Wednesday, July 21, 2021

How Brainwashed are You?

 

I didn't really know what to call this post. I've got a bunch of things bothering me recently. Here goes:

So, the Roman Catholic Church in Canada grudgingly, sorta admits to having abused the First Nations children stolen from their families and placed under Catholic Residential Schools by the Canadian state. They abused them. They starved them. They beat them. They used them as unpaid labour. They forbid them from speaking their own languages. They raped them. They made them live in squalor which encouraged diseases like tuberculosis. This led to the deaths of thousands of children and permanent trauma for thousands more.

As I said, the Catholic Church essentially admitted to this sickening barbarism, and "promised" to "try" to pay $27 million in compensation. Then, revoltingly, the Catholic Church pretends it could only come up with $3 million

Here's the thing: Catholics in Canada supposedly number 12.8 million. Two dollars from each of them would have almost raised that $27 million. The Catholic Church in Canada wants to pretend that it couldn't raise $27 million?!?!?!?!!? And what are we hearing from Catholic laypeople? The "flocks" who attend weekly at their churches to receive moral instruction and uplift from this institution with that wee little problem of child rape and cover-up that it has to overcome? Aren't they ashamed of their religious institution's outrageously cynical and sleazy and cruel and selfish and greedy and disgusting behaviour? 

Is there a movement of outraged Catholics demanding that the Church pay what it said it would?!?!? If not, why not????

This is the level of apathy and self-centredness that blights so many of us and will be the doom of our species.

Next up: Canada being one of the countries at the World Trade Organization blocking the lifting of patent restrictions on the production of COVID-19 vaccines:

Despite having the support of more than 140 nations, the head of the World Health Organization, and hundreds of civil society organizations spanning the globe, the proposed waiver has been mired in fruitless negotiations for months as wealthy WTO members—most prominently Germany, the United Kingdom, and Canada—refuse to drop their opposition in the face of growing grassroots pressure.

The People's Vaccine Alliance, an international coalition of public health organizations campaigning for equitable vaccine distribution, warned following the WTO's meeting Tuesday that "countries' inaction isn't just frustrating bureaucracy."

"It's a death sentence for so many people," the coalition tweeted. "Support the TRIPS waiver. End the pandemic."

I don't suppose any "progressive" blogging, partisan Liberal Party hack, laughable Justin Trudeau groupies will ever have anything to say on this monstrous behaviour, in between their interminable posts about how awesome and studly and saintly and beautiful and perfect Justin Trudeau is and how maybe he should call a snap election before COVID-19 is defeated because polls show that the Liberals would win a majority and THAT is all that really matters after all?

When it comes to COVID-19, ... this is just a mini-version of the deadly stupidity that has also been at work on the Global Warming file, as Ian Welsh hammers home:

I am tired of living in societies where we know how to do the right thing and simply refuse to do so because our elites are psychopathic, selfish and greedy and our population refuses to discipline or control the elites.

We KNOW what to do to stop Covid. We KNOW how to do it. We just fucking refuse.

This is goddamn pathetic. It’s just like climate change, but on a faster timeline so you can see it in weeks to months rather than decades. We may go extinct, we are certainly going to kill and impoverish billions and probably wipe out half the world’s species (which will hurt us terribly, not just them) all because while we KNOW how to do the good, non psychopathic, non criminally insane things, we REFUSE.

You discipline your elites, or most of  you and your children will die or be impoverished by their actions and lack of actions.

With COVID-19, the people on my team, .... which is to say, ... anyone who opposes austerity imposed on the majority and taxpayer bail-outs for banksters, ... anyone who opposes unilateral abrogation of our Treaties with the First Nations and who deplores the racism of Canadian society, ... anyone who knew there were no WMD's, ... everyone who opposes murderous racism from the police, ... etc., etc., ... you all know who you are: It's so damned frustrating to know that if we ever did organize something to at least force the stupid Canadian government of stupid Justin Trudeau to join the majority of the world in allowing the free manufacture of vaccines, ... that we'd also have to fight a rearguard action against the shit-heads who say that COVID-19 is a hoax and the vaccines contain microchips and all that other stupid nonsense. The same idiots who deny global warming even when towns in British Columbia are bursting into flames from unprecedented heatwaves. Fuck those idiots.

Finally (for today) MILLIONS of people continue to starve to death in Yemen as a direct policy on the part of the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and with the direct support of the USA. (For its part, Justin Trudeau's Canada continues the policy of stupid stephen harper in accepting the blood money of the Saudi regime for purchases of made-in-Canada military vehicles.) This atrocity, this abomination, has been going on for YEARS now. And what is the peace movement doing about it?

What am I doing about it? Nothing. And I'll tell you why: I believed that stephen harper and Doug Ford needed to be forced to resign but that getting them to do so would require more than a few afternoon protests where some empty speeches were made and placards (some with clever slogans, some not so clever) are carried. I believed that taking on an entrenched neo-liberal regime required lots of work. Lots of preparation. Lots of planning. Lots of outreach to ordinary Canadians. But Canadian progressives prefer to stick with what they know. Which is milling about in public with a few like-minded individuals (a few? a few dozen? a few hundred? a few thousand? whatever.) making empty "demands" and then going home. Proposals that we try something else because Plan A isn't working are to be met with embarrassed silence until the complainer goes away.

What does it say about the state of the international peace movement that a massive crime such as the mass murder in Yemen is met with practical silence? Fine. I'm a delusional idiot. What are the sane, intelligent, smarter, superior tacticians of the Left doing?

