Monday, May 31, 2010
One anecdote among many, to illustrate. I was at a bar in NDG where I met a couple of nice Westmount girls, young journalists, with all journalists' strengths (curiosity) and failings (insecurity, arrogance, superficiality). Talking about media with them. Very American-centric as Canadian media is. Told them they should check out Guardian, Independent, BBC, etc.. They told me they don't watch BBC, that it's banned in their parents houses, even. Are you kidding me? WTF?! And these were smart young women, otherwise. On everything else, complete journalist psychology. But on this. imbecility. So who can be surprised when things happen and people's reaction is insufficient because beyond their frame of reference. It would demand a pretty severe psychic break for them to approach things more realistically. I know a guy, Avi, smart guy, what gets him is governments can change and new policies 180 degrees different, but everyone supports that as much as they supported previous. Crazy. I don't believe in QC right or wrong, Cda right or wrong, ANYTHING right or wrong. Because sooner or later you end up supporting some really really WRONG stuff. And you don't even realise it.
So now there's a govt which is the rough equivalent of a coalition between David Duke, Strom Thurmond, David Koresh & Opus Dei. You wanna support that? Then this is what you get. Consciously homicidal tactics as part of an unconsciously suicidal strategy. Maybe friends might be better off trying to talk the crazies off the ledge, instead of telling them they can fly, eh?
EFL: Apologies forthcoming from her former colleagues, denigrators in media, politics, elites? Concomitant praise? Many did good work, but it all started with her, and she paid for it, wrongly, and like no-one else.
Some of us have always been and remain big fans. For the kids: On The Take
Veteran journalist, Jodi Rave, often a lightning rod for criticism by the descendants of European colonialists as she reports on Native issues, has been recognized for her coverage of the landmark Cobell lawsuit.
Read her latest update.
Photo courtesy 4&20 blackbirds
One of the leaders in the movement to bring medical cannabis before Montana voters believes the law could be easily tweaked to assuage concerns.
From the Billings Gazette: Cannabis is effective for some diabetes sufferers.
This from the online Rapid City Journal via the Billings Gazette. Note the word "legalized" in the headline.
ip intends to bring Montana's quest to streamline its 2004 law that redefines one aspect of alternative medicine to readers in South Dakota, especially as voters contemplate a simillar initiative. This story is one of the best so far.
Here's more on medical cannabis which seems to be all over the MSM outlets in Montana:
Butte, Montana is a Democratic and Labor stronghold in the state; mom and pop businesses predominate. Grass-roots organizations have been able to resist the development of chain stores, especially in Uptown, where historic preservation efforts maintain the flavor of an urban environment.
NPR reports this morning that cannabis is an effective treatment for PTSD. Here is an IR story on one Montana veteran exhibiting his own growing operation .
Violence flares as gangbangers (bet me) frustrated by the successes of Montana's civil society litigating the definition of medicine are now befuddling spooks of all stripes after twin blasts. More to come
It is with profound queasiness that this is even being typed at all in Bill Janklow's Thunderdome; so, Barry Goldwater's anthemic, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" seems to work quite nicely right about now. Let's just say that Bob Newland is a personal hero.
Montanans knew they would be making it up as they went along when they passed a law in 2004 allowing people with "debilitating medical conditions" to grow and use cannabis as a prescribed treatment. At a recent legislative hearing a wide cross-section of constituents came together to brainstorm some solutions to challenges in the budding (just had to) new economy.
Updated 9:14 PM
Editor Justine Davenport
As if deployed in a war combat the Zionist Israel attacked the unarmed humanitarian small fleet of ships using huge force and stormed at least one ship loaded with Turkish pro-Palestinian activists, on its humanitarian mission to Gaza.
Footage from international press expose Zionist commandos descending from helicopters attacking the activists, meanwhile deadly wounded people are lying on the deck of the ship.At this press release, an unknown number of people are reported to be dead and wounded.
During a breath press conference in response to the Zionist terror attack on the humanitarian aid ship, loaded with wheelchairs, medical equipment and schoolbooks to Gaza, Ismail Radwan a member of Hamas stated that; "This is state-sponsored organized terror. We are calling on the international community to act urgently."
"These are crimes against humanity and against our Palestinian people. We call on all members the Arab and Muslim people to launch protests of outrage in solidarity."
Ready to join the Mujahedin and die as a Martyr?
Intellectual Rights Retained
Sunday, May 30, 2010
There are as many as half a million Jewish settlers enjoying constant army protection in the West Bank. The vast majority of these are indoctrinated in an extreme right-wing ideology that views non-Jews living in Israel and the occupied territories as "lesser human beings".
