Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Glenn Greenwald on the US Democrats

Foolish chump, or mercenary Democratic Party hack Driftglass has a hate-on for Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald is a libertarian don't you know. He isn't a corporate stooge Democrat who mouths platitudes about the working class and minorities like Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Therefore his exposes of Obama and Clinton's mass spying and crimes against humanity are of no account.

But I have a helluva lot more respect for Greenwald than I do for Driftglass, so that's why I think it's important to mention Greenwald's latest evisceration of that party's overall uselessness.

The more alarmed one is by the Trump administration, the more one should focus on how to fix the systemic, fundamental sickness of the Democratic Party. That Hillary Clinton won the meaningless popular vote on her way to losing to Donald Trump, and that the singular charisma of Barack Obama kept him popular, have enabled many to ignore just how broken and failed the Democrats are as a national political force.

A failed, collapsed party cannot form an effective resistance. Trump did not become president and the Republicans do not dominate virtually all levels of government because there is some sort of massive surge in enthusiasm for right-wing extremism. Quite the contrary: This all happened because the Democrats are perceived — with good reason — to be out of touch, artificial, talking points-spouting automatons who serve Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and the agenda of endless war, led by millionaires and funded by oligarchs to do the least amount possible for ordinary, powerless citizens while still keeping their votes.
Everyone knows the popular cliché that insanity means doing the same thing over and over and expecting different outcomes; it illustrates why Democrats cannot continue as is and expect anything other than ongoing impotence and failure. The party’s steadfast refusal to change course even in symbolic ways — We hereby elevate by acclamation Chuck “Wall Street” Schumer and re-install Nancy “I’m a multimillionaire and we are capitalists” Pelosi — bodes very poorly for its future success.
For the last five years, the face of the DNC was the living, breathing embodiment of everything awful about the party: the sleazy, corrupt corporatist, and centrist hawk Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who — as a result of WikiLeaks’ publication of DNC emails — had to resign in disgrace after she got caught engaging in sustained cheating in order to ensure that Hillary Clinton would be the party’s nominee.
But her disgrace was short-lived: Upon resigning, she was quickly rewarded for her corruption by being named to a high position with the Clinton campaign, as well as having the D.C. establishment Democrats, led by Joe Biden and Clinton herself, support her in vanquishing a Sanders-supported primary challenger for her seat in Congress. As a result of the support from the party establishment (as well as massive funding from corporate and banking interests), she defeated that challenger, Tim Canova, and the nation rejoiced as she returned for her seventh term in Congress.
Perhaps worse than the serial cheating itself was that it was all in service of coronating a candidate who — as many of us tried to warn at the time — all empirical data showed was the most vulnerable to lose to Donald Trump. So the very same people who bear the blame for Trump’s presidency — by cheating to elevate the candidate most likely to lose to him — continue to dominate the Democratic Party. To describe the situation is to demonstrate the urgency of debating and fixing it, rather than ignoring it in the name of talking only about Trump.
So in Tom Perez’s conduct, one sees the mentality and posture that has shaped the Democratic Party: a defense of jobs-killing free trade agreements that big corporate funders love; an inability to speak plainly, without desperately clinging to focus-group, talking-points scripts; a petrified fear of addressing controversial issues even (especially) when they involve severe human rights violations by allies; a religious-like commitment never to offend rich donors; and a limitless willingness to publicly abase oneself in pursuit of power by submitting to an apology ritual for having told the truth.
That is the template that has driven the Democratic Party into a ditch so deep and disastrous that even Vox acknowledges it without euphemisms. That is the template that has alienated voters across the country at all levels of elected office and that enabled the Donald Trump presidency.
If you're interested in a true renewal of the political culture that enabled a Trump victory, you'd do well to take Greenwald's advice.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Profiles in Liberal Fuck-Wittery

Sorry liberals/Liberals. Not going to apologize for not supporting corrupt, mass-murderer Hillary Clinton. "Lesser-Evilism" brought us to Trump. It was HRC's job to get people to support her. It wasn't everybody else's responsibility to force themselves to want to vote for her. She could not get people mobilized, even against someone as loathsome and stupid as Donald Trump because she was running on her party's, her husbands and Obama's legacy. A legacy of destructive corporate rights "free trade" deals. A legacy of destruction of social programs. A legacy of austerity. A legacy of mass incarceration. A legacy of continuing Repug policies of torture and war and inhumanity.

