Monday, February 28, 2011

The Opposition's Logic

So what's going on with the Liberals and the NDP and the Bloc? Very quickly:

The Bloc has the least to worry about. They don't like harper, Quebec doesn't like harper. harper might give Quebec more autonomy, along with all the other provinces, but for the most part, harper's policies are unpopular in Quebec. The Bloc can make big demands on harper that nobody expects him to comply with and Quebec voters aren't going to care.

The NDP is scared of the poll numbers and is scared of actually having to take responsibility for the government falling. If it turns out to be the case that harper comes back with a majority, the NDP will just as likely be blamed for that as for giving harper his minority when it took down Paul Martin. The fact that Martin deserved to get the boot and that the NDP was hoping for more seats in a weaker Liberal minority is generally ignored, especially by Liberal supporters.

The Liberals have decided that there are no further excuses for hiding from a fight. harper's corporate tax cuts are exceedingly bad policy, and if Ignatieff does not do his job now, he might as well never do it.

But both parties know that the idea of a coalition is violently disliked by a large minority of voters, and perhaps a majority are opposed to one in principle. They also know that Mr. and Mrs. Suburbia would rather live in a quasi-dictatorship without any elections ever, and it will take a lot of soothing and comforting of them to win them back after subjecting them to an election. (These are people who never follow politics and couldn't tell you what's been happening or whether it's right or wrong, even if you promised to pay them.)

harper, meanwhile, sees that he's at 35-40% in the opinion polls and therefore feels comfortable in making the NDP grovel, airily dismissing them, all the while behaving as if he's in a campaign now when it comes to the Liberals.

Personally though, I believe that if the NDP and the Liberals dig deep, and re-discover the core of what they're supposed to be about (for the NDP it's advancing the cause of social democracy and for the Liberals it's manipulating the sentiments of the mushy middle and kicking the "conservatives'" asses) that harper will crumble on the campaign trail. Lord knows he's given them enough ammunition to use against him.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Demand the Impossible! Demand Accountability!

A lot of people are convinced that stephen harper and his gang will never be held accountable for their war crimes in Afghanistan. I have to say that the weight of evidence is on their side. It seems foolish to waste our time "demanding" that the laws be enforced against harper, and that our courts be given the opportunity to weigh the evidence as to whether or not this dead-eyed, helmet-headed, incompetent creep is guilty of crimes against humanity.

But isn't it also the case that our system can't or won't respond to our "demands" on any number of issues we feel are important?

  • Isn't it the case that big oil totally controls the harpercons and that big oil and regional electoral issues also influences the Liberal Party leadership to put the Tar Sands before the survival of civilization? Why should we waste our time "demanding" that that project be shut down?
  • Isn't it also the case that as a capitalist democracy, our political leaders are, as a group, dedicated to crushing unions and rendering the entire working class docile and desperate? Isn't it therefore useless to "demand" justice and fair play and pro-union legislation from these corporate puppets?
  • Isn't it also the case that as junior partners in the US imperialist project, with our military and "intelligence" services entirely in thrall to their authoritarian psychopathic US counterparts, that it is useless to "demand" that we remove ourselves from the bullshit "War on Terror" and start respecting civil rights again?

I would argue that it is less impossible to "demand" that there be punishments for laws that are broken than that positive legislation be created by this crop of politicians.

I would argue that there are lawyers and justices who have a greater loyalty to the law than they do to any party or to the capitalist system and that it is to this source that we should turn to assault the anti-democratic, anti-earth, anti-human political system we hate.

We should, collectively, all of the groups advocating for change on the left, organize and fund a campaign to initiate lawsuits wherever and whenever we see corporate or corporate-political malfeasance. And we should catalogue all of these criminal acts and document how they occurred and how the system either failed to punish them or how legal victories were achieved.

In the first place, I'm sure there are hundreds of socially progressive lawyers who would be happy to get full-time work prosecuting this stuff. I'm sure there are judges whose sensibilities would be outraged when confronted with the avalanche of crimes that our system produces.

Every year, a record would be published of the corporate and political criminality that was committed and went unpunished.

I have always put quotation marks around the word "demand" in this post because it seems to me that we have an unconscious habit of saying "demand" when we mean "beg" or "plead" for a modicum of justice and respect from the authorities. You really can't "demand" anything when you have no way of attaching consequences for non-compliance.

If the left has sworn off even the mildest forms of violence (with some people even fainting and clutching their pearls at the thought of even yelling at political or corporate criminals) then perhaps strictly, purely legal avenues is respectable enough for them.

Friday, February 25, 2011

How Rob Ford Fellators Argue

Toronto's free entertainment weekly Now is a left-left-liberal (or whatever, you get the idea) tabloid. It offers concise, unrestrained criticisms of the obvious buffoonery and hypocrisy of Mayor Rob Ford. Perhaps because of this, it feels compelled to give its letters section over to brain-dead Ford supporters and their endless bitching, whining, lying, and stupidity.

This week provides a sterling example of one of these bullshit artists in action:

Those who are pissed off that Ford got elected and that the sky will fall when there are cuts in services need to think about the basic principles of budgeting.

If there are cuts, they’re not made out of malice but because tax money is wastefully spent on perks, junkets, expense accounts, overpaid public sector workers compared to private sector workers, etc. Unlike maple leaves in the fall, government services are not free and do not fall from trees.

To prevent cuts in services, we need to cut wasteful spending, which is what Ford intends to do. Or we can pay more taxes. All this becomes sparklingly clear when one becomes a taxpayer.

No, Ford supporter, YOU have need to think about the basic principles of honesty! I know that being so stupid as to have become enamoured of a laughable, talentless dip-shit like Ford means you have limited abilities, but even you must have at least a dim recollection that the fat fuck campaigned that there wouldn't be ANY cuts.

Ford did not campaign on eliminating public sector jobs. Ford did not campaign on union busting.

Ford has not identified the waste that would allow him to compensate for eliminating the car tax. Toronto is over-taxed by Ottawa and Queen's Park and as a metropolis, has more needs, consistent needs, that cannot be met by occasional bursts of election year largesse from those two sources.

Ford has made it so that city councillors do not get free sandwiches when they're stuck in meetings all day. These well-paid politicians have to brown-bag it. Sorry to break it to you chump, but that ain't going to cover the revenue shortfall.

Oh, and "taxpayer"? Ford is now braying about a "public-private-partnership" to build his useless Sheppard subway extension. He hasn't been particularly forthcoming about who is pulling his strings or what sort of sweet-heart deal they're going to give him to sell.

So while you Ford-fellating dip-shits are off in La-la-land, masturbating about the end of the "free lunch" and bitching because your non-union garbage collectors didn't do your house again this week, the millions you saved will go right out the window to pay for the sleazy insider deals that are going to start rolling.

And while the real-estate tycoons are laughing all the way to the bank with all of our money, people like me will be saying "We told you so" and people like you will be drooling disgustingly onto the pages of the Toronto Sun like the idiots you are, oblivious to reality and to shame.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The First Thing After harper is Defeated? War Crimes Trial

That has to be the first order of business. Payback has to be a bitch for that stupid mother-fucker.

Peter MacKay too. Every harpercon associated with that filthy business. An honest to goddamned trial.

Then an investigation into the handbook for obstructing committees.

