Wednesday, January 28, 2015

This Didn't Sit Right With Me


For the record, I think that Hamas is no worse than the Israeli Defense Force. Hamas's charter calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. Whereas the IDF is simply the enforcing arm of Israel's unstated, but demonstrable intent to destroy Palestine. Furthermore, the pronouncements of an anti-democratic terrorist such as stephen harper carry no moral weight with me. Finally though, I want to state that I am a militant atheist. I hate all religion and wish it would disappear.

But I was trapped in a coffee-shop today, with only the Toronto Sun to read. I read this story, and some things didn't sit right with me.
MONTREAL — One of the country's largest Muslim organizations gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Hamas-linked charity, and vocally supported an Egyptian Islamist group, QMI Agency has learned.
So, Hamas, which is considered by the Palestinian people to be a legitimate political entity and the armed resistance to Israeli oppression, is bad. Hamas was supposed to be bad. Israel helped create it to act as a thorn in the side of the PLO. Ooopsie!

Here's one part that I found weird:
The Conservative government declared IRFAN-Canada a terrorist group on April 29, 2014 -- one day after the Mounties raided the charity.
The government said "between 2005 and 2009, IRFAN-Canada transferred approximately $14.6-million worth of resources to various organizations associated with Hamas."
Now, doesn't this say that IFRAN-Canada was only declared a terrorist group (by the criminals in the harpercon regime) FIVE YEARS AFTER the last time the Muslim Association of Canada gave them money??

Anyhoooo ...
The Mounties obtained their warrant as part of Project Sapphire, involving surveillance, wiretaps and undercover operatives in the Toronto and Montreal area. The warrant led to a raid on IRFAN's Mississauga headquarters and a Montreal apartment on April 28, 2014. Investigators seized computer files, donation forms, and promotional videos that "demonize Israel."
What does it mean to "demonize Israel"? Is that a legal term? Does it mean to condemn Israel for stealing the Palestinians' land, shooting Palestinian children in the head to provoke a response, and carpet-bombing Gaza? For the record; is it illegal to "demonize" Israel, but legal to "demonize" Russia or Iran?

Then we get this:
At the same time, MAC has expressed open support for Hamas' ideological forebears, the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt considers a terrorist organization.
By "Egypt" the article means the tyrannical military government, which regained power in a coup after the corrupt, tyrannical thirty-year old military dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak was overthrown by a popular revolution. "Egypt" in this case has been jailing people for criticizing the dictatorship and committing itself to mass executions. Oh yeah, the government that this dictatorship overthrew was that of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The whole thing seems to be a textbook example of western hypocrisy and scaremongering.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Few Books on the Go ....

Don't know what else to say today. Think I'll mention some books I'm working on ...
First up is David Nasaw's biography of Andrew Carnegie called Andrew Carnegie. Dig, ... I bought it a long time ago, for $6 at Sears. But it's a good book. Comprehensive and fair. I think it's important to learn how the USA become an industrial super-power and these biographies by honest historians help give the story a human scale.
Nigel Hamilton's The Mantle of Command, I don't like quite so much. There haven't been many books that focus on FDR's role as actual Commander-in-Chief during WWII. This book does and it makes a good case that FDR really was in command. He pushed forward a lot of plans that became victories. He actively disagreed with his military advisors about the invasion of France and faced-down an almost-mutiny from them. But Hamilton appears to overstate his case to me; presenting FDR as a god, a master, and pretty much anyone who disagreed with him as clueless or delusional.

More to come. I've got to do the dishes.
Now I'm 2/3rd's through God: the failed hypothesis bu Victor J. Stenger. He decides that the evidence is against the existence of a God who is everywhere, who designed the universe, created it, maintains it, interacts in our affairs, performs miracles, etc., etc. I found the first part, where he constructs the hypothesis of "God" that he intends to de-bunk, a little dry, but the rest is pretty good. I especially like the part where he deals with whether we have souls, and the question "Why is there something and not nothing?". (I think that section is a little too light-hearted for my tastes, but even then, the ideas he plays with are much deeper than the nonsensical and unhelpful "God" hypothesis for creation.

