Tuesday, November 28, 2017

On Turning "Conservatives" Into "Liberals"

 
Montreal Simon recently posted about some study that claims there are physical differences between the brains of "conservatives" and "progressives":
Peering inside the brain with MRI scans, researchers at University College London found that self-described conservative students had a larger amygdala than liberals. The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure deep in the brain that is active during states of fear and anxiety.
It also claims that the way to tone down those "conservative" political instincts (defensively shutting themselves inside echo-chambers of ethnic nationalism/xenophobia/homophobia/religious fundamentalism) is to make their environments less stressful and fear-inducing:
Conservatives, it turns out, react more strongly to physical threat than liberals do. In fact, their greater concern with physical safety seems to be determined early in life: In one University of California study, the more fear a 4-year-old showed in a laboratory situation, the more conservative his or her political attitudes were found to be 20 years later.

And many other laboratory studies have found that when adult liberals experienced physical threat, their political and social attitudes became more conservative (temporarily, of course). But no one had ever turned conservatives into liberals.
Which is sort of what I've been trying to say for a long time to liberals who think that all you have to do is vote for a Liberal or a Democrat to be on the side of the angels. The neo-liberal austerity politics practised by the Liberal Party of Canada and the Democratic Party USA have hurt the majority of the population. So do the policies of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Republican Party USA. Both of these right-wing parties have the advantages of 1.) Having a grassroots political base that is more easily manipulated than do liberal parties, 2.) Having access to dog-whistle arguments as to the actual causes of white, working-class woes [ethnic minorities/immigrants/refugees/GLBT people/unions/socialists] that allow them to manipulate their easily-manipulated membership away from elites and towards these convenient scapegoats.

Liberals and Democrats do not have a similar narrative. They can't convincingly rail about lazy Blacks, Musloid rape-fugees, Hollywood degenerates, and etc., because they claim to embrace and support the aspirations of Blacks, immigrants, Muslims, refugees, Hollywood liberals and etc. And they can't rail against the white working class either. And they can't betray their financiers on Wall Street or across corporate America obviously. So what they have to do is lie about caring about ordinary people while enacting policies that hurt them. One of their only "outs" to avoid wholesale condemnation for their fakery and betrayal is that the Republicans/Conservatives are worse.

It remains the case however, that more and more people are turning against mainstream politics. Even the Republicans have been discomfited by Tea-Bagger revolts against their insiders. Eric Cantor's loss to a Tea-Party nominee, and the whole line-up of 2016 leadership hopefuls being destroyed by the buffoonish Donald Trump who spoke out loud and proud [and ultimately falsely] about his opposition to free trade deals; pharmaceutical and health insurance industry gouging; imperialist war; and Wall Street domination of Washington. Trump's rivals couldn't say such things because (strangely) they're not as shameless when it comes to lying as Trump is; they were terrified of alienating their sugar-daddies, and, they're simply cognitively incapable of acting independently.

In 2016, after 8 years of Barack Obama continuing with the imperialist wars in the Middle East, shoveling 90% of the wealth created during his presidency to the wealthiest 1%; arrogating to his office the power to assassinate US citizens without due process of law; bailing-out Wall Street, protecting them from prosecution and using them to staff his cabinet; attacking social security; abandoning single-payer health insurance; pursuing corporate free trade deals; ... well, after all that, many traditional Democrat voters stayed home rather than vote for a candidate who promised more of the same. Helping the nauseating embarrassment Trump to squeeze out an Electoral College victory.


But my main point is that embracing policies that hurt ordinary people (even if they are "less bad" or "lesser evil" than what another party is advocating) is going to make most people angry. Among those who are made angry are the fearful, big amygdala -having "conservatives." And they will NOT welcome refugees, they will protest against them and hate them. They will NOT accept immigrants, they will accuse them of stealing their jobs (while simultaneously blaming them for enlarging the welfare rolls). They will NOT support employment equity or affirmative action. They will instead lash-out on favouritism for minorities and feminists and scream about discrimination against white males. In short: Neo-liberal policies will make the deplorables angry.

Another commentor in another Montreal Simon post made reference to a recent New York Times profile of a Nazi couple. There's a brouhahaha about how the newspaper "normalized" fascism. I think we have to accept that fascists are "normal." If you look at the opinions of Adolph Hitler you will find that for the most part they are just a more built-up sampler of the toxic slurry of idiotic prejudices and delusions (racism, homophobia, "tough on crime", anti-welfare state, anti-unions, militarism, confused morals) of your average Toronto Sun reader. The danger was never to "humanize" Hitler. The danger was to pretend that he wasn't human and so convince ourselves that the distance between ourselves and abominations such as The Holocaust is bigger than it is.

If we want to neutralize fascism we must first reject neo-liberal, imperialist scum-bags like Hillary Clinton and Justin Trudeau. To do otherwise is to subject ourselves to greater horrors in the future.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"At The Sharp End" by Tim Cook


 Recently finished reading Tim Cook's At The Sharp End: Canadians Fighting The Great War 1914-1916. Some observations:

The Western Front was a case of institutional insanity and mass psychoses. Someone from a particular social class in Britain or France or Germany or Canada might have thought being a military officer was a noble profession in the 19th Century. Furthermore, once a war had started, they would be determined to fight it to win. They'd be determined to figure out how to win with the least sacrifice in human lives possible. But then they'd come to the realities of 1914 and beyond, which is that technology had progressed to the point where you could put hundreds of thousands of men into uniforms, give them rifles, and march them directly into the path of machine guns, barbed-wire and artillery barrages, where they could be uselessly slaughtered.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Trump Tedium Revisited