Then an investigation into who leaked Colvin's emails.

Put 'em away for the rest of their natural lives.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

stephen harper "Rising to the Challenge"

Recently, one "trevorus" gave me a youtube link which turned out to be the harpercons' propaganda effort "Rising to the Challenge." Taking great advantage of their tenuous grip on government power, the commercial shows harper waddling around the hall of Parliament, and in his office, doodling cartoons about bestiality and drinking from a mug of his own piss. Occasionally, some words would appear over top these scenes, advertising the competence and dedication of harper and his gang of idiots. I would like to address these points in order:

225,000 jobs saved

Saved? Saved from what? The biggest recession since the Great Depression. It was a result of the deregulation of the US financial sector during the Clinton years, as well as by the hollowing out of the real economy by decades of pro-business assaults on the foundations of social wealth built up since the 1940s.

I'd like to point out that harper's shit-head of a finance minister, Jim Flaherty, never saw it coming. harper did, but to admit that he'd have to admit that that is why he broke his own fixed elections law, in a failed attempt to win a majority before the shit hit the fan. Regardless, it remains the case that harper entrusts a great deal of economic management to a cretin who genuinely believed that he'd have surpluses into the foreseeable future.

$62 billion to fight the recession

Yes. And you had to be dragged kicking and screaming into spending it! As already mentioned, Flaherty never saw the recession coming, and furthermore, having learned the crude basics of economics in the same way that a dog struggles to grasp what it's owner's bewildering combination of unintelligible vocal sounds and hand gestures are meant to communicate, he was stubbornly unwilling to do what obviously needed to be done until the opposition forced his hand. Then, when empowered by them to begin deficit spending, the harpercons proceeded to turn their "action plan" into a system of rewarding their friends and punishing their enemies.

Cut the GST

I've always thought the GST was a regressive tax and I continue to do so. It replaced another tax though and when harper cuts it, he doesn't replace the revenues. He does this because deficits eventually provide fantastic excuses to slash public services. We were well on our way to deficits before the Great Recession hit, thanks to Flaherty's GST and other tax-cuts.

Extended Employment Insurance Benefits

Wow. Really difficult move, that one. Very complicated as well as far-seeing! Imbeciles.

23,000 projects across Canada

See above.

Lowest debt and deficit in G7

Not through any work on the harpercons' part. They hadn't yet gotten around to freeing up the entrepreneurial creativity of the financial sector the way bankers on Wall Street, in London, and in Ireland and Iceland had been. But harper was going to try. Then events intervened.

Have no fear. harper isn't finished wasting the billions yet either! He's pissed our money away at the Vancouver Olympics. At the 2009 G20. He still wants to spend $35 billion on useless fighter jets and untold billions (he's hiding the numbers) on unneeded prisons.

Over 450,000 jobs created since June, 2009

Really? Gosh! You know, except for the fact that this crowing totally eviscerates their entire worldview (held and believed for decades) that it is impossible for governments to create jobs, that's pretty cool! How did you "create" those jobs anyway? What kind of jobs?

Balanced budget by 2015/2016

Awesome accomplishment! I'm having a foursome with Kim Kardashian, Meagan Fox and the beautiful one next week myself! But good on you for that future achievement. (Who wrote that one anyway? Sandy Crux?)

Unemployment lower than US

You mean the country with the economic policies you've been trying to get Canada to emulate your whole professional life? That one? The one whose policies you WERE pursuing until fate intervened? Whatever dipshit.

Canada an "economic star" (the Economist)

I honestly don't give a flying-fuck what The Economist thinks. Canada has decent employment because our housing bubble hasn't burst yet. Our governments haven't been asked to bail-out imploded banks because harper wasn't able to deregulate them fast enough. The policies that created the world-wide economic disaster are precisely those advocated by the financial-sector shills who write for The Economist.

The commercial's narrator goes on about how Canada is "walking tall in the world." Which must refer to the drubbing we got at the UN over our Security Council seat application (despite all that maple syrup), or Canada's total irrelevance in the Middle East, or our pariah status on the subject of global warming and indigenous peoples' rights.

He then concludes by saying how "We're in safe hands with stephen harper." Yeah, sure. Unless you eat some tainted meat. Or you feel like protesting against one of harper's abominable policies.

Why are we supposed to be afraid of this doofus again? Bring him down.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Healthy Reaction to Attacks on Democracy

Crooks and Liars has a clip of Wisconsin Assembly Person Gordon Hintz reacting to the insulting treatment he is receiving at the hands of the Repug majority in the Wisconsin state assembly. As he makes clear, his anger stems from the fact that important stuff is being railroaded through without even a pretense of concern for democratic forms, rules, or ideals. $47 million is apparently being taken from his constituency and the city officials there are telling him it might mean the complete cancellation of bus services.

He hears about the Repug bill on the radio from an ad placed by a group in Washington D.C.. He's handed a 144 page financial bill on a Monday and told that the vote will be on Thursday or Friday. Requests for public hearings are ignored. At 4:57 he receives an email saying the debate on the bill is to begin at 5pm. At 5pm he goes to the assembly room and finds out that they're already voting.

It's an insult to him. It's an insult to the people who elected him. It's an insult to democracy.

Repugs are (thanks to the complicity of the Democratic Party's elites across the country) long-time masters of this sort of bullshit. Occasionally we see a Democrat who could even pass for a decent Canadian politician, explode in frustration. (Anthony Weiner's response to Repugs' cowardly attempts to reject a bill compensating 9-11 first responders by attaching all sorts of stupid amendments to it, and then mewling like the creepy babies they are when the Democrats tried to bring it to a straight up or down vote, is one such example.)

Now, I don't read right-wing bloggers. Mainly because when I did they seemed to be filled with asinine stupid garbage. But maybe there's all sorts of recent examples of Democratic perfidy on par with what the Repugs are doing. I don't know. But if so, it's wrong.

"AdScam" was wrong. Toppling Aristide in Haiti was wrong. Sending the RCMP to teargas heroic human rights champions at the APEC conference in Vancouver to protect mass-murdering kleptocrat Suharto was wrong.

But harper goes beyond, way beyond, what any Liberal or Conservative government ever did. This latest nonsense of allowing Bev Oda to lie to Parliament (probably to protect his own culpability in this case), refusing to obey court orders to release Tamil refugees, ... harper is pissing on our whole system of government. Forget compromised democracy, harper wants no democracy whatsoever (aside maybe from letting his own supporters vote, but so long as they have no power to ever disagree with him in the future).

Our political leaders should be outraged at these serial attacks on democracy because attacking democracy is supposed to be a bad thing.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Contempt for Parliament = Contempt for US

This is the problem with becoming inured to the revolting nature of Canada's political culture. 30% of the electorate is so ignorant, or so stupid, or so greedy, or so debased, that they think voting for stephen harper's party is a sane political option.

And then pretty much everybody who matters, politicians, pundits, the media in general, political back-room types, etc., all have to think: "Okay. That's what a lot of Canadians think, let's play this game. Let's treat the harpercons as a genuine political party and harper as a genuine human being and act accordingly."

