lies with the intention of attempting to outlast me in a typing marathon. And, "Asshole" if you keep that up, you will find yourself banned from this site, joining an illustrious gang of other pathetic idiots and liars.

Let's begin: In a response to commenter "no_blah_blah_blah" the "Asshole" writes:
The Liberals clearly didn't do that when they negotiated the original PTA [prisoner transfer agreement], and the Conservatives waited too long to adopt this approach for themselves.

The bulk of the blame lies with the Paul Martin government, but the Conservative government carries a share of the blame.

The key word being a "share" of the blame. Not "the blame", like Thwapsy would like to assign to them.

This is pathetic, desperate lying. As opposed to "Asshole's" distortion of things, have a look at what I said straight to the stupid mother-fucker in numerous replies to his incoherent, lying babbling:
And at the end of the day, both the Liberals (stupidly) and the harpercons (insanely) handed people over to jailers about whom there were long-standing, credible fears that they practised torture systemically.

You imbecile. I'd already conceded that the 2005 agreement had been a product of the Liberal government.

Neither the Liberals or the harpercons have covered themselves in glory here, but your team appears to be shitting its pants at the thought of having to have their behaviour investigated, whereas the Liberals feel confident enough to call for a public inquiry.

and (in response to "Asshole's" dishonest claim that he would welcome a genuine, non-partisan public inquiry):
If your team of idiots wasn't pissing in their pants at the thought of having their behaviour investigated they would have suggested something like that.

Given "Asshole's" claim that he'd welcome a non-partisan, objective inquiry into these issues, it's curious that the liar hasn't said anything about stephen harper's blatant obstruction of the Military Police Complaints Commission's work, no?
Let's continue:
Observation: Your criticisms of the Liberals are well taken. (Your insane gibberish about the NDP and the BQ being "war criminals" ain't.) I despise the Liberals. I also despise the harpercons.

It's time you grabbed a fucking clue: BOTH parties are run (and supported by) witless fools and assholes. The "mission" in Afghanistan was doomed to failure because the USA is run by corrupt corporate-imperialists, NATO is made up of the USA and a bunch of lick-spittles, and the UN is a cowed institution comprised of representatives of the world's biggest ego-maniacs.

You're such a contemptible oaf. You keep repeating the same goddamned thing every fucking time as if it matters.

I'm prepared to call both the Libs and the harpercons war criminals.

You, appear to be so wedded to your bankrupt ideology and your partisan interests that you're now blaming "the troops" for harper's failures.


Now, "Asshole," the choice is yours. You can either publicly apologize to me for having mischaracterized my position regarding the joint culpability of the Liberals and the harpercons, or you can forfeit your posting privileges here.

End of story.

Because for eight goddamned years, we've been told that "we're winning" in Afghanistan, when in fact we've been losing. We've been losing because our leaders don't really care about the people of Afghanistan. We've been losing because stupid, ignorant, cynical, cowardly people (Jean Chretien, Paul Martin, Rick Hillier, stephen harper, Peter MacKay, Gordon O'Connor, Lawrence Cannon, etc., etc., ad nauseum) have dragged us into Afghanistan, to prop-up a corrupt, incompetent, brutal, undemocratic puppet-government sustained by murdering, raping, thieving warlords.

The "government" of Afghanistan relies heavily upon the same warlord maniacs who tore the country apart over a decade ago, fighting for control after the Soviets left. The guy who runs the present Afghan prison system was the chief-jailer/torturer for the Soviet-backed Afghan regime. The bush II regime's cabinet discussed torture methods to be used in their bullshit "war on terror."

Anyone, ANYONE, who believes that there was a reason to give any of these groups the benefit of the doubt when it came to the handling of detainees would have to be an absolute moron. I'm sick and goddamned tired of having to "debate" with lying vermin like Patrick "Asshole" Ross whether or not the harpercons tried the best they could to meet their obligations under international law and to defend human rights.

Tell you what, "Asshole" ... if you publicly pressure the harpercons for a FULL PUBLIC INQUIRY into the treatment of our prisoners in Afghanistan, then I'll start to take you seriously.

For now though, you're just a stupid political hack, who cares more about protecting stephen harper from accountability then about the possibility that right now, there's a widow in Kandahar right now, going insane because her husband was taken from her years ago, never to return, and she has no means of supporting herself or her children.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Why I'll Be Attending the Anti-Prorogation Rally

Today is January 23rd, 2010. As Montreal Simon pointed out, that's the fourth anniversary of stephen harper's coming to power! I'll be attending the anti-prorogation rally in Hamilton's Gore Park between 1-4 pm today.

I'll be going because while I believe that our political system is debased, it is not totally debased. I believe that if we let this system die it will mean that things will get worse for ordinary people (like me and the people I love) not better. Our system has within it the means to hold stephen harper accountable for his criminal behaviour in Afghanistan. harper has engaged in an unprecedented level of political brinkmanship in order to escape from his own self-created crises. He is testing the limits of executive power and he is stretching those limits to dangerous levels.

As was clearly the case with the Harris government in Ontario in the mid-1990s, our archaic, decrepit first-past-the-post electoral system can give ideologues with minority support, massive majorities with which they can ram through inhuman, idiotic legislation with no restraints. We elect temporary dictatorships in our system when we have majority governments.

