Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Liberal Win in Winnipeg North a Sad Day for Canada

I'm working on a bigger post about CSIS director Judd's shit-headed comments about Canada's "Alice in Wonderland" mentality about terrorism.

But for now, I'd just like to say that unless you were a fan of the explosion of homelessness, and the decline of our public health care system under Chretien and Martin, or the invasion of Afghanistan under Chretien, or the invasion of Iraq under bush II (which we would have joined if Ignatieff, Rae, Manley, or Martin, had had their way), or the civil-rights shredding and pro-Wall Street, pro-insurance industry corruption of the Obama administration, ... or the destruction of Haitian democracy that Paul Martin helped with now that I think of it, ... you'd have to find the election of another mewling, corporate stooge Liberal to what had been an NDP seat to be a bad day for Canada.

Liberals (and more so Liberal bloggers) are nice people. Just like US-American Democrats often are (Crooks and Liars, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert), but it's long past time to imagine that voting for either the Liberals or the Democrats represents anything other than having been successfully conned by the empty professions of having a social conscious.

And it goes without saying that the zombies who voted for Vaughan winner Julian Fantino are just as depressing an indictment of our political intelligence. The harpercons are miserable failures to anyone with half-a-brain. Fantino is a "law-and-order" candidate who the miserable, yammering Christie Belchforth condemned for his inability to provide law-and-order. But they vote for him anyway because they're "conservative" and he's the "Conservative" candidate.

I think Fantino's basically a simple-minded authoritarian. What lingers with me is the way that he loudly swore up and down that racism wasn't a problem on the Toronto Police Service, even in the face of studies that said it was. Then, when he turned to black Toronto cops and asked their opinion and they said racism was rife in it, he was genuinely dumbfounded. He finally realized he was wrong and recognized there was a problem. And then he did absolutely nothing about it.

And, so, I toss this hand-grenade into the Progressive Bloggers' link feed ...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Canada Hands Minors to be Tortured, but it's WikiLeaks that has Blood on its Hands???

Every single fucking time that WikiLeaks provides some transparency, some unfiltered look at the reality of the criminal wars launched by the bush II regime (and perpetuated by the nauseating Obama administration) some White House fuck-face or other scum-bag politician struts up to a microphone and announces that "WikiLeaks might have blood on its hands" to the deluded stenographers of the Washington Press Corps. (We know they're deluded because not a single, solitary one of them bursts out laughing at the effrontery of it all.)
Congressmen on both sides of the aisle are condemning the massive leak of secret U.S. documents via the website Wikileaks as a reckless act that endangers American lives.
Can we just stop with the god-awful whining for a while guys? Can you just quit it with the narcissistic navel-gazing and the disgusting self-pity for just one goddamned fucking day? You're the most powerful country and earth, and you CHOSE to support Zionist imperialism, okay? You CHOSE to enforce sanctions that killed one million Iraqis (500,000 of them children under six) through your brutal sanctions. You CHOSE to arm and train the mujaheddin to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. You CHOSE to put your troops in Saudi Arabia to back-up that autocratic, fundamentalist, corrupt dictatorship. You CHOSE to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. You CHOSE to torture people.

YOU have got the blood on your hands! It's dripping all over the place and making a goddamned mess!

Stop it with the fucking whining and the gigantic hypocrisy for a change!

And here in Canada, we learn that "the troops" have been turning minors under the age of 18 (I don't know how old they all were and I hesitate to call 16 and 17-year-olds "children") over to the NDS which tortures prisoners as a matter of course (and in the case of adolescent and teenage boys, rapes them).

There's no sane way to try to argue your way out of this one. Not that the paid hacks and the unpaid stooges of the harpercons aren't going to give it an insane try. If you go to that CBC link you'll see arguments along the lines of "It's the NDS that tortures people! All we're doing is giving them people!" "Uh, all you lefties? Did you forget that those teenagers are TALIBAN???" [Sanity break: A lot of people in the insurgency aren't Taliban. They're people who've been robbed and abused by the Karzai puppet government.]

We hand minors over to torturers. We have hunter-killer teams roaming the countryside killing civilians and keeping body-parts for trophies. We have Christian fundamentalist mercenaries acting with no oversight whatsoever.

Listen, if WikiLeaks' actions are to be condemned because they MIGHT have blood on their hands, what are we supposed to make of the USA and the Canadian government whose hands are CAKED with blood?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Surveillance Society

Alison at Creekside sent me this link in my comments section a couple of days ago. All I could say was "holy shit."

Yes, the RCMP public relations guy is a joke. The RCMP has been disgracing itself for years, because it has been tolerating steroid-damaged apes like that Desmond Sandboe, and those four, cowardly, lazy, lying fucks who murdered Robert Dziekanski, for far too long.

Watch that video again. Notice it's been edited. That savage beating went on for forty seconds. Count that out or watch the second-hand of an old analog clock. You can see the skip in the video where they shortened it for the newscast. Absolutely appalling.

