Wednesday, June 21, 2017

War in Syria: Where are the protesters?

"The United States is at war with Syria. Though few Americans wanted to face it, this has been the case implicitly since the Obama administration began building bases and sending Special Ops, really-not-there, American troops, and it has been the case explicitly since August 3, 2015, when the Obama administration announced that it would “allow airstrikes to defend Syrian rebels trained by the U.S. military from any attackers, even if the enemies hail from forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.” With the U.S. Air Force—under Trump, following Obama’s declared policy—shooting down a Syrian plane in Syrian airspace, this is now undeniable.  The United States is overtly engaged in another aggression against a sovereign country that poses no conceivable, let alone actual or imminent, threat to the nation. This is an act of war."

Read the whole thing. The answer to the question about where the protests are is that, while they'll never admit it, the leaders of the "Let's mill about peacefully in pubic for an afternoon to demonstrate how we feel" crowd have realized that this "tactic" (or whatever you want to call it) simply doesn't work.

And so, they're all out of ideas. 

I have ideas. But they'd take work. And nobody's in any position to do any work.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Comparing Corbyn and Trudeau

Martin Lukacs has an editorial in The Guardian in which he says that Justin Trudeau is a counterfeit progressive. He wins accolades from the international press for his "sunny ways," which appears to be mouthing progressive rhetoric and/or lying while being very, very handsome. Corbyn, meanwhile, was written off as fringe, unelectable, unstable and charmless.

Some liberal/Liberals here in Canada have taken Corbyn's recent success and linking it to the Trudeau majority as the sign of a progressive wave. Lukacs (and I agree with him) doesn't think much of Trudeau though:

Now that Corbyn has upended the rules that govern electoral life in the west, it will help us see Trudeau in proper perspective: as a smooth-talking centrist who has put the most coiffed gloss yet on the bankrupt and besieged neoliberalism of the age.
Trudeau’s coronation as a champion of everything fair and decent, after all, has much to do with shrewd and calculated public relations. I call it the Trudeau two-step.
First, he makes a sweeping proclamation pitched abroad – a bold pledge to tackle austerity or climate change, or to ensure the rights of refugees or Indigenous peoples. The fawning international coverage bolsters his domestic credibility.
What follows next are not policies to ambitiously fulfill these pledges: it is ploys to quietly evacuate them of any meaning. The success of this maneuver – as well as its sheer cynicism – has been astonishing.
In this manner, Trudeau has basically continued, and in some cases exceeded, the economic agenda of Conservative Stephen Harper: approved mega fossil fuel projects, sought parliamentary power grabs, cut-back healthcare funding and attacked public pensions, kept up the dispossession of Indigenous peoples, undermined the prospect of universal childcare, maintained tax loopholes for the richest, and detained and deported thousands of migrants.
Out of breath? He has also broken an electoral reform promise, initiated a privatization scheme that is a massive corporate handout, left un-repealed a Tory political spy bill, launched air strikes in Iraq and Syria despite pledging a withdrawal, and inked the largest-ever weapons deal with the brutal, misogynistic Saudi Arabian regime.
Not exactly what those who voted for “real change” were expecting? Before you answer, here’s something titillating to distract and disarm you: Justin and Barack Obama rekindling their progressive bromance at an uber-cool Montreal diner. Jeremy Corbyn has shown us the meaning of a politics of genuine hope: what Trudeau has deployed has only ever been a politics of hype.
Trudeau’s latest progressive posturing is over foreign policy. Last week his government announced, to wide-spread acclaim, a brave course for their military that is independent of the reviled US administration. Except they will boost wasteful military spending by more than $60bn, a shocking seventy percent budgetary increase, and are already entertaining new Nato missions — exactly as Donald Trump has demanded. The doublespeak seems to have escaped the navel-gazing pundits: this is utter deference masquerading as defiance.
Did you read that Trudeau-bots? Trudeau-Bro's and Trudeau-Sis's? Did you read those links? This isn't about only having had two years to undo stephen harper's damages. Some of those things were new policies that are terrible. And some things, Trudeau hasn't even pretended to do anything about (such as the draconian spy-bill C-51).