But when the electorate is so divided, when the mood of the country is so contentious, and no one party can even approach the levels of support needed for a majority government, then we get minority governments and these governments are expected to exhibit the degree of maturity necessary to gain the agreement of at least one other political party to pass its legislation. Should a minority government attempt to impose the political will of its own narrow constituency, without regard for the opinions of anyone else among the electorate, they will be defeated, their hold on power will be suspended and perhaps lost, as the voters go to the polls again, hopefully to elect a government that can demonstrate more maturity, self-restraint and regard for the opinions of others.

harper's 2008 prorogation represents the loss of that power of parliament and the people of Canada. Conceivably now, whenever a minority government finds itself in trouble, it can go to the Crown and ask for an escape-hatch from its problems. In our system, the Governor-General, representing the Crown in a constitutional monarchy, is supposed to act on the "advice" of the prime minister (an elected Member of Parliament, enjoying the confidence of the largest single bloc of the people's representatives). What harper did in 2008 was to exploit this attempt to graft democracy upon the carcass of monarchy, which has made the technical head-of-state compelled to accept the "advice" of the leader of elected representatives, in order to enjoy the anti-democratic power of the Crown to thwart a more real democracy. Some worry that the Governor-General established a dangerous precedent with this action, but I believe that since there are no rules at this level of action, there s also no rule that precedents must be respected. The Governor-General acted in one way in 2008 and can act another way in the future.

To add nausea to his cynical abuse of power, harper also stridently labelled the proposed Liberal-NDP coalition against him as a "coup." In defining standard parliamentary practices as illegitimate, harper demonstrated contempt for the system of government he claims the authority to lead. More than this, in calling a proposed coalition a "coup" and going so far as to condemn the coalition as dependent upon "socialists and separatists" harper added brazen, shameless hypocrisy to his list of crimes. harper himself had proposed a "coup" to the Governor-General, supported by "socialists and separatists" when he was trying to defeat a Liberal minority government.

Having extricated himself from a defeat brought on by his own arrogance and stupidity, harper proceeded to behave as if he had learned nothing from the experience. Strike that. He had learned that he could again stretch the accepted bounds of executive power should he find himself in political trouble again. harper accepted the demands of the saner parties for some sort of stimulus package to mitigate the major recession, and used it primarily as a means to reward constituencies that had elected harpercon MPs.

Then, the drip-drip-drip of the scandal of war crimes in Afghanistan began to wear away at harper's invulnerability. It was the Liberal Party of Canada that in 2001 first got us embroiled in the cauldron of violence in Afghanistan. It was the Liberal Party of Canada that demonstrated the deep historical ignorance (or wilful disregard for the likely human consequences) by handing over prisoners to the torturers and murderers in the US military until the 2004 Abu Ghraib scandal (and subsequent revelations of torture and death at the Bagram facility in Afghanistan) made that arrangement politically unpalatable. Inexplicably trusting the oafish Chief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier to craft a prisoner-transfer agreement with the barbaric Afghan government (comprised of former enforcers of the Soviet-client state in Afghanistan, and their former enemies, the Mujaheddin "warlords" who had torn the country apart following the Soviet's retreat to the extent that the insane, fanatical Taliban were welcomed by many for bringing peace and clamping down on corruption), the Liberals stupidly ratified a dangerously shoddy agreement that failed utterly to allow Canada to meet its obligations under international law to ensure that people we captured and turned over to the Afghan government were not abused. That was in 2005.

In January, 2006, the harpercons won power in a minority government. Craven harpercon apologists such as the Patrick "Asshole" Ross are lamely trying to argue that the harpercons inherited a Liberal-created mess (true) and that they then worked honestly (and manfully) to right the wrongs of their war criminal predecessors. In reality, the harpercons inherited a Liberal mess and proceeded to engage in even more enthusiastic disregard for international law and human rights than the Liberals.

In May, 2006 diplomat Richard Colvin arrived in Afghanistan. He found that Canada was rounding up and handing over to the Afghan NDS in far larger numbers than British and Dutch NATO allies, that we kept sloppy records, that we didn't monitor what happened to our prisoners, that we were dilatory in informing the ICRC about them, and by 2007 it was evident that we'd simply lost contact with 50 of the 200 prisoners we'd taken. Furthermore, the NDS (led by the former chief torturer for the Soviet regime) began to complain about the low-level of intelligence possessed by the people we'd handed over (a sign that they were most likely completely innocent farmers or other innocent bystanders).

In response to Colvin's warnings, scum like Patrick "Asshole" Ross bleat stupid nonsense about Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters being "trained" to make accusations of torture against their holders even where none had occurred. So, according to "Asshole" dimwit fuck-heads like stephen harper, Gordon O'Connor, Peter MacKay (ad nauseum) are completely justified in disregarding the warnings of someone like Richard Colvin. Of course, the FACT that the USA tortures, that the Afghan NDS is led by the Soviet's chief-torturer, that scores of informed groups were warning about human rights abuses in Afghanistan, it would only stand to reason that a serious government of non-shitheads would take Colvin's warnings and investigate them.