Some of the religious mentors of these settlers openly teach that non-Jews living under Jewish rule -- i.e. Palestinians -- should be enslaved, expelled or annihilated. When challenged, these rabbis and mentors readily quote from the Old Testament and Talmud to corroborate their oft-genocidal viewpoints.
The settlers are vehemently against the concept of peace with the Palestinians. They claim that retaining "the land of Israel" is far more important than making peace with the Arabs. Their most common slogan is "Arabs to the desert". The more fanatical settlers, such as those of Hebron, have been heard to say "Arabs to the gas chambers". Signs bearing such slogans are prominently featured in the small Jewish enclave in the occupied Palestinian town.
This week, the Palestinian Authority (PA) began implementing a widespread campaign to boycott products manufactured in Jewish settlements and agricultural produce grown in as many as 100 Jewish colonies in the West Bank, many established on land seized by force from Palestinian landowners.
The boycott, backed by all Palestinian factions, including Hamas, is viewed as a rare and effective Palestinian asset to show Israel that the occupation doesn't pay off and that the Palestinian people will not allow themselves to finance Israeli oppression and repression.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, displayed enthusiastic approval of the boycott, with Abbas taking part in a Ramallah ceremony launching the boycott campaign and Fayyad seen taking part in burning settlement products.
Abbas has also been seen pasting a bumper sticker on his villa's door in Ramallah, declaring, "This house is empty of settlement products." Tens of thousands of similar stickers have been pasted on Palestinian doors throughout the West Bank.
Defending the unprecedented step, which many Palestinians think is belated and of uncertain effect, given the difficulty of ascertaining the origin of many Israeli commodities reaching the Palestinian market, Abbas said the boycott in no way constituted a boycott of Israeli products. "We are not boycotting Israel, we are only boycotting the settlements, and as far as we are concerned, the settlements are not Israel."
The Palestinian leader went as far as saying, "I will not incite against Israel and will not urge my people to boycott Israel."
Israel, including the settlements, exports more than $5 billion worth of goods to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In most cases, the Palestinians have no choice but to "import" these goods since they have no control over their border crossings, nor can they directly import commodities from abroad. In short, everything the Palestinians need must come either from Israel itself or through Israel, which means that Israel has an absolute monopoly over Palestinian imports.
On the other hand, the Palestinians are not free to export to Israel as their freedom of movement -- especially their ability to enter Israel -- is severely restricted by the Israeli occupation army. Israel employs as many as 25,000 Palestinian workers, most of them suffering extremely humiliating working conditions.
All in all, Palestinians export to Israel no more than $700 million worth of products and agricultural produces per year -- a shocking imbalance in trade between the occupied and the occupier.
Nonetheless, the settlers, who have arrogated the lion's share of Palestinian water resources in the West Bank and who continue to expand their illegal colonies at their neighbours' expense, have complained about the boycott which they called "economic terrorism". Some settler leaders have demanded that the Israeli army seal entry points to Palestinian population centres and initiate a counter-boycott of Palestinian products. Others have asked the Israeli government to deduct hundreds of millions of dollars from Palestinian customs revenue collected by Israel on behalf of the PA government.
Settlements in the Bethlehem region have warned that they will fire hundreds of Palestinian labourers working in local factories. Others have resorted to relabelling their products as originating in Israel proper, in order to trick PA inspection teams.
However, Israeli countermeasures and threats have so far failed to stop or discourage the house-to-house Palestinian campaign against settlement products and produce. In fact, the PA has already gone one step further by enacting a law stipulating that anyone who deals in goods produced in Jewish settlements will be imprisoned for two to five years and fined up to $15,000.
The law states, furthermore, that those who import settlement products into the Palestinian-run territories could face a jail sentence of up to six years and fines of up to $3,000 and confiscation of licences and vehicles.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has lambasted the Palestinian campaign against settlement products as "counterproductive to peace" and "a hostile act". In statements carried by the Israeli media, Netanyahu claimed that the Palestinian campaign would hurt the Palestinians more than Israel.
"When the Palestinians take steps that hurt them, that harm their own populace and drag down their standard of living, or when they refuse to advance -- for example, when they refuse to build water purification plants, without which they damage our shared aquifers and contaminate their own water supply -- these things are not in the spirit of peace."