I can barely stomach the NDP. And in some cases, they've been worse than the Liberals. I saw so little difference in them that i voted Liberal last time. I'm thinking of not voting ever again.

But let's not fool ourselves that Trudeau is our friend. He's a bullshit artist. As I said here, being socially liberal is irrelevant to the project of capitalism. And capitalism requires imperialism. Hence all the US-initiated wars around the word and Canada's role as camp-follower.

Corbyn is the real deal. A leftist stalwart who never expected to be leader of the Labour Party but who has been embraced by the millions of ordinary people fucked-over by the system and sickened unto puking from the oily deluded Blairites.

That, by the way, is the proper Labour leader to link Trudeau to. Tony Blair. And years from now, he'll be just as rotten as Blair is.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Murderous "Bernie-Bro's"



So, the racist scum-bag who knifed three guys trying to stop his harassment of a Muslim woman on a Portland train (killing two and wounding one) was found to be a Bernie Sanders supporter. Then, a week or two later, the guy who shot the Republican politicians who were trying to practice baseball (between helping Wall Street rob people and helping health insurance companies kill people when all their money is gone) was also a Sanders supporter.

What does this prove? The innate pathological violence of the Left that right-wing trolls are always mentioning (when they're not saying how they'll make our blood run in the streets)?

No.

It remains the case that people whose main concerns are economic justice and individual equality are, on average, less violent than people whose main concerns are individual profit and race wars.

The Portland murderer's defining traits were stupidity and the subsequent insanity that springs from such an intense level of mental deficiencies. His racism and his conspiracy theories were the biggest factors driving him. He would probably be appalled at Sanders' deep commitment to the Civil Rights struggle, but he also would have liked Sanders' clear condemnation of Wall Street criminals. The Nazis in Germany had many followers who saw themselves as "little people" being victimized by corporate elite interests. (Especially those run by Jews!) But their political-economic analysis is marred by their stupidity and so they embrace fascism. Which is what fascism is: Socialism for stupid people.

The baseball field killer was a violent man. Spousal abuse, attacking his neighbours. He had a history of mental instability. (None of which prevented him from legally owning the weapons he took with him to Washington D.C.) Such a man is still capable of seeing if a group of people (such as Republican politicians) are antithetical to his own best interests.

This is what I mean when I say that we shouldn't get stupid (or insane) people angry. Your average Toronto Sun reader might be occasionally obnoxious and irritating, but as long as they have a job and a decent income, their antisocial tendencies tend to stay under wraps. But stir-up a bullshit war with "Islam" (through Zionism and the deliberate encouragement of Jihaadist groups for other twisted reasons) and so many of these people will start braying out their Islamophobic nonsense. Fuck-up the economy and deprive them of employment and protect the capitalist criminals who exploit them, and they'll start to get murderously desperate.

I had thought that Donald Trump would at least have made token efforts to bring back manufacturing jobs and bring down pharmaceutical costs. I would never have voted for the dunce if I was a US-American, but i thought he'd make a show of trying. But he's done the exact opposite. And the rest of his party never even promised to do those things.   Both Obama and Hillary Clinton remained steadfast in their devotion to job-destroying corporate rights deals and to cossetting Wall Street criminals and other parasite scum. Therefore things have gotten horrible.

And things will only get worse since we, as a people, as a species, are too stupid to change.


Monday, June 12, 2017

10,000 BC

"10,000 BC" is a silly movie. It's got an 8% rating on "Rotten Tomatoes" (meaning it's ROTTEN). I bought it for a few bucks back when I liked to get high and watch CGI. I have a bunch of such DVDs and I now only pull them out when the internet is down or so fucking slow that it might as well be down. I have stuff playing in the background as i work on my comics. And I'm usually high when I'm drawing. So I've now seen "10,000 BC" twice. Here's the things I like about it:

I don't believe in magic but I think it's neat how there's a witch in the tribe who looks Neanderthal. As if that lost race had magical powers. She's "the last of her kind."