It could be argued (and I have argued it) that we might be overwhelmed by the number of fires (both literal and figurative) that we have to put out: Global warming, Yemen, racist police violence, austerity, increasing economic inequality, Venezuela sanctions, Israeli apartheid, Canadian apartheid and racism against the First Nations, cuts to public healthcare and other services, etc., etc., etc., .... But that just goes to show why we need to think seriously about TAKING POWER rather than making infinite "demands" on the amoral psychopaths who rule us.

But so many progressives shove their heads up their asses and fanatically support neo-liberal con-artists like the Democratic Party USA or the Liberal Party of Canada (whooz kidding whom? the NDP sux!) and spending three years obsessing over crimes that Donald Trump didn't commit while ignoring the crimes he did.

I'm blogging because I need to vent. I've left proposing solutions to the world's problems to the more obviously intelligent, wise and capable people. And you just have to open your eyes to see their uselessness.  I'm going back to bed. We're all going to die. 



Saturday, July 17, 2021

Three Books

 

Lately I've been reading George Monbiot's Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis. As he has done in previous books (such as Heat or The Age of Consent), Monbiot shows he's not the sort of leftist author who spends 80% of his book describing problems with the remaining 20% dedicated to vague, generalized prescriptions for alternatives. 

Starting off, I was struck by how similar Monbiot's centring of the importance of narrative for human affairs was to Caitlin Johnstone's writings on the subject. The Left has avoided "metanarratives" (such as Marxism) in response to the ways that the white, male dominated Old Left excluded feminists, racialized minorities, environmentalists and the eco-system, etc., from power and constructed institutions reflecting this exclusion and narrow-mindedness.  (In so doing, the Left seems to have succumbed to the intellectual morass of post-structuralist confusion. Don't get me wrong. Reality IS chaos. But reality is also REAL. Whether you earn enough to not have to worry about homelessness is a condition that can be created by a focused, class-based politics. A Leftism that deliberately alienates ordinary people through the confused elevation of "identity politics" and conniptions about "micro-aggressions" is a Leftism that is quite compatible with gargantuan levels of social inequality and state violence.)

Monbiot's great narrative in Out of the Wreckage is that most human beings are altruistic and that we value things like community and cooperation. But a minority of people are motivated by selfishness. And these are the people who are driven to rise to the top of any social pecking order. Capitalism doesn't just reward hard workers and innovators. (Oftentimes it doesn't even reward these!) Capitalism (especially late-capitalism) rewards the ruthless, the cheaters, the already-powerful, anyone willing to betray colleagues, poison the environment, exploit the sick, kiss ass, steal ideas, etc., etc., ... assholes basically.

And it is neo-liberalism, propagated by economists like Milton Friedman, F. A. Hayek, and Ludwig von Mises, that provides the grand narrative for these selfish attitudes to be rewarded. Instead of fellow human beings to be worked with, neo-liberalism instructs us to think of other people as individual rivals to compete against. This system inevitably creates atomization, precarity, alienation and loneliness and despair. (As well as a threatened eco-system.)

Monbiot does a great job describing how adherence to neo-liberal hegemony has been devastating to left-wing parties and to representative democracy generally. He talks about utilizing participatory budgeting and the Donut Economics of Kate Raworth.

I've got two other books to mention so I'll stop there ....

Next up is Eric Toussaint's The Debt System: A History of Sovereign Debts and their Repudiation. I've read other books before about "Third World" debt, but Toussaint's book is the first one that so clearly emphasizes the massive fraud involved in 19th-Century international financing. So far I've read about the loans from (mainly) London bankers to South America and Mexico; London and Paris bankers to Greece; Paris bankers to Tunisia. The peoples of these countries would find themselves on the hook for bond payments that were sold at a discount (but which needed to be repaid at 100% of their value) by bankers who took commissions and fees that routinely amounted to 10% of the total loan. Oftentimes, domestic oligarchs got in on the action too, directing money raised by these loans to their own bank accounts or to the purchasing of substandard goods produced in their own factories. It's a story that really exposes the seflishness, inhumanity and hypocrisy of European capitalism and European imperialists.

Finally, I'm reading Edward Ashpole's Signatures of Life: Science Searches the Universe. I'm writing a Sci-Fi comedy (mostly for my own amusement) and I wanted some backgrounding in the realities (or, make that, "science-backed speculation") of alien evolution and the evolution of alien technology. Ashpole is a science writer, not (I do not think) a PhD-possessing, practicising scientist. Still, he does write about hard-science topics about the physical dangers of space travel; the enormous challenges of the distances in space-time involved; and the likely total incompatibility of space-travelling lifeforms with the alien eco-systems they're likely to encounter. Sometimes the book feels padded by repetition. But it says enough interesting things to keep me reading.



Friday, July 16, 2021

Burning Buildings

 

When last summer's gigantic Black Lives Matter protest wave erupted in response to the murder of George Floyd some buildings caught fire. For racist, right-wing troglodytes (who support the murder of innocent, unarmed civilians by the police ... especially if the victims are Black) these burning buildings "discredited" the protests against murderous police brutality and racism.

The fires could have been the work of provocateurs. They could have been the actions of looters and vandals who were only taking advantage of the confusion created by the protests. Or, they could have been acts of passion committed by individuals enraged by a culture of racism, cruelty, injustice and violence. Whatever their origins, these fires nullified the merits of anything the protesters had to say.