 
So, what the fuck. I'll finish off my critique about this neo-con's (or whatever) of Donald Trump. My point being that while Trump is undeniably disgusting, the US-imperialist world order that Michael Cohen celebrates is also undeniably disgusting. That Cohen displays brazen hypocrisy throughout his essay and that focusing on Trump is actually really convenient for liars and hypocrites such as himself. By pointing to Trump's putrid and boorish corruption, Cohen hopes to distract from a Repugnican and Democratic tradition of murder and theft.
Recently, the president tweeted: "With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!"
This is Putin territory. This is Erdogan territory. 
Putin is a thug. But I am sick and tired of his being trotted out as the Great Satan. On foreign policy, Putin is a calm, rational actor, reacting with tact and circumspection to repeated US provocations and crimes. He does this not because he is a nice guy, but because Russia is far weaker than the USA, but not so weak as to suffer multiple attacks and humiliations in silence. Domestically, Putin has allied himself with the most reactionary elements of Russian society and he is no democrat. But he is no worse, and in many cases, better, than some of the tyrants and killers that the USA has supported and continues to support.
We don't know yet how far the president is prepared to go in silencing critics who do not meet his test of patriotism, while inviting his supporters to give free rein to their inner bigot. But Mueller and, eventually, a reelection campaign will tempt Trump to go a long way.
As opposed to Obama who gave himself the right to assassinate US citizens without due process of law.  A power that Trump now has because right-wingers were chasing phantoms about gun seizures and FEMA camps and most "progressives" decided that a Democrat in the White House meant they could all safely shove their heads up their asses for four to eight years.
I lived in Berlin a couple of decades ago and saw the capital return after the Rhineland sojourn in bland Bonn. The city was a construction site. Cranes hoisted the new but the past - a constant admonition to a united Germany - was not erased. This was the consummation of the miracle: Germany unified, within NATO, its borders no longer contested. The German problem that over decades had caused sleepless nights to thousands of American diplomats and agents had been resolved.
I would cross the Polish border sometimes. Poland is close to Berlin, as Poles know well. I had to pinch myself, with the border near invisible, to recall that these were "Bloodlands," in Timothy Snyder's phrase, the last resting place of millions. Yet here, only decades later, there stretched before me the tranquility that NATO, the European Union and statesmanship had brought. 
I thought this guy wasn't a liberal. Now he's talking about international cooperation? Anyhoo, ... neo-liberalism is tearing Europe apart. NATO has oozed its way to the Russian border. The "tranquility" that Cohen is rhapsodizing about might soon be blasted to smithereens because of US hubris.
None of this would have happened without the trans-Atlantic alliance, without the Berlin airlift and the Marshall Plan, without America as a European power - without everything Trump appears to hold in contempt. Constancy and strength in pursuit of strategy are wearing on their opponents. Chaos, on the other hand, gives foes a sense of opportunity.
I beg to differ. Because I believe that the world system that Cohen praises is actually a vile, stupid thing. Needless confrontation. Putin doesn't want to conquer Europe. Russia is too weak and poor to even consider it. More of Cohen's self-deluded stupidity.
Cannot Be Fixed in Stone
It was not only Germans who enjoyed what Helmut Kohl once called "the blessing of late birth." In some way, every post-war European did. We succumb at our peril to amnesia. It is for the young to forge the 21st century. That is right and natural. The precepts of the last century, and its power structure, cannot be forever fixed in stone.
Yet we should not forget from what horror Pax Americana emerged. As Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron flesh out a distinct European destiny - as they should in this era of Trump - they must be mindful of preserving the American bond, in the hope of better days. They must also speak out strongly for the values Trump's America has forsaken.
It's already been established that the "values" Cohen speaks of refer to the right of a US-dominated corporate system to exploit and brutalize anyone who opposes it.

It is lunatics such as Cohen, who cheer on the encirclement and provocation of military powers like Russia and China, who are threatening to bring new horrors down upon humanity. If he genuinely believes this drivel he's written then I pity him.
Perhaps Senator John McCain, a great friend of Europe now battling brain cancer, has offered the best rebuke to Trump:
"To refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain 'the last best hope of earth' for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.
"We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We are the custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don't. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn't deserve to."
Amen.
John McCain is a disgusting, hypocritical, war-mongering asshole. These pompous, deluded ravings make me sick. The United States is not a "Shining city upon a hill"for the world. It is a racist oligarchy run by and for the selfish interests of a predatory capitalist class. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Tedium of Anti-Trumpism


I started reading this malediction against Donald Trump by Roger Cohen in Der Spiegel and I soon became overwhelmed with the nauseating hypocrisy.  Don't get me wrong; I really do despise Donald Trump. But too many people think that by opposing and condemning Trump, that they're doing a great service to humanity and that their own support for vile, murderous psychopaths like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, is all part and parcel of their innate goodness. If your only reason for opposing Trump is because his misogyny, racism, boorishness, stupidity and corruption, ... well, that might make you polite company at a Washington D.C. dinner party, but you have to do more than that to be invited to toke and drink with me.

Let me go through this and I'll try to explain:
Ten months into the Trump presidency, the world has not gone over a cliff. Nuclear brinkmanship with North Korea has not produced Armageddon. That this must be considered an achievement is testimony to how alarming Donald Trump's erratic belligerence has been. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has concluded that Europeans must now take "our destiny into our own hands." Dismay is widespread. The post-war order, stripped of its American point of reference, is frayed to the breaking point.


This is no surprise. Trump's election, like Britain's perverse flight from the European Union, reflected a blow-up-the-system mood. The tens of millions of Americans who elected Trump had few illusions about his irascibility but were ready to roll the dice in the name of disruption at any cost.
The president, who continues to act principally as the rabble-rousing leader of a mass movement, is the ultimate provocateur. He jolts the facile assumptions of a globalized liberal elite. Rising inequality and rampant impunity for the powerful certainly demanded such a jolt. But the question remains: How dangerous is Trump to the world and the American Republic?

Okay, first of all, who are these "globalized liberal elites"? What are their "facile assumptions"? Who has presided over "rising inequality and rampant impunity for the powerful"? Look at all that is unstated in these two paragraphs: "Nuclear brinkmanship with North Korea" ... Yes, that was scary and dangerous and stupid. But it is well within the confines of standard US-American practice. And I will never tire of reminding people of the far crazier nuclear brinkmanship carried out by Obama in Syria and as NATO policy in Europe and which Hillary Clinton wanted to intensify. Trump would not have this opportunity for bellicose ranting if there was not already a predisposition for threatening and engaging in illegal wars throughout and across the narrow spectrum of Washington D.C.'s foreign policy establishment.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Pierre Poilievre and the Paradise Papers



I haven't looked at the Paradise Papers or read any of the news stories about them. I already know that the corporations and the rich hide their wealth from the taxman in ways both legal and illegal. (And that they strain mightily to make even the most blatant, unjustifiable, and therefore illegal tax avoidance legal through their hirelings in politics.) And I know from the results of the Panama Papers, that both Canada's corporate media and our political system will do as much as possible to deflect attention from the criminal behaviour of Canada's ruling class and there will be empty rhetoric about coming down hard on these tax-cheats, and that nothing will be done. I am too resigned and apathetic to really stir myself about much these days. I'll let the progressive super-stars who know better than me how to effect genuine social change implement all their vast, ambitious plans and happily await the revolution.

It doesn't surprise me that wealthy supporters of the Liberal Party of Canada (and politicians from that party) are involved in these tax-avoidance schemes. Nor am I surprised that the pathetic, putrid Pierre Poilievre is pursuing the pretense of being offended by their behaviour. He doesn't care that his own party and its masters do the exact same thing. He just knows that the media will give him plenty of screen time or waste a lot of ink, reporting his bullshit condemnations. He also knows that the vast majority of the voting base of the Conservative Party of Canada are far too stupid to recognize his deceit for what it is, and that a frightening percentage of these morons are so debased that if you pointed out the facts to them as if you were rubbing their noses in their own shit, that they'd simply embrace Poilievre's own tactic of hypocrisy and continue to shriek.