That would be a government that doesn't hang on every stupid word belched out by uber-idiot Rick Hillier, who was bitching and whining in 2007 how concerns about human rights and Canada upholding its obligations under international law were upsetting "the troops" who wanted Canadians to forget that the Afghan government is a corrupt, torturing monstrosity, and think happy thoughts about schools and candy and soccer-fields.

The harpercon government issued blanket denials of any and all allegations of abuses, lying to parliament that the Red Cross was keeping Ottawa up-to-date on the conditions of our prisoners, blocking the Military Police Complaints Commission from investigating abuse allegations, including reports from the CF themselves of Afghan police and military raping children, until a series of independent reports, including from the Globe & Mail, detailing widespread abuses FORCED the harpercons to announce in 2009 that they'd signed a new "local" agreement with the provincial government in Kandahar, which supposedly solved all of these problems although the harpercons contradict themselves repeatedly about what the agreement says.

As a result of the inability of the MPCC to get evidence and testimony due to harpercon obstruction, the issue is transferred to the Special Committee on Afghanistan of the House of Commons, which the dirty, gutless fuck harper proceeds to disregard. The innocent and blameless (according to "Asshole") harper then defies Parliament itself, refusing to turn evidence over to the Special Committee citing "national security."

Having initiated a new political-constitutional crisis, harper responded to his falling poll numbers by deciding to ask for yet another prorogation, in order to foil investigation into his possible complicity in war crimes.

Avoiding the demand of parliament for evidence on the executive's behaviour in wartime is NOT what the prime minister's right to prorogue is to be used for. More disgustingly, harper this time merely phoned in his demand to the Governor-General. The Governor-General, who is supposed to consult widely about what to do, what is in the best interests of the country, instead limply agreed to harper's unconventional demands.

Again, Patrick "Asshole" Ross spews the opinion that harper is under no obligation to walk into traffic at the oppositions' insistence. Actually, "Asshole" he is. The prime minister does not have the right to conduct a war with absolutely no oversight and no accountability. That's a big part of what this is all about. And the prime minister does not have the right to commit war crimes with impunity. The prime minister DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO COVER UP EVIDENCE OF WAR CRIMES. That's what this is about. Imbeciles like "Asshole" might believe that a government can use all the powers at its disposal to cover up war crimes, but they don't.

This prorogation is an attempt by stephen harper to get away with using Canadian taxpayers' money to engage in war crimes to prop-up a corrupt, dictatorial, incompetent, unelected puppet-government. That is not Canada. That is not the country we want.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Democracy in Haiti Will Be Destroyed (and other stories)

It's sickening, and I can't really bring myself to read much about it. But the massive amounts of aid going to Haiti can be divided into two groups: 1) Real aid, sent by people genuinely concerned about the human suffering they're witnessing and 2) Bullshit "aid" sent by imperialists as a means of finally getting the 80-90% of the Haitian population that supports Lavalas to snap, surrender, and offer themselves up to neo-liberalism. As the world's first black republic, Haiti set a terrifying example to white racist imperialists at the time of its birth and it continues to inspire similar revulsion amongst those racists' great-great-great-great grandchildren. Under the guise of "aid" there will be thousands of troops (to shoot Haitians "looting" food and water from stores that have been abandoned, to feed themselves and others who are starving) and "aid"organizations to dole-out crumbs to those who will betray democracy, with even bigger crumbs for those who will actively work to hunt down its last die-hard adherents.

None of this will ever end unless the masses in the developed countries manage to overthrow the economic-political-media establishment that pursues these inhuman policies.

Case-in-point: The loss of Massachusetts's senate seat (held by the Democratic Kennedy clan for 46 years) to some airhead guy named Brown who once had (at least for a photo-shoot in the past, maybe he still has 'em) some manly pecs. A lot of people are blaming this on the arrogance and cluelessness of the Democratic candidate, Coakley as well as on Obama's betrayal of the constituency that brought him to power. CounterPunch even has an article "Why I Voted Republican in Massachusetts" which I'm not linking to, as I don't even plan to read it.

Seems like a pretty shit-headed thing to do. As angry and betrayed as I was by the Rae ONDP, I simply refrained from voting. I didn't support the goddamned enemy. If I was convinced the political system was hopeless, I'd advocate (quietly, or, underground and not on the internet) fomenting revolution. I'm not there yet. That's why I'll be at the Anti-Prorogation rallies. If the cool kids stay away, that's fine with me too. They can have their little discussion circles about how it's all a waste of time, and how they have to educate the masses, by having their discussion circles and reading their favourite free internet sites.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

For the Credulous

Alison at Creekside handily deals with some lingering delusions.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Inability to Connect the Dots

That appears to be what makes our media so naturally able to filter uncomfortable facts from their day-to-day reporting.

Certainly there's some conscious thinking going on in the total absence of coverage on Haiti between 2004 and right before this year's earthquake tragedy.

But there's also this tendency we all have to believe that nothing is connected. This leads to some absurd inabilities to draw conclusions.

1. stephen harper was facing serious allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan and he prorogued parliament to shut-down the committee's inquiries. Our newsmedia can't connect the dots to see that suppressing evidence and blocking testimony and obstructing inquiries and defying parliament must mean that harper is guilty of war crimes. It's all reported on as if it's some partisan game rather than a battle for the soul of our country.

