Thursday, November 20, 2014

Coalition NOW!

I'm not talking about the opposition parties. They've had years to clue-in to the reality that harpercon "conservatism" is a greater danger to this country than anything else and they continue to waste more time fighting against each other and treating the harpercons as if they're just disagreeable.

I'm talking about people.

I'm talking about the environmentalists, the unions, the peace movement, feminists, the First Nations, angry veterans, angry scientists, angry artists.

Can they (we) not find common ground and unite to destroy this threat to Canadian democracy? Can groups of so many people not carry out an effective grassroots campaign to destroy harperism and then build the country we want?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Whitby-Oshawa and the Ukraine

So, it seems that only 31% of the electorate turned out for the Whitby-Oshawa by-election.

What does that mean?

It means that most voters there, like most voters in the rest of Canada, don't care enough about the harpercons' serial abuses of the fundamentals of theirs and our democracy. Nothing has sunk in. Violation of the principle of responsible government, covering-up of crimes against humanity, contempt of Parliament, .... oh well, you know the drill. Unlike the majority of voters.

It also shows that the opposition parties have done a terrible job of educating the people about the dangers of the harpercons and the necessity of their total destruction.

There should be a daily call for a no-confidence vote against the harpercons, in the same way that Cato the Elder always said "And Carthage must be destroyed."

Now, on to the Ukraine. It appears that the conventional wisdom has settled on believing that Putin is the aggressor. The fact that the EU offered the Ukraine a worse deal than Putin did: down the memory hole. The fact that the new rulers in the Ukraine are gangsters and Nazis who tellingly don't seem concerned with finding out who was shooting and killing demonstrators before their coup? Gone. That Eastern Ukraine's majority is ethnically Russian and that the coup government in Kiev took away their language rights? Gone. That NATO has allowed provinces to vote to unilaterally secede from national governments? Forgotten.

Putin is a kleptocratic thug. But he is not the aggressor here.

And, no matter how often they scream their delusions, these are basically the same sorts of idiots who were obsessed with Saddam Hussein's WMD's over a decade ago. Stupid, deluded, hypocritical criminal scum.

Humanity's only hope is their cowardice. Putin is not Saddam Hussein or Mommar Qaddafi. They're well aware of that fact. They're trying to play a long game, but their resources aren't infinite. And their self-destruction of their own economies and societies mitigates their long-term strategies.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Whitby-Oshawa Voters Drive Another Nail Into Coffin of Canadian Democracy

Who knows what it is they like about the Conservative Party of Canada?

Is it harper's armageddon-inducing denial of climate change? (Which is not so much based on "skepticism" about the science as it is on his being a bought-and-paid-for shill for the oil industry.)

Is it the way the harper selects career criminals and unstable morons as senators and heads of government agencies?

Is it the election fraud that they like?

Is it the anti-democratic omnibus bills?

Part of the reason why we have these disgusting results can be found in the complete absence of any sense of mourning on the part of our corporate media at the election of yet another vapid ignoramus to the Contempt of Parliament Party caucus in the House of Commons. (Obviously it's foolish to imagine these idiots would mourn when the last time out, all the newspapers except the Toronto Star endorsed cowardly stephen harper's party.) The complete absence of any firm understanding of the danger of this party of corruption and dictatorship in this country is why, of the 63% of the electorate that went out yesterday, 49% of them picked a harpercon.

At this CBC link, you can see the usual debased hooting and howling from anti-democratic harpercon shills in the comments section. Parading their economic illiteracy and general political ignorance for all to see. Certainly they have a different point of view from us.

They believe that torture is useful. They believe that the government can lie about the costs of its policies to the tune of billions of dollars. They believe that the government should spy on all of us and have the right to arrest us without charges and imprison us indefinitely. They believe that the government should send us into wars without debates. They believe in unilaterally tearing-up our treaties. They believe that bribing senators to cover-up previous incidences of corruption is okee-dokee. They believe that elections are about "winning" by any means necessary (financial fraud, electoral fraud). They are, basically, scum. Most of them are too stupid to understand this, but at some point, you can't make any more allowances.

CORRECTION: I misread the CBC link. I thought it said that the turn-out for the by-election in Whitby-Oshawa was 63% and that the expected turn-out for the by-election in Alberta was a quarter of that. It actually says that the turnout for the last federal election had been 63%.

The Schoolyard regrets the error.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Stop harpeer"

What did you propose to bring down the cowardly monstrosity?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

It Is Perfectly Fine to Advocate harper's Overthrow

For the zillionth time, the cowardly closet-dwelling stephen harper has placed himself outside the law. This time it's part of his revolting policy of denying health care to refugees.  A federal court ordered harper to restore funding for refugees' health care by November 4th. As of November 13th, they have not done so.
It lost this request: on Oct. 31 the Federal Court of Appeal confirmed that the government had to follow Justice Mactavish’s order beginning last week.
It has not done so. While certain refugee claimants have had their coverage restored, others have not.
Since the 2012 changes creating different levels of coverage for different people became void on Nov. 4, the government has no legal authority to draw these distinctions.
Its public statements that it is following the court’s order are blatantly false.
Contempt of Court. Contempt of Parliament. Election fraud. War crimes. 

It just goes on and on.