And then the scum bag lets his idiot finance minister create massive deficits based on his delusions about the efficacy of 19th-Century economic theories in the present day. He lets his racist foreign minister consign several darker-skinned Canadians to torture and exile. He allows a Christian-fundamentalist moron to become Minister of Science. He lets the oil industry dictate our global warming policies. He encourages deliberately sloppy record-keeping to obfuscate our prisoner transfer practices in Afghanistan.

And then he provokes one constitutional crisis after another: proroguing Parliament to escape a non-confidence motion in response to his own childish bullying. He prorogues Parliament again to avoid having to account for his possible complicity in torture in Afghanistan. He forces the Speaker of the House to rule on an unprecedented denial of information to Parliament. He instructs government employees to disregard summonses from Parliamentary committees.

He displays serial contempt for our system of government. From handbooks for harpercon committee chairs to obstruct the work of their committees to allowing Bev Oda to lie to Parliament without consequence, ... it's all of a piece and all part of harper's ingrained contempt for all of us.

He does not have contempt for politicians who drag-down our political culture. He has contempt for our entire system of government and he has done more work than anyone to bring it down.

When Limousine Bev Oda lied to opposition MPs, she lied to US because they are OUR representatives!

It is justified to saddle the Liberals with "AdScam." "AdScam" was a terrible abuse of power and a terrible assault on our political system. But the naked contempt for our entire system of government that harper displays on a regular basis is something else altogether. The Liberals have never treated the entire opposition as worthy of complete contempt. Sure, they've been corrupt, have abused their power, have grown arrogant with power, etc.,etc., but harper is something else.

He hates Canada.

He likes to insult us overseas:
"Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. Canadians make no connection between the fact that they are a Northern European welfare state and the fact that we have very low economic growth, a standard of living substantially lower than yours, a massive brain drain of young professionals to your country, and double the unemployment rate of the United States."

"In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance."
He likes to imagine that we're ALL ignoramuses because we don't buy his snake-oil and puke:
Mansbridge: “How do you explain, to yourself, the apparent lack of knowledge on the part of a good number of Canadians as to what we are doing in Afghanistan…?”

Harper: “You know, Peter, I don’t know if I am shocked by that. I’m not sure if it’s different on Afghanistan than on any other area of public policy."
It will be so easy to destroy this monster if we get the opportunity. I mean, look at those quotes up there.

Guess what harper, you stupid dumb-fuck? There was no brain drain! It was all an invention of other stupid neoliberals such as yourself!
Here's what we know. There is at the moment a small net outflow of university-educated people moving from Canada to the United States. However, according to an October 1998 Statistics Canada study, international immigration of university-educated people into Canada -- a "brain gain" -- is at least four times larger than the "brain drain" to the U.S.

According to Scott Murray, a researcher with StatsCan, Canada continues to attract many times more engineers from abroad than it is losing to the U.S. The same holds true for computer scientists and natural scientists.

The StatsCan study concludes: "There is little statistical evidence in support of a large scale exodus of knowledge workers from Canada to the United States. On balance, Canada does lose a small number of skilled workers in key occupations to the United States, but the numbers involved are: small in a historical sense, [and] small relative to the stock of workers in these occupations."


Most are leaving either because they cannot find work in their chosen fields, or because they can earn more money in the U.S. In the latter case, higher remuneration in the U.S. is generally more significant than lower personal taxes. The reality is the private sector and universities in the U.S. are prepared to pay, for some professionals, much more than their counterparts in Canada. The debate about taxes is, for the most part, irrelevant.

And guess what harper, you stupid dumb-fuck? The insurgency continues to rage in Afghanistan despite Obama's "surge" because you imperialist assholes are only trying to force a brutal and corrupt government on the people there. You send Canadian soldiers to fight, kill, and die, for a regime of rapists and thieves. You send them to die for less than nothing.

Let's have this election! Let's bring it on!

People say it's dangerous to underestimate conservatives, but I think it's way more dangerous to OVERestimate them. To imagine that this pack of dullards, harper, Flaherty, Baird, Cannon, Kenney, Clement, ad nausea, are formidable intellectual opponents when their whole philosophy betrays their ignorance and insanity, is such a total waste of time.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Don't Keep stephen harper in Power! Put him in Prison!!

Listen, it's very clear. Afghan peasant farmers, either fighting back against a government of rapists and thieves, or coerced into fighting for the insurgency, or completely innocent of any political or armed resistance but just trying to work their land and survive, were arrested by Canadian soldiers and transferred over to a government that routinely practices torture.

Whatever the writing on our transfer agreements with the Afghan government are, the Red Cross complained that Canada was inordinately sloppy with its paperwork, dilatory about informing the Red Cross about our prisoners, and frustratingly difficult about sharing any information we had about our prisoners.

Self-created ignorance is not an excuse for war crimes. Canada's shittiest government is probably guilty of war crimes.

harper is responsible for the actions of our military in Afghanistan. WE are responsible!!

We should not be negotiating with this monster. We should be hauling him before a court of law and putting him on trial for war crimes.

And if he's convicted and we send him to prison, he can take solace in the fact that Canada was, and still is, a relatively humane country. He's too public a figure for some shit-head thuggish cop to taser to death. And he won't be taken to torture rooms to be slapped and kicked and beaten with chains and made to stand in stress positions in freezing cold temperatures like his victims were.

He won't be standing there in a stress position feeling his muscles turning to jelly and his legs bloating to twice their size worrying about the police forces of this country going after his family, the way his victims in Afghanistan did.

harper deserves to be removed from power for the multiple times he has spat upon the institution of Parliament and the multiple times he has taken a piss on our Charter of Rights. But the fact that he might very well be a war criminal is reason enough to BRING him DOWN!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Oh Those Fucking Liberals (Part Whatever)

I started this post this morning before taking a peek at "Progressive Bloggers" and reading about Jack Layton's worrying negotiations with stephen harper. Keep reading though ...

Check out this video of Hillary ("hard-workin' white woman") giving some self-righteous lecture about other countries' assaults on internet freedom.

The "heckler" referred to in the video's title was Ray McGovern. He'd been a CIA analyst for 27 years and has since retired. If you read "CounterPunch" though, you'll know that he's been writing there since the days of bush II, appalled as he was at that unelected regime's abuse of intelligence to orchestrate the invasion of Iraq. At Hillary's speech there, his "heckling" consisted of his standing silently with his back towards her, to protest the continuing wars in the Middle East as well as the torture of Bradley Manning:
McGovern's action was a powerful one and it threatened the Secretary of State. Two police officers roughed him up, pulled him from the audience and arrested him. As you can see from the pictures, the 71 year old McGovern, was battered and bruised, indeed his attorney reports he was left in jail bleeding.
Look how easily Clinton is able to go on with her speech, castigating other countries' assaults on freedom of speech and implying that the USA is somehow a beacon of freedom and blah, blah, blah, while the non-violent protester is physically removed.

Now check out this little example of liberal hackery. You don't have to read it. The whole thing is a respectful profile of Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley and it's like the Sherlock Holmes dog that didn't bark. There's nothing in it about how Bentley, the guy who is responsible for upholding the rule of law in Ontario has done sweet fuck all after it was discovered that his own government took orders from the Toronto police chief Bill Blair and using the World War II Public Works Protection Act, empowered the Toronto Police Service with the power to force people to have to identify themselves and submit to searches, contrary to the Charter of Rights and what civil rights advisers were telling protesters before the G20. Even more sleazy, the McGuinty government skulked about in the dead of night and enacted this legislation with determined secrecy.