2. Canadian households are increasingly indebted and the retiring "Baby Boomers" are continuing to have to shell-out to assist their adult children. (It's true, you can ask the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada [CGA-Canada] or Investors Group -- though the CGA-Canada will tell you that it's because Canadian households need to hire accountants to manage their money and IG says it's because Canadians don't have the investor's savvy that IG can provide to help them invest better. Neither group seems too preoccupied by the reality of stagnant or falling wages for increasingly insecure employment as a culprit.) We're all living way beyond our means. At the same time, there were fervid hopes that Canadian consumers would continue to spend extravagently at Christmas time or we'd be back in a recessionary spiral.

There seems to be an inability to connect the dots and see that the economy depends upon continued spending by indebted households and is therefore completely unsustainable.

3. Canadian politicians are the bought-and-paid-for servants of a rapacious, inhuman capitalist elite. Participation in the system is pointless because it is irredeemably corrupt. We don't matter to these people. So, let's stand in front of a government building holding signs two-weeks from now in order to register our anger about some subject. And let's spread the word about what's really happening so that other people will stand with us holding signs and eventually our leaders will give in under the enormous pressure.

Look, either the system is hopeless and needs a complete transformation before anything can be accomplished or it isn't hopeless and it's simply a question of what strategies and tactics and what level of involvement.

But if the enemy are a bunch of murderous psychopaths (and they might be) simply petitioning them isn't going to do any good.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mandatory Minimum Sentences, War Crimes, and stephen harper

First of all, I've made a lot of hay about "the Rule of Law" with regards to stephen harper's war crimes in Afghanistan. I think I've also been careful to point out that I regard some crimes as worse than others, and that there's actually some leeway in law enforcement that's possible without smashing the rule of law to itty-bitty pieces.

For instance, smoking a joint, taking bribes and turning people over to be tortured, are all against the law.

The first crime in that sentence is a victimless crime and is the result of a stupid law. Taking bribes is serious, and tolerating it encourages systemic corruption. It degrades democracy. But the last action is despicable. It destroys lives. It is inexcusable. Any society that tolerates complicity in torture, that allows politicians to destroy people's lives, cannot lay claim to describe itself as moral, noble, or anything.

With lesser crimes I'm all for exercising discretion. Police use discretion all the time. They tell the teenager with the joint to throw it down the sewer and let them off with a warning. Judges have discretion. They can decide that a guilty person is genuinely remorseful, or that they do not constitute a threat to the general public, or that something was their first offence and that the individual is not likely to re-offend, and they can give lighter sentences to some people and not others.

stephen harper though, is an idiot. He believes that aping the failed so-called "law and order" policies of the USA is the way to deal with the Canadian crime wave that exists only within the heads of "conservative" idiots like himself. And so stephen harper wishes to take away judges' discretion and impose mandatory minimum sentences. (This will help congest our prisons, which will make it easier to argue that private prisons are needed to handle the overflow. As well, harsher "law and order" policies will make it easier to bully the poor and other victims and critics of his government's policies.)

Obviously, stephen harper and his government are guilty of war crimes. Unlike minor drug offenders though, stephen harper has some ability to withhold evidence and perhaps escape justice. We were getting close to exposing harper's criminality which is why the gutless fuck-head prorogued parliament. This chicanery has likely only saved him temporarily. It seems certain that he will be exposed and then we as a society are going to have to figure out what to do with him. Carelessly arresting people and callously turning them over to a government infamous for abusing human rights isn't something we can pretend never happened.

In this instance, the law must prevail. And we must decide on the mandatory minimum sentence harper (and company) will face. And harper, if he has any intellectual consistency, must submit to this mandatory minimum. And that will be that.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

David Brooks Weighs in on Haiti

The NYT's David Brooks is not one of the towering intellects of our times. If you go to that link you'll find that Glenn Greenwald has assembled a cornucopia of David Brooks' errors, including such gems as:

EITHER SADDAM HUSSEIN will remain in power or he will be deposed. President Bush has suggested deposing him, but as the debate over that proposal has evolved, an interesting pattern has emerged. The people in the peace camp attack President Bush's plan, but they are unwilling to face the implications of theirown. Almost nobody in the peace camp will stand up and say that Saddam Hussein is not a fundamental problem for the world. Almost nobody in that camp is willing even to describe what the world will look like if the peace camp's advice is taken and Saddam is permitted to remain in power in Baghdad, working away on his biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons programs . . .

So now we stand at an epochal moment. The debate is over. The case has gone to the jury, and the jury is history. Events will soon reveal who was right, Bush or Chirac. . . . But there are two nations whose destinies hang in the balance. The first, of course, is Iraq. Will Iraqis enjoy freedom, more of the same tyranny, or a new kind of tyranny? The second is the United States. If the effort to oust Saddam fails, we will be back in the 1970s. We will live in a nation crippled by self-doubt. If we succeed, we will be a nation infused with confidence. We will have done a great thing for the world, and other great things will await

I imagine that Brooks makes at least a six-figure income, writing columns for the NYT (and with his television appearances he's no doubt a millionaire) and it must be a pretty sweet gig. Writing any fool thing that pops into your stupid head and never having to explain yourself when you turn out to be catastrophically wrong, even nine times out of ten wrong.