But it's interesting (to put it mildly) the way these cops are beating on their victims in front of their own fucking cameras. The surveillance society is monitoring us, but in its own technical-neutral way, it also appears to be monitoring the oppressors. And it doesn't appear that the oppressors' enforcers have entirely processed this reality. (Too many ugly chemicals flowing through their brains alongside their 24-7 masturbation fantasies perhaps.) What are they thinking when they lunge unprovoked at prisoners and wail on them for almost a minute right in front of a camera? What were those Ottawa pigs thinking when they violated Stacy Bonds' Charter rights on fucking video and then entered it as evidence for their assault charges against her?

Eventually, the "embarrassment" that these incidents have caused will train these goons to be more circumspect. It is imperative that we break them of their power before they have a chance to grow enough brains to transfer their beatings to unlit, unmonitored corners of their dungeons. Because a couple of years after that, the Canadian public will go back to giving them the benefit of the doubt, except for those episodes like Rodney King, Robert Dziekanski, or Jama Said Jama, where the goons perform their thuggery in public and are caught by civilians.


I'm personally mortified to have realized that I forgot one of the main reasons why those pigs have been beating prisoners in front of their own cameras. They're bathed in the soothing bubbles of absolute impunity for their law-breaking for so long that they probably don't even worry that there'll be any consequences for their documented criminality. So far, they've been proven right.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Haiti, Cholera, and Canada

What's the connection? Well, just like Canada along with the rest of NATO, wasn't able to meet the relatively modest demands of the Afghan people for a decent government, because our elites simply don't care about these people but only want to plunder them, so too, is our second-biggest international investment a titanic failure, because our elites despise the people of Haiti as well.

Haiti is our second-biggest foreign policy investment and our largest in the Western Hemisphere. We've been interfering in Haiti since 2004 when Paul Martin joined bush II and some French asshole in implementing the overthrow planned at the "Ottawa Initiative" for Haiti sometime previously. Aristide was a thief and a bully who ran his country into the ground. Under the new imperialist rationale "The Responsibility to Protect" Canada was morally obliged to overthrow Aristide and help install a gang of raping, murdering kleptocrats, who could slice their fellow Haitians with machetes while the UN (MINUSTAH) looked on indifferently.

Thanks to the benevolence of the Western powers, poor Haitians were eventually reduced to eating dirt. Then, when the 2008 earthquake hit, it turned out that the Haitian government was so incompetent that it couldn't provide any sort of disaster response. Western governments pledged billions in reconstruction aid, of which, they probably seriously considered giving half, most of which would go to home-country NGO's to make out like bandits while enjoying a private beach in Haiti. Tens of thousands of people have been living in tents for two years, still starving, with Haitian women at constant risk of rape in the lawlessness and hopelessness. And now, a cholera epidemic.

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti -- The death toll has risen to at least 1,344 in the cholera outbreak in Haiti that has sickened nearly 57,000 people, the Haitian government said Monday.

The announcement came as international health officials predicted that the scale of Haiti's cholera epidemic will exceed initial estimates of 200,000 over the coming months.

"Having seen how the bacteria is behaving in this environment with these people, having seen just how poor and how hungry the people are, we know we have to revise our numbers up," Nyka Alexander, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization, said in a phone call with CNN.

This isn't an unfortunate accident. This is the direct result of Canadian (and other imperialist nations') indifference and depravity.

A good article about activists giving Paul Martin a hard time.

A good article about the Afghan insurgency. I point this out:

He highlighted another major difference with the Taliban of two years ago. Then, the foot soldiers had all been trained in the madrasas. Now they were less ideological.

"It's a mistake to call all of the fighters Taliban. The Taliban are madrasa students and I am a mullah, but most of my fighters are peasants and farmers and students who come from the government schools.

"In winter we send them to Pakistan to get some religious training, but they are not Taliban," Halimi said.

Indeed. I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't like those guys, Taliban or not. But for years now, people with their heads screwed on right have been trying to get it across that a lot of the insurgency isn't "Taliban." It's peasants who have been robbed, perhaps into destitution, by the Karzai government. Or people who have been abused by Karzai or NATO. Or people who have lost loved ones to our cowardly air-strikes. Any number of rotten policies has caused millions of people to rise up to expel us. Because the men behind this travesty simply don't care about people, Haitian, Afghan, or any of us really. Bye.

Oh yeah. Another bullshit election imposed by us.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Will the Stacy Bonds case change anything?

Remember those heady days when the unelected bush II regime's massive incompetence and racist indifference to the sufferings caused by Hurricane Katrina made some people think that he was finished?

Remember when stephen harper's contemptuous treatment of Parliament was so glaring that even Andrew Coyne couldn't stomach it and we all thought he was on the way out?

Remember when the world-wide financial crisis and subsequent recession made us hope that people everywhere would stop believing in inhuman capitalism and that the utterly discredited neo-liberals would be forcibly removed from their positions of power?

I well remember personally thinking that the police failure at the G20 Toronto to prevent the vandalism they were paid over one-billion dollars to prevent and their later brutality against innocent people the next day would have Canadians up in arms.