The response of sane people is to reject BOTH Clintonism and Trumpism. If you want to vote for criminal, mass-murdering, elite-serving scum-bags liberals, that's YOUR mental affliction. And fuck you.

And, no, sorry Liberals; once again, let me repeat that Jack Layton was under no obligation to allow Paul (bullshit artist) Martin to continue to destroy public healthcare. If Paul-goddamned-Martin cared so much about his national daycare program (promised in 1992 and due for delivery by 2007), or his Keewatin Accord, he could have agreed to stop destroying pubic healthcare. I guess his priorities were to destroy pubic healthcare first over those other two.

Lately there's been some self-righteous anonymous prick in liberal Montreal Simon's comments section saying shit like this:
Left wing morons+right wing media working hard to take down Justin Trudeau so we can get Leitch or O'Leery as Prime Minister. Just look at the hype around Jagmeet Singh. Yes yes, he is in GQ, yes yes, split the vote you goddamn fucking morons.
I replied:
Split the vote? You mean that problem we have with our archaic first-past-the-post electoral system?
The one that Justin has decided to keep?
There really can't be anything to say after that. Blaming lefties for a problem that dreamy Justin Trudeau allows to continue.

Speaking of dreamy Justin Trudeau: While he does look nice in all those selfies, he must be pretty rotten on the inside to goddamned fucking ignore the SUICIDE EPIDEMIC among First Nations' youth. He's pretty fucking scuzzy to ignore a direct order to bring spending on social services for First Nations up to those enjoyed by the settler society. (Even after cynically voting for a NDP motion that he do so.) The asshole is planning on having a Canadian version of the Standing Rock tragedy.

Sorry liberals.

Monday, February 13, 2017

My "alt-right" Co-Worker

No. He's not a Nazi, or a white supremacist. First of all, he's Filipino. And, while he might be dismayed to find out what Steve Bannon really thinks of him when the chips are down, "Breitbart" (which he reads regularly) has a big enough tent that it features the gay, partly Jewish, Greek (and utterly vile scum-bag) Milo Yiannopoulis as one of their star editors. (Which is not to say that the "grassroots" of "Breitbart" wouldn't kill Milo along with my co-worker if given their druthers.)

When I first got transferred to his section of the factory I had a lot on my mind and wasn't in the mood to be sociable with anyone. Bizarrely, without having known me more than a couple of days, he asked if I wanted to date his cousin. (He's 56, I'm 50. I'm assuming that his cousin is also in late middle age, which is not a good age to be single in. So, her choices are probably fairly limited, but it was still bizarre.) I said no. Truthfully I'm not interested in a relationship. He also made intimations of having a drink after work. But by then I'd heard enough of his other views and, combined with my long-term bad mood, I chose not to take him up on the offer.

We ended up in the same strip-plaza restaurant for lunch once and sat with each other. Out of nowhere he told me that while he had guns back home in the Philippines, he couldn't get one in Canada, but if he'd had one he would have killed his ex-wife. I was flabbergasted. I mumbled something about how I tend to want to harm myself when my relationships go sour, but chalk one up for Canada's gun laws 'eh? He'd be in prison now and his children would hate him. (Obviously his ex-wife would be dead, but that might not have bothered him.)

A big part of our relationship is that I don't really know what I'm doing with this piece of machinery I'm operating and I need his help on a regular basis. So I'm not going to debate/argue with him about politics. But all our conversations ended up somehow into a chance to showcase his right-wing views. And he seems to get frustrated and angry quickly. I don't want to give him ammunition. Early on, I only asked him if he'd heard of the pipeline protest at Standing Rock. I wondered if the mainstream media was even reporting on it. Indeed he had. I was treated to a lengthy statement about how the First Nations (not his term) simply had to get with the program and forget about all their claims and nature and all that other shit. (Of course, none of that has anything to do with the markedly different treatment of the desires of the people of Bismarck South Dakota to not have the pipeline so close to their drinking water and those of the people of Standing Rock to not have the pipeline so close to their own drinking water supplies.)

I didn't get into it with him. I just repeated that I was wondering if he'd even heard about the stand-off.