The Roman Catholic Church is a mobbed-up cabal of pedophile weirdos. It has been suffering a public relations problem in recent decades over it habit of allowing their pedophile weirdo priests to continue to lead "flocks" of parishoners after their sexual assaults on children were exposed. These priests were simply relocated to other parishes, without warning the parishoners that their new spiritual leader had to get outta Dodge because he got caught molesting children. 

Of course, there's also centuries of obscurantism, imperialism, hypocrisy, torture and murder. Oh, and the collaboration with Nazis during the Holocaust mentioned in the link above.

In Canada, in the early-20th Century, if Catholic priests were diddling kids who went home to their parents at night, we can only imagine what foul deeds they perpetrated at places like the Residential Schools, where kidnapped Indigenous children were forced to reside for years, far from home. What they did was to starve, beat, torture, rape, and kill. Their surviving victims know this. Often times, the families of these survivors know about this. The Canadian government acknowledged this. The Catholic Church acknowledged this. But somehow or other, instead of being forced to pay $25 million in compensation to its vicitms, the Church got away with only having to "promise" to "try" to raise that money. In the end, this multi-billion dollar entity tossed a paltry $3.7 million to the First Nations victims' compensation. Because what else could have been expected from such scumbag vermin? 

Jesus Christ! Just think of the level of cynical, disgusting, inhuman monstrosity it took to acknowledge having tortured, raped, and killed an entire people, and then to falsely plead poverty to avoid paying even token restitution!

And that wretched, sleazy, revolting behaviour took place before First Nations activists (at their own expense) produced evidence of hundreds of unmarked graves of First Nations' children beneath the grounds of what had been Catholic-run Residential Schools! Canada's anti-indigenous racism was so brutal and callous, that when kidnapped Indigenous children died in their custody, the school authorities often didn't even bother to inform the parents. They just dug a hole on the school property and tossed the bodies in it!

Soon after these revelations were made, unknown arsonists have been setting on-reserve Catholic church buildings on fire in recent weeks, most likely in response to this confirmation of a century's worth of abusive cruelty.

And for some people (like the racists and grifters at Ezra Levant's "The Rebel") the burning buildings are what Canadians should be fixating on!

"Yes! I know that the Canadian state kidnapped you. And then the Catholic Church enslaved you, starved you, neglected your living conditions to the point where you contracted tuberculosis, beat you when you spoke your Native language, sexually molested you, and dumped your tiny bodies in unmarked graves if you subsequently died from their abuse of you AND THEN reneged on its promise to pay you token compensation for their crimes against you. But NONE OF THAT gives you the right to get angry and set empty church buildings on fire! And these burning structures of bricks, wood, glass, steel, etc., ARE THE REAL VICTIMS HERE!!! I'm just shocked and appalled that you're taking this evidence of mass murder as an EXCUSE to commit ARSON!!!!"

What moral degenerates these right-wingers are!  

And the point of this post is that besides being degenerates, right-wing fucks are also inconsistent. Because some buildings are burning down because of something, but these burning buildings apparently don't matter as much as the buildings that burned during protests againgst murderous racism. Entire forests are burning (but that is ONLY ever the concern of leftard tree-huggers), and 90% of the town of Lytton British Columbia (among other places affected by the wild fires) burned down.

This time the culprit was Global Warming. Global Warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Anthropogenic Global Warming is something we've known about for several decades now. Those buildings in Lytton were as much deliberately set as any buildings set afire during a BLM protest or those churches belonging to the cult that committed the atrocities at the Residential Schools.

But yet, we don't hear much criticism of the arsonists of Lytton from these right-wing blowhards, do we? That's because (obviously) blowhards like Ezra Levant and Tucker Carlson and all the other fuck-faces at theirs' and other right-wing media outlets are hypocrites. They're racist. They're corrupt. The fossil fuels sector is one of the primary funders of right-wing propaganda. These pundits aren't going to criticize their sugar daddies just to be morally and intellectually consistent! Moral and intellectual consistency are alien concepts to them.



Sunday, July 4, 2021

My 2021 Canada Day

 

I don't celebrate Canada Day anymore. Not for the past several years. My explanation for that is here. I tend not to do anything on Canada Day, one way or the other. But this year, well, there are these weekly "De-Fund the Police" rallies in front of the Toronto Police Headquarters on College Street and this week the rally happened to fall on Canada Day. The organizers announced that they would be demonstrating on College Street and then marching down Yonge Street to Dundas Square to join the Anti-Canada Day rally that had been organized by Idle No More.

I thought that the recent attack on the homeless encampment at Trinity-Bellwoods Park and the discovery revelations of the mass graves of First Nations children on the grounds of former residential schools made me want to join these rallies just to stand and be counted. 

I mean, the money that went into the Trinity-Bellwoods action, and the sheer barbarism of the policy! Rents are sky-high. Incomes are stagnant. The pandemic has thrown thousands of people in Toronto out of work. People have no homes. They get a tent and they live in parks, or under bridges or under the Gardiner Expressway. And what do the authorities do? They destroy the encampments, throw the homeless people's few belongings into garbage trucks, and tell them to go to the overcrowded, COVID-infested shelters

[To be fair, the city did make new temporary housing available during the pandemic, in hotels that would otherwise be closed and in other places, but the crisis is so enormous that these efforts are clearly insufficient.]