The tribe is only partially white. The older warrior appears to be of some Central Asian ethnicity. The young tag-a-long is mixed-race. Sure the hero is obviously white. But I can see a director faced with a choice of a white male hero or not getting funding for the movie at all.

It throws in a nod to "Androcles & The Lion" as one of the things that helps the hero.

The slaves are working on a variant of "The Tower of Babel." Which happened a long time ago.



I thought those giant birds that chase them were creepy.

I thought it a neat device to have the "god king" being attended to by slaves who had been blinded, thus preserving his remoteness and authority.

I didn't like it that the slave-owning urban elites were portrayed as effeminate, "decadent" perverts while the tribal people were all stalwart heterosexuals.

The slave-driver who kidnaps the love interest occasionally brought some decent facial expressions to his role.

There was another nod to an iconic ancient legend, but I can't remember it now.

Don't see this movie. You'll be pissed-off with me if you do.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Oh Those Fucking "Conservatives"!


I'd never heard of Katie Hopkins before. Apparently she's a British right-wing racist scribbler, known for her "outrageous" outbursts of stupid bigotry. (A UK version of uber-hypocrite shit-stain Ann Coulter.) But she took it too far when in the wake of the Manchester concert bombing she tweeted a call for a "Final Solution" to the "problem" of the existence of Muslim people. Supposedly she came to her senses soon afterwards and deleted the tweet but many had seen it by that point and saved screen-shots. Hopkins was fired by her employer, radio station LBC.

Reading that story at the link led to another suggested link wherein a writer goes to interview Ms. Hopkins over lunch to see if she's really as angry as she seems, or whether she's just trolling, or what:

[I can't decide which of the several quotes I should pick to go into detail on, so I'll just put a bunch of them down all in a row and provide my overall take on them:]

... When tens of thousands of people bay for Hopkins’ blood and exhaust dictionaries finding new ways to deride her, she laughs and cheerfully fires out a tweet about how migrants are of equal worth to the contents of a vacuum cleaner bag, or something.How can someone be so fireproof?“You haven't separated what you've written from your writing,” she advises. “For me the thing that would hurt me is if people suggested that I was bad at writing.”...I ask about this separation she sees between herself and what she writes.“It’s massive, massive. I completely separate the two things. So here's my view that I'm purporting [not sure if that was a malapropism, but it was a good one if so] through copy or radio, and here's the way I've written it.“Now if I can draw you through 500 words I've done a great job. If you don't agree with my view at the end of those, that's great too, that's fine, but if I've got you through an issue that you don't agree with me on, that's good writing. For me I can see a distance between ‘this is what I've written’ and ‘this is me the person’.”I counter that your writing should be inextricable from you, which I think she finds quite darling....It’s incredibly incendiary wording, but she maintains everything she writes she believes, and that she isn’t a troll.“I really believe the stuff I say. Yes, there is definitely this gap, but it’s not a gap between 'Oh she's controversial for a reason and this is the real Katie' - it’s not that kind of a gap - it's a gap between a very public RAAGH RAAGH RAAGH Katie versus this super private person behind a wall.”...Her second husband, ‘lovely Mark’ as he’s known, is apparently the polar opposite to her - quiet, and culturally and politically liberal. “People say to my husband 'Oh I didn't think you'd be married to that’.” It’s an unlikely dynamic, but it seems to work. “I married myself the first time round and that was really bad, a terrible thing to do.”...Contrary to what you might expect, Hopkins is very genial in person. She is polite, courteous and unpatronising. If you had no prior knowledge of her on first meeting, you would never expect her to be the kind of person who discounts other humans on name alone.This could be evidence that the belligerent Hopkins we see in the media is a facade, but I don’t actually believe she is a troll. To answer my original question, the Katie Hopkins ranting on This Morning is the same Katie Hopkins sat in front of me, albeit with the volume turned down somewhat.