A big part of Brooks's shtick is (apparently, I don't trouble myself to read him with any regularity) how he understands how "regular" or "ordinary" US-Americans think. And he explains the common horse-sense of the ordinary god-fearin' Amuriken to the chattering classes and the upscale readers of the NYT. Brooks's understanding of the average US-American is, apparently, a figment of his imagination. He infamously chided the Harvard Law School graduate Barack Obama for his elitism and stated that Obama (unlike Brooks supposedly) would have difficulty relating with the regular folks at the salad-bar at an Applebee's Restaurant. It turned out to be the case that Brooks himself would have difficulty interacting with the people at the salad-bar at this middlebrow family restaurant chain because Applebee's doesn't have a salad-bar.

So, we see that Brooks is, therefore, both a complete idiot whether commenting on foreign or domestic issues. Once again though, this lazy-minded incompetent no doubt commands over a million dollars a year in payment for his ignorant ramblings.

How fitting it is, therefore, that this pompous piece of shit sees fit to lecture the people of Haiti, in their hour of great suffering, on the necessity for self-reliance and hard work!
As Lawrence E. Harrison explained in his book “The Central Liberal Truth,” Haiti, like most of the world’s poorest nations, suffers from a complex web of progress-resistant cultural influences. There is the influence of the voodoo religion, which spreads the message that life is capricious and planning futile. There are high levels of social mistrust. Responsibility is often not internalized. Child-rearing practices often involve neglect in the early years and harsh retribution when kids hit 9 or 10.
Interesting Mr. Brooks. Do please go on ...
We’re all supposed to politely respect each other’s cultures. But some cultures are more progress-resistant than others, and a horrible tragedy was just exacerbated by one of them.
Really? What should we do then?

Fourth, it’s time to promote locally led paternalism. In this country, we first tried to tackle poverty by throwing money at it, just as we did abroad. Then we tried microcommunity efforts, just as we did abroad. But the programs that really work involve intrusive paternalism.

These programs, like the Harlem Children’s Zone and the No Excuses schools, are led by people who figure they don’t understand all the factors that have contributed to poverty, but they don’t care. They are going to replace parts of the local culture with a highly demanding, highly intensive culture of achievement — involving everything from new child-rearing practices to stricter schools to better job performance.

It’s time to take that approach abroad, too. It’s time to find self-confident local leaders who will create No Excuses countercultures in places like Haiti, surrounding people — maybe just in a neighborhood or a school — with middle-class assumptions, an achievement ethos and tough, measurable demands.

This disgusting cretin hasn't the slightest idea about what he's talking about, as usual. Might it not be the case that flooding the agricultural economy of Haiti with massively subsidized US agricultural products might have been devastating to the Haitian people's economy and their self-reliance? Might it not be the case that Haiti's insanely corrupt ruling class would not have such an easy time of fleecing their country were it not for the fact that the USA, Canada and France and the United Nations do such efficient work of frustrating every attempt by the people of Haiti to overthrow this gang of thieves and murderers? How can we blame the people of Haiti for the mismanagement of their country when 98% of them haven't had the chance to manage it?

David Brooks, to repeat, is an incompetent dunderhead. He is paid an exorbitant amount of money to write about foreign and domestic affairs and he is consistently wrong about pretty much everything. This jack-ass doesn't have the right to lecture me about the value of hard work, let alone the entire nation of Haiti. David Brooks deserves to windex the video-screens of peep-show booths. Open up your mouth David, I need to take a piss.

I've written about Haiti several times on this blog. Not because I can claim to be any expert on the country, but because I'm so deeply ashamed at the enormity of our crimes against these people. I've tried to resist talking about Haiti and the tragedies resulting from the earthquake because I sincerely believe that the focus must be on trying and convicting stephen harper for war crimes, exposing him for his cowardice and gross abuse of power in proroguing parliament to escape the discovery of his criminal policies by the Special Committee on Afghanistan.

But the brazen self-satisfied hypocrisy of North America about our "generosity" towards Haiti and contemptible, racist, hypocritical garbage from scum such as David Brooks have compelled me to write about it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Canadian Newsmedia Rediscovers Haiti

I gotta say that it puts a bad taste in my mouth to see all these fucking newspaper headlines about the earthquake in Haiti and how "Canada is doing this" and "Canadians are doing that" for Haiti.

I've mentioned several times on this blog how curious it is that Canadian news media say Jack Shit about Haiti even though it is Canada's second-biggest foreign policy investment and our largest effort in the Western Hemisphere by far. (It isn't curious actually, we're just being a bunch of assholes and the place is a disaster.)

But here they all come with the self-congratulatory articles and editorials about Canada's generosity in responding to the earthquake. Bizarrely, my hometown newspaper, the Hamilton Spectator, printed an editorial from the London Independent detailing (accurately enough) how the already-terrible conditions in Haiti, and the government's gross incapabilities are the result of US-American meddling and support for corrupt puppet governments. What was the thinking behind publishing that viewpoint without mentioning our own country's involvement in one of those coups?

Fuck it. I'm so sick of the bullshit.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Is Tom Flanagan Simple?

Last night, on CBC's amusingly titled "Power Panel" Tom Flanagan tried to make himself out as something other than a "harper stooge" by trashing harper's inarguably ridiculous excuse for prorogation (to deal with the awesome task of winding down the response to the great recession) and wishing that harper would come clean about the real reason he did it.