And then there's the mass graves. As I said in a recent post, someone on the rabble/babble discussion board informed me about how often times, when First Nations children died of tuberculosis or abuse at a residential school, the school authorities wouldn't even bother informing the parents. They'd just dump the childrens' bodies in pits and ignore the eventual pleas from the families asking after their loved ones. (I did see a case where a school did inform the parents that their child had died. But they rejected the request that the child's body be returned home. In a typed letter, the authorities write that it wasn't "policy" to pay the freight costs to send the body home by train. Of course the Canadian government did pay to transport the stolen children TO the residential school!)

And, despite what partisan lunatics and scumbags will tell you, these crimes took place under BOTH of Canada's major parties. (And I've no doubt, seeing them in action at the provincial level, that the NDP would have been no different.) 

And the Canadian state and Canadian governments have known about these mass graves the entire time. Imagine this: After years of denial and lies, the wealthiest man in town admits that he was wrong to kidnap poor people's children and force them to join his cult, while all the while starving and abusing them. By some mysterious process, the town had come to sympathize with the poor people and the courts had ruled that he'd done them wrong and forced him to admit it and pay them some compensation. He did apologize and he did pay some of the money. But the poor people wanted to know where the bodies of the children who never came back were buried. He ignored them. At their own expense, they found the bodies. And then he uttered yet more empty apologies and platitudes.

So I dragged myself down to College Street. I got there a few minutes late and it was already in full swing. Maybe fifty people, ... maybe one hundred at the most. A speech about colonization and imperialism from some Arab guy was winding up. Then they started chanting: "From Turtle Island to Palestine, Occupation is a crime!" Over and over. Then a First Nations woman took the megaphone. She said that she had been sexually trafficked and that the police knew and did nothing about it. They only do things TO her people, nothing FOR them. Then the Arab guy started up again with his rhymes and getting the crowd to chant: "If they won't offer a solution; We will start a revolution!" "Revolution! Revolution!" Over and over again. 

I thought: "Are you really planning on revolution? With these numbers? Are you being serious?"

Then he returned to "From Turtle Island to Palestine; Occupation is a crime!"

I've heard enough empty chanting at rallies to last me a lifetime. I couldn't take anymore so I headed down to Dundas Square early. I got there and saw lots of orange shirts. Many worn by white people. There were nowhere near enough demonstrators to fill the Square but the rally wasn't due to start before another 45 minutes. Eventually almost twenty more people showed up and they started the rally. A line of activists (including children) held up letters that spelled out "No Pride in Genocide." Little else happened and then the crowd from the De-Fund the Police arrived. 

The young man with the megaphone started up with the rhyming and the chanting again. The "Turtle Island to Palestine" one. The "No Solution/We Will Start a Revolution." Then they threw in "The People, United, Will Never Be Defeated!" Finally, the old standby: "No Justice? No Peace!"

That last one: How do non-violence advocates imagine their shouting "No Justice, No Peace!" sounds? If you're dedicated to peaceful protest, that chant is merely empty verbiage. 

I've heard all these stupid chants before. They only left out: "Hey-hey! Ho-ho! [Insert Name Here] has got to go!"

Listen: If you threaten "revolution" while making no serious plans for a revolution, you're just being childish. If you shout "The people united will never be defeated" when you're just a tiny band of activists, you look silly. If you threaten "No peace!" while professing non-violence and while also not having any plans for any serious non-violent disruption, you're just blowing smoke. 

I'm a dispirited, pessimistic, cosmic nihilist. I couldn't take it anymore and so I went home.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Cancel Canada Day?

 


I've been reading headlines that some voices are calling for the cancelling of "Canada Day" in the light of the horrific discoveries of the bodies of children in unmarked mass graves on the grounds of former residential schools. For these people, the racist torture and murder of First Nations children, and the callous dumping of their bodies in pits, ... all done in the name of "civilizing" away from "savagery" and teaching them to adopt Canadian values, ... seems to detract from the celebratory aspects of Canada's founding.

For my part, I haven't been a fan of Canada Day since at least 2013.

Now, remember, the discovery of these mass graves might come as a bit of a shock to some people, but it shouldn't have surprised the government, or the leadership at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. It certainly isn't a surprise for the First Nations or their allies. (It did come as a surprise to me to hear about it from an ally of the First Nations on the "rabble.ca" discussion board over a decade ago.) 

Think about what that means! The government knew pretty well that these graves were there. They knew about the policy of not informing First Nations parents that their children had died. (Or, if they were informed, they were also told that the government would not pay the expenses of transporting the bodies back to the remote communities from which they'd been stolen from.) But the Canadian state and the various governments in power over the years wanted to pretend that the past hadn't happened. That if First Nations people wanted to expose these crimes they'd have to figure out how to do it. And, only after having forced the First Nations peoples themselves to  pay for the ground penetrating radar specialists and obtain the inconvertible proof of Canada's barbarism and mass murder does the Canadian system acknowledge what it already knew and offer apologies as if these are shocking revelations.

The nauseating hypocrisy!

Friday, June 25, 2021

Politicians Dividing Us

 


Some people seem to actually believe that the divisions among the general public are entirely manufactured by elites; especially politicians. That, except for these artificial divisions, we would all be united, holding hands in a circle before going off to topple the One Evil Grouping of Elites and thereby ushering in Jubilee. 