In response, one Palestinian official, Mohamed Shtayyeh, termed Netanyahu's remarks "hypocritical and mendacious from A to Z". "This man is a pathological liar. He thinks it is perfectly okay to keep millions of Palestinians in a state of perpetual economic enslavement to the 'master race.'"
Shtayyeh also castigated Netanyahu's concept of "economic peace", calling it a trick or ruse to cover up and divert attention from Jewish settlement expansion. "Netanyahu thinks that boycotting products manufactured by these land thieves is anti-peace while the unrelenting expansion of Jewish colonies at the expense of Palestinian land is conducive to peace. This is more than chutzpah. This is sickness of the mind."
The Palestinian official took issue with Netanyahu comparing the settlement of Maali Adumim, near East Jerusalem, with Tel Aviv in importance to Israel. "If he thinks that Maali Adumim is as important for Israel as Tel Aviv is, then we have the right to view Haifa and Yaffa as important for us as Ramallah and Nablus are."
Netanyahu has long made statements about forging "economic peace" with the Palestinians, which according to him would prepare the ground for political peace. However, most Palestinians, including the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, have vehemently rejected Netanyahu's proposals, dismissing them as "red herrings" aimed at gaining time in order to take over more Palestinian land and build more Jewish settlements. (end)
Mind you that this IN NO WAY reflects any capitulation to Republican principles (except, possibly, to the lack thereof); it is simply a quick reference to enemy propaganda. ip openly and graciously acknowledges that Pat Powers is not a complete idiot as Mr. Powers has actually exhibited a propensity for learning in stark contrast to others driving fascist-leaning blogs in South Dakota.
Disclosure: Pat has provided an extensive real estate consult to the author of interested party, although has not yet been retained as an agent by said author.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
I was told I was naive to think that the Cons would actually respect the process. But I had my reasons, as the Cons are not monolithic, most are for fair-play, democracy and respect for institutions, that's why they originally went into politics, and the only Cons under threat in this issue are the PM, and two or three ministers. PMs and ministers come and go, a tarnished brand is forever. The internal desire to obey Parliament is strong. The PMO is opposed. Remember, Bloodworth, DND & DFAIT gave constant briefings. But the idea that the Con caucus would allow itself to be walked over the precipice, again, is unbelievable. This is the one issue over which the Cons' defeat is guaranteed. Not just because it threatens their plurality outright, but because an election fought over it would oblige the Opposition to replace the Cons, even were they, combined, to have a one seat majority at the conclusion. The principles stated at the outset would demand nothing less.
Some might think they was a correlation between reported Con behaviour and the polls. I find that hard to believe, since that is completely amateur. A couple of points up or down make no difference, whatever the supposed margin(s - other parties too). There are core votes, unchanging. And then there are those few swing voters. and they shift with the breeze. And when there is a strong united pro-democracy hurricane of the Opposition, media and all, they are known to suddenly blow away seemingly solid governments. One assumes that even within Giorno's ugly skull such things are understood - indeed, thinking back to the Harrisites' end days, who better/worse?
An election fought on this issue, whatever the supposed states of readiness of the different parties, would mean the end of Conservatives. Anything but a majority would mean their replacement. And the country is against them. Just study the map, the ridings. And then there is the hurricane. Far from a Con majority, the Libs would probably end up with a razor-thin plurality. Maybe more.
So if I am accused of having misjudged the Cons, it is because I find it hard to believe they could be so stupid. Perhaps they are betting on the Opposition's even greater weakness and stupidity behind closed doors. But I find that hard to believe. Even with all my criticism of Iggy, Layton & Duceppe through the years, even I find it hard to believe they could be so utterly stupid, and consequently weak. Surely they have some idea of real politics, and don't let intermittent breezes distract them from underlying realities.
Assuming all are rational actors, then such reports lead me to think these are only negotiating and time-wasting tactics. Since the whole thing is built, like all of democracy, on a minimum of good faith, then the Opposition may decide that the Cons, away from the glares of the Speaker, media and public, having demonstrated that their previous exhibition of good faith was a sham, they have no option but to proceed to declare them intransigent, allow the Speaker to make his ruling, and let things follow their course. The Cons don't want to be the ones who call an election, to escape scrutiny. The narrative would wreck them. So the PMO may hope to cheat behind closed doors and place the onus on the Opposition. But the Opposition can easily put the pressure back on the Govt, with a minimum of sense and strength, Call them out.
Negotiate up until the last hour, if need be, if judged necessary. But remember, Opposition Majority, as the Cons rightly say, the country, structurally, is on your side.
Not necessarily an election? Yes.
But an election if necessary? A thousand times YES.