Alas, alack. If I can afford a house, and the heating and food required to enjoy it, and you throw in the internet and the odd big-budget spectacular at the cineplex, you can do whatever else you goddamned please. That appears to be the attitude of most of us. Shit, just by sitting at my computer typing critical rants and attending the odd demonstration or lefty film-festival, I'm being way more "active" than the average Canadian.

But could the video evidence of Stacy Bonds' mistreatment at the hands of the pigs ... [my apologies to actual pigs, who, besides being delicious are generally clean and social creatures not given to the stupid posturing and cowardly bullying of those police officers on the Ottawa Police FORCE] ... lead, maybe to enough outrage, maybe even civic outrage in Ottawa itself, to at least get those pigs fired?* Or to force the Ottawa Police FORCE to have to take millions of dollars that would have gone to wages and pay it to Bonds? Or to get those individual pigs to have to bankrupt themselves to pay her damages?

Will the video evidence of a small, defenceless woman (and I'm not trying to be sexist here, I'm trying to point out how what happened violates all the "traditional values" of our society) by a gang of lazy-assed, cowardly thugs,turn enough Canadians' stomachs to make them realize that things are out of control? Ms. Bonds did not do anything. Even the pigs' version of the story (public intoxication and an open beer bottle) do not justify their consistently rough, disrespectful treatment of her.

And, given the long traditions of blatant lying by police: "The kid with the broken back was yelling 'kill cops' and stuff like that so I had to TASER him NINETEEN TIMES," or "he was behind me and strangling me so I had to put my gun in my 6-foot long arm and shoot him in the back of the head," I'm quite certain that their story about Bonds is bullshit. Actually, I'm sure it was bullshit. If Bonds had been walking down the street drunk with an open beer bottle, do you think she would have been stopped, asked to give her name, had it run through the police computer and then been sent on her way? Do you think if a black person is stopped by the police walking down the street with an open beer bottle, and they're stopped, checked, and then let go, that they'd turn around and ask the cops why they were stopped in the first place??? Do you think that if a black person walking around intoxicated with an open beer bottle was stopped by two cops who the odds are, are racist pigs, and was allowed to go free, that they'd not just count their blessings and head quickly home? My guess is that Bonds had had a couple of drinks at a friend's house, not enough to be drunk, but enough to give her the confidence to ask, when pulled aside for "walking while black" why they harassed her. And we just can't have that, can we? Young black women can't get it into their heads that when they're constantly stopped and bothered by the pigs that they can talk back and challenge this oppression.

One newspaper article about this story said that her treatment was similar to the way the racist police are thought to have treated blacks in Mississippi in the 1950s. (It's probably how they're treated across the USA even today!) This is supposed to be a different, better place. This is supposed to be Canada. As a Canadian, you're supposed to be free to walk around without fear. You're supposed to feel served and protected by your police service, NOT abused and intimidated by your police FORCE. That's what being a citizen with rights is supposed to be all about. Think about it! It's the difference between being able to disagree with your boss, or the government, without having to worry about some mercenary thugs coming over to the house and beating you and humiliating you in front of your family. Ask these guys. One of those guys Muayyed Nurredin, says that when he was being tortured in Syria and being asked questions that came from Canada, he was devastated. He had come to Canada as a refugee from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, fearing oppression and torture there. When he became a Canadian citizen, he believed that he was free from fear. He had rights. CSIS made him realize that the rights of a Canadian citizen are regarded as lower than shit in the eyes of our "security" elites.

Could it be possible that in the case of Stacy Bonds, that the naked, blatant, cowardly bullying of these thugs (who acted like this was a TYPICAL day on the job) might finally bring a halt to the rise of state brutality, the increasing culture of impunity that allows our police forces to kill, our governments to lie, to break treaties, to torture abroad and at home, to kill us through deregulation, to spit on our (their) own political system?

Ontario Attorney General, Chris Bentley, should be among those shown the door, if we're going to finally have accountability somewhere. This asshole, seeing the same video evidence as we have, says that the Crown prosecutor was right to press assault charges against Ms. Bonds. He's obviously unfit for his role as the defender of the rule of law in Ontario. If a room full of black cops treated him that way, and if he was stripped in front of snickering black women, and then left half-naked in his own urine, do you think he'd agree that he should be charged with assault for having at one moment tried physically to assert his own rights and dignity as a human being in the face of naked abuse of authority? As Dr. Dawg also says, Bentley has presided over the blatant abuse of power against Alex Hundert, so this sickening disregard for the rights of Canadian citizens is all part of an authoritarian pattern for him.

Well, fuck you Chris Bentley! I truly hope that it ends here. That you are forced to resign. And, eventually, I hope that the system that you serve, the one where First Nations' rights are shat upon in the service of corporate polluters, where healthcare for the majority is dismantled so that the rich can get richer, the middle-class can be bankrupted, and the poor can die, where the rights of citizens are to be trampled in order that austerity and corruption can prevail unimpeded, comes crashing down.