And McGuinty disgustingly hides behind weasel words in a lame-ass attempt to deny his own behaviour and what it says about his concern for his fellow citizens' democratic rights.

This is what liberalism is today people. This is who they are and what they do. While "conservatives" offer the most contemptible, brazenly idiotic justifications for their abuses, liberals cloak themselves in this faux-progressive guise and proceed to pragmatically eviscerate our rights and our economic well-being.

So, what about Jack Layton even deigning to negotiate with the serial-abuser stephen harper? What about the possibility that the NDP will toss all of its credibility in the dumpster for more empty promises from harper and to avoid a potentially damaging election.

Yes, Liberal bloggers are crowing about the possible shit in the face of the NDP. Somehow all Dion's and Ignatieff's sins are forgiven and forgotten, and like a broken fucking record, this all points to the same brain-dead Liberal belief as before: that the best hope for Canadian "progressives" is to submit ourselves to the Canadian version of the US Democratic Party, and ... I can't stomach even writing about it.

Listen, if Layton caves, then it's a sad day for Canadian democracy. It's a sad day for Canada. Whoever decides to play the role of harper's goat, Layton, Ignatieff, some other Liberal, ... it doesn't matter. Our system is broken, the progressives are too busy fighting, the rest of us are either ignorant or stupid. Electoral politics is hopeless. Fuck it all, we're doomed.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Transit City, National Daycare Plan, The Kelowna Accord: Canada's Political System

I was just reading the latest stupid nonsense coming out of the stupid, nonsensical Rob Ford government in Toronto about their negotiations with Metrolinx about the city's transit needs, when it occurred to me that "Transit City" is just one of a few overdue, much needed public investments that a Liberal government legislated at the last minute only to have them immediately undone by some "conservative" government.

Then again, the other two, the National Daycare Plan and The Kelowna Accord were both the product of Mr. Dithers, and were both undone by the same incarnation of "conservatism" (the harpercons).

And for my conspiracy theory to work, the NDP would have to be in on the scam, since they were instrumental in pulling the plug on Martin's Liberal minority. So, maybe nevermind.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

1848 and 2011

In 1848, revolutions (eventually crushed with great bloodshed) broke out among several European nations (France, the German and Italian states, the Hapsburg Empire, Poland, Ireland). Obviously, economic factors aren't going to be the only things that stir up revolutionary sentiment. The human desire for dignity, respect, justice, are equally important. But there's nothing like an empty belly or the hopelessness of unemployment to focus one's energies:
These revolutions arose from such a wide variety of causes that it is difficult to view them as resulting from a coherent movement or social phenomenon. Numerous changes had been taking place in European society throughout the first half of the 19th century. Both liberal reformers and radical politicians were reshaping national governments. Technological change was revolutionizing the life of the working classes. A popular press extended political awareness, and new values and ideas such as popular liberalism, nationalism and socialism began to spring up. A series of economic downturns and crop failures, particularly those in the year 1846, produced starvation among peasants and the working urban poor.
It appears that the same thing can be said about Tunisia, Egypt, and the rest of the Arab world. There's this Egyptian woman who argues that a lot of Egyptians are just fed up with the daily power plays and little oppressions of every thug in a police uniform or government office:

But it's also the case that there are a lot more hungry and unemployed people in Egypt:

As IPS reported, “Wall Street investment firms and banks, along with their kin in London and Europe, were responsible for the technology dot-com bubble, the stock market bubble, and the recent U.S. and UK housing bubbles. They extracted enormous profits and their bonuses before the inevitable collapse of each.

Now they've turned to basic commodities. The result? At a time when there has been no significant change in the global food supply or in food demand, the average cost of buying food shot up 32 percent from June to December 2010, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Nothing but price speculation can explain wheat prices jumping 70 percent from June to December last year when global wheat stocks were stable, experts say.”

Here’s a key fact buried in a CNN Money report—the kind intended for investors, not the public at large: “About 40% of Egypt's citizens live off less than $2 a day, so any price increase hurts.”


Think about that: what would you be doing if you were living of $2 a day. You won’t be drinking mochachinos at Starbucks, that’s for sure.

What we're seeing is important. It's huge. It's as huge as 1848 was for the cause of human freedom. We're on the good side people. Don't forget that.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In Denial About harper

Dale over at Hill Queeries reports on parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page's response to the harpercons denying budget forecasts to the opposition:
Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page appeared before the Commons finance committee yesterday and said that in his 25 years in the public service, no government has used the umbrella of “cabinet confidence” to hide tax data or justice legislation costs, and reiterated that this lack of data means that Parliamentarians are losing their control over the finances of the nation. And by the way, this is HUGE. The underlying premise of parliamentary democracy is that parliament grants a government supply (money) to carry out their agenda. If parliament can’t scrutinise a government’s legislative platform and how much it will cost, how can they adequately grant supply? They can’t. And that’s why this abuse of cabinet confidences is a fundamental attack on our very system of government, and why Scott Brison has brought forward a motion that the government is breaching parliamentary privilege with all of this secrecy.
So, this is the latest insult to Parliament from harper. But Canadians in general continue to be in denial about the threat that this creature poses to our democracy. Now, before anyone says something, I am not a starry-eyed naif about the extent of Canadian democracy. Our democracy is dominated by big business, and both of the traditional governing parties have engaged in elitist, secretive, violations of the spirit and the system of Canadian parliamentary democracy. But harper is a serial violator of our system and its rules and its principles.

He prorogued parliament to avoid a confidence vote brought on by his own ham-handed bullying right after an unnecessary election which gave him another minority.

He called that election in clear violation of the intention of his fixed-elections law.

He prorogued parliament again after he was unable to shut-down investigation into his possible complicity in the war crime of torture in Afghanistan.

He has hypocritically labelled parliamentary coalitions "coups" and has stirred-up regional animosities.

He and his ministers have brazenly violated Access to Information laws and lied to parliament on several occasions.

His defense minister stared like a stubborn mule when asked what he was going to do about the leaking of ministry documents to friends of the government, when those same documents were being withheld from parliament on the bogus claims of "national security."

He has ordered his underlings not to testify to parliamentary committees and has ordered summonses from these committees.

His oafish colleagues show up unannounced at the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs demanding to be heard out of schedule, braying like jackasses that they can't get time off work for their scheduled appearance.

Speaking of parliamentary committees, way back when, when this villain first came to power, word leaked that they'd concocted a handbook for harpercon committee chairs on how to stymie committee work to make sure they were ineffective.

Their bullies, warmongers, and academic hacks bullied Rémy Beauregard to his death and eviscerated the noble Canadian institution "Rights and Democracy."

But some commentators still talk about this dangerous thug's policies and election strategies as if he's a legitimate political actor leading a legitimate political party. Opposition politicians still make noises about "working with" this piece of shit.

No. Get your heads out of your asses. Stop denying what's going on right before your very eyes. The man is a psychotic and he is abusing our democracy. Defeat him. Deny him. Destroy his power. Resist him in everything. He cannot redeem himself. He has lowered himself too far for that.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Let's Make a Deal! You give me $150 Billion, I give you less than nothing!