So, to sum up; Hopkins really is murderously bigoted, but in her private life she's quieter about it. And her husband, is apparently, diametrically opposed to his wife's core beliefs, but they "click" and so it's all good. Me, I've never understood how one could make a life partner out of someone whose views you find repugnant, as is the case with the husband here. But I think that I understand Hopkins' ability to do that. She's too intellectually and emotionally shallow to grasp how hateful and vile her views are. Somehow she's able to compartmentalize her racist bigotry and general "conservative" stupidity and appreciate her "darling" liberal husband and be an agreeable lunch companion to a non-threatening liberal reporter. Because, unlike myself and anyone else with a higher degree of empathy than she possesses, Hopkins simply has no clue about what words and ideas really mean.

But this is shameful:

Admitting to being a troll would obviously be career suicide though and is something I’m not going to get her to do (not that I’m convinced she is one), so I get back to the abuse thing. Has she become de-sensitised to it through the prism of the internet?“I think that's super true, being anti-my opinions or views, I'm impervious to it all.” Hopkins rationalises the bile she receives through the belief that her detractors simply aren’t smart enough to critique her properly. “They don't mean they want to rape you with a machete, they mean they really want you to shut up, they just didn't have the language,” she says. “They all go under that folder in my head - ‘didn't have the language, should have tried harder at English, what a shame’. I slide it all away.”
Now, anyone who reads this blog knows that I have a fair degree of hatred for a lot of people. But I do not post murderous fantasies. One, because they're illegal, and (more importantly) because I don't relish the idea of physically harming anyone. I'd like to see stephen harper in prison and Ezra Levant unemployed and destitute. But not harmed. I'd like them to learn from their mistakes. Or at least give those shit-heads the chance to learn.

Speaking of Ezra Levant: More stuff ---- Porter Airlines has joined a growing list of companies pulling their advertising from Levant's hate/propaganda-site. Like most career criminals and con-artists, Ezra pulls the race card, whining about anti-Semitism. Pathetically, he calls for a boycott of Porter Airlines. I read about Levant's response in the free Sun News daily "24 Hours." I can't find a link for it, but trust me, if you were the typical proto-fascist dullard who agrees with their shit, you wouldn't be able to figure out that Levant is the one reacting. It's written as if he's targeted Porter.

It's sad that Canadian journalism is so debased that people are forced to write such drivel. Or, what's more likely, that Canadian society and humanity in general are so debased that we produce people who believe in all the shit that Ezra Levant and Sun News push out.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Terrorism in the UK

So, apparently there was a terrorist attack on London Bridge carried out with a van and knives. A suicide attack. Then there was the Manchester concert bombing.

Now, we know that the alleged perpetrator of the Manchester bombing was the member of a family of anti-Qaddafi Islamic extremists and that their war against the Libyan dictator was aided and abetted by British intelligence. This was "blow-back" of the most obvious kind.

Time for some creative speculation: It seems to me that there are terrorists in the UK who have been assisted by British government/police/intelligence services for years now. They are being allowed to carry out their campaigns against secular Arab rulers. Obviously, the British police and military also hunt them down and kill them. Both of these sets of facts are true. These are crazy people we're talking about.

We know for a fact that terrorism is a manufactured product courtesy of Washington-led imperialism. Saudi Arabia is the biggest fomenter of the kind of terrorism we're fixated on and it is a coddled ally. Washington deliberately arms and funds these groups to target regimes that they don't like. Terrorism is also the big excuse for violating our liberties and our rights. (They say they have to "keep us safe" from the monster they've created and sustain. They also expand the definition of "terrorism" to include political protest.)

We know that police forces and other institutions of state violence and coercion have received ample funding and new powers since this whole farce took off in 2011. They are going to be devastated should it come to an end.

Is it possible that all of these deluded scum-bags are fearful of the rise in the polls of Labour's Jeremy Corbyn? He who promises an end to the nonsense that is the "War on Terror"? If these imbeciles imagine that terrorist attacks will work as in the past, they will allow/engage in them, and then the status-quo Tories can chant "only we can keep you safe." But that didn't work after Manchester and Labour is now ahead of the Tories in some polls (in comparison to 20 percent behind before the snap election was called). Corbyn hasn't drunk from the kool-aid and he meant what he said when he said the current response isn't working. The Terrorist-Police-Industrial Complex doesn't know anything else though, so they launched a quickie attack using ready-at-hand weapons such as knives and vans. Now cancelling the election was floated but abandoned.