There's no question in Flanagan's mind that harper prorogued in order to take the heat off from the parliamentary committee inquiry into detainee abuse in Afghanistan. Obstructing this investigation is a good thing, Flanagan argues, because foreign policy is constitutionally the executive branch's balliwick and you can't conduct foreign policy with interfering backbench and opposition MPs.

Really Tom? Are you that simple? So, in our system of government the prime minister can do anything he or she wants overseas and there's absolutely nothing we can do about it? (We can dismiss out of hand Flanagan's silly notion that parliament is trying to actually run the Afghan conflict. They're simply trying to keep an eye on what happened.) According to Flanagan, harper could order the Canadian Forces to launch a scorched earth policy anywhere that insurgents hit them. Slaughter every man, woman, or child in the area as a lesson to others who would side with (or even acquiesce to) the insurgency. And if parliament tried to find out what was going on (let alone stop it) Flanagan would support shutting it down.


Really Tom? harper couldn't impose a policy of "Kill All. Rape All. Loot All." Why not? You just said he's constitutionally empowered to conduct foreign policy with no legislative oversight.

Or were you just blabbering on at the mouth like a fucking moron?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I've just finished reading Antony Beevor's The Fall of Berlin 1945. There was one passage that struck me. Now, before I get to it, I want to assure everyone that I'm well aware of Godwin's silly law about internet discussions and the Nazis. I also want to assure everyone that I'm not going to push the parallels too far. The scene takes place on April 15th, 1945, as the people of Berlin (never a political stronghold for the Nazis) are becoming increasingly angry with the deprivations of war and the country's imminent defeat. The Russian Red Army has just occupied East Prussia and will be attacking Berlin within a week:

a sixteen-year-old Berliner called Dieter Borkovsky described what he witnessed in a crowded S-Bahn train from the Anhalter Bahnhof. 'There was terror on the faces of people. They were full of anger and despair. I had never heard such cursing before. Suddenly someone shouted above the noise, "Silence!" We saw a small dirty soldier with two Iron Crosses and the German Cross in Gold. On his sleeve he had a badge with four metal tanks, which meant that he had destroyed four tanks at close quarters. "I've got something to tell you," he shouted, and the cariage fell silent. "Even if you don't want to listen to me, stop whingeing. We have to win this war. We must not lose our courage. If others win the war, and if they do to us only a fraction of what we have done int he occupied territories, there won't be a single German left in a few weeks." It became so quiet in that carriage that one could have heard a pin drop.

Okay. Now, I'm not saying that we in Canada are in the same sort of danger as the people of Berlin in April, 1945 were. I'm not saying that Canada has been as barbaric in Afghanistan as Germany was in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

But what I thought of when I read that passage (after I thought about what might have been going through the minds of those Berliners in that seconds after the soldier had spoken) was that the processes that allowed something like that moment in the Fall of Berlin to happen are the same processes that afflict us today.

With all seriousness, the people who cheerlead this war are just as brain-dead stupid as the people who cheered all the way up to the end of 1944 for Hitler. With all seriousness, I believe that only a few minor adjustments would be necessary to allow Christie Blatchford or Rosie DiManno to write turgid love-letter columns about "our boys" in the Ukraine, fighting the Communist hordes in Stalingrad.

The "Blogging Tories" who constantly yammer about the insidious Muslim threat, attempting to gnaw away at Canada's vital organs from the inside, unless we WAKE UP and listen to the alert few (themselves) who advocate stripping these people of all their human rights and deporting them, are the same sort who saw the Jews as the enemy within.

The imbeciles who have responded to credible evidence that we're handing over innocent civilians to a prison system that is widely acknowledged to practice systematic torture by withholding evidence or screaming that they simply won't believe what you're telling them, are the same folks who buried their heads in the sand about what Germany was doing in the USSR.

The difference is that while the people who didn't want to know or didn't rise up to resist in Germany 1933-45 were living under a brutal dictatorship, while the people of Canada who act similarly are just assholes.

And the people who just tried to stay neutral. The people who did what they were told. The people who were then grumbling about how Hitler had brought them to this sorry state, and who were now sitting in silent terror as the consequences for their country's actions were about to become painfully real, they're just like the people in Canada today who ignore politics, who lamely blather "they're all crooks!" without a second's hesitation or reflection, who want to cheer for "Team Canada" as it puts plastic discs into nets. Those Canadians who can't be bothered to do anything but complain when things screw up and inconvenience them, they'll be the ones who will wake up, perhaps too late, after "Canadian" becomes a term of contempt and our country becomes known as one where we allow our government to be complicit in war crimes with impunity, and they'll ask "What happened?" as the soul of their country, our country, turns into some dark, ugly thing.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

So stephen harper is Above the Law is he?

In response to my stated desire to see stephen harper and all the relevant cabinet ministers in the harpercon government put behind bars for their complicity in war crimes, many, many, many people are convinced that it'll never happen.

Given the fact that ignorance is no defence against war crimes, and given the fact that the whole harpercon shtick has been to create the illusion that they didn't know what was going on, t'would appear that we have an open-and-shut-case that harper is guilty of war crimes. Richard Colvin's series of warnings, numerous newspaper articles, complaints from the International Committee of the Red Cross, and so forth, all of these things were enough evidence for any government genuinely concerned about human rights and its legal obligations under international law to begin serious investigation into what appears to be an appalling situation.