To what extent this delusion of an already-existing unity being divided by an oligarchic ruling class is, itself the creation of oligarchs is an open question. For instance, the elites within the Democratic Party will argue that racial conflicts between Blacks and Whites are the product of internet memes produced by Russia's "Internet Research Agency." Except for those jpegs and giphys, Black people would not be in the streets protesting against their daily sufferings and executions at the hands of the police. And this asinine scenario is actually believed by ordinary shlub supporters of the Democratic Party USA. 

Meanwhile, right-wing shlubs believe that Black protests against racist police violence is "cop hatred." That "violence" at these protests (whether caused by the police themselves attacking peaeful protesters [documented], or by agents provocateurs [documented], or by random hooligans attaching themselves to the protests [documented], or by citizens justifiably enraged at their daily abuse and slaughter and lashing out in blind fury) is actually the product of an organization called "ANTIFA" that is under the control of the International Jewish-Marxist Conspiracy.

As well, ordinary right-wing shlubs believe that complaining about, and trying to do something about an economic system that produces a few multi-billionaires while throwing the vast majority into desperate poverty and debt peonage is "class warfare." In the USA (according to this right-wing delusion) the Democratic Party USA [!] in the employ of Jewish "globalist" multi-billionaires --- Soros, Zuckerman, Bloomberg, Rothschild, etc., ... utilizes class envy and racial hatred (of non-White people against White people) to try to legislate anti-democratic socialism to destroy capitalism and democracy and freedom.

The absurdity of saying that a party (containing many millionaire politicians) serving Wall Street and tech-billionaires is trying to destroy capitalism and impose socialism never dawns on these people.

So, yes, to an extent there are elite-driven conspiracies to divide and conquer. But who actually believes that humanity is an inert, generalized mass, and whether you become a white-supremacist Christian fascist or a pagan eco-terrorist is just a factor of which elite-driven conspiracy you were subjected to? 

Who believes that, actually, some of us come by our belief-systems naturally? That some people are predisposed to accept their fellow human beings and to want to help them, whereas other people are predisposed to fear people who are different from them in some way and to want to fight them?

Is it possible that some people are more hard-wired to want to dominate and abuse others while other people gravitate more to cooperation and mutual-aid? And that these personality traits, inborn or (at least) assisted by experiences and circumstances, can be found at all levels of society?

And that if this is the case, then besides the elites who foster divide-and-conquer campaigns against the majority, we humans/ordinary shlubs who do not cheer on state violence against racialized minorities and the domination of women by men and the mindless destruction of the eco-system in the mindless pursuit of "MORE," have as our enemies BOTH those oligarchic elites (whether "liberal" or "conservative") and those ordinary individuals who happen to be narcissistic, sociopathic assholes? And that therefore, any attempts to get to the Promised Land that ignores this obvious truth is inevitably doomed to failure?



Saturday, June 19, 2021

Canada's Sickening Foreign Policy

 


Currently it's a bipartisan affair. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives are inflexibly devoted to Canada's role as a lickspittle yes-man to the USA's imperialism as well as to whatever it takes to serve various corporate interests such as mining or pharmaceuticals. Given the fact that the Conservative Party of Canada is dominated by morons and troglodytes, it's no surprise that they'll be worse than the Liberals on any given issue. But when you think about it, the differences are surprisingly negligible. Sure, a Liberal tried to rein-in the worst offensives of our mining companies overseas. But his own party sandbagged him. Sure Chretien kept Canadian ground troops out of Iraq. But he didn't do that out of any moral scruples. Chretien was smart enough to know it would be a disaster as well as clearly illegal. But pretty much the entire Liberal front-bench disagreed with him. T'was the Liberals (under Chretien) who got us into Afghanistan. They made Canadian soldiers fight, kill and die to prop-up an unpopular, unelected, super-corrupt cabal of rapist gangsters. 

Canada is governed by two major political parties. Both of them are unreservedly capitalist. The Liberals tend to recognize material reality and do not, therefore, deny the existence of global warming. They accept its reality while trying to combat it without doing anything that would set a precedent of limiting corporations' powers or profits. This is how we end up with toothless, voluntary and useless things like the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. The Conservatives appear to be at odds with reality and refuse to accept what their own eyes tell them if it conflicts with the moronic delusions that govern their miserable lives. They will withdraw from the Kyoto or Paris initiatives because they represent the existence of a problem that requires regulation of capitalism and limits to their profits. It's difficult to decide which position is more vile. Acknowledging an existential threat to civilization while doing nothing about it, or denying the obvious existence of said threat. (The NDP affects a "social democratic" ideology which says that the fruits of the economy HAVE to be shared with some degree of equity by the whole society. The NDP does this until it becomes a government-in-waiting party. In such cases, such as British Columbian and Manitoba, they have move rightwards to fill the spot vacated by a discredited Liberal party.)

Currently, under the figurehead leadership of mental mediocrity Justin Trudeau, the odious Crystia Freeland is currently engaged in the titanic hypocrisy of imposing sanctions on Nicaragua and Venezuela

Nicaraugua:

June 21, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

In coordination with the United States, Canada is announcing sanctions in response to gross and systematic human rights violations that have been committed in Nicaragua. Canada is imposing sanctions against key members of the Government of Nicaragua under the Special Economic Measures Act. These sanctions send a clear message that the Government of Nicaragua’s ongoing human rights violations against its people will not be tolerated.

Since April 2018, the Government of Nicaragua has conducted a systematic campaign of repression and state-sponsored violence against public protests and the activities of opposition groups.

