Friday, October 31, 2014

Weird Planets

This is what sent me off  to slumberland last night:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ancient Egypt Documentary

Don't have anything to say. I've been watching this. It's pretty good.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Total, Unrelenting Hypocrisy of stephen harper

In this post at "Democracy Under Fire," the blogger "rural" takes issue with stephen harper's statement:
"The objective of these attacks was to instil fear and panic in our country, as I said yesterday, Canadians will not be intimidated. Here we are, in our seats, in our chamber, in the very heart of our democracy.
 The House of Commons is not the heart of our democracy, "rural" says:
Parliament may be the symbolic home of our democracy but the true heart of democracy rests with the citizens across this vast country. It is entrusted in those individuals that we elect to protect and enhance it who meet in that place to hold the current government, no matter what particular flavor it currently enjoys, to account and to participate in the process of deciding upon the rules by which out society lives by. It is those citizens who make sure that they take the time to select those individuals who are placed before us as possible representatives every few years. It is within those that take notice of the debates and decisions emerging from 'that place' and make their views know as best they can to an ever less receptive group of politicians. The heart of a country’s democracy lays within its citizens, whether they look after it or not is another matter entirely.
And there is a lot of truth to that. But what struck me about the quote, was that even if you conceded harper his point, it only makes him look like an even bigger shit-head.

For the fact of the matter is that stephen harper is the only prime minister in the history of the Westminster system of Parliament to have ever been found in contempt of the legislature. And this was not some partisan verdict delivered by a "kangaroo court." Anyone who says that is an idiot. A "kangaroo court" is one that is illegitimate and/or unfair. The Speaker's decision and the parliamentary Commons Procedure and House Affairs Committee that decided the matter were both the legitimate means by which such matters are decided. So there's that. Second of all, the opposition parties that found him in contempt were behind the Conservatives in the polls when they came to their decision and when they put it into practical effect by voting no confidence in harper's government. Also, the Liberal Party of Canada had made enormous efforts to avoid toppling harper's government in the past, and so, to a lesser extent, did the NDP. But nonetheless, they felt they had to do so at that point.

They did so, as everyone well knows, because harper was refusing to provide Parliament with very basic information that, as everyone knows, was the experts' cost estimates for the government's policies. In harper's version of "democracy" the people's representatives shouldn't expect to know what the government's policies will cost before they approve of them.

Worse, in harper's democracy, the people's representatives should be happy with oral assurances that turn out to be complete lies.

When it comes to written evidence, it has to be remembered that, in the Bev Oda scandal, harper was fine with public documents being altered after the fact to say the opposite of their original intention. And, he would stand by a minister found to have lied repeatedly to Parliament about this.

None of this is new. And it remains to our great shame, our complete incapacity as a nation to have done anything substantial about it. What is new is harper having the unmitigated gall to speak of Parliament as "the heart of our democracy" after his serial abuses of it.

It got worse obviously. Ignatieff and Layton (and Duceppe) did what they had to do and voted down harper's government. In the subsequent election, as we all know, the Conservative Party of Canada's voter database was abused in a concerted, widespread campaign of election fraud, that might have made the difference between harper having received a minority or a majority government. harper appeared strangely unconcerned about the undisputed abuse of his party's resources for such sleazy behaviour, refusing to even meet with Elections Canada to discuss the matter.

And, as we all know, under the sniveling toad Pierre Poilievre, the Conservatives used their majority to ram through a bill that will make it easier for them to commit fraud in the future.

So, Parliament is "the heart of our democracy," but if you gain control of it through fraud, if you STEAL it, that's not a matter for concern.

What makes Parliament "the heart of our democracy" then? Well, yes, the government proposes laws, and then the people's representatives examine them closely and debate their merits. Part of this extended process is to allow the general public to know about, and sometimes, give their opinion about the proposed laws.

But let's cut to the chase here about stephen harper's version of democracy: Political parties should break every rule to get elected. They should break election finance laws (so that the rich and/or the corrupt can have an unfair advantage over everyone else) and they should just do whatever it takes to steal elections.

Then, having stolen a majority in the House of Commons, the government party packs its legislation into massive omnibus bills that defy informed discussion and debate, and rams them through the legislature so that even the insufficient amount of time available to provide oversight to the process becomes shortened. It doesn't matter anyway, because harper sees no need to provide accurate, or even truthful information about his proposed policies. he will lie in the House and he will lie on paper about his proposals.

This speaks only to his opinions about Parliament as "the heart of our democracy." I'm not even going to talk about harper's contempt for our rights as citizens or even human beings.

But, again, we tolerate this monster. Nobody of any stature appears able to present this true picture of this stupid asshole and create a movement to destroy him. Fucking Mulcair and Trudeau hugged the creature after the schizophrenic with the rifle got into the Parliament building.

Last thing about words and stephen harper: "We will not be intimidated."

How the fuck does hiding in a broom closet not count as "intimidated"? Not to say that I would definitely have stood my ground.  Or that security details weren't being responsible in putting the (fraudulent) prime minister in a safe place. But, sorry, hiding in a broom closet is definitely being "intimidated." I mean, did the turd compose those words WHILE he was hiding in the broom closet?