There really is nothing to do debate here.

The government says that it did nothing wrong but refuses to turn over the evidence that would supposedly exonerate them, going so far as to demonstrate contempt for parliament by ignoring its demand for said evidence, and then going further and proroguing parliament to shut-down the committee investigating these allegations.

There is nothing to debate here.

Any other accused party that refused to reveal evidence, all the while claiming that the evidence proves their innocence, would be laughed at and then held in contempt, and then convicted.

But supposedly in something as clear as this, our political system, our justice system, our collective values as a society are nothing in the face of the awesome power of that rotund, dead-eyed, oil-industry shill, stephen harper and the rest of his gang of idiots and closet-cases.

Let's shrug our shoulders, accept that in Canada, prime ministers can get away with war crimes (even if they have to shut down parliament to do so), and move on. Let's shrug our shoulders and agree that the majority of Canadians don't give a shit about war crimes. About EIGHT YEARS OF DEATH AND FAILURE AND WAR CRIMES IN AFGHANISTAN. About this clear expansion of executive power.

Let's agree that there's nothing that we can do. That the Canadian people are so selfish and apathetic that not even this will stir them.

Oh yes, and then let's agree to continue to petition these murderous psychopaths to care about the homeless and then environment, ... or else. [Or else nothing.] And let's agree to continue bitching and whining about the Canadian electorate on our echo-chamber blogs and discussion boards while wondering out loud when they'll ever change.

Some sorta related stuff: The dictators in Honduras have increased their rate of killings now that the powerful countries have contributed to the lie that the coup-sponsored election was legitimate and the crisis is moot.

Most of the countries in the Organization of American States have refused to accept this bullshit election and this bullshit government. Canada is an exception. Canada's government happily acquiesced to the coup and now recognizes the new government.

Because stephen harper is an amoral, psychopathic corporate shill who doesn't give a fuck about the people murdered by Latin American death squads.

And we could bring him down with these war crimes in Afghanistan. But we won't, because we can't, and ain't nothing gonna change that.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Prorogation and the Culture of Impunity

Note: The following is a response to Todd, who critiqued my last post from a Marxist perspective.


I've been in transit, seeing family members, and now, drinking heavily due to my numerous psychological problems. I have been wrestling with some of your comments on and off over the last few days though.

One of things you took issue with was my saying that our Governor-General, Michelle-Jean, has shit for brains. You then made some comments about seeing her in the same way that some saw Obama as the Messiah, but since I never succumbed to Obama's charms and I never saw the G-G as the person to save us all, I don't know where any of that is coming from. (You yourself described her as an empty-headed liberal, so, again, I don't know where the difficulty lies.)

Constitutionally speaking, the G-G is a political reality. Something that exists. It therefore behoves us to understand its functions and its powers. The G-G represents the powers of the Crown, which continues as head-of-state as governments come and go. It's also a relic of a less democratic era. But what are the details of its function today in the here and now?

I will submit that these powers are generally untested. It is only when a sociopathic wanna-be despot like our own insane, stupid stephen harper decide to push things to their limits that we have to decide. But it seems to me that the G-G was not intended, and is still not intended, to function as the puppet of a prime minister. The G-G is not constitutionally bound to do anything and everything the prime minister says. Is it the case that the G-G constitutes a guaranteed escape-hatch for a prime minister when they get in trouble? That's ludicrous.

The G-G was an idiot when she granted harper his escape from the confidence vote in 2008 and she is an idiot now for having granted him a second prorogation to allow him to escape from yet another catastrophe of his own making in 2009-10. The first prorogation could have been said to have been politically wise in that Western alienation and anti-separatist sentiment had been enflamed by the coalition crisis, but this second prorogation, simply to allow harper to escape responsibility for his war crimes, is completely inexcusable.

On to more substantial issues:
Is what Harper's done illegal? Obviously not.Is it unfair? Naturally, but bourgeois parliaments aren't well noted for meeting standards of fairness. They're loci for struggle, and that can get ugly (even between bourgeois factions). Harper's a right-wing bastard not a fool: he'll play hardball as long as he has to to get as much of his way as he can.

I'm afraid that I can't be so objective about things. I think that you can search my blog and my overall internet presence to see that I have few illusions about Canadian democracy and liberal-democratic capitalist democracy in general. But at the same time, Canada's system remains one of the world's more responsive ones. Human rights are generally well-respected in Canada. Furthermore, this is the system that we've got. This is the system that I, as an individual, have. And I am FUCKING OUTRAGED at what harper is doing to it.

Tell me something: When you see the video of Robert Dziekanski being murdered by those imbecilic cretins from the RCMP, do you launch into some cynical explication of the tenuous respect of bourgeois democracy for the rights of the individual or do you get FUCKING OUTRAGED?

Tell me something else: If, for all your contempt for Canada's bourgeois democracy and bourgeois liberties, would you see no difference between your status today and your status if elections were banned and you were arrested indefinitely and tortured for your Marxist writings tomorrow?