The Government of Nicaragua’s unacceptable conduct has been well-documented by international human rights organizations, including the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, as well as local human rights organizations.

Despite progress on the release of political prisoners, Canada remains concerned by reports of human rights violations. These include: violating the right to life, security, free speech, and free assembly. There have also been well-documented reports of extrajudicial killings, torture, and abuse of protestors. To date, those responsible for human rights violations have not been held accountable.  

Quotes

“Human rights violations in Nicaragua cannot continue with impunity. The Government of Nicaragua must be held accountable for its action and must bring an end to the current crisis through real dialogue with opposition groups. Canada will continue to stand with the people of Nicaragua and their legitimate demands for democracy and accountability.”

- Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs

Venezuela:

After democratic elections held in December 2015 saw a coalition of opposition parties win a majority in the National Assembly, the Venezuelan government proceeded to systematically strip the powers of the National Assembly. In January 2016, President Nicolas Maduro declared a state of emergency and has since been ruling by decree. During the spring of 2017 Maduro created a National Constituent Assembly (or ANC), which stripped the democratically-elected, opposition-led National Assembly of its powers. Countries from around the globe, including Canada, refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the National Constituent Assembly or any of its decisions.

As a result of the government’s systematic erosion of Venezuela’s democratic institutions and its grave human rights abuses, and in response to the Association between Canada and the United States that was formed on September 5, 2017, which called on its members to take economic measures against Venezuela and persons responsible for the current situation in Venezuela, the Special Economic Measures (Venezuela) Regulations came into force. On September 22, 2017, Canada listed 40 individuals linked to the Maduro regime and its actions against the security, stability and integrity of democratic institutions in Venezuela.

On November 23, 2017, Canada announced targeted sanctions against 19 Venezuelan officials under the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act. These individuals are responsible for, or complicit in, gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, have committed acts of significant corruption, or both.

The presidential elections of May 2018, did not meet international standards to be considered either free or fair. As such, the electoral process and results were rejected by Canada and many likeminded partners as lacking transparency, legitimacy and credibility. On May 30, 2018, in response to further erosion of democratic institutions in Venezuela and the consolidation of President Maduro’s power through the illegitimate elections of May 20, 2018, the Special Economic Measures (Venezuela) Regulations  were amended to add fourteen (14) additional individuals, bringing to 70 the total number of Venezuelan officials sanctioned by Canada.

On January 10, 2019, Maduro swore himself in for a second term based on the illegitimate and anti-democratic elections of May 2018. His claim to the presidency was rejected by Canada, the international community, and the democratically-elected National Assembly of Venezuela; on January 15, 2019, the National Assembly declared that Nicolas Maduro had usurped the presidential powers. On January 23, 2019, the President of the National Assembly, based on article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution, assumed the interim presidency of Venezuela. To date, more than 50 countries, including Canada, have recognized Juan Guaidó as Interim President of Venezuela.

Since then, the Maduro regime has increased the persecution and repression of its political opponents and the Venezuelan people. Their oppressive actions include preventing relief supplies from entering Venezuela; the widespread arrests of hundreds of anti-regime protestors; censorship and suppression of freedom of expression; the use of the co-opted judiciary to pursue political leaders and civilians who exercise their civil and political rights; and the extrajudicial killing of dozens of people during protests against the Maduro regime.

The repressive acts of the Venezuelan government have been widely criticized in reports by credible sources, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; a Panel of Independent International Experts appointed by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States; the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Amnesty International; Human Rights Watch; and others.

The amendment of April 15, 2019 added 43 individuals to the Regulations, most of whom are high level officials of the Maduro regime implicated in the actions mentioned above. The amendment brought to 113 the total number of Venezuelan individuals subject to Canadian sanctions. Among those individuals listed on April 15, 2019, Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera was sanctioned for leading the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (October 2018 to April 30, 2019). He has since broken with the Maduro regime, and the amendment of June 25, 2019 has removed him from the Schedule to the Regulations.

Here's some pushback against these hypocritical complaints against Nicaragua:

Counterpunch Dan Kovalik:

It was only a matter of time before the US government and its compliant media would once again put Nicaragua in their sights. And, that time has indeed come.

Last year, the US House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act of 2017 (NICA Act) which would  cut that already-poor country off from loans offered by international financial institutions.

Citing the Alliance for Global Justice, Telesur reported at the time that “‘[t]he Nicaraguan government uses foreign assistance from the international financial institutions to support social spending on health and education which have become an ever larger proportion of the national budget.’” Telesur explained that the NICA Act therefore “poses a serious danger to the Central American nation’s economy and could result in a humanitarian crisis and waves of economic refugees that would flee toward the U.S. border, joining waves of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.”

Currently, Nicaragua is the only country victimized by the US-backed Central American Wars which is not also a source of immigrants to the US. This is in no small part due to the Sandinistas’ effective social programs.  As for the Sandinistas’ social programs, eventhe New York Times acknowledged that “[m]any poor people who receive housing and other government benefits support” Sandinista President, Daniel Ortega.

Incredibly, as the US is preparing to build a wall ostensibly to keep out Central American and Mexican migrants, it is poised to exacerbate the very migration problem it claims to want to stop.  This simply defies all logic and notions of morality and decency.

As Noam Chomsky has opined numerous times, the US shall never forgive the Nicaraguan people for overthrowing the US-backed Somoza dictatorship in 1979, for militarily defeating the Contras and for then voting back in the Sandinistas in 2007.  The NICA Act is pay-back for such crimes.