This back-and-forth of stupid, hypocritical bullshit is par for the course. Something I experienced firsthand when I took my son to Queen's Park:
The other, more important thing, was listening to these clowns. The discussion had to do with some latest example of Liberal incompetence and failure on the health care file. Money that was promised to meet a long acknowledged problem wasn't being delivered and the Minister of Health was refusing to account for anything. The ONDP was asking the question when I arrived and the Liberal opposite gave a meaningless reply about how important the subject was and how they were working on it, giving no specific explanation for the delay. But it was when the Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP stood up to trash the government on the same issue that I saw how sordid mainstream politics really is. The O PC was asking about the same issue, so it was obviously a well known semi-scandal. The O PC was hammering the Liberals quite hard on the subject. But the Liberal response was to issue the same platitudes as had been offered to the ONDP, but to then condemn the O PC's for the documented catastrophe that was their record of management.

I'd noticed that aside from banging their desks in support of a question from their own MPP, the NDP listened (or tried to listen) to what was being said on the other side. (A couple of MPPs occasionally said something into the ear of someone sitting next to them.) But during the government response, the Ontario PC's hooted and hollered and jeered. During the government response, the Liberal MPPs banged their desks and cheered, and hurled insults and accusations at the opposition. I noticed ONDP leader Andrea Horwath looking pained and irritated as the two parties traded insults about their own destruction of public health care in Ontario. Peter Kormos, sitting near her, and supposedly a legislative firebrand was also listening to these self-serving, stupid exchanges with disgust.
These two parties are supported by the Canadian ruling classes. Their behaviour represents this. Our ruling class is selfish, short-sighted, corrupt and, to a great degree, populated by psychopaths. In many ways, the worst elements of society. Because capitalism, to the extent that it puts profit over people, is inhuman. The capitalist ruling class reflect the system they have risen to the top of. An inhuman, immoral, selfish, boorishness.


We're all participants in this nonsense. We're all debased by it. But those closer to the top are the worst.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Learn From Chairman Mao!

 So, I'm reading Ross Terrill's biography of Mao, and the many chapters describing his career up to becoming the unquestioned leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Yan'an made me think about my own trials and tribulations. To whit; ... that in retrospect it is obvious that any revolution in the foreseeable future in early-20th century China would require the peasantry, because they made up about 90% of the population. But only Mao seemed to recognize this. The rest of the CCP was fixated on interpreting Marxist dogma, and that, through the blinkered lens of the Soviet Union, which was grandly ignorant of Chinese realities.

For years Mao was criticized, condemned, stripped of offices and even threatened, for departing from the official line. It wasn't until his superiors and rivals were severely weakened or even destroyed by their misplaced ideological loyalties, that they were forced to admit that he'd been right and this gave him the moral and intellectual clout to become the supreme leader of what was left of the CCP in Yan'an.


Now, because there are those among my [few] readers who misinterpret me (either honestly or otherwise), let me say that the title of this blog-post is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. It's a parody of the exuberant tone of so many Cultural Revolution slogans. I do not aspire to be a Mao (or a Pol-Pot as was said about me by one frenzied commentator at "Montreal Simon"), nor am I a fan of totalitarianism. (I'm also not one to dismiss the many important achievements of the CCP in light of the horrible state China was in at the beginning of the 20th Century.)

But I do want to say that it seems to me painfully, terrifyingly obvious that we are not going to petition or peacefully demonstrate and march away the violent, sickeningly evil oligarchy that presently controls the world. "Please murderous elite: We 'DEMAND' that you stop ruling over us. Or else we'll peacefully march in city centers for a day!"

It's ridiculous on the face of it. Accommodating this evil system (a-la "social democracy") is a dead-end. So is putting on a mask and throwing a rock through a window. So is the whole incoherent program of deluded anarchists such as that "slumberjack" imbecile from the departed EnMasse.ca discussion board.

We must fit a revolutionary program to the population we're given, not some abstract concepts in our heads. We must plan to take power away from elites and disperse it amongst as many human beings as possible. We must do more than endlessly critique and analyze the present. We must propose a future and a path towards it.




Friday, October 6, 2017

Suicide Epidemic

Wasn't there supposed to have been a meeting between the federal government and the provinces about the suicide epidemic this past September? Wouldn't you think that something should have been done about the conditions that have produced this epidemic? Especially since it's been going on for YEARS?


Friday, September 29, 2017

Humanity Is Doomed: Part 636,898

Here's a deluded Hillary-Bot at "Montreal Simon" blog:

I worry though, the "both sides are equally bad" progressive zombies are starting up, aided by a con media.

Someone replies:

I'm not sure, but I may be a progressive zombie. If I am, do I still get to be a snowflake? How about a cuck?

Anonymous deluded Hillary-Bot answers:

Do you think Hillary Clinton's flaws were so bad that the world needs to be pushed to nuclear Holocaust? In the last 23 minutes before the nukes hit, do you see yourself screaming about Wasserman-Schultz? Then yes, you may be a progressive zombie.

Let's review some fucking facts shall we?

1. Hillary Clinton was more hawkish than Barack Obama. She wanted to impose a no-fly zone over Syria against Russia's will. She threatened to "totally obliterate Iran" if they attacked Israel. Since Iran has expressed no suicidal desire to attack Israel, her ravings are equal to the drooling idiocy of Trump's threats against North Korea for merely testing weapons that it is building in self-defense.  

Therefore, it is a sign of deep-rooted ignorance and stupidity to imagine that Trump is a greater danger than the psychopathic Clinton.

2. Hillary and the detestable Debbie Wasserman-Shultz really did rig the primaries in her favour and against Bernie Sanders, who every poll showed would have defeated Trump. If defeating the disgusting Trump was important to you, then Clinton and Wasserman-Shultz should be blamed for his victory.

3. Hillary Clinton's  team also elevated Trump as a "Pied-Piper" candidate against his Repug rivals. (They thought he would be easier to beat. Because they had no clue about the sources of his appeal. Just as they had no clue about the sources of Sanders' appeal. Because they believe in all their disconnected, Washington Consensus neo-liberalism and militarism. Because they're fucking idiots.)

I mean, really!

So, we see that everything that Hillary-Bot said was self-evident garbage. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Late September Heat Wave

To hear the global warming experts tell it; We're going to COOK man! We're going to FRY! Methane is rising up from the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. The permafrost will melt and more methane will explode out of the earth. Shrinking polar ice will mean less white reflecting the Sun's rays back into space and more dark ocean water absorbing heat. The eco-systems of the oceans will be devastated and so too those of the land.