Or is it the case that we have certain constraints on executive power today that are in fact valuable? Isn't it the case that Richard Colvin's attempts to respect the rule of law, and parliament's attempt to hold the government accountable, are important things, and that we shouldn't regard their arrogant, dismissal with cynical detachment?

"Harper has repeatedly used prorogation to hide from the opposition"

Given his governments' status as a minority, what _else_ do you expect from him? See my remark above about fairness in any parliament.

I guess we shouldn't expect any better from the contemptible scum-bag, but that doesn't mean we have to acquiesce to it.

And then we get to some REAL meat:

"Prison? He may never go, but he has committed enough crimes."

I'd enjoy seeing this happen (not that it'd change much else)

Are you kidding? A prime minister brought down and imprisoned for war crimes? I've already written about the impact of such an outcome! Can you imagine what would happen the next time some imperialist US president asked a Canadian prime minister to join in some criminal foreign adventure giving some diplomatic cover to another initiative to stomp some other poor country into the ground?

All that prime minister would have to do would be to point at the example made of the harper government to say honestly; "Being a shameless, grovelling kiss-ass, I'd like to help, but there's a good chance I'll end up being responsible for war crimes and we can't get away with that here in Canada."

Furthermore, if Canadians manage to hold a sitting prime minister accountable for war crimes, do you not think that this would have an impact on the frustrated citizenry of the United States? Don't you think it would be internationally significant were we to put almost an entire government behind bars?
but what slamdunk proof do you have that he's committed them [war crimes]?
I've written about this as well. In this post I show how it has been the harper government's strategy to maintain a smokescreen of bad reporting, record-keeping, etc., to erect the argument of "plausible deniability" about their knowledge of what happened to the prisoners we took. I have also pointed out that in the Tokyo War Crimes Trials Japanese officers were hanged despite their claims that they didn't know what was going on within their departments because the Allied justices said that they SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. It was their RESPONSIBILITY to know what was going on. In other words, the harpercons have been too "clever" for their own good. Their disgustingly cynical attempt to show that they had no idea what happened to our prisoners is the case against them.

There is no way out of this for them. If they knew and covered it up, war crimes. If they were so lackadaisical and indifferent about their responsibilities, war crimes. End of story.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to hoist one of these corporate stooges on their own petard. And we owe it to the rare courage and honour of Richard Colvin, a man who (despite his obvious abilities) was foolish enough to believe in our system and to believe therefore in "the Mission" (tm.) in Afghanistan, but who, when confronted with the truth, believed it was his duty to protect Canada from complicity in war crimes. It would be the height of irresponsibility to throw this chance away!

What's happened to Bush II, Cheney, etc. after they stepped down? And they're even filthier than Harper: Harper just found himself in charge of (part of) an occupation; he never actually started a war (yet).

It is precisely the disgusting impunity that bush II and cheney enjoyed that we have the chance to avoid here in Canada!!! We have sworn testimony of evidence which should warrant war crimes charges. We have documentary evidence of possible war crimes. We had a parliamentary inquiry into the truth of this testimony and this evidence. And harper has nauseatingly prorogued parliament (with the assistance of our shit-for-brains Governor-General) to avoid the consequences of his actions.

We have seen the harpercons ignore the will of the majority of the people's representatives (and despite all your cynicism, that is what they are or what they should be, and it is in that capacity that harper has shown his contempt for them and therefore us) to turn over these documents, citing empty "national security" considerations while at the same time leaking less-redacted versions of those documents to friendly generals and journalist hacks like Christie Belchforth.

"Let's see what action is taken against him internationally for enabling torture."

Again: Bush II and Cheney.

See above. As well, we can point out to Canadians that the International Criminal Court (which, with other legal tools) has made things difficult for people like Kissinger, Pinochet and Rumsfeld, only conducts proceedings when it appears that the justice system of the war criminals' countries are not up to the task. A file has already been started at the ICC on this and it would be a major embarrassment to Canada if the ICC had to do the heavy-lifting because we as a people and as a society were too ignorant, apathetic, cynical or what-not to do it!

"Anger is good right now."

Fine. Let's have a good measure of intelligence with it instead of just operatic howling and Menshevik kvetching about how _unfair_ the PM is being.

I believe that I've provided that intelligence. This is not about harper not playing fair. This is about harper trying to get away with torture. This is about harper's repeated showing of contempt for our very system of government while at the exact same time, asking us to respect his authority and the authority of the law! This anger is at harper's spitting into the faces of the decent, intelligent people in this country while engaging in blatant militarism and illegality and fucking torture.

"We should be angry at being told (metaphorically speaking) fuck you and your democracy by the PM and his gutless ass kissing, self-serving MPs and Senators."

I don't know. I keep missing those remarks about (what spirit) bourgeois democracy (has) being ignored, drowned out as they are by the even more constant and long-lasting (over a century) "Fuck yous!" towards workers, homosexuals, women, internationalists, sovereignists, etc. that I've been hearing and reading about.

Yes, and so, when the chips are down and you've finally got a chance to put one of these fuckers away, what is your response? To blithely say that our whole system is corrupt so what can you do? Piss on that! I'm hearing from "pwogwessives" how my anger is off-putting and now I'm hearing from more radical Marxists how my anger is missplaced. When is the right time to strike? When is the right time to use the tools that the system has made available to strike a blow for justice? If not now, when???

I guess that'll do for now.