I don't really have much time to blog these days but I gotta do something. So today's effort is simply to remind everyone how revoltingly stupid our present political-economy is. You know, the media, the political parties, most sources of opinion are working to normalize the atrocities we're forced to live through, whether it's illegal wars, torturing immigrants and Canadian citizens, war crimes, assaults on health care, the continued rape of the environment, etc., etc..

I'm not a 100% fan of parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page, ... he's too much of a deficit hawk for me, but he's honest and he says what he wants to say in spite of stephen harper's petty attempts to bully him. Given his integrity, let's hear what he has to say about Flaherty's fiscal projections:
Page projects the federal deficit will fall from C$56 billion ($56.57 billion), or 3.6 percent of GDP, in the 2009-10 fiscal year to C$10 billion, or 0.5 percent of GDP, in 2015-16.
Look at it this way: The masters of the universe, the grown-up, fiscally responsible "conservatives," the economist stephen harper, the small-government/free-market Jim Flaherty, are set to deliver on over $150 billion in deficit spending over the next few years, and they'll tell us to pay it back through cuts to public services, increased EI premiums, and so-on, and what are they spending that money on?

Are they spending it to move us from carbon-emitting energy sources? Nope. Can you imagine those guys telling us they're spending $150 billion over four years on alternative energy research?

Are they spending it on Canada's health care system? Improving access to education? Creating new jobs?

None of those things. Because of the incompetence, stupidity, and criminal greed of the world's big "investors," the economy has screwed the pooch. Because of the neo-liberals' control of policy in the OECD, the populations of these countries can't afford to buy the goods and services that the Chinese and the Mexicans are making for us. As a result, in order to keep the economy from spiralling into a tail-spin, Flaherty, like all the other finance ministers, has had to prop it up with deficit spending.

The $150 billion (and then some) that's required for this could have come from taxes on the useless parasites who have sucked us dry for decades. It could have been spent earlier in the real economy and produced benefits for the majority. But that would have been crazy pinko nonsense. So instead, we let the bankers soak us, con themselves, produce a disaster, bail them out, and then suffer for it, while mainstream opinion gives Flaherty a pass by not pointing out that the dim bulb never saw it coming and that his whole economic worldview is apparently nothing but shit.

Monday, February 14, 2011

What About Mexico?

Just a quick thought about Mexico: Mexico is a relatively poor country that has become (like Canada) an appendage of the ailing US economy. The downturn in the US economy has obviously had a negative impact on the maquiladoras and sweat-shops that were created to serve US transnationals. But don't forget that NAFTA has decimated Mexican peasants by flooding the market with subsidized US grain. This has forced millions of Mexicans to run the gauntlet of the US border to find work in the USA to sustain both themselves and, through their remittances, the millions more left behind without a livelihood. The rise in unemployment within the USA itself has also affected "illegal" Mexican workers and this has lowered the amount of the remittances.

Poverty and hopelessness is behind the surging narcotics business resulting in a horrific rise in violent crime. Continued hopelessness, government corruption and brutality, might eventually force a mass people's movement as we have just seen in Tunisia and Egypt, for an end to the stolen elections and torture policies of America's next-door neighbour.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Egyptians' Victory

There's no reason to listen to me about Egypt. I don't have any inside dope and I'm too busy trying to survive to change things. But for what it's worth, here's a couple of thoughts:

1. Getting rid of a dictator who abuses you is one thing. Dealing with anti-democratic politicians, the IMF, the way the United States actively works to subvert democracy, the whole sham of capitalist democracy in general, those are more insidious obstacles to realizing the will of the people.

2. A lot of concern trolls are obsessed with what the end of the Mubarak dictatorship means for Israel. Thinking about it for five minutes, I can't find any reason for non-imperialists to be alarmed. Is Egypt going to abrogate Camp David and attack Israel? No. Is it going to lift its side of the Gaza blockade? Probably. But I fail to see how Gaza being able to eat and Hamas becoming more entrenched genuinely threatens Israel's security. All that's going to happen is that Israel might have to give up seizing the occupied territories and deal seriously with the Palestinians about the terms of viable Palestinian state.

Just look at any of the potential borders of any realistic Palestinian state. Even if Hamas doesn't promise to remove some words from its Charter about destroying Israel, Israel will still be safe. Look at Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. They don't have a prayer of conquering Israel. What is Gaza supposed to be able to do?

An end to Israeli expansionism is not the end of Israel.

Friday, February 11, 2011

We Are At War

Read this and try to convince yourselves otherwise.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nice Little Look at the Impact of a Minimum Wage

"terrorists and bankers kill jobs minimum wages do not."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Working Class Shit-Headery and Current Reading

So, as some have pointed out, Toronto's disgusting rancid blob of pork Rob Ford is now moving against unionized city garbage workers. As others have pointed out, the supposed savings and efficiencies of privatization are generally non-existent.

But, no doubt, there are some working Canadians who will cheer on this assault on decent paying jobs. The public sector is currently one of the last places where an ordinary person can obtain employment allowing them to live with a modicum of dignity. We can't have that! So, rather than fight to get a union where you work, or vote for parties that will make it easier for you to unionize, you will instead vote for some son of privilege with frighteningly obvious impulse control problems, and attack other workers and their occupations, so that we can all make $11 an hour.

There! Now nobody's happy!

It's the same sort of stupidity that bewails the job security of the public sector during an economic recession. The fact that attacking millions of jobs across the country will probably make the recession longer is never a factor. It's all "I've been laid-off. I want other people to suffer, even if it means that I suffer longer."

Don't think for a minute that the masters of the universe are just as clueless. They know how the economy works. They know that it really makes no sense to engage in austerity during a recession. They're pandering to such sentiments because it fits in with their larger (but equally insane) project of pillaging working class gains made since 1945. (Only a couple more years to go with that one!Faster than they thought it would be!)

So, anyway, I'm reading Chartism: a new history by Malcolm Chase. It's a summary of the movement for electoral reform in mid-19th Century Britain. It was a working class effort which failed, although many of the demands of the "People's Charter" have since been won. Universal suffrage was considered a scandalous notion by the silk-stockinged pricks of the time, and right now, I'm reading about how the elites are using bogus laws and punitive bail conditions to harass the movement's leadership in 1839 and 1840.

Making me a wee bit angry. Especially when I look at how the forces of the state are abusing their power and trampling all over everyone's legal rights in the case of Alex Hundert and the protesters at the Toronto G20.

Say! Didn't that fat, oozing puss-ball Rob Ford, praise the cops for a job well done after they charged innocent families on their horses, held people without charges or access to a lawyer for over a day, and ripped the prosthetic leg off an amputee? I honestly hope for some heavy-handed ironic justice for Mr. Ford. A mini-Mike Harris, who gets Harris, the man responsible for the death of Dudley George, to show up for his putrid victory party.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Spending $50 Billion Just to Stand Still

My talking point for the day. Flaherty's fifty-billion dollar deficits were incurred to preserve the status-quo.

Before 2008, we always heard how spending on the environment or on infrastructure for the 21st-Century was unaffordable.

Supposedly, today we need a "steady hand on the tiller" which belongs to the finance minister who never saw it coming, and a prime minister who wants to dump another $45 billion on fighter planes and prisons that we don't need.