Coastal areas will disappear, creating millions of refugees. Wind patterns will shift, meaning a much colder Europe. A much dryer India.

Calamity.

So far, all the activism of respectable folks has compelled our political and business leaders to engage in empty lip-service (while doing nothing to even mitigate the crisis) while outlying voices like the oil industry and moronic psychopaths like Donald Trump and stephen harper fell confident enough to dismiss it all as a socialist plot.

If the doomsayers' predictions come true (and I believe they will), do you think it's possible that the folks who condemned the firebombing of an RBC branch in Ottawa in protest of their support for the Tar Sands abomination, might reconsider their stupid pearl-clutching and their inane generalities about "violence begetting violence"?

When the Apocalypse is upon is and this signifies the utter and complete failure of their "raising awareness peacefully" and their rallies and their petitions; that they might have second thoughts about having shrieked about this one attempt to cause genuine damage to the interests of the powerful who led us to the disaster?

Personally, I don't think so. I think people are too deluded and stubborn to acknowledge reality.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Instant Gratification


You can't get the things you want instantly. You can't have a big protest and then expect that the powers that be will magically see the light, act against their self-interest and grant you all your demands.

It takes sustained campaigns that inflict actual damage on elite structures and power and etc., ... before anything important will happen.

You know, a BIG reason why politicians have been slavishly servicing plutocrats in recent decades is because progressive institutions have lost so many battles that they are now visibly almost powerless. And through incremental gains, succeeded by increasingly huge victories, the oligarchs are now totally in control. And so, grasping, conniving narcissistic power-hungry politicians serve oligarchs with little pretext of doing otherwise.


It all comes down to power. We don't have any. We don't know how to get it. Some of us insanely imagine that we should not try to get power. "Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss." Ridiculous. This leaves power in the hands of the inhuman psychopaths and the strategy of those anti-power leftists is for us all to be forever petitioning our masters for decent treatment.

We have latent power in our numbers. In one-person, one-vote. But we also need a vision. A positive plan for the structure of a future society.

I don't see anyone on the Left actually talking seriously about much of this stuff.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Oh Lonesome Me


There was one part of Russell Brand's book that affected me. The human need for community. He says that consumer capitalism destroys so many of the opportunities for community. Brand himself mentions religions and sport teams.

I confess to sometimes casting wistful glances at the church groups/ethnic communities/extended families/workplace friends that I see cavorting merrily in Sunnybrook Park when I'm riding my bike there. Or the groups of air-head rich cyclists in their idiotic Tour de France gear yelling to each other on their early morning rides.

Alas! I'm an elitist swine. I can't make myself believe in stupid things. Two minutes listening to some child-molesting priest/con-artist preacher, ... and I start to gag. There's only so much banality that I can fixate on in a Tim HOrton's parking-lot. I don't have a lot in common with any of my family. I'm a third-generation multi-Slavic Canadian on my Dad's side and a ... I don't know, ... tenth-generation British Canadian on my Mom's side. I have no strong attachments to another culture ad I'm not a Canadian patriot. I was an NDP activist for a couple of years, but I can't make myself believe that the leader of the Nova Scotia NDP is "extremely charismatic" (which is the level of devotion and adulation that appears necessary to rise within that institution).

I'm an artist. An individualist. A loner. Whenever leftists decry individualism, I get worried.



Sunday, September 3, 2017

Belated Review of Russell Brand's "Revolution"


Back in 2013 a lot of people were excited by an interview on the BBC between Jeremy Paxman and Russell Brand. There were demonstrations and riots in Britain and Brand (a comedian) had recently co-edited a magazine series about political change and BBC interviewer Paxman brought Brand on the show to comment about what was going on. At one point in the interview, Brand said he didn't vote because he thought it was a waste of time. The change that was needed in Britain wasn't going to be delivered by ANY of the traditional status-quo parties.

People I knew told me to watch the interview thinking that I'd be on Brand's side. But I wasn't. I agree with a lot of what Brand said about what was needed, but I'm past-tired of reading and listening to progressives admit that they haven't yet figured out the slightest first steps to actually putting their visions into reality. For me, the fatal flaw of leftists is that they act like the mice in the story "Belling the Cat."

So, while I'm no fan of Jeremy Paxman (He's an establishment media figure after all. Institutions like the BBC may rise above the inherent childishness and delusion of mainstream US "journalism" but they still present insane narratives wherein imperialism and capitalism are found to be noble, normal and good.) but I had some sympathy for his attempts to understand how Brand could reject voting while having no coherent alternative.

I do like Brand's YouTube series "The Trews" ("It's like the news, if the news was true."). He's done some especially good skewering of FOX News, more cutting (at times) than the best of what Jon Stewart did on "The Daily Show."

Well, one day I found that I had to take a bus trip and I had nothing to read. I thought about buying a Globe and Mail or Toronto Star in desperation, but then I saw Brand's book Revolution on the discount table and decided to get it.


If you want a book about how to make a revolution you'll be disappointed big-time. If you want a book with a number of great metaphors for how and why our system is doomed, you'll be moderately satisfied. Towards the end there are some tentative stabs at articulating some concrete ideas. (Very tentative.) If you want to read about how one man ponders the emptiness of fame and fortune and sex with beautiful (sometimes multiple) partners, ... Brand spends a fair bit of time on that.

But for the most part, I found it the epitome of the wooly-headed, optimistic delusion of leftist/progressive thinking. Brand has no clue about how ordinary people can overthrow the present system of powerful, intrusive state systems, with their billionaires, their private armies, the militarized police forces, the actual state militaries and the propaganda system and the religious delusions that divert so many people into consumerism, racism, capitalism, "conservatism" and etc. No clue at all.

I found Brand's religious-spiritual cheerleading annoying. He states that science is finding out its limitations and must admit religion's legitimacy. (Something similar to Stephen J. Gould's "Non-Overlapping Magiseria.") But here's the thing: Science and religion come from the same place, ... the human brain. Religion does not have a line into some actually existing higher, spiritual realm. Religions were humanity's first tentative steps to understanding the world we live in. They were designed when there was much less information to go on. To the extent that religions presume to make statements about wider issues of existence than someone studying how bacteria function, or how marsupials evolved, or how atoms are made-up,  does, ... to that extent it might have something valid or worthwhile to say than those narrower investigations do. But actual knowledge of the sacred or the divine? Most of the jury has decided it doesn't and there's just a couple of dead-enders stubbornly refusing to concede so that a verdict can be delivered.

To repeat: Science and religion are both creations of human minds.

Any scientist who thinks we're even close to understanding the infinite is deluded. By definition, the infinite is beyond our abilities to grasp. There are doubtlessly infinite things going on around us that we don't even have the sensory capabilities of even perceiving. But the unknowable is (self-evidently) unthinkable and we would do well not to speak of it.