*I'm using the old 1960s insult "pigs" in this case for a reason. And I'm tarring with a broad brush, even though my own encounters with the police have been 95% courteous and professional, because too many "good" or "okay" cops allow this sort of shit to continue. It's not like the police don't generalize (with disastrous results) about protesters or members of racialized minorities based on encounters with a few "bad apples." If decent cops don't want to get called "pigs" then they can damned well start doing something about the culture of arrogance and corruption and brutality that's gone unopposed for so long.

Sister in Spirit

It's not a new story, and this post has no new information. It's just been bugging me since I read about how the harpercon government is removing funding from this worthy initiative (to give it to the RCMP to set-up their own missing persons database that will not even have a focus on Aboriginal women).

The cruelty of it all. The petty, bullying, sleaziness of it all. The needless malice.

Or is it the case that there's a genuine practical goal that the harpercons hope to achieve? I mean, after all, the harpercons want the "Indian problem" (which is to say, the First Nations themselves) to go away. If Aboriginal women are getting "disappeared" that's all to the good as far as a harpercon piece of filth sees it. The "Sisters in Spirit" database brings all sorts of uncomfortable attention to this policy of malign neglect.

Maybe Tom Flanagan can explain why we need to fold this database dedicated to this very vulnerable demographic into a general database controlled by the same institution (the RCMP) that has done such a piss-poor job on this file (too busy killing people at airports and police-stations I guess), and to have that institution waste three years reinventing the wheel.

I doubt he could though. The unsavoury nature of this funding cut is undeniable. Just one more example of Canada's downward moral trajectory. Under the Liberals, First Nations peoples suffered and died in numerous ways, but somewhere, somehow, some activists got funding to build this database. Under the harpercons, counting the missing and the dead is impermissable, because it's inconvenient.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Patrick Ross's reply to the Judge's ruling

According to Balbulican in Dr. Dawg's comments:

It’s not quite accurate to say that Patrick failed to respond to the Notice of Libel. I have obtained partial transcript:

…LOL so much for so called legal ‘expertise’. What you fail to realize, your so called “honour” is that Day has failed utterly to prove any of the many allegations he has made against me and is thus just as guilty as you foolishly assert I am. Now that I have completely demolished your supposed ‘finding’ I might accept an apology which I know of course will not be forthcoming because you probably don’t even realize how badly you’ve just been beaten…


I'm tired so I thought i'd make that my blog post for today. Because I liked it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Isn't It Ironic?

Of course I have to comment on the news that Patrick "Asshole" Ross has joined Ezra Levant among the ranks of the Shit-Heads With Big Mouths That Get Them Successfully Sued. I notice that I'm on a list at "Asshole's" stupid blog of bloggers who ban people who disagree with them. Typical lying from Ross. In the first hyperlink above you can read that the reason "Asshole" is banned here is because he continuously mischaracterized my statements about the relative complicity of the Liberals and the harpercons on Canadian complicity in torture in Afghanistan.

But on to more important things. It's ironic that the fine, lefty blogger Crystal Ocean titles a post "Sometimes they get it right" and then proceeds to get everything wrong.

She begins by saying that harpercon hack Jim Flaherty has finally gotten something right by refusing to extend stimulus spending for provincial projects that got started late.
  • First of all, Flaherty is incapable of getting ANYTHING right. If you find yourself thinking that maybe he has, you're probably confused about something.
  • The stimulus program was a dreadful, idiotic mess of a thing with all sorts of needless demands upon the provinces and municipalities that would have been incredibly damaging to Canada had our economy turned out to be as weak as the USA's, but we still benefited from the economic activity it produced (which had to be dragged out by the opposition parties in any case).

Next she mentions that polling firms correctly identify the majority of Canadians' opinion that there should have been no stimulus spending, no supports for General Motors, and no support for the banking industry.

This is all wrong. Obviously we should try to refrain from deficit spending when feasible, and one way to do that is to tax the enormous reservoirs of untapped wealth that have built up over the past decade or so and which is pretty much socially unproductive. But our economy was in danger, massive danger, and fiscal restraint in such circumstances has been clearly understood for half-a-century as being the path to economic suicide. What is going on here is that a steady barrage of anti-government propaganda has convinced Canadians that deficits are inherently evil and that cliches like "spending like drunken sailors" and "burdens on the backs of our grandchildren" are taken as unquestionable wisdom.

Case in point:
The majority of Canadians would have preferred that people who consumed and spent like there was no tomorrow, all the while aware of circumstances strongly suggesting they should make changes, not be rewarded for their gluttony and intentional denial through emergency government programs.

The majority of Canadians think that no person, bank, corporation or industry will correct his/her/its behaviour toward survival if Big Daddy is always there for his/her/its rescue.

A couple of responses:
  • The reason that the Canadian economy is not gasping for breath like the US-American economy is is most likely due to the fact that Canadian progressives and unions were more successful at resisting the slashing of the working conditions and social programs which sustain modest incomes than was the US-American working class. And all this resistance to austerity has really done is to allow Canadian households to continue to run-up our own housing bubble (based on increasing indebtedness), and to stave off the reality that our economy has no real life anymore.
  • And Canadian households have not been increasing their indebtedness out of any generalized craze to binge and party like its 2099. We've been doing so to MAINTAIN our living standards in the absence of rising wages and in the reality of increasing job insecurity. And if we hadn't have been doing that, the neoliberal "miracle" [mirage] would have evaporated years earlier and all of us, from me, to Patrick Ross, to Crystal Ocean, would be in far more dire straits (although Ross's current woes are totally of his own making!).