So, it's been a couple of months or so. And I notice that the guy is fairly lonely. I'm thinking that more people don't want to end up having to listen to long-winded, right-wing tirades. (Especially about topics they might be blissfully ignorant about.) So, one day I was reading CounterPunch and there was a long article about the struggle for Mosul. It sounds horrible. Like a mini-Stalingrad. But I figured it being a manly topic (war) and dealing with attacking the terrorists where they live, that he and I could have some mutual agreement. Bringing up the topic I was treated to him telling me that they should just flatten the place. Bomb it to obliteration. Too bad about the civilians. Including the children. They'd probably grow up to be terrorists too. You can't reason with such people. Their religion makes them fanatics. They're all the same. Which is why it's so foolish for white liberals to say "let everyone in" when it comes to refugees. Why, did I know that Denmark is now 45% Muslim? [That struck me as implausible.] They've brought Sharia Law to Denmark. That's what they do. White people don't have big families. Because we're selfish and narcissistic. But Muslims do. They have 4-5 kids, minimum, and they abuse all those liberal multiculturalism values to establish their rights and they fucking just take over. Pretty soon, nobody has any rights. White people don't notice because we're all into "personal growth" and "personal development."

It wasn't until I saw one of these nut-bars standing right before me that I appreciated the murderous, fanatical bigotry that leads some of them to commit atrocities like the Quebec City mosque shooting. And then this guy's devotion to "Breitbart" (despite not being a Caucasian) made more sense. His contempt for white liberals and/or privileged white individualism became explicable. He's a salt-of-the-earth Filipino. He works hard and he has to know what's-what. He can neither afford to financially, or mentally, stick his head in the ground and dream about yoga classes, or the brotherhood of all mankind, or about degenerate liberal nonsense like sharing one's wives with Black men. He recognizes better than people like me the danger that Western Civilization faces from Islamic Fundamentalist Jihad. (Responding to his murderously bigoted drivel I only joked that the Muslims would have a fight on their hands if they took away my right to have bacon on my pizza.)

Just like the incoherent, rambling garbage that comes from fellow "alt-right" ("white nationalist on paper") Davis Aurini, this guy sees himself on the front-line of a cultural war. He sees liberals as being blind to the danger and even enabling the danger with their imbecilic values of "social justice" and "multiculturalism" and "human rights." That's why they're all so angry at liberals and Muslims. They stew in their conspiracy theories and they build their fantasies in exquisite detail. (Like Davis Aurini; who simply piles groundless assertion upon groundless assertion, until he can say stupid things like "anyone with an ounce of sanity is voting for Donald Trump.")

They believe this shit. They live this shit. They've worked themselves up into a state where they actually call out loud for bombing children to death. And then they go and shoot-up mosques.

So, the thing is, I'm needing this guy's assistance less and less as I become more proficient at my job. Should I confront him? I hesitate because we're a small team on this shift. It could end up creating an extremely stressful situation. ("Productivity is down because [thwap] and Ernesto are fighting over politics again. Fire one or both of them.") More likely the problem will be cognitive dissonance. As the years go by, I see this effecting people more and more. My faith in rational, fact-based discussion weakens when I read progressives saying stupid shit like "Barack Obama was a progressive" or "Trump avoiding nuclear war with Russia is bad, but threatening nuclear war with China is also bad." I can see only too plainly that trying to reason with this guy would be a complete waste of time.

More and more, I think I'll just write for myself and pursue my cartooning and to hell with everything and everyone else.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The LibroCons & Their Billionaire Pals

So, it seems Justin Trudeau took a helicopter to get to a billionaire's private island for some R n' R.(He's bushed from breaking all those promises with his bare hands.)

In the House of Commons, interim Snake-Pit of Closet-Cases n' Criminals Party leader Rona Ambrose waxed indignantly. That is until it was found out she was yachting with a different billionaire somewhere in the tropical sun.

Palin' around with billionaires. Both of 'em.

Speaks volumes about our whole society. Doesn't it?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Atrocity Stories From Syria

I've mentioned Diane Purkiss's The English Civil War: A People's History before. I remember being struck by the way she described massacres of defeated soldiers and ordinary civilians by both sides and how propagandists from each side would write self-righteous, self-pitying dirges about the evils of their enemy.

War tends to do that.