Brand spends a lot of the book going on and on about how he was always searching for deeper meaning. First, as the chubby son of a poor single-mother, he tried to believe in consumerism and then pornographically inspired compulsive masturbation. In his late-teens, it was heroin that filled up his life. Then, when he became a successful comedian, it was fame and fortune and sex. But all of these things were found hollow.

He's walked away from his addictions. He's walked away from the Hollywood scene. He's trying to be a more philosophical comedian and a voice for progressive values. In this he's assisted by adherence to East-Asian philosophies and pseudo-philosophies. (As well as the 12-step program of AA.)

Some quick observations:

Yes. We are all stardust. We are part of existence made up of parts of that existence. Atoms, etc., ... we are part of this collective whole that have temporarily assembled into these particular forms and identities of human beings. So, YES, our individual goals and aspirations are unimportant to the great scheme of things. YES, in the long-run we're all dead. But does that necessarily mean that we must deny ourselves? If our identities and desires and dreams are so pointless, isn't our dedication to physical survival equally meaningless? The universe doesn't care one way or the other if we get that high-paying job. It also doesn't care if we die of cancer.

I'm not sure why that means we should all embrace apathy or suicide or why Brand and others who think like he does fail to realize that pointlessness is the end-result of their philosophy.

Brand says we are meant to be happy and are only being frustrated by a sick political system. But Science and me say that we are animals. Look at animals in the wild. They are made from stardust, just like we are. They live closer to their origins than we do. They live in the moment. Are they happy? Do they know joy? Perhaps some of the higher life-forms know brief spasms of genuine joy. But they also know a lot of fear, hunger, pain and terror. Most all of them suffer horribly at the end. They're either killed (sometimes eaten alive) during those times when they're too young or too old to escape predators. Or they die of slow starvation when they've devoured their surrounding food resources and are too weak and sick to move on to greener pastures or to catch prey.

For the most part, I don't think they experience much inner emotions at all when things are going decently for them.

So if they have no right or experience of lives of bliss, why should we expect human beings to?

Sadly, Brand spends a lot of time on crack-pot ideas of Transcendental Meditation. He puts a lot of stock in a supposed "experiment" a couple of decades ago, in Washington D.C., where a large group of TM devotees meditated and tried to project good vibes to the surrounding city. And lo and behold! The crime rate actually went down!!!!

First of all: Even if there was a correlation between the separate events, that the TM'sters meditated and the crime rate went down, that doesn't mean it was the meditating that lowered the crime rate. Experiments need to be repeated and results replicated, before you can even start to make claims like Brand is trying to make.

But, ridiculously, the crime rate didn't even go down. The murder-rate in the city hit an all-time high! What happened was the TM guru-dude predicted what the crime rate was gong to be at the time the experiment would be conducted, and then praised his work when the rate was lower than the one he predicted.

In short; laughable, embarrassing garbage.


Russell Brand is (despite his ex-junkie religious delusions) an intelligent man. He's got a good heart and (forgive me) a good soul. He says a lot of things that I agree with. But he's as far away from helping us transform our societies as is every other starry-eyed, optimistic idealist. And that means too far away to have any impact whatsoever.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Free Speech for Fascists?


 Quick thoughts: Should people we disagree with have free speech and other rights? More precisely: Should fascists have freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and the right to hold their views and not be fired for them?

Some will argue that leftists would be chumps to stand up for the free speech rights of fascists. First of all, they wouldn't do so for us. (With the right-wing's perpetual amazement when the ACLU defends their rights and freedoms, they wouldn't even remember and would therefore be immune from recognizing their hypocrisy.) Secondly; the fascists actively state their contempt for the rights and freedoms of leftists and that they would eliminate them given the chance. Thirdly; the neo-liberal state already gives fascists a fair degree of freedom and if leftists protect fascists' rights (as being the same as the rights of all) it won't prevent the neoliberal state from violating ours. So we'd be chumps again.

Others argue that we are fools to celebrate the arbitrary restrictions on the rights of fascists (or other disagreeable people). Refusing to allow them to assemble, to say and write their noxious beliefs, to express their views without fear of losing their employment, is just going to make it easier for the neo-liberal state to do the same to us. Certainly the neo-liberal state will violate our rights. But to not even insist that everyone has those rights in the first place will do more harm in the long run.

Finally, ... is it the case that the fascists' beliefs are just so self-evidently dangerously bad that a special case can be made for restricting them? I believe that the 70% of Germans who NEVER embraced the Nazi party (even if they might have been pleased ... pleasantly surprised ... by Germany's military victories by 1940) and especially the 30 - 40% who actively opposed them and were imprisoned or harassed by them might have looked at the horror and ruin that Hitlerism had brought to their country, and decided, that their views were self-evidently dangerously bad. And so it is officially banned.

But what about in Canada or the United States? We haven't formally banned fascism here. Should we? What about the horrors of Stalinism? Do they make communism self-evidently so dangerous that it should be outlawed? Because it wasn't just Stalinism. Mao's "Great Leap Forward" famine could also be said to have been the result of communist ideas. Of course, the slaughters and famines of imperialism and the slavery and misery and death of capitalism are also bad.

I honestly don't know at the moment.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Ezra Levant Had Always Been an Idiot

 
So, it appears that third-rate huckster/shitty lawyer/anti-Arab, anti-Roma racist/obnoxious asswipe Ezra Levant has been done-in by his own stupidity and sleaze. Conservative Party politicians (who had done so much to fill his coffers, both recently with his hate-site "The Rebel" and formerly with his attempt at a "FoxNews North" called the "Sun News Network") are disavowing him like the proverbial rats leaving a sinking ship.
Apparently, Ezra sent white supremacist Faith Goldy down to Charlottesville to cover a rally convened by her soul-mates that was happening there. Then, one of these lumpen masses of lard-covered melting snowflakes, fired-up by his own confused hatreds and the violent rhetoric that these bullies use amongst themselves and on the internet, drove his car at top-speed into a crowd of anti-racist counter-protesters, killing one of them and injuring more than a dozen more.

First of all: These out-and-avowed white supremacists have always been a much smaller contingent than their internet activities and subsequent media attention had made them seem. Oh sure, there's plenty of racism in the USA, and Canada, and everywhere else. Lot's of systemic racism that keeps people down to maintain the political-economic status-quo. But these imbeciles have always been a tiny minority. The sizes of the counter-demonstrations against them and the wholesale revulsion against them, is proof of that.


Let me put it this way: Trump's victory was made possible by the vast bulk of traditional Repug voters amongst the wealthy/greedy/dim-witted/evil proportion of the population staying with him.  A crucial, but not too numerous swing of many average income people attracted to Trump's commonsense criticism of job-exporting trade deals and of Washington D.C. corruption in general; most importantly, large numbers of traditional Democratic supporters staying home as a result of decades of betrayal that Hillary Clinton seemed enthusiastic about perpetuating; and, finally, the mobilization of the internet "keyboard kommandos" of racist losers.