Well, I guess that will do for now.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Syriza's Victory

After six years of crippling austerity, imposed by neo-liberal zombies and implemented by visionless, careerist politicians, roughly 37% of the Greek electorate chose the far-left Syriza Party to chart another path.
Greek voters swung to the once-marginal left-wing party after five years of punishing austerity measures demanded under €240 billion (about $336 billion Cdn) bailout deals threw hundreds of thousands of people out of work and left nearly a third of the country without state health insurance.
What are the chances that Syriza will keep its word?  (Here's hoping they do.)

What are the chance that Syriza and the Greek people will successfully replicate the same autonomist policies of the Bolivarians in Venezuela and elsewhere?

What are the odds that either the loathsome Barack Obama, or some European variant will not do to Greece what Obama did to Honduras?

What does this election result say for Canadians? Personally, I think Canadians turned to the NDP in clear-eyed disgust at the failure of the elite prescription for the economy. And that, furthermore, had harper not stolen the 2011 (and had we not acquiesced to that crime) Canada would have had an NDP-Liberal coalition government.

Even still, Mulcair's inexplicable move to place the NDP at the discredited centre of the political-economic spectrum, only served to alienate those voters who took a chance with the NDP. Now, faced with a choice between a grumpy, bearded Liberal and a dreamy, young-looking, Trudeau Liberal (backed by a cynically partisan attack-pug Elizabeth May of the Green Party), voters are split.

Canadians haven't gone through what the Greeks have gone through. We aren't as polarized and we don't have the strong leftist political culture. It's going to have to get a lot worse for us, and the Canadian left will have to do a lot of growing up, before we're able to pull-off something like what Syriza did.




Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gettin' "Radicalized" ...


Apparently there's a scene in the film "American Sniper" where lunk-headed, budding psychopath, fabulist, Chris Kyle watches the Twin Towers fall down on 9-11, and this "radicalizes" him into going to Iraq to murder people who had nothing to do with 9-11.

This is the okay form of getting "radicalized."

Sometimes people go on the internet and they get "self-radicalized." No stranger on the street approaches them who turns out to be a Christian cleric or a military recruiter to use sophisticated "radicalizing" techniques to turn them into cold-blooded killers. It's just the mysterious power of the internet, or the "information super-highway" as the hipsters are calling it, ... Well, maybe it's not so mysterious.

There's just web page after web page about how "Islamists" hate the poor, poor Israelis. And they're always shooting at each other. And their religion is vile. And they treat their women like shit and don't let us see their tits and asses. And they don't like bacon. (And that's like, fucking crazy.)
And they hate America. And they hate freedom. And they're trying to take over Europe. "Gates of Vienna" anyone? Just like Latinos are attempting a "re-Conquista" of the South-West United States by sneaking over the border to get jobs as maids, seamstresses, general labour, janitors. It's a long-term struggle. You gotta think long-term. Big picture. The sort of big-picture that only deluded, racist conspiracy theorists can provide. They're only pretending that neo-liberalism wrecked their economies and forced them north to find jobs so they wouldn't starve. Check it out!!! Latinos are on the dusky side. And so are Arabs! They're practically indistinguishable from each other. So, what happens is that these Arab guys are sent over to Mexico by their Saudi paymasters see, ... and they have sex with these hot Latino mommas, ... who like, totally look like Jennifer Lopez or Sofia Vergara, ... and they impregnate them all with terror-babies who grow-up all diseased because of the conditions in the barrio, ... and they send 'em over the border where libtard bleeding-hearts scream and wail to let them stay and they give us all Ebola.

Where was I?

Oh yeah; getting "self-radicalized" on the internet.

Isn't there a certain kind of person who sees getting a gun as a sensible way to respond to international events? Sometimes, they're psychopathic self-labeled "Christians" like the revolting Chris Kyle. Sometimes they're psychopathic self-labeled "Muslims" like Osama bin Laden.

Depending on your delusions, you'll either get on the internet and become obsessed with the crimes and atrocities of Muslim terrorists, or you'll get "radicalized" by the vast, decades-long campaign of murder and terror on the part of the USA in the Middle East (and elsewhere).

What I find idiotic are these "terrorism experts" who drone pompously about the "radicalization" phenomenon of Islamic fundamentalists, while they and the newscasters ignore the elephant in the room of the "radicalization" on their team. The whole thing is really sad.
I'm thinking these pictures really jazz-up the site. (Until the original url's are taken down anyway.)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Mission Creep in Iraq

A truly democratic people would not have tolerated this crap. A truly democratic people would have dragged Paul Calandra out of the legislature and given him a stern talking to. A truly democratic people would ask for regular updates on the financial costs of this mission. stephen harper is not an emperor. he is not Atilla the Hun. he is a pants-pissing, cowardly slab of rancid goat-cheese.