In short, we must renounce this fetish for austerity. Until we can come up with the no-growth economy, we should pay attention to the fable of the bees.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yawn! Peter Mansbridge asks "Afghanistan: Was it worth it?"

A tired, lame-ass, deluded conversation ensues. (With apologies to Steven Staples of ceasefire.ca who tried to tone-down the rah-rah nonsense.)

Post-NATO Afghanistan Chaos

In another discussion I felt compelled to say that after NATO leaves, the Karzai government will likely collapse. I think the significance of that should be my post for the day.

When NATO leaves the whole rotten edifice they constructed will come crashing down.

And it will be NATO's fault. NOT the peace movement's. Because having committed us to this path, NATO had an obligation to do something good and lasting. Of course they didn't because they had no intention of doing anything but slap together a puppet state to grant the USA air bases to project air power in Central Asia.

It will be THEIR failure.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mining Industry P.R. Hacks

Before John Mackay's private members' bill C-300 to deprive federal funding to Canadian mining companies found guilty of criminal behaviour abroad went down to its preordained defeat at the hands of our corporate controlled political system, the intertubes were filled with nauseating puss-balls, employed by sleazy public relations firms employed by the mining industry to fill up the public debate with idiotic arguments against the legislation and criticism of Canadian mining companies in general.

I just feel like pausing here to mention one of the most frequent strategies to argue against criticizing Canadian mining corporations: "You use the stuff they mine EVERY DAY!"

Really? That's brilliant! They might poison entire regions, hire mercenaries to kill poor people trying to save their farms, violate the laws of the countries they operate in, but I actually use the stuff they mine?

I've changed my thinking about mining companies' criminality now! I'm also changing my mind about the Hell's Angels, the mafia, and all the other groups who bring money and jobs to my local community.

No I'm not.

Where do all these people come from?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Taxing the Wealthy Part II

Just a further thought from my earlier post today: If, in this idiotic "war on terror" we have been asked to sacrifice so many rights and freedoms, ... indeed, if so many Canadians believe that protesters willingly renounced their rights and freedoms by showing up the day after the vandalism at the G20, ... indeed, if people who chose to walk around downtown Toronto the day after the vandalism are thought by some dim-witted scum-bags to have renounced their rights to human rights and human dignity, ... then where the fuck do the wealthy get off believing that their money is off-limits? Why are their earnings so much more precious and sacred than the rights of their fellow human beings?

Tax unproductive wealth for the benefit of the country.

Tax Corporations, Tax Wealth, Tax the Highest Income Earners, Tax Income From Investments

Here's something your beleaguered working-class blue n' white collar stiffs who voted for Rob Ford might understand. Some people have been making out like bandits for the past couple of decades, and they haven't exactly been doing anything productive for society to earn their keep.

Stephen Gordon, who i used to listen to on rabble-babble-dot-ca, and enmasse.ca, until the economic crisis which reared its head in summer 2008 totally discredited mainstream neoliberalism, continuously hawks the notion that taxing corporations is counterproductive, and that it makes more sense to tax consumption and let corporations invest their wealth in productivity-increasing avenues which create jobs. He refers to Sweden, which has low taxes on corporations, combined with consumption taxes, as well as highly progressive social service provision.

But Swedish firms are also under the obligation of negotiating with powerful unions which have significant oversight over corporate decision-making. In North America, a corporation is basically a cash-cow for overpaid managers and what's left goes to passive shareholders. Given that it's easier to legislate taxes than it is to command governance reform of private institutions, we should just tax the useless mother-fuckers and recover billions of dollars that went nowhere but into exotic, non-productive financial products and conspicuous consumption.

We should tax wealth because wealth inequality in this country is far more gigantic than income inequality and it is creating a class of plutocrats exceedingly dangerous to our feeble democracy. We should advertise loud-and-clear, and unapologetically, that we are going to break up the large family fortunes and make the heirs of billionaires have to work for themselves. All wealth over 1 million dollars will be taxed at increasingly steep rates.

We should tax the highest income earners because, as with everything else, they don't really do anything for the amount of money they get to take home. Overpriced corporate executives, corporate lawyers, entertainment figures, politicians, ... they're none of them so deserving of the vast amounts of money that gets shovelled their way. When we think of the productive corporate executives of the 1945-73 "golden age" of Western capitalism, and comparatively modest their incomes were and how much more socially productive they were, it beggars belief to imagine that these self-serving high-earners today believe they truly deserve such compensation as a result of the "talent" they bring to whatever it is they think they're doing.

Finally, tax investment income at the same level as income from work. Income from labour is far more dearly bought and is taxed, unfairly, at significantly higher levels. Taxing investment income should be fine-tuned to reward productive investments, but for the most part, "investing" in the Anglo-American countries has meant nothing more than the equivalent of buying and trading interest or dividend-earning trading cards. Instead of a bunch of nerds at a downtown convention centre, we have a bunch of expensively-suited pricks at brokerage firms of sitting in front of computer screens.