But before they do any of that, they have to spend $50 billion they don't have to keep the economy going because the deregulated financial system (which we can't regulate because it will stifle "innovation" and maybe "harm the economy") imploded due to its own corruption and greed.

If you're a conservative before you're 25, you haven't got a heart. If you're a conservative after you're 25, you haven't got a fucking clue.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Power of Constitutional Insurgency

Beyond Quixotic devotion to a Marxist political party, beyond pointlessly standing around in groups of varying size impotently "demanding" reforms under the watchful eyes of the police, beyond social democrats who imagine they can deliver a more humane form of capitalism, beyond isolated anarchist communities removing their miniscule amount of effective demand from the capitalist system and electing to live in genteel poverty, there is the idea of "constitutional insurgency."

The free speech fights of the IWW, the Suffragists, and Margaret Sanger's fight to speak freely about birth control can also be interpreted as constitutional insurgencies. The constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech justified their action, even though the legally constituted authorities might throw them in jail for it.

The civil rights movement, too, can be interpreted as a constitutional insurgency. The movement was contesting for the equal rights that, it held, were guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, even though they were denied by the legally constituted authorities.

Constitutional insurgencies do not fit neatly into either the idea of a revolutionary overthrow of the government or of reforms conducted within the constitutional framework as currently interpreted. In practice, social movements have long enacted a middle way between the constitutional discontinuity of revolution on the one hand and reform that fails to challenge the legitimacy of dominant constitutional structures on the other. The concept of "constitutional insurgency" explains how this can be.
This has always been the logic behind my "Workers as Citizens" idea. People already believe (although more and more in the abstract and with numerous idiotic qualifications due to their delusions about the "war on terror") in human rights. In the right to freedom of speech and freedom of opinion. There is also a justified desire to maintain our present political order and to not destroy it through violent revolution.

Our current political system needs a radical transformation. A revolutionary alteration of power relations. But in the present political reality, it is too much of a struggle to attempt to instill new ideas into a population saturated with a liberal ideology and a culture of consumerism. We have to base our arguments on the ideas that already exist, and find the subversive power of these principles.

Make no mistake about it: Our elites are well aware of the dangerous potential of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and political equality. That's why they work so hard to suppress them and to distort our understanding of them.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Don't Trust Right-Wingers With Democracy

Democracy sounds like a good idea. I mean, we all believe in it and everything, but let's not get carried away.

Look at what happened when you let right-wingers participate in the democratic process. Stupid voters install corrupt, stupid thugs, and we get things like people dying from drinking their tap-water and deli-sandwiches. We get multiple prorogations, we get torture cover-ups, we get Christian-fundamentalists trying to attack science and impose their versions of Sharia laws on us.

Sadly, I think that for now, we should suspend democracy.

I know! I know! It's a betrayal of all your teenage romantic idealism, but such pollyannish optimism is actually quite dangerous in this day and age.

Truth be told, I think that right-wingers, whether they're just reactionary social-neanderthals or "free-market" shills and chumps, constitute such a menace that "strong measures" should taken to deal with them. I advocate "taking off the gloves" and employing "harsh interrogation tactics" against them. We should utterly destroy their leaders and kill the spirits of their followers. Otherwise, this stupid minority, utterly convinced as only ignorant fanatics can be, will continue to presume upon our patience and open-mindedness, and make our very tolerance for diversity, which is one of our defining qualities, a weapon to use against us.

Blah, blah, blah. I'm actually still one of those romantics who believes that people can be trusted to govern themselves, especially if they have access to the truth. The vast majority of people can prevail against the stupid minority, and therefore, the stupid minority can keep their votes and their parties and their delusions. It is self-interested, self-serving elites, who suppress democracy, who lie, who torture, who kill, they are the enemy. And they should be confronted legally, and if they abuse their power and make a mockery of the law, then they should be confronted extra-legally as well.

All that anti-democratic stuff I wrote above was just a mirror image of the arguments of those debased individuals (who all appear to be most comfortable on the right side of the political spectrum) as they take their stand AGAINST democracy in Egypt and imagine themselves intelligent, sober, realists for so doing.

If any of that ilk read this post, they will no doubt take issue with my fantastic rhetoric directed at them, and fail to honestly engage with the fact that it's just what they say about Egyptians and the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism. Not even this disclaimer will help them, the poor, pitiful souls.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It Ain't a Waste of Time

So, maybe the NDP is going to chicken-out and hide from the electorate, I mean "make Parliament work" by propping-up the monstrous harpercons for some crumbs in the budget. Of course, Liberal bloggers are working themselves into a sexual frenzy at the thought that their party has found its spine and the NDP is humiliating itself and exposing its years of tough talk as having been nothing but disgusting lies.

To his credit, Liberal blogger Steve V of "Far and Wide" has acknowledged that the Liberal Party itself is far from perfect and needs to be captured by progressives if it's to actually be of any use. He admits to having voted NDP and Green in the past and to have never voted for Paul Martin.

The idea of a progressive takeover has some legitimacy, but the problem is that the Liberal Party is almost as dependent upon the same social forces that back the harpercons, and its voting base is comprised of too many people who would be uncomfortable voting for a genuine progressive platform. It's also staffed and led by people for whom the invasion of Iraq sounded like a good idea and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives looks like an organization they'd like to be a part of.

I think it's more plausible to ask progressive Liberals to vacate the mushy middle and take their voters to the NDP and let all those people who think single-mothers on welfare are bankrupting the nation or whatever decide if they can stomach the harpercons.

Whatever. I'm not pretend to instantly dismiss the idea of progressive activists swamping local riding associations and implementing a progressive takeover bit-by-bit. I think it's an inferior option, but I don't think it's evidence of abject ignorance and blindness.

But if the NDP does cave, and the Liberal assault fails, it will not only mean harper lives to do something else disgusting on another day, it means our political system is almost entirely broken.

The opposition can't rouse itself to defeat the single-most anti-democratic prime minister in our country's history. The electorate doesn't care about the forms of our democratic system or the betrayal of our principles (torture, warrantless spying, mass arrests, illegal detention). The country as a whole cannot grasp the bankruptcy of our economic system.

Then I watch the Egyptian Revolution. While Obama stalls and obscures, he tries to cobble-together a working coalition of "pragmatic" pro-Western politicians and "dependable" Egyptian generals, to ensure that as much of the status-quo (which caused the revolution in the first place) is preserved in the post-Mubarak era.

We seem to have to make herculean efforts to achieve the barest of reforms.

But people fought and struggled for centuries to make things better. To embrace our higher selves and to allow others to free themselves from the chains of inferior political systems.

As hard as it is, we have no choice but to struggle. I can't make my peace with this system.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Little Story

My father owned a couple of buildings in the east-end. Three-storey walk-ups. One fall Sunday he took me with him to inspect the building. I was about seven years old. As we approached the first building, we could see a lot of commotion in front. I saw a woman and her three children on the sidewalk. The youngest was merely a toddler, holding on to the mother's hand and bawling. The middle one was about my age, also weeping piteously. The oldest was about twelve, and he (unencumbered by the youngsters) was attempting to lead the charge as he and his mother tried to climb the front steps and enter the building. Both of them were being slapped down by a man I recognized as the building's superintendent.