Has there ever been a time when veterans' associations campaigned to try to get all members of the military to boycott the government? Especially a Conservative one? How shallow, how disconnected from reality harper must be to show up preening for the cameras at Remembrance Day ceremonies!

harper the coward has no claim on our obedience. If only more Canadians could seize hold of the reality that harper has no legitimacy. Then perhaps we could do something about him. Something other than trusting in our rigged electoral process with our ridiculous voting system and our corrupt Elections Canada looking the other way as harper commits one crime after another.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 12th Musings

In 1914 Canada's population stood at around 8 million. Our economy was productive enough that we were able to mobilize over half-a-million citizens (mostly men) for the war. This was, technically, a remarkable achievement. It was an achievement met by more or less all of the combatants. Never before had it been possible to mobilize so many inhabitants for the wasteful business of war without producing immediate mass starvation and economic collapse. (Although, eventually, the absence of men in the farmer's fields did produce starvation in Germany. And there was collapse in the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires.)

The art of war hadn't come to grips with industry and technology. It was a horrible convergence of things. You could put hundreds of thousands, millions of men in uniform, you could move them swiftly to the front and then provide them with steady streams of food and munitions, but you couldn't solve the problem that once they got there, they would be reduced to marching into the withering fire of that technological marvel known as the "machine gun." You've been inculcating habits of obedience and deference to authority, as well as nationalism and patriotism, martial valour, into your populations. And this gives you the ability to order them into one shooting gallery after another.

This is a pretty good read. I take some issue with their characterization of the attitude about the British ruling elite's eagerness for actually going to war with Germany. A lot of them did, but a lot of them were genuinely reluctant to abandon the peace established at Vienna in 1814. Whatever else one thinks of him, David Lloyd George's decision to side with the war party over Belgium's neutrality was a hard-thought one. The reference at the link to Germany's promise to respect Belgium's integrity in return for allowing them free passage to attack the French is a little foolish. What is a small country, situated between two powerful rivals, supposed to imagine the future holds for it, if it allows one country free transit through it to attack the other? This source shows that the issue of Belgium's neutrality was an important one that England had told all parties it would honour. Here's the wording of the German ultimatum and the Belgian response.

In writing the above, I'm not praising the British and Belgian leadership. I'm just talking about serious things that involved the world as it was in 1914. Just as I'm sure that the "Stop War" writers were not trying to justify Germany's ultimatum.

Their article also disputes the historical consensus that the war was popular at first. They say that in fact there were significant demonstrations against the war that both the anti-war Liberals and Labour party members could have sided with, and that the same held true for socialist politicians in France and Germany. That might be true and, therefore, it's significant that it's been essentially forgotten by the mainstream. But it's also the case that tens of thousands of men voluntarily signed-up in the first months of the conflict and that hundreds of thousands more volunteered as the years progressed. If the war wasn't universally popular at first, it did have enormous and enthusiastic support.

The capitalist class did not want that war. Some of them grew rich on munitions work and war loans, but at first they were worried about the disruptions to international trade and some of them honestly believed that disruptions in the flow of credit and raw materials would end any war within a matter of months.

I agree with the "Stop War" writers that attempts to rehabilitate the reputation of Field Marshall Alexander Haig are seriously misplaced. You'd think that after the first 100,000 men getting slaughtered as they trudged through barbed-wire towards machine-gun nests, that you'd stop to reconsider your tactics. Haig would order battles at random places on the map, and order mass charges for the insane reason that:
The plan now was to kill more German troops than the British lost. Since there was no way of reliably measuring the casualties on the other side, Haig relied on estimating it through the losses of his own side. On this basis he began to be angered when the army suffered too few losses, as when he complained that one division in September had lost under a thousand men.
In World War I, the politicians had been wary about challenging their Generals. Eventually, the murderous folly and waste would compel them to intervene. But by that point, hundreds of thousands had been killed or wounded. Ask yourself how many politicians, then or now, would be able to say: "This has all been a dreadful waste. We're simply going to stop. Sorry about your sons, fathers, husbands." It's a tragedy that the famous "Christmas Truce" of 1914 was squelched by bloody-minded officers. But that's the nature of insane societies. (Which Europe very much was, and is. As is Canada, and all the other imperialist, elitist, capitalist, racist patriarchal states.)

Because this brings me to the crux of my post for today. Remembrance Day and all the war memorials to it in all the communities across Canada, were built by people who honestly didn't want to think that their losses had been for nothing. Deluded, yes. But honest. We can do nothing about their delusion now. They're almost all of them dead. Canada has Remembrance Day because after 1918, people needed to think that their sacrifices meant something.

If anyone is to blame for World War I, my money is on the diplomats of Austria-Hungary. One of them actually said that if the Empire is to go down, it might as well go down in a blaze of glory. But every other power stumbled into the war. Which means that it was all a waste. Slaughter for nothing.

I don't know what it was like in Germany or Austria. I haven't read enough. They must have their war memorials I imagine. I do know that Germany was plunged into economic disaster following the war and that the militarists and the right-wing in general invented the "stab in the back" conspiracy that drove Adolph Hitler to distraction. Revolutions, uprisings, economic crises, poverty, unemployment, ... all of these probably kept many Germans from spending too much time pondering the meaning of it all. But I'm sure they did think about it from time-to-time. Some probably ached for a re-match, as Hitler did. I think the vast majority were disgusted with it. Much more than the British and the French. Again, they "won." Their systems stayed intact. Especially Britain's. And Canada's. We, especially could lie to ourselves that it had been terrible, but "worth it."

I have mixed feelings about the day. However much our mainstream culture denies it, there is an element of glorification for what was basically a sordid, horrible, meaningless waste. But it is, also, a moment to reflect on the ordinary men and women who suffered and died in that conflict and in every other hateful conflict in our species' insane history.

Finally, it's also (sadly) a chance to focus our contempt upon vile pieces-of-shit, like the cowardly stephen harper, who thinks nothing of desecrating the ceremonies with his presence, arrogantly posing for the cameras, and looking like the pathetic wreak of a human that he is.