We should tax all this wasted wealth and obtain the billions of dollars needed for public investment in healthcare, education, green energy, infrastructure, public daycare, environmental reconstruction, First Nations compensation, etc., etc., .... because the private sector isn't in the business of creating jobs and social wealth anymore. They're in the business of down-sizing and profit-taking. The human world will slide into misery and crisis and the eco-system is spiralling into the abyss. We have no further time for neoliberal fantasies.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Catholics n' Canadians [Haiti and Afghanistan]

The thing about accountability is that you know who is responsible. When you know who is responsible, you have to hold them accountable. It's pretty circular thinking I'll admit, but I can't think of any other way to say it this morning.

The Pope is the big Roman Catholic cheese. He's da man. He's in charge. He's responsible. He has to be held accountable.

And over the past few years there's been an avalanche of evidence that the Catholic Church has become a refuge for pedophiles. Now, I don't dig pedophiles. I'm a pretty sympathetic guy in most respects, and even with child molesters, I'm prepared to grant some of them that they might have had no control over their impulses. It's not like we all wake up in the morning and make a "lifestyle choice" as to whether we're hetero, or gay, or into children or small animals, (or the Eiffel Tower, or the Berlin Wall, or cars, or other inanimate objects). Furthermore, I've read tragic stories about child molesters who had been raped repeatedly in their own childhoods and whose sexuality had been distorted outside of all their control.

But at the end of the day, destroying the mind of a helpless young child for whatever reason is wrong. And the Catholic Church appears to be rank with men who do this and it appears that the Pope himself actively covered-up for such abuses while an Archbishop in Germany, as a cardinal, and now as the Pope.

And here's the thing: While the Catholic Church is obviously an intellectual dictatorship, permitting no democratic challenge to its delusional pronouncements, it isn't a physical dictatorship. Ordinary Catholics, who might receive some comfort from remaining with the institution, have to reconcile the pleasure obtained from listening to the pedestrian spirituality, the vestiges of ancient ceremonies, and the traditions of exalted culture, of the Roman Catholic Church, with the fact that the whole senior management are quite clearly conspirators in a child-molesting ring, and they (ordinary Catholics) ought to do something about that.

Nobody is forcing Catholics to go to church every Sunday (aside from the Church's own threats of eternal damnation) or to contribute financially to it. If Catholics don't feel like going through a weekly ritual of extreme hypocrisy and stupidity, they have it within them to force accountability and justice on those who make their worship so meaningless.

But it appears that they don't. They keep quiet about it. They continue to go through the motions. They continue to pretend to take moral instruction from an top-down institution run by a man who advocates covering-up child sexual abuse.

Perhaps the Catholic Church's tradition of authoritarianism on the part of its hierarchy, and passivity on the part of its "flock" are just too strong for the right thing to be done. But that brings me to Canada and Canadians. Lots of Canadians like to take pride in their country. Witness the empty-headed spectacle of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Witness the pride Canadians used to take in the fact that US-Americans sewed Canadian flag decals on their backpacks while travelling so as to avoid potential abuse for being "ugly Americans." We point with pride to the distant memory of Canada as a "peace-keeping nation" with no enemies. We pat ourselves on the back for our traditions of democracy and human rights.

But when Canadians are tortured in Syria and CSIS sends the torturers questions to ask the tortured, when the RCMP kills a man, lies about it, and gets away with it, when innocent protesters are intimidated and abused, when it becomes obvious that we're complicit in torture in Afghanistan, when our mining firms successfully resist any accountability for their criminal practices overseas, and when the unelected Senate crushes House of Commons legislation that contributes to attempts to save the planet itself, we, as people, do nothing. We continue to take pride in "Team Canada" hockey achievements, patronize people from other lands who do not enjoy the same rights we neglect, we continue to go through the motions and pretend that it'll all work out in the end (perhaps due to the uncertain efforts of unknown individuals, somewhere, sometime).

I put Haiti and Afghanistan in the title because these two examples serve as mega-indictments of Canadian evil. There's just no other way to describe it. As bad as they were, the Taliban somehow obtained enough acquiescence from the population of Afghanistan to rule the country, and contain violence in most of it, from 1996 to 2001. Canadian leaders (all NATO leaders in fact) pretend to scratch their heads in puzzlement, wondering why our puppet-government cannot do the same thing. Could it not be that the Karzai regime is vastly more corrupt than was the Taliban? Could it not be that the warlord governors often behave as conquerors of their subject peoples, rather than administrators of government services? Could it not be that the new order in Afghanistan has reintroduced child prostitution? Could it not be the case that underpaid Afghan security personnel rape and plunder their subject peoples?

Of course it's all those things. NATO leaders never gave, do not give, a single, solitary shit about the people of Afghanistan. The government of Afghanistan serves to allow the USA access to air-bases from which to project power in Central Asia. All the rest of the stuff about democracy and women's rights is just propaganda to dupe the gullible.