Most people, god bless 'em, don't think about politics too much. Most people, god bless 'em, are not deliberately racist. All these "alt.right" blow-hards, trolls and losers; ALL OF THEM, with their appropriation of Pepe the Frog, and their Breitbart and their FoxNews and their Daily Stormer and their Return of Kings; ALL OF THEM: Roosh V, Davis Aurini, Steve Bannon, ... they are all put together, a relatively tiny number of people. Vastly greater numbers of people are concerned more with Ariana Grande, Brie Larson, or Rob Tringali, than comprise the entire "alt.right."


It's the same up here in Canada. Remember when I told you all how I actually saw Ezra Levant in the flesh? My first response was to look away in disgust. But then, I turned back, wanting to be sure it was him and (having composed myself) wanting to discover what such a vile species of humanity really look like. A couple standing between myself and Ezra thought I was looking at them and, when I apologized and told them who I was looking at, DID NOT EVEN RECOGNIZE HIS NAME!!! (God bless 'em!!!!!)

You see, the nice thing about ordinary people, is that while they don't have much interest in people beyond their immediate family and friends and/or a grasp of the workings of the wider world,  share more in common with us on the Left than they do with those losers on the Right. The Republican Party of the USA gets about 25% of vote. The Democrats get another 25%. 40% consistently refrain from voting. And, often, the two parties compete for people so clueless or flighty that they could go either way between the neo-liberal corporate shill Democrats or the neo-liberal corporate shill racist, fundamentalist, closet-case Repugs. (A further 5% vote for quixotic other parties that have no chance of winning anything.)

Both Ezra Levant's separatist-funded "SUN News" and his online hate-site "The Rebel" had about 500,000 to 800,000 supporters. About that many Canadians will watch a CBC series. We don't worry about the viewers of "Kim's Convenience" taking over the country by force and neither should we fear the racist (and often senile) loons of Ezra's fan-base.


Ezra Levant has ALWAYS been a marginal figure. A stupid, untalented, obnoxious creature. Just another pig trying to cram his snout into the wingnut-welfare trough. From his days as a "youth activist" for the discredited hacks at the anti-medicare "Fraser Institute" to his Glib-n-Stale assisted career as a right-wing Reform Party gadfly, to his failed "Western Standard" to his failed "SUN News," to his many failed law-suits, to his failed (oil-industry subsidized) book, to his (soon to be) failed "The Rebel." Ezra has had the sense to know that he's marginal. That he has to make a lot of noize to stay relevant with the intensely loyal but intensely stupid people who gravitate towards white supremacy, hysterical Islamophobia, homophobia, militarism, and free-market delusions.  As the continued failures of capitalism make more and more people question the system that Levant supports, the distractions of race and terror and other kinds of bullshit have had to intensify, and Levant has been forced to debase himself more than he would have otherwise. I'm sure he's dimly aware how unacceptable his views are to decent, ordinary people. But his fans are people who tolerate him as a Jewish man, only because he's got the biggest, most organized and established outlet for them to hear their views. Perhaps, thought Levant, if he gave enough red meat to the white folks who actually make Hitler salutes at his events, they won't eat him alive. Methinks his loathing of these anti-Semites/genuine Nazis is what made Levant try to gouge as much money from them in unending campaigns to raise funds and make a fine living for himself.

Hopefully it will all come to an end. Maybe stephen harper (having been given an office and a salary in a law-firm, when he has no law degree and no discernible abilities) will invite Ezra Levant up to his neglected corner of the building and offer to pay him $10 to suck his dick.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

CounterPunch Needs To Get a Grip When It Comes to Caitlin Johnstone


Caitlin Johnstone is an online blogger with a journalism degree. She's mainly concerned with the Defeat-o-crats' and the MSM's attempt to gin-up conflict with Russia, and potentially start a nuclear war. She was a Bernie Sanders supporter. (Supporting from afar since she's Australian.)

She has, occasionally, advocated sharing some stories from right-wingers that are critical of the MSM. (I, for instance, loath Tucker Carlson and James O'Keefe, but when the former reduced a Democratic Hillary-bot to stuttering incoherence by asking plainly for evidence about the Trump-Putin hijacking of the USA's non-existent democracy, and the latter recorded a CNN producer admitting that "Russia-gate" was mostly bullshit that they've been ordered to obsess about, it ought to be cause for reflection.)

You see, if you're the sort of person whose priorities bounce around like a pinball: ("Eeek! ISIS is the vilest group of killers on the planet! We have to DO SOMETHING!!! "Eeek! The dictators Assad and Putin are doing something about ISIS! Innocent civilians will be killed!" "DAMN TO HELL the psychopaths creating all those Syrian refugees and causing so many of them to drown in the Mediterranean!" "Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are in charge of the mercenary-backed rebellion in Syria that has created all those refugees, but they're not Donald Trump therefore they're progressives and our friends!" "Eek! Trump is going to start a war with North Korea!" "Eek! Trump doesn't want a nuclear war with Russia! It's TREASON!!!") Then you'll find yourself forever doing stupid things, believing stupid things, and contradicting yourself and your values on a regular basis.

Trump has ties to the Russia mafia. That's what he's trying to hide. The DNC files were leaked not hacked.

This is the sort of stuff Caitlin Johnstone writes about it. And, for reasons known only to themselves, CounterPunch has decided that she's Public Enemy Number One. It started with a really stupid article questioning her credentials as a journalist (when she's mainly writing opinion pieces) which was written by a fucking psychologist. And it's been continuing on for weeks on end, slandering her as advocating making common cause with Nazis when she's only talking about the same sort of stuff that Glenn Greenwald writes about when he agrees with Ron or Rand Paul about rejecting interventionist foreign policies and state surveillance of private citizens.

"Eek! Did you know that both Ron and Rand Paul are RACISTS!!! Do you want to associate with such scum???"

Meanwhile, mass-murderers Obama and Clinton are your allies?

Caitlin Johnstone has probably slipped-up here and there. Sometimes I have my doubts about her. Especially her having written a book about astrology for christ's sake! But this obsession of CounterPunch to bring her down is unfortunate and makes them look like bitter, irrelevant pompous asses.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Canadian Racism


I've worked with at least three people in three different places who were quite vocal about how they hated Blacks. Back in the 1970's I remember an inordinate hatred of South Asians amongst some WASPY-type friends and acquaintances. (To hear them tell it, "Pakis" were the dirtiest, sleaziest people who ever existed.) Among fellow white people, French Canadians and Maritimers were derided as people. The French Canadians were lazy, cowardly whiners and spongers. Maritimers came to Ontario and stole people's jobs. (When they weren't staying at home collecting welfare that Ontario paid for via equalization payments!)