And, anyway, I should hope a country of 35 million people aren't intimidated by lone individuals with hunting rifles or driving around in cars. At least not to the point of surrendering their rights to an anti-democratic, corrupt thuggish fraud.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

harper's cynical use of "terrorism"

First of all, if you haven't seen it already, I think Sabina Becker's take on the recent murders of Canadian soldiers by mentally disturbed individuals is bang-on:
Like this week. These past few days saw us “attacked” by two “terrorists” who, it turns out, were something else altogether. One was a paranoid schizophrenic; the other, a drug addict. But since both were Muslims, and chose to attack and kill soldiers of the Canadian army, with a confused mess of ISIL propaganda and madness roaring through their heads, they just automatically got labelled as terrorists. As if they had flown fully loaded passenger jets into the Peace Tower and the banking district of downtown Toronto on a suicide mission co-ordinated from a cave somewhere near the Pak-Afghan border.
The truth is stranger, and sadder, and nowhere near as dramatic as that.
In fact, the “terrorists” were not foreigners, as was initially reported/speculated. They were both native-born French-Canadians. And they both had mental problems that could easily have been treated. This tragedy was totally avoidable, and neither a war nor even changes to our nation’s security systems was necessary to avert it.
Indeed. I didn't comment about the attacks at the time because I was pretty sure we wouldn't really know much of anything until at least a day or so later.

Not meaning to be provocative here though. I thought at first that this was "blowback" for harper's gleeful participation in various US-imperialist attacks on Muslim countries. Now, I think (as Becker puts it) that these murders were the consequences of mental health problems that could have been treated.

But if a right-winger were to say that these deranged individuals were motivated ("radicalized") by the poisonous culture of "Islamicism," how much different is that from us saying that while Marc Lepine was not just a lone psychotic but someone who imbued the toxic misogyny of our culture?

Leaving that aside, ... isn't it really tragic that the truth Becker exposed, that these individuals would not have murdered those soldiers if they'd had access to treatment for their mental health problems, none of this would have happened? And our mental health services are in serious disarray. So stuff like this is going to happen again and again.

And I think that suits stephen harper just fine. Because, while harper might be too stupid to be conscious of the fact that the "War on Terror" is complete bullshit, he is very much aware of the uses of this war. Fracking, global warming, de-industrialization, mining disasters, rising inequality, banking crises and austerity, ... all of these things are going to cause social unrest. How convenient then, if there are untreated schizophrenics out there shooting cops and soldiers? The better to justify the surveillance/torture state.

Well, that's enough speculation for one night.

Friday, October 24, 2014

WTF?!? Hugging harper???!?!?!?!?!?!?

Da fuk???

THIS is why our political system is in a crisis. The inability to recognize stephen fucking harper as the menace to democracy that he is.

What the fuck is going through Mulcair's head when he does stupid shit like hugging a human-rights abusing criminal like stephen harper, or weeping for an anti-democratic, thuggish imbecile like Jim Flaherty???

I wouldn't have hugged harper. After he got out of that closet, I'd consider it back to business-as-usual.

I really don't know what else there is to say.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Okay; One More Time ...

One "anarchist" I know has the stupid notion that the way to victory begins with everybody deciding to stop voting. Then, there's apparently a black box wherein all sorts of wonderful, amazing things happen, and then, an indescribable utopia emerges at the end of this process.

It should go without saying that this "analysis" leaves me cold. Teeth-chatteringly cold.

Other anarchists and radicals believe that there will be a revolution and that it will be in the streets. So cool! Organizing via surveilled social media sites, empowered youth will head out against the cops, who only have body armour, shields, weapons, training, and ruthless brutality on their side.

"They can't shoot all of us!"

No. They'll just shoot enough to serve as an example for others.

So much for the radicals.

The moderates, as I've said, imagine that business-as-usual voting (except MORE of it), combined with petitions and peaceful protests will do the trick.

Elect the Liberals and get "sensible" liberalism. (Like Chretien and Martin disemboweling the welfare state, extending tax-cuts to millionaires and corporations, and paying for the latter with stolen EI premiums.)

Elect the NDP and get "sensible" social democracy. (Like Thomas Mulcair refusing to consider tax increases on wealthy people with more money than they know what to do with. Or Bob Rae deciding that people on welfare really are responsible for Ontario's deficits. Or the Saskatchewan and British Columbia NDP who can't seem to motivate voers to turf-out right-wing extremist/incompetent governments.)

Elect the Greens and you'll get green policies and corporate Canada will acquiesce because "the people have spoken."

And, of course, it makes perfect sense to petition murderous psychopaths to be nicer, and to protest by taking an afternoon off to demonstrate your mass impotence.

NO.

We have to look at our political system and push it to its most radical-democratic potential. Which requires first, taking our democracy seriously and deciding to improve it. NOT accepting it as is, and NOT stupidly imagining that it can be torn down by a tiny band of radical nobodies.

We have to be MILITANT in the defense of our alleged rights within this system. ALL OF US. MILITANT against abuses of our democracy. And, by "militant" I mean, we should not be afraid of using violence if our elites and their thugs abuse us too brazenly.

To threaten violence in the DEFENSE of our system of government is not the same thing as threatening to violently tear-down our system of government. People who believe (even somewhat) in our democracy will cheer police assaults on the latter. They cannot be so inclined with abuses against those doing the former.

We need to change the culture; first among the Left, then across the population as a whole, so that this mindset has been internalized.