But meanwhile, the NICA Act was getting no apparent movement in the US Senate and appeared to be a dead letter.  And so, right on cue, we witness violent protests in Nicaragua which closely resemble the violent guarimbas which have plagued Venezuela on and off since Nicolas Maduro was elected in 2013.  These demonstrations will surely be used as a pretext to revive the NICA Act in the US Senate.

Charles Redvers at The Greyzone:

Even Ortega critics, like Ben Waddell, have said that US agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy have been laying the groundwork for insurrection by giving financial support to the Nicaraguan opposition.

In the middle of the crisis, its leaders traveled to Washington and Miami, funded by Freedom House, to meet right-wing Republicans like Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz ,and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Student leaders went on to seek support from the extreme right in El Salvador, meeting officials of the Arena party.

More recently, they appeared at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, a bastion of right-wing militarism and pro-Israel extremism. What does all this tell us about their political intentions?

...

Third, while the deaths in the protests are a major tragedy, calling them a “massacre” gives credence to the exaggerated and cynically manipulated numbers being used by the opposition. A detailed analysis of casualties in the first two months, which eliminated double-counted and incidents unrelated to the protests, found there had been 119 deaths, divided equally between both “sides.” A recent official count logs 197 deaths by late July.

Ellsberg cites higher figures from reports by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IACHR), but they lost any credibility they might have had by jumping to conclusions based on the work of the two local human rights bodies, which both have a long history of open bias against the Sandinista government. Paulo Abrāo, head of IACHR, far from being a neutral observer, openly declared his support for student protesters on May 19 when they had just violently held up a bus full of people returning from a peace demonstration, resulting in various injuries.

Fourth, like the opposition leaders themselves, Ellsberg refers to “peaceful” protesters and refuses to accept the violence which they perpetrated. This has included the murder of 22 police, plus many government officials and Sandinista supporters, the most recent a few days ago in Matagalpa. Several Sandinistas have endured gruesome torture.

She refers to the violent scenes when government forces managed to reopen access to the cities of Jinotepe and Diriamba, in which Sandinista supporters attacked priests and bishops. (Ironically, they were protected by a heavy police escort, the very police the bishops had earlier asked to be taken off the streets.) What she fails to say is how angry people were at the church being used as a place of sanctuary for armed protesters who terrorized these two cities for over a month, holding about 400 drivers and their vehicles hostage on the main highway.

The government would never have been able to remove the hundreds of barricades the opposition erected if they hadn’t had popular support to do so.

Ben Norton at The Greyzone:

Since Nicaragua’s socialist Sandinista Front returned to power through democratic elections in 2006, the United States government has poured many millions of dollars into right-wing opposition groups in the Central American country.

These US-funded NGOs have aimed to destabilize the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and played a central role in a brutally violent coup attempt in 2018.

Nicaragua’s National Assembly responded to the Washington-sponsored violence and destabilization efforts by passing a law in October 2020 that requires organizations funded by outside governments to register as foreign agents.

The legislation is very similar to a law passed by the United States in 1938 known as the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). In recent years, Washington has exploited FARA to force Russian and Chinese media outlets and journalists working in the United States to register as foreign agents — in a bipartisan, Cold War-style political escalation against both countries.

Though Washington has had this legislation on the books for more than eight decades, and still utilizes it regularly, the Joe Biden administration has lashed out at Nicaragua for its decision to pass a similar law.

On February 8, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price, a former CIA agent, published a statement condemning the elected Sandinista government.

Price claimed that President “Ortega is driving Nicaragua toward dictatorship,” because the new foreign agent law led to the voluntary suspension of operations of a major US government-funded opposition organization in the country.

Price demonized Nicaragua’s democratically elected government as a “regime,” while stressing that the US government is “focused on empowering civil society.”

...

Price’s statement condemning Nicaragua came one day after the US-backed right-wing president of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, effectively declared himself a dictator, ruling without a Senate or Chamber of Deputies, hand-picking mayors, shooting journalists, and killing protesters.

Fixating on Nicaragua, the CIA staffer-turned-State Department spokesperson concluded his declaration with a thinly veiled threat: “We urge President Ortega to change course now.”

And now, Venezuela:

Sabina Becker on the achievements of the Bolivarians under Chavez:

Telesur is another of Chavecito’s great achievements: a public TV channel of international scope, the first of its kind in Latin America. Its purpose: to counteract the lies and propaganda of private media, including the US channels who helped to foment the coup and shape public opinion in its favor throughout North America. The local private media, after all, were co-authors of the Venezuelan putsch. Hence the documentary’s title!

And even now, even on the day of Chavecito’s funeral, the lamestream media up here are still blatting about what an evil “populist” he was, what a “dictator”, what a “strongman”. When the truth is that he was popular (not “populist”), the people dictated the constitutional order to him (and he obeyed!), and he was a strong man, two words, not a “strongman”. What IS a strongman? That putschist figure so beloved of US imperialism that they never hesitate to install their own wherever there are resources to be plundered by their corporations…and then get upset when he invariably goes off script. See Saddam Hussein, Augusto Pinochet, the Argentine Junta, etc., etc. THOSE were dictators. But as one young man points out shortly after the coup as the putschist police of Caracas are terrorizing the streets and gunning down Chavistas, in the three years that Chávez had then been in power, there had never been any repression. What the hell kind of dictatorial strongman doesn’t repress?