"What's going on?" I asked. My father remained silent. The superintendent was slapping both the boy and the mother quite hard at times, shoving them backwards down the steps. The glass doors of the front alcove would open frequently and some young, rough-looking men would come out and throw some item belonging to the family (furniture, clothes, family heirlooms, etc., ) onto the sidewalk, sometimes almost hitting the smaller children.

"We should stop this!" I shouted.

My father swallowed. "It's not always as simple as all that." he said.

"What do you mean?" I asked a little hysterically.

"I'm as upset about this as you are." my father answered almost without emotion. I couldn't process my father's indifference to the family's agony while watching them suffer at the same time. Then, the superintendent slapped the boy hard enough that teeth and blood flew from his mouth. He then gave the boy a shove with both hands and sent him sprawling to the street where he banged his skull hard onto the sidewalk.

"Stop this!" I shrieked. My father continued to hesitate. I watched the mother frantically try to throw herself down to her fallen son while still holding on to her little ones. The superintendent began roaring terrible insults at the woman. More furniture, dresser-drawers filled with clothes, and such were still being thrown carelessly at them by the workmen. I remember a lamp smashing right beside the toddler, and then my eyes filled with tears. I was only seven. Apparently I started wailing as loud as the dispossessed children on the street.

Later on, my mother tried to explain things to me. Apparently that family was two months late with the rent. Of course, they weren't alone among my father's tenants. This was in the days before rent control and my father had been raising the rents considerably with some frequency at that time. The real problem was that the woman and her husband had been forming a tenants' rights group and they'd been calling all sorts of newspapers and the local tv news, city inspectors, everyone, pointing out problems with the buildings. This was bad enough for my father, but the couple were reaching out to distressed tenants in nearby buildings, stirring up trouble for other landlords.

"They might even be communists!" my mother hissed.

"But why did we have to be so mean to them?" I asked her.

"Don't you like living the way you do? What do you think would happen if all these poor people were able to control the cost of renting? Do you think we'd be able to afford to live in a house like this?" In my simple, childish morality, I thought that it would be fine if we lived in a smaller house, if it meant we didn't have to throw people out on the street, but I kept my thoughts to myself.

"Besides. Those people don't know the first thing about how much it costs to run those buildings. Let them set the rent and pretty soon we'd have to give the building back to the bank! Their problem is that they have children before they can afford to look after themselves. They quit school, get married, and take the only jobs that hire uneducated people. Then they have kids they can't afford and then they become communists and blame everybody else for their problems."

My father spoke to me later that day. "I fired Mr. Mubarak." he said in a gentle voice.


"Mr. Mubarak. He's the man who runs that building. Who was being mean to the woman and her children." he answered.


"Yes. He let things get out of hand. He shouldn't have acted that way to them. I'm sorry."

"Did you let that family move back in?" I asked.

My father sighed. "Son." He sighed again. "No. I can't let them move back in. They can't afford to live there and I can't afford to let them live there for free."

I must have looked very upset.

"They're all right. I had some of my men give them a ride to her mother's house. We also carried their furniture for them, in one of our trucks. That's the best I can do I'm afraid. But Mr. Mubarak should not have treated them the way he did. I thought he was a good superintendent. It's a tough job. Sometimes tenants don't want to pay their rent and they get very angry. He had to be very brave sometimes. But other times, he was mean, like you saw today. And I won't have that. Anyway, I got someone new, and I hope you never have to see anything like that ever again. I hope you're not too upset."

I didn't know what to say. I was upset. I was upset about what happened to that family. I was upset that my father took so long to do something about it. I was upset to have to hear so many sad things about the way the world looked and about my place in it. I just stared in front of me.

"Well, if you want to talk, just let me know." said my father, leaving the room.

[If you think calling the superintendent "Mr. Mubarak" ruins everything, lemme know.]

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hillary Clinton Goes to Haiti During Egyptian Revolution?

Mark Weisbrot from Common Dreams:

It didn't get much attention in the media, but US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did something quite surprising on Sunday. After taping interviews on five big Sunday talkshows about Egypt, she then boarded a plane to Haiti. Yes, Haiti. The most impoverished country in the hemisphere, not exactly a "strategic ally" or a global player on the world's political stage.

Inquiring minds might want to know why the United States' top foreign policy official would have to go to Haiti in the midst of the worst diplomatic crisis she has faced. The answer is that there is also a crisis in Haiti. And it is a crisis that – unlike the humanitarian crisis that Haiti has suffered since the earthquake last year – Washington really cares about.

Like the Egyptians, Haitians are calling for free and fair elections. But in this case, Washington will not support free and fair elections, even nominally.
Read the rest. Apparently there's genuine resistance to the USA's bullying efforts to force one of their two right-wing stooges on the Haitians. Here's hoping. I hope the US world system unravels. It's an evil, doomed, suicidal system. The sooner the people the world over get control over their affairs the sooner we can begin facing up to reality and maybe saving ourselves.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Some Minor Details

Just some sweeping up in the market place of ideas. In some of the mental gutters of the internet you'll find imbeciles mocking Obama for his evident confusion and hesitation with regards to the Egyptian Revolution while they contrast this with their delusions about bush II's steely resolve and strategic brilliance. (I shan't be linking to such puke-sites. You can find them if you want to.)

The argument is that while Obama is clearly out of his depth, bush II was in control of events. Obama ("Obambi" to some of these morons) can only react incoherently while bush II directed his Middle East policies.

Well, first of all, one must remember that this revolution came almost out of nowhere. (Well, it came out of thirty years of dictatorship, torture, corruption and economic incompetence, but you get the idea.) Wikileaks (demonized by Washington, London, and all the corrupt souls in the mainstream media) revealed documentation exposing the massive corruption of the Tunisian dictatorship, which, combined with the suicide from despair of Mohamed Bouazizi, sparked a public uprising against dictatorship and misery without end. Roughly a month after the uprising in Tunisia erupted, the fire had spread to Egypt.

The point is, we can bet that had something like this occurred on bush II's watch, the stammering dullard (and his shit-head advisers Rumsfeld, Rice, and Cheney) would have been just as confused, if not more so, and might have responded even more disastrously than Obama has.

How can I be sure of this? What did bush II accomplish in Iraq? Did he create a functioning democracy? Not really. There are elections, but it is a corrupt "vague democracy" that is on its way to becoming a failed state. It is a country riven (perhaps by Washington design) by sectarian and ethnic divisions, between Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. It saw the increase of religious fundamentalist power and a precipitous fall in women's rights. It is a country where the police are universally feared as rapists, thieves, torturers and murderers. It is a country without hope.

Afghanistan is a similar disaster. Corruption appears to be the state's sole occupation. There too, human rights are a distant fantasy. It could be argued that human rights were no worse under the Taliban.

Remember that the cost in American lives for bush II's blunders and/or evil has been in the thousands. Tens of thousands have been wounded and maimed. Trillions have been spent.

Remember too that thanks to bush II, Syria and Iran (previously enemies) have formed a compact of sorts. Iraq itself is governed by politicians with more loyalties to Iran than Saddam Hussein ever had with the former USSR. Hezbollah has risen to prominence in Lebanon thanks to continued Israeli atrocities.