But the biggest example of the racism of Canadian society is our treatment of the First Nations.

It's the thing you do when you want what other people have but don't think you should have to pay for it. You dehumanize the people whose assets you covet and this mental trickery allows you to maintain certain delusions about yourself and your culture and etc., as you rob them.

In the good ol' US of A, ... while they very much did steal the land of the Aboriginals and slaughter and massacre them, ... it was the employment of African slaves in the millions that did the most to form the country's character and values for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. (The "Indians" are very much impoverished and abused there, but their numbers are relatively small and they're isolated in remote areas for the most part. It is the Blacks, and now, more and more, the Latinos, who have white pieces of shit like Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Donald Trump the most fired-up.)






The point that I'm trying to make is that Canada is mainly founded upon the theft of Indigenous lands and the subsequent attempts at (first) outright genocide (such as John A. Macdonald's deliberate starvation policies and the residential schools) and (later) slow-motion genocide (with the suicide epidemic being the most grisly feature). Conservative and Liberal governments and occasional provincial NDP governments, have all participated in this. Because the nation-building project of "Canada" is still not complete. Much of British Columbia is unceded. Treaty rights in other places still hamper wholesale "development of resources" in the North. Canada is ten times smaller than the USA. Therefore the "Aboriginal question" looms larger for us.

Yes. The marching of the white supremacist losers in the USA under their grope-n-fuhrer (the "Cheeto Benito" as the Mound of Sound is want to call him) is alarming. But don't let that distract you from the enormous tasks for anti-racists here at home.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Humanity Is Too Stupid To Survive - Part Infinity


Further evidence that humanity is just too stupid to survive: All the people simultaneously shitting in their pants about con-man Trump's blustering buffoonery with North Korea while also saying we should have voted for Hillary Clinton.

You remember Hillary Clinton don't you? The psychopath who wanted to shoot Russian fighter-jets out of the Syrian skies?

So, please, tell me, ... if you're one of those people: What is the qualitative difference between Trump's brinkmanship with North Korea and Clinton's desired brinkmanship with Russia? How does one threaten all of humanity while the other doesn't? I plead with you; by the sweet name of Jeeziz Kee-Riced, TELL ME!!!!!

Because when I walk amongst my fellow man and hear this stuff, it sounds like stupid bullshit drivel. Contradictory, incoherent raving. Am I missing something? Is there some unseen truth and wisdom behind condemning Trump's childish trash-talking and ignoring Clinton's snarling at the leash whilst she was Obama's Secretary of State?

Or (what's more likely) is it the case that you're just a symptom of the human race's incapacity to survive past this particular stage of technological development? (Don't be too embarrassed. You've got plenty of company.)


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Optimism vs Pessimism





"I'm not a pessimist! I'm a realist!" Yeah, right. No. I'm a pessimist. I am more likely to see defeat and failure than situations warrant. In doing image searches for this post, I'm thinking that pessimists are definitely a minority. Which makes sense, since the human race would have died-out long ago if everybody was like me.

Probably related, I also have a fair degree of self-hatred. (I'm also a narcissist, but those things don't necessarily cancel each other out. Especially since my self-hatred is not all encompassing.)

Why am I writing this?

Because I think that it might go some way to explaining the difference between myself and other bloggers/political progressives/activists. And this explanation is, I think, important for larger reasons.

First of all, if everyone listened to me, or thought like me, Jeremy Corbyn would have given up and retired long ago. There'd be no peace movement whatsoever. There'd be no people spreading the news about climate change. There'd be nothing.

All you people continuing to basically ineffectually bang your heads against walls would have given up and there'd be nothing. So kudos to you all.




But here's the thing: You're so ineffectual because you blindly believe it's just all going to work out somehow. "The Democratic/Liberal Party will ONE DAY stop listening to corporate interests and put the people first! They just will!" "The NDP will ONE DAY win power and everything will go swimmingly for us!" "If we keep 'spreading the word' about anthropocentric climate change, ONE DAY our leaders will abandon the fossil-fuels industry and we will totally re-align our economic systems, and it will all work out." "If we keep having bigger and bigger rallies, ONE DAY the power imbalances in our society will reverse themselves and utopia will have arrived."

Just as there really isn't objective justification for my pessimism, there is no justification for your own blind optimism. My negative attitude isn't grounded in the facts, and neither is your positive one. We're, each of us, deluded.

That means that instead of disregarding me, you should instead realize that there's cause for concern. That maybe, while I'm a defeatist, that there are things that exist, factors that need to be accounted for, upon which my pessimism is based and which you, in your optimism, are ignoring.

Finally, with regards to my self-hatred; I think it has given me the ability to abandon unproductive beliefs and opinions. I know that I've been a complete fucking idiot in the past and it makes me cringe. But here's what you won't often see me doing. Sticking to destroyed opinions and appalling politicians and policies. I am no partisan to anything except what I see as the truth.

It doesn't surprise me when your typical right-wing clod sticks by someone like Rob Ford or stephen harper. You know; people who admired Ford's "no-nonsense," "tough on crime" social views, but forgave him for routinely smoking crack with gangsters during his drunken stupors. Or who loved harper because he enthusiastically kept us in wars and they all "supported the troops" by insisting that we keep them wherever it was they were fighting and believed in whatever it was they were supposed to be doing. But when harper betrayed and abused "the troops" when they became injured, they just let it pass in silence.

But lefties and liberals, who I generally find to be, on average, more enlightened and intelligent people, do the same thing, all the intelligence or progressive credentials and supposed empathy can't make them accept that Hillary Clinton is a mass-murderer. Barack Obama is a cynical corporate shill. (And a mass-murderer.) Or that Justin Trudeau is a brazen hypocrite. When this is pointed out to you, you go silent and wait for the uncomfortable moment to pass. When the failure of your one-day protest rallies and marches is pointed out to you, you blather some inanity or look away until I'm gone.

Because you love yourselves more than I do. You believe in your opinions with greater strength because they're YOUR opinions and you are beautiful.

I was going to type more but my right pinky hurts.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Liberal & Loving Its Last Comment

I had three comments to process. Two from Opit. One from LALI. I clicked the box above all the comments to publish them all simultaneously last night. Went to reply this morning. Only Opit's comments were there.

LALI wrote something about the Alma (?) drawings and NDP policy towards Israel-Palestine.

I don't know what the Alma drawings are.

If Niki Ashton wins the leadership, NDP policy will change for the better. If Charlie Angus wins, it'll be the same mewling, stupid, pro-Zionist Imperialism "peace-process" bullshit that it is today.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

We're Heading For a Crack-Up

The "Health Care" bill passed by the Repug troglodytes in Congress didn't really phase me. The public outcry against this abomination was so strong that i was certain that even a Repug-dominated Senate would realize its toxicity and come up with something less obviously vile and that in reconciliation, reality would produce something similar to the status-quo.