By the way, today is International Working Women’s Day. (Yes, this day has socialist origins. Surprise!) Do the women of Venezuela rejoice because a nasty, oppressive, wife-beating tyrant is dead? No…they mourn because they lost their greatest presidential ally of all time. Chavecito was a proud, self-proclaimed feminist. It was no empty vote-getting statement; he really did give them the political tools they needed to carve out rooms of their own. And the women adored him for that. He consulted with them, along with other social movements, in the writing of the Bolivarian Constitution itself. Previous presidents either pointedly ignored them, or only made the rounds to shake hands and kiss babies when it was time to divvy up the votes again between AD and COPEI. Voter apathy, as noted in the translation above, was huge before Chávez, and greatly diminished after.

Because of Chávez, being Venezuelan is now a matter of pride. Participatory democracy grew thanks to his efforts, social inequality shrank, poverty dwindled and the GDP rose. An impoverished country that used to import 80% of its food is now becoming self-sufficient again, as it was before the oil boom. And dreams were not only made, they came true. It’s not surprising, then, that the people have turned out in droves today, not only in Venezuela but all over the world, to pay homage once more to the man who turned the accepted order of things on its ear…and succeeded.

Sabina Becker translates from apporea.org:

A survey by International Consulting Services (ICS) found that 85.3% of Venezuelans disagree with the protests mounted by sectors of the Venezuelan far-right.

These violent actions, which involve roadblocks, have caused damage to state institutions, destruction, and closures of public roads and services, as part of a putschist plan against the government.

Simón Córdoba, representative of the consulting firm, told VTV that the survey, conducted between February 17 and 24, also showed that 81.6% of Venezuelans consider the opposition protests to have been violent.

91.3% of those surveyed said that preservation of peace and democracy are “very important”, while 54.8% stated that democracy is guaranteed.

52.3% of respondents affirmed that freedom of expression in Venezuela is very well guaranteed, while 54.2% said that human rights are supported.

65.2% say that the actions of the police have been in line with the law.

The ICS survey reached 1400 homes, has a margin of error of 2.7%, and a reliability rating of 95%.

Daniel Kovalik at Counterpunch:

As famed Latin American author Eduardo Galeano once wrote, “every time the US ‘saves’ a country, it converts it into either an insane asylum or a cemetery.” Of course, as we look over the wreckage left by the US in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, we see that this statement is demonstrably true. And yet, now that the US is poised for another intervention, this time in Venezuela, the press is right there again to cheer it along.

Analyzing 76 total press articles of the “elite” press from January 15 to April 15, 2019, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) could find not one voice that opposed Trump’s regime plans in Venezuela. Meanwhile, 54 percent openly supported these plans.  Of course, this should not be all too surprising given the press’s usual complicity in past US war efforts — e.g., by pushing such war lies as the Gulf of Tonkin, the killing of babies in Kuwait, the WMDS of Iraq and the alleged Viagra-fueled rapes in Libya.  The current war lies are coming fast and furious from such outlets as CNN which lied about seeing Maduro forces lighting aid containers on fire at the Colombian border (it was in fact opposition forces which did so as the NYT admitted two weeks later), and which claimed that US puppet Juan Guaido actually won the presidential election against Nicolas Maduro when in fact Guaido never even ran for president.

What is quite stunning, however, is the total unanimity of the press in uncritically covering and supporting the ongoing coup in Venezuela. This is baffling because the same press outlets which have been rightly critical of Trump for all of his stupidity, lying and meanness, have suddenly found him brilliant, true and benevolent when it comes to Venezuela. This is particularly remarkable given that his partners in this crime are Neo-Con John Bolton; former CIA Director Mike Pompeo who recently joked that the CIA’s true motto is “We lied, We Cheated, We Stole”; and convicted liar Elliott Abrams.  As for Abrams, he is infamous for his role in the illegal funding of the Nicaraguan Contras; his covering up of the El Mazote massacre in El Salvador in which around 

1000 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed by US-backed forces; and his aiding and abetting the US-backed genocide in Guatemala.

And yet, somehow, we are to believe from our “free” press that this band of rogues is going to deliver democracy and human rights to Venezuela.

Canada is doing this in concert with murderous, corrupt, fraudulently elected and [at least] quasi-fascist countries like Honduras, Colombia and Brazil. As well as, obviously, the brazenly hypocritical, international menace, mass-murdering bipartisan monstrosity of the USA.

Any idiot can see that the countries targeted by the maniacs in Washington D.C. are so targeted not because of their alleged human rights abuses, but because of their independence. Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, ... they are all trying to resist the political-economic system demanded by the USA. This system is so despised that the people of Latin America (including Mexico) are constantly trying to reject it electorally (and when that fails) either militarily or with their feet by becoming refugees. At this very moment, mass protests have erupted in Colombia (where they are met with murderous police violence), the people of Chile have overthrown the neo-liberal constitution written by the corrupt, fascist traitor Pinochet. The people of Bolivia have resisted the neo-liberal electoral campaign of Keiko Fujimori  (daughter of thief and mass-murderer Alberto Fujimori) to elect a socialist president. Brazil is currently being run by fascist moron Jair Bolsonaro who used judicial fraud to incapcitate his leftist adversaries.

But Crystia Freeland (in continuity with the loathsome stephen harper) pretends not to understand this. As do partisan hack shithead Liberal bloggers.