So, in answer to the dead-enders, still trying to make a silk purse out of a pig's anus, the reality is that bush II was a revolting failure who would have responded to the Egyptian Revolution just as badly as Obama has, if not hugely more so.

[More] Blood on Obama's Hands?

So, Obama sent Frank Wisner to talk with Mubarak ...
If the long-term goal is Democracy, then that is all very well because it has to be sacrificed to the short-term, namely support for the kind of Pharonic State embodied by Mubarak. Nothing more is on offer. No wonder that a "Washington Middle East hand" told The Cable, "[Wisner's] the exact wrong person to send. He is an apologist for Mubarak." But this is a wrong view. Wisner is just the exact person to send to protect the short-term, and so only-term, interests of Washington. The long-term has been set aside.
There's more at the link, but this is pretty damning:
I first wrote about Wisner in 1997 when he joined the board of directors of Enron Corporation. Where Wisner had been, to Manila and New Delhi, Enron followed. As one of his staffers said, "if anybody asked the CIA to help promote US business in India, it was probably Frank." Without the CIA and the muscle of the US government, it is unlikely that the Subic Bay power station deal or the Dabhol deal would have gone to Enron.
Prashad concludes:
Wisner urged Mubarak to concede. It is not enough. More is being asked for. Today, Mubarak's supporters have come out with bats in hand, ready for a fight. This has probably also been sanctioned in that private meeting. It is what one expects of Empire's bagman.
More about those "Mubarak supporters" proposing the ""win-win" of allowing the dictator to remain in power for nine more months:
However, other Egyptians said they believed that Mr Mubarak's offer could be a suitable compromise.

Omneya Okasha, a resident from Alexandria, told the BBC she believed that sudden change could lead to "more drastic consequences".

"I find this a stable solution something that suits both sides - a win-win situation."
Some of them might genuinely be the sort of people who would side with harper in Canada against coalition "coups," which is to say, ignorant or not very bright people. But remember too, that Mubarak has a police force of about 250,000 members. They have family and they have friends. If they're crooked cops and etc., they have dependents and clients whose bread is buttered by the Mubarak corruption. Of course he can fill the streets with these people and call them his supporters!

But by quietly siding with Mubarak, and forcing the people of Egypt to have to fight, Obama has new blood on his hands. And our political culture is so thoroughly debased that people will still be talking about the [non-existent] blood on Julian Assange's hands, and not Obama's contemptible betrayal of democracy.

Shorter Mubarak: "I know I've robbed and oppressed you for thirty years now ..."

"I know I've robbed and oppressed you for thirty years now, and I'm s... I understand. Now, go home, and I promise that I'll voluntarily leave power in nine months. Dictator's honour!"

The Egyptian protesters would not only be naive to accept this insult, they'd be suicidal.
  • Police and torture apparatus still intact and under Mubarak's rule? CHECK
  • All state communication (tv, radio, newspapers, etc.) loyal to Mubarak? CHECK
  • Mubarak able to loot public resources at will? CHECK
  • Mubarak able to position his own hand-picked successor? CHECK
What nine months of unimpeded dictatorship will do is give Mubarak a chance to punish the protest leaders (and thousands of participants), brutalizing them and terrifying them so that they will be less likely to revolt against whatever scum-bag he appoints as his replacement. This will be hailed in the sycophantic Western media as an "orderly transition of power." Of course, an "orderly transition of power" is precisely what monsters like Obama and Clinton want. They want for the next leader of Egypt to continue to act as the prison-guard of the west-wing of the Gaza prison complex. They want a dependable partner to torture their enemies for them. They want a military entirely beholden to them. (If they lack for pride having betrayed their own people, so much the better. Armies exist to oppress their nations' populations, not to allow dictators to attack and plunder other countries, ... the USA and Israel excluded. A well-trained, disciplined, army of self-hating, bitter stooges and chumps is the perfect tool for a regional role in the US world system.)

Again. Not only would it be naive to trust Mubarak, it would be suicidal.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Corporate Tax Cuts in the Budget = Election

In the past, the harpercons have stated that every vote will be considered a confidence vote. As "Impolitical" infers, this was needless brinkmanship. She also condemns the NDP for cheering these games. She neglects to mention that the reason the harpercons and the NDP played these games was because the Liberals were so hapless, confused, unpopular, timid, etc., that they'd agree to anything or hide in the lobby, to avoid an election. (Whether the NDP was hypocritically taking advantage of the Liberals' cowardice to hide their own is still an open question. I myself thought that Ignatieff's last election gambit was so horrendously ill-timed that it threatened a harper majority, though I think the NDP settled for far too little to allow the government to survive.)

But in their "all partisan politics, all the time" habit, the harpercons are now going to pretend that in the interests of "making Parliament work" they're going to pretend that hardly anything will be a confidence bill. As Impolitical points out, this is just more typical harper dishonesty and crud. Fat stephen gets to pretend that he's a reasonable fellow, trying to avoid an election, but only for propaganda purposes. He implants the notion that he's doing everything possible to avoid an election, but the thing is that the budget's being a confidence motion isn't optional. And it's the budget that is the issue here.

I take this as harper the loathsome toad, who snores through the masses of whatever Christian sect he doesn't believe in, intimating that he's serious about forcing an election on dim-bulb Flaherty's corporate tax-cut budget. By making these empty gestures of accommodation, without addressing the pink elephant in the room that it has been the budget that the government will survive or fall on, harper can only be trying to make Canadians think that it is the opposition parties that are being unreasonable.

It's all about crude manipulation of symbols and language, not about anything genuine. (harper doesn't have a genuine bone in his body!)

But the thing is, the government SHOULD fall if it sticks these idiotic tax cuts into the budget. Dale at Hill Queeries directs us to a StatsCan economist, who (he says) "punches a whole bunch of holes in all the rhetoric on all sides about said corporate tax cuts" although it really only does that to the pro-tax cut argument. The Winnipeg Free Press says:
"A couple of billion dollars (of savings from tax cuts) is a drop in the bucket of corporate income here," Cross said in an interview. "It's trivial."

Canada's natural resources, the price of oil, currency fluctuations and the state of the country's financial markets have been far more influential on corporate investment decisions than recent tax cuts, he says.

"These huge forces were going on — globalization of supply chains, commodity price booms and so on. And somewhere in there you're going to be able to separate out the impact of small changes in the tax rate? You're kidding," Cross said.

followed by:

The larger impact is on the government's bottom line, not the corporate bottom line — even though corporate taxes have now become key in determining whether there will be a spring election.

Indeed, federal Finance Department documents show that the reduction of corporate income tax — from 18 per cent in 2010 to 16.5 per cent in 2011 and then to 15 per cent in 2012 — will be expensive for any government battling a deficit. The cost is about $1.6 billion in foregone revenue in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, $3.9 billion the year after, and a total of more than $10 billion over three years.

In other words, these tax cuts would have a negligible job-creation power and cause significant damage to the government's own finances. That most of the tax cut would go to oil and finance (who need no extra money and who create little in the way of jobs) is another strike against them.

The tea-leaves are pretty clear. harper wants to have an election on this subject. (Why is anyone's guess. Perhaps he's hoping that simply doing their job will discredit the opposition enough in the eyes of voters to give him his majority, or he's just simply gone completely insane.) He wants to bet his political career on this ruinous course and we should call his bluff.