And Haiti? Cholera is sweeping the country as sanitary conditions deteriorate, as billions of foreign aid (billions less than was promised in any case) continues to be held up by foreign sloth and foreign and domestic corruption and incompetence. Haiti, I'll remind you, was doing so terribly before the 2010 earthquake which devastated that country, that the poorest among them were eating dirt to fill their bellies, unable to afford the cost of basic foods. And it was in this deplorable state SIX YEARS after Canada (under the detestable scum-bag Paul Martin) aided the USA and France in toppling the democratically-elected president (due to his "violence" and "mismanagement" of Haiti) in a coup. Haiti became Canada's second-largest overseas investment and our largest in the Western Hemisphere. And the results, as can be plainly seen, are atrocious. That's because Canada is not run by democratic politicians, but by cynical con-men who rely on Canadian ignorance, delusion, and apathy, to maintain the charade of an electoral process and who really exist to serve corporate-imperialist power both at home and abroad.

Haiti suffers as Afghanistan suffers, because our leaders are evil, twisted men, and because we, collectively, are so oblivious or indifferent (or so incapable of promoting alternatives) that we allow it all to happen.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Short n' Sweet

From Straight Goods dot CA: We can't all export our way to prosperity.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Three More Years! Three More Years!

So, after over 10 years, the Afghan government still can't fight its own battles against its own people? This is an insurgency with limited support from Pakistan and (MAYBE) Iran, versus a government with billions of dollars and the backing of NATO.

One wonders how the Taliban was able to stabilize the country completely on its own. Perhaps the degree of corruption and brutality of the Karzai regime is far, far worse than the grim fanaticism of the Taliban in the eyes of the Pashtun?

And after all this training, we still don't know how many insurgents are showing up to get a new rifle and tips on how to fire it, and how many are thugs sent by the warlords to learn how to more efficiently plunder and rape.

It boggles the mind. A majority of Canadians has consistently opposed the mission in Afghanistan, but the harpercons will have us believe that their attacks on Statistics Canada were motivated by a few e-mail complaints?

Friday, November 12, 2010

What would make harper and Ignatieff change their minds?

So,the detestable, anti-Canadian sociopath and the elitist prick both think that its a good idea to waste our resources training insurgents and rapists for another three years in Afghanistan. This as the current supreme leader behind this whole travesty, Barack Obama, has decided that the whole thing is a quagmire that he's going to allow to drag-on for a couple more years while he dithers trying to find some marketable excuse to justify leaving.

Canadians are unenthusiastic about this, and I imagine that a majority, when pressed, would find the cavalier way that harper commits the Canadian Forces for a multi-year exercise in futility a tad disturbing as well. Obviously, some of us are absolutely disgusted with the idea of this abomination being dragged out for still more years of wasted treasure and blood.

But our elites don't give a shit about us. The flimsiest pretexts can be used to abuse any of us and they're aware that so long as the majority of Canadians are left alone, they'll acquiesce to anything. So marching in the thousands in the streets isn't going to convince harper and Ignatieff not to do this. Letters to the editor aren't going to stop them. What will? What is justified?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Diary of a Madman": bush II's memoirs & stephen harper

Nothing really. I just wonder if upon hearing about bush II's publicity tour for his bound collection of used pieces of toilet paper, whether harper sighs longingly for the day when he can casually admit to complicity in torture too.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Peter Kormos on the G-20

I haven't watched this whole thing. I just thought that I'd post it here to spread it around.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Stay in Afghanistan Past 2011? Don't Even Think About it stevie Boy ...

Via Politics Re-Spun:
Canada is considering NATO and allied requests to keep troops in Afghanistan past 2011 to conduct non-combat training missions, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Sunday.
Now, let's remember: Canada's participation in the Afghanistan occupation has seen us handing prisoners over to torturers. It's seen hundreds of Canadian soldiers killed and hundreds more grievously wounded and psychologically traumatized. It's had us spill treasure and blood to support an unpopular, corrupt, rapist government. It's damaged our democracy as harper has resorted to prorogation and provoked a constitutional crisis to withhold information from Parliament as to his conduct of the war.

On the fly, during an election campaign, harper (who had previously said that we'd stay until the vaguely defined moment when "the job was done") said that we'd be out by 2011, regardless of conditions in Afghanistan. Now, he's back-pedalling. Ah! But this is not a combat role for Canadian troops! They'll be pretty much out of harm's way training Afghan boys to do defend their country (to paraphrase LBJ).

Except here's the thing: This is completely unacceptable. For one thing, it's often rumoured that the Afghans who sign-up for military training are from the insurgency who take their pay and their weapons and their training and leave to go back to fighting the occupiers. So Canadians will be training the dreaded Taliban (or the insurgency against a corrupt, thieving, rapist government). Another thing, if they're not insurgents, then they're working for that same corrupt, thieving, rapist government. So we'd be training the warlords' men to be more effective plunderers and rapists of the people of Afghanistan.

The whole thing stinks to high heaven and it's time to just call it quits. Our country has been disgraced enough.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jim Flaherty's Deficits

Now, one thing the left has got to do is to understand economic reality and then to speak so as to demonstrate this understanding.