The status-quo was horrid by the way.

Obama ACA premium increases may have been more important than FBI chief Comey's election announcement late in the election that they were re-opening the Hillary private-server investigation.

But Repugs are insane and the Repug Senate has produced its own bill that is overall just as vile as the one passed by the Repugs in the House. H-u-u-g-e-l-y unpopular. It will strip millions of insurance and condemn tens of thousands to death. No question. Why would they do this?

Because, for one thing, they are drunk with power. They've got both houses of the legislature. They have the executive branch. They have the Supreme Court.  In the psychopathic game of US federal politics, they rule. But, they are forgetting that they too were rejected. When the election was in its last weeks and Trump was offending half the nation and staggering around like the ignoramus/doofus that he is, pundits everywhere were pointing out how lost and unpopular the Republicans were. Getting a renegade like Trump foisted on them as their candidate, ... polling so low everywhere. When Hillary won the election it was going to be a time for those cretins to do their best to imitate what they think the word "reflection" means.

But then Trump and gerrymandering and voter-suppression and the SCOTUS gave them power. And now they're in the driver's seat. And it's the Democrats who are supposed to be reflecting. (So far, they're doing anything but. The stinky Hillary is blaming everyone else for her world-historic failure. But here's the truth about that, based on the numbers: The white working class/deplorable vote, while noteworthy, wasn't the biggest factor in Trump's victory. Most of his votes came from the well-to-do.

And Trump lied big-time about what he'd actually do. And, again, his lies sounded far better than the dullard Hillary's neo-liberal delusions.

Why did they stay home? Because, unlike partisan zombies, they looked at the Democrats' wars, the Democrats' servility to Wall Street, the Democrats' professed love for corporate neo-liberal free trade deals, the corrupt Democratic primaries, and etc., etc., ... and decided to stay home with their opoid addictions, their lay-off and eviction notices, and to work on their suicide notes.

Here's some more evidence of the futility of expecting change from the Democratic Party; despite controlling both houses in the state legislature and occupying the Governor's chair, California Democrats have rejected a promised bill for single-payer health care by claiming it needs more "study." Betraying the voters for corporate interests yet again.

Bah. I don't feel like doing the work to finish this. Here's the rest, AZ-IZ.

It's what liberals do. They believe in capitalism. They believe in the system. 

Macron in France to create more fascists

Trudeau's privatization of infrastructure and his maintenance of the surveillance state

But Repug health care bill, will hurt so many, all but the most stupid Trump supporters will realize what happened.

The centre cannot hold? How's about the whole fucking thing cannot hold. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

"Party of One" - A Belated Review


Found a signed hardcover version of this at Value Village a month or two ago. Just finished it. I hadn't forgotten how vile and loathsome stephen harper was, but this book does an excellent job of clarifying the details that demonstrated his banal evil, shallowness and stupidity. Some random impressions:

I never clearly understood just how illegitimate and sleazy harper's attack on nuclear regulator Linda Keen was. She was just doing her job and harper stupidly attacked her thereby doing a lot of damage. His reasons, obviously, were stupid, because he is stupid. Through and through.

Which compels me to jump towards near the end of the book. The Duffy scandal. It was really too bad that Senate corruption resonated more with Canadians than did contempt of Parliament and war crimes. But it was fun to read Harris's concise summary of the scandal. Coming away from it you realize these people are all insane. Duffy, to his credit, wanted to be a Senator from Ontario, but harper told him it would be PEI and this would be fine, because he, harper the great, had decreed it would be so. Turned out harper was wrong. Whatever. Because Duffy decided all by himself, that if he could lie about living in PEI, he could lie about travel and accommodation expenses. Duffy, all on his own, decided to expense to the taxpayers for food he ate at home in Ottawa. And to this day, Duffy, Wallin, ... the whole lot of these fraudsters who were shilling for the harpercon party while pretending to represent their regions in the Senate, believe they did nothing wrong. The rules were "confusing." (No. They aren't.) They made honest mistakes. (No. The didn't.) They really are entitled to expense personal travel costs to the public dime. (No.)

But the real treat is reading how harper, the coward/bully/cad & thief, put his incompetence and stupidity on constant display when he finally found himself in a crisis he couldn't run away from. One easily disproven stupid lie after another. Each contradicting the previous stupid lie. Only harper's extreme shamelessness allowed him to stand in the House of Commons and  utter these idiocies one after the other without throwing up.

I think Harris goes too easy on Helena Guergis and Rahim Jaffer. Although it was nice (a little) to read that she vocally expressed her disapproval of harper's evil-asshole decision to de-fund "Sisters in Spirit." It seems to me though, that Jaffer was probably engaged in some shady business and the fact of the matter is that a guy from a "law and order/lock 'em up" political party to be driving drunk with cocaine in his car is total hypocrisy. Not enough is said about this sickening double-standard. Also, regarding her alleged meltdown at a Maritime airport, Harris relies on the word of Peter Mansbridge, who says he saw the video footage and that it was nothing remarkable. Mansbridge isn't someone whose opinion I respect.

I wish Harris wrote with more vitriol about the vile and sickening election fraud perpetrated by the harpercons in the 2011 election. And I wish he were more sceptical of everyone he wrote about. I think Sona, Prescot, harper, ... all of them, the whole damned bunch, were guilty of violations. Being scum-bags, the bigger players made Sona the fall-guy, and Sona had to balance his fury at their betrayal with his understanding that they'd really make him suffer if he lashed out. Furthermore, the bullshit inquiry into the scandal is not described for the travesty that it was. This was one of the lowest points.

The part about harper's sickening betrayal of wounded veterans is done very well. You really do get a sense of what total slime-balls, thugs, liars and hypocrites they harper government was.

There's more I could type. But I'm bored. I also planned on quoting from some stupid "conservative" fuckwads who gave the book a one-star rating on amazon and go to town on them. Instead I'll just say that these idiots are irredeemable. They fart out stuff like "Harris just doesn't like Harper so instead of facts he provides page after page of innuendo and smear."

The goddamned facts are right on the pages in front of them but they're too stupid, partisan and deluded to see them.

Edited to Add: The chapter on how harper made an international conman/felon the chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (the watchdog for CSIS) and had disbarred lawyer/embezzler Bruce Carson as a senior advisor, privy to all sorts of valuable information, reminds us again how incompetent and stupid harper was. It's kind of a litmus test for intelligence and morality: If you're showing off pictures of yourself with the dregs of society such as Dick Cheney, Benny Netanyahu (or stephen harper), ... you're probably a scum-bag.



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.