You shouldn't buy Gordon Corrigan's The Second World War: A Military History, because 1) It's more a history of the British army in that war, with a disproportionate focus on the fighting in Burma, and 2) He makes bitchy comments and sweeping claims without following them up. He says the failure of Operation Market Garden was the fault of one of Bernard Montgomery's toadies, but he never mentioned the man once in his section about it the battle and he never explains his statement subsequently. He says that some people criticized Stalin for moving his armies westward into Poland without having built defences for them if they were attacked, but blithely comments it wouldn't have mattered one way or the other. With no explanation. 3) He's a disagreeable militarist, sexist boor, who says that soldiers should have the fear of being shot for cowardice, and says that a lot of the poor London women who were sheltered in rural communities were dirty sluts.

But his candid writing was helpful in at least one part: Writing about the rape of Nanking, Corrigan states:

All armies do go off the rails from time to time. Soldiers are aggressive and trained to be so and are a lot less squeamish about blood and slaughter than their civilian counterparts. During the Peninsular War the British Army frequently and regularly misbehaved in captured cities, but this rarely lasted more than a couple of days before exhaustion and the provost restored order. Rape is not uncommon after a period of intense fear and danger. In Nanking however what happened was far worse than a temporary loss of control.

So, what I take from that is that everyone is capable of committing atrocities and many often do. In a battle between the armies of a torturing dictatorship and jihaadist mercenaries, there's no doubt that they have. It's also true that both sides will condemn the outrages of their enemy and embellish things if need be.

These are reasons for wars to be avoided by the way.

If you want to know what I think about Syria's agonies, you can read this.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Canadians Held Hostage

"I live in a riding where a lot of people are so ignorant and/or racist and/or stupid and/or whatever that the Conservative Party of Canada candidate might win. I'd rather vote NDP/Green/Liberal but the likeliest candidate to defeat the Conservative fuckwad is the Liberal/NDP candidate. Once again, thanks to our antiquated electoral system, I'm voting AGAINST something instead of FOR something."

That, in a nut-shell, is how sane Canadian voters (or at least "not deplorable Canadian voters") are held hostage by First-Past-The-Post. And that's what we'll all still be subjected to by Justin Trudeau's blatant betrayal of a much stated election promise.

The Liberals have a huge majority. They could have done anything they wanted. What's more, if they'd imposed their Preferential Ballot as our new system, supposedly they wouldn't have to fear any backlash for their "arrogance" in having done so.

Some will blame the powerless minority parties for demanding a referendum or for doing some other thing that somehow sabotaged the Liberals' dreams of rescuing us from our plight. But re-read the words "powerless minority parties" again and think about how completely stupid that notion is. Justin himself is blaming Canadians for not all being united as one behind one version of electoral reform. However, when looking back on the Liberals' antics from the very beginning of this farce, we can see that they were never serious about electoral reform. They might have been partially serious while on the campaign trail. The start of that election saw them in one of those periods when anger and disgust against them saw them reduced to far fewer seats than their popular support indicated they would have.

But once in power with a massive majority, they remembered why they like First-Past-The-Post so much. And so, at least from election night onwards, electoral reform was dead. They just had to come up with some plausible way to kill it while seeming to try to bring it about. In the end, it was not plausible. It was an insult to our collective intelligence.

I'll conclude by talking about how liberals create monsters. Now that he's put electoral reform behind him, Trudeau can engage in the wholesale give-away of public assets to the private sector that his whole "infrastructure bank" is designed for. He'll strip the federal government of its assets, enrich the wealthiest, allow the real economy to stagnate, toss crumbs to the poor to ameliorate the worst sufferings (paid for with deficit spending because LibroCons have slashed government revenues and eliminated assets). And while he's doing this, Trudeau will continue to indulge himself with soaring rhetoric about equality and justice and inclusivity that (together with ignoring the material well-being of the majority of the population) makes the stupidest, mentally ugliest 25% of the population seethe with rage. Just like the Ontario McGuinty-Wynne Liberals, he'll engage in super-corruption combined with social values bullshit that only serves to discredit those values among the ignorant and the stupid. And then, thanks to his betrayal of us on electoral reform, the vile Conservatives sweep back to power.

In the end though, this see-saw between Bad and Worse is in the best interests of Canadian capitalism. So it'll stay that way. Because there are some things more important than narrow partisan interests.

Edited to add:

Personally, I'd even like the preferential ballot/instant run-off system over the piece-of-shit system we have now. I'd vote NDP and Green would be my second choice. Once people realize that a different electoral system isn't traumatic, future governments could change it more easily if need be.