These are desperate, fucked-up times.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Operation Medusa


Recently, hysterical Liberal Party hack Montreal Simon had been swooning about attacks against Liberal Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. Apparently Sajjan wilfully overstated his role in the planning of one of the Canadian Forces' biggest operations; "Operation Medusa." Now, some political columnists who I tend to respect (and you can check this blog and find out that I do respect several of them) said that this was a pretty serious faux-pas on Sajjan's part. Obviously, the Opposition parties, being who they are, were out for blood. Was that fair? I don't know. Sometimes when you lie on your resume and it's found out, that can get you fired, even if you had been doing good in the actual job. To lie about your contribution to a major initiative as Sajjan did would be similar I suppose. To tell you the honest truth, I'm not sure where I stand on that issue. Perhaps that makes me a racist? But I don't care too much about this incident wherein the Defence Minister is a fabulist.

Because when I read the words "Operation Medusa" this is what I think of:

First:
Razik’s clandestine smuggling operations have spilled over into the allied fight against the Taliban, thereby bolstering the widely held perception that the ISAF and the central government are favoring certain tribes and marginalizing others. Soon after he assumed power at the border, Razik began to feud with elements of the Noorzai tribe, particularly the Sultanzai, a rival smuggling clan spread between Spin Boldak and Chaman. One notorious incident took place during the summer of 2006 in Panjwaii District, a volatile area just west of Kandahar city. A predominantly Noorzai district, Panjwaii is a lush river valley crisscrossed by thick orchards and mud-walled compounds, and it provides an excellent springboard for attacks on Kandahar city. During the course of the summer, Taliban fighters had infiltrated the valley, and eventually the district governor, an Achakzai, called in Abdul Razik’s border force.
What followed was a debacle. The Noorzais, fearing their tribal enemies, rose up and joined forces with the Taliban. Razik and his men responded to the unexpected resistance with brutality. “They were killing women and children,” said Ustaz Abdul Halim, a Noorzai and former mujahideen commander who lives in Kandahar city. “After that, everyone was with the Taliban.”
Capitalizing on the tribal dynamics, the Taliban installed a Noorzai, Mullah Rauf Lang, as their commander in Panjwaii District. Later that fall, newly arrived Canadian troops in the area would launch Operation Medusa, a large-scale assault that killed hundreds of fighters and scores of civilians in weeks of close combat and withering bombardments. Today, the area remains one ofthe most violent in Kandahar Province—the Canadians suffer many of their casualties there and have recently abandoned two untenable forward operating bases in the area—and anti-government sentiments still run high.
Second:
Warmaking trumps "reconstruction" In early September, the 2,300 Canadian troops in Kandahar launched a massive ground assault in Panjwaii district, code-named "Operation Medusa" and backed by U.S. troops and airpower. Residents were warned in advance of the offensive to leave their homes and villages.
The assault was declared a huge success several weeks later. "More than one thousand" enemy fighters were said to be killed. But reporters saw few bodies of resistance fighters.
Canadian and NATO authorities admitted that fighters had staged an orderly retreat and appealed for more troops into the area. Canada quickly dispatched several hundred more soldiers, and for the first time it will be deploying tanks. Deadly attacks on Canadian and other NATO forces resumed within days of the "victory."
Meanwhile, some 20,000 residents were made homeless after their homes, villages and crops were destroyed in the fighting. Winter is approaching and they face an uncertain future.

[Please note: The above quotes are not my own. They're pasted from my original blog posts wherein the original sources are linked. In case anyone thinks I'm overstating my contributions here.]

Also, given Sajjan's relatively high rank in the field, what did he know about our detainee policy wherein Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin stated every single one of the prisoners we handed over to the Afghan authorities was tortured? We were all pretty riled-up about that issue when harper was the enemy. Perhaps Sajjan could now shed some light on the subject?

Or not.

Anyway, Niki Ashton for PM!