Case in point is the blanket condemnation of Jim Flaherty's deficits, which, coming as a result of a stimulus program that was forced onto him by the opposition parties, must sound hypocritical and incoherent to people.

If Flaherty's deficits were slammed because they're a result of useless tax-cuts to the wealthiest and to corporations (tax-cuts that deprive the government of revenue but do practically nothing for society once those revenues go into the private sector), that would be one thing. But it's just "deficits bad!" "a burden of debt for our grandchildren!" and etc.,

When an economy is in free-fall (as ours might have been and may soon be) a government has no choice but to spend massively to reverse things. Deficits will result. So too, if a government wants to build something massive and important, like some infrastructure project that will pay significant dividends later, then a deficit will probably be required.

If a left-wing government is going to do things for the Canadian people, obviously it should tax people who have more money than they know what to do with, but occasionally it will have to incur some deficits and we all need to understand that debt-to-GDP ratios of sixty percent are entirely manageable (indeed that's a far lower debt level than your average Canadian household).

Friday, November 5, 2010

US Election Reflection

I'm typing about the recent mid-term USA elections because I think that what happened there is relevant for what's happening to leftists everywhere, including here in Toronto where right-wing populist Rob Ford defeated cynical liberal opportunist George Smitherman.

Here's Cathie From Canada before the election with a list of the accomplishments of the Obama-led Democratic majority. The thing is, I've never heard of a lot of these bills, and that's probably because all the big stuff (pro-insurance industry health care reform, hideous assaults on human rights, escalation of the war in Afghanistan, abandoning pro-union legislation, sidelining Elizabeth Warren, failing to regulate Wall Street, failure to help US-Americans to stay in their homes, siding with BP against the Gulf Coast, extending "don't ask, don't tell,") has drowned out these piecemeal, minor actions.

The conclusions to draw from the right-wing "victory" is that it isn't really a victory for them at all. They won because the centre and most people left of it, stayed home, rather than become active participants in their own abuse. Furthermore, the extreme right-wing lost, and helped to split the vote to enable the Democrats to keep the Senate.

But the reality is that progressives won. I disagree with the Pollyanna mentality of that article (the author imagines that Obama will now be able to work with his more solidly progressive legislative colleagues to truly fight for ordinary US-Americans and blah, blah, blah) but I do think the facts at hand represent the main point: That progressive Democrats stayed strong, and Rahm Emmanuel's "Blue-Dogs" failed miserably.

The sad fact is that Obama appears to be taking this minor drubbing entirely the wrong way and intends to veer even further rightward to appease the Repug majority, and, more importantly, his Wall Street masters.

I'll have more to say as to why the genuine left needs a better narrative and needs to distance itself from the "Third Way" drivel that prevailed in the 1990s and lingers on today. We have to understand some simple truths that reinforce our policy strengths and which will resonate with voters so that they don't have merely the incoherent, contradictory bullshit that spews from the mouths of the likes of Rob Ford or Jim Flaherty. Because working-class voters want economic stability more than anything and the helluvit is that we can give them that and more if we only have faith in ourselves and ditch the propaganda of the hegemonic cheerleaders of torture, war, and financial chaos.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

That Lion is Crazy

I've actually got a big post to respond to the important reality of the bankruptcy of corporate liberalism and how we have to work hard to ensure that right-wing populism isn't going to always be the default option, ... but all of real life's obligations get in the way.

So, here's a post to prove that this blog isn't dead. A link to a YouTube video of an old "Gumby" cartoon: "Lion Drive."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Omar Khadr: Canada Has Lost Its Fucking Mind

I just don't recognize this country anymore. Really. Sure it's been ugly. Just ask any First Nations person. Ask the Japanese from the internment camps in World War II. Ask the unemployed young men beaten with clubs on their "On to Ottawa" trek. Ask all the victims of inequality, sexism and racism.

But there used to be a facade. Since 1900, the Liberals took pains to paint themselves as forward-thinking, pragmatic crafters of social justice and Canadian conservatism pointed to its "red tory" traditions of social responsibility. And both parties at least paid lip-service to the rule of law.

No more.

And Canada's media, like those of other liberal democracies, took pride in differentiating our society from the totalitarian nightmares of fascism and Stalinism with their torture regimes, their show-trials, their crude propaganda masquerading as truth.

No more.

How low we have sunk. How low. How low. A boy, born into a family headed by an Islamic terrorist, and caught up in the midst of his father's activities in Afghanistan from the age of 10, finds himself in a fire-fight between his father's men and the US and Afghan military. During the combat, a grenade is thrown and ... ah hell. I said it all before, here.

What's changed is that in return for not getting tortured forever, Khadr has copped a plea. In a kangaroo court designed purely to obtain convictions (like something out Stalin or Mao), where testimony obtained through torture is permissable, along with tampered evidence, Khadr has admitted being guilty to "murder" and to planting IEDs.

And Canada's media laps it up. They show themselves no better than the Stalinist propaganda rag PRAVDA. This is disgusting and I don't recognize this country.