This is bullshit.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Leftists in Hell

Think about the laffs! They'd wonder why the right-wing damned souls always vote for the worst demons. They'd form discussion boards and blogs where they'd complain and complain and complain, and braver souls among them would say they were going to defeat the devils n' demons.

And the more activist of them would send petitions to Satan calling for better treatment.
Others would have rallies ...
Looks kinda like the cops beating on "Occupy" doesn't it?

You get the idea.



Thursday, January 22, 2015

EEEK! A Deficit!!!!

So, there's talk that the falling price of oil, the damage it'll do to Alberta's economy, etc., etc., will prevent the harpercons from meeting their promised surplus in this, an election year.

Whatever.

Thanks to the failure of the unregulated, neo-liberal economic model, since 2008 the economy of the world has been teetering between stagnation and austerity. The opposition wisely forced dim-bulb harpercon finance minister Jim Flaherty, to launch a round of stimulus spending to help Canada avoid a recessionary spiral. They've now spent, what? $100 million? Advertising this piss-poor stimulus program as "Canada's Action-Plan."

The US stock market has been kept on an upward course by massive infusions of taxpayers' dollars. It's all a scam. 93% of the economic growth since 2009 went to the wealthiest 1%. And less and less of that is taxed. So that the rich can keep more of the wealth they've scraped out of the skins of workers, the environment, and the consumers (who are those very same workers suffering with job insecurity and stagnating or declining wages). And, the government gets less revenue.

My only problem with these deficits is that they're partially caused by round after round of income and corporate (and then sales) tax cuts. Tax cuts for people who demonstrably have more money than they know what to productively do with. I wasn't a fan of Paul Martin's ruinous austerity policies and I'm not a fan of harper's cretinous obsession with surpluses either. harper made a stupid promise, and now the falling price of oil is making it difficult for him to keep it.

harper has always been afraid of facts. (Among other things. harper is a shuddering, fearful wreak most of the time.) Facts tend to have a liberal bias. So it's only natural that harper try to dismiss the facts about the government's finances until after he's stolen the next election. Hence delaying the budget until April. And musings about further cuts to public services. Because, oh my god! We can't have a country with a GDP larger than $1,000,000,000,000.00 have a $1,600,000.00 deficit! The earth would swallow us faster than a falling sky could crush us!

Sadly though, even after 70 years of knowing that deficits are necessary during economic downturns, we still hear crapola about bloated government budgets and corrupt unions and chiselers on welfare.

Now, what would happen if, because of some bad news, everyone curtailed their spending? It's been known since the Great Depression that the simultaneous reining in of spending by business and consumers means a recession, which means lower revenues for government, which used to mean cut-backs by the public sector, which would create a downward recessionary spiral.

What the government is supposed to do during times like these is to perform counter-cyclical public spending, to halt the downward spiral and attempt to re-start the economy. Now, obviously, it would help to have had surpluses in good times. And in this day and age, reversing the tax-cuts to the wealthiest (simply because they haven't produced the economic growth that we were promised they would) is necessary to maintain surpluses in good times. The harpercons (and the Liberals) didn't do that. But just because they fucked-up then, doesn't mean that they have to fuck-up now. Austerity in the face of a tanking economy will still make things worse, even if you think the deficits up to now have been harper's fault.

Austerity would, actually, DESTROY the Canadian economy. We've been trundling along with single-minded determination to promote the Tar-Sands, ... buoyed by a real-estate bubble and corresponding construction boom, ... but really it hasn't been all that spectacular. Because to keep things at this anemic pace, Canadian households have now got a household debt-to-income ratio of 162%. Imagine if the feds, and the provinces, decide to slash spending under these conditions!

In all honesty, it's going to take YEARS of reversing the neo-liberal bullshit spewed by economists, to get the economy back on track. To get society back on track. It will take pro-union legislation, and rising wages for workers, and investing in the green, zero-growth economy, and puncturing the real-estate and stock-market bubbles and preventing them from ever inflating again, and closing tax-loopholes and ramping down wasteful spending on imperialist wars.

Don't be sucked-in, yet again, by this stupid deficit hysteria.