Friday, May 28, 2010
The fact that the NDP has been the most intransigent in its righteous determination to keep the public's nose out of its accounts has bewildered the faithful across the land. What are they thinking? What are they hiding? Have they learned nothing from the Labour Party's humiliation caught charging the state for personal expenses? Has the culture of "The Hill" corrupted (with a few honorable exceptions) the entire caucus?
It's hard not to see the NDP position on this issue as a betrayal of what the party stands for. Add to this that about a third of the caucus may for the second time vote against the long-gun registry. This would, of course, confuse the culture warriors because the NDP would then be standing with the Harper government and its supporters – Canada's own equivalent of the National Rifle Association. These positions will surely test the loyalty of the 14 per cent to 18 per cent of Canadians who faithfully vote NDP, knowing it will not form a government.
On both counts, frantic efforts are being made to make this rogue NDP caucus come to its collective senses. But the fact such efforts are necessary at all tells its own dismal story.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Ce ne sont que les Québécois fédéralistes qui ont des chances d'être écoutés. Voilà la preuve la plus lourde du caractère nocif du Bloc, un faux parti nationaliste, qui par sa foi séparatiste, rend la défense des intérêts québécois (selon l'optique nationaliste) extrêmement difficile. Le débat sur la question de la CNVM permettrait aux caucus fédéralistes de faire de la pédagogie populaire quant à leur capacité de défendre et d'avancer les intérêts du QC, contrairement au Bloc, et illustrerait le rôle contre-productif et nocif joué par le Bloc quand les vraies questions surgissent.
Je ne serai pas hypocrite : je ne suis pas nationaliste, ni de nature à mettre les intérêts des structures au-dessus ceux des citoyens. Dans ce dossier, les arguments pour la CNVM me semble les plus forts, à condition que la CNVM soit établie à Montréal. Étant donné la langue et la culture des affaires nord-américaines, on peut s'attendre à ce qu'une CNVM Montréalaise demeurerait tout aussi sensible aux besoins nord-américains, mais sans toutefois perdre conscience du particularisme de l'économie Québécoise, de ses structures, notamment en ce qui à trait au marché du capital. Or, dépendant de son personnel, une CNVM torontoise ne serait pas nécessairement insensible à ces questions, mais l'on sera moins rassuré.
On verra si la CNVM voit jamais le jour. La route est longue, et parsemée d'embûches, et ce n'est pas pour rien que l'idée mijote depuis plus de 30 ans sans se concrétiser. Le temps que la Cour suprême réitère le rôle fédéral, puis que l'on mette en oeuvre le plan conservateur, etc....l'on parle de deux ans, au moins, et nous aurons des élections avant, sans doute. Donc, les caucus fédéralistes ont deux rôles à jouer, d'influencer les positions de leurs partis, et de préparer le terrain pour la suite des choses.
Je ne suis pas contre une CNVM, et je crois qu'elle sera établie, tôt ou tard, mais je comprends qu'un effet important (accidentel?) du mouvement d'opposition est de renforcer le pouvoir de négociation du QC quant aux détails de sa création, d'où ma conviction qu'on pourra faire en sorte que la CNVM soit établie à Montréal, malgré tout le grommellage des Torontois : on veut tant une CNVM? Il y a un prix à payer : elle sera montréalaise. Comme je l'ai noté, les mêmes arguments employés pour justifier son implantation à Toronto justifie autant, sinon plus, son établissement à Montréal.
Or. les candidats des partis fédéralistes qui font campagne afin d'affirmer un pouvoir décisionnel québécois dans un dossier aussi médiatisé et important pourront écraser les sophismes de leurs concurrents bloquistes, qui ne peuvent point promettre un tel influence dans un dossier aussi crucial, et qui plus est, seront compris comme les coupables dans l'affaiblissement de l'influence québécois. C'est exactement un tel dossier qui fait ressortir cette vive distinction entre les uns et les autres.
Les fédéralistes peuvent faire campagne en promettant d'assurer que la CNVM sera établie à Montréal. Les bloquistes? Rien. D'ailleurs, il est clair que dans de tels dossiers le QC n'a pas de meilleur défenseur de ses intérêts que Charest, et qu'un gouvernement péquiste serait incomparablement plus faible, plus inefficace, et pour tout dire, contre-productif.
S'ils savent le reprendre à leur compte, ce qui devrait être tout simple et tout naturel, ce dossier est extrêmement gagnant pour les fédéralistes, et pourrait s'avérer brutal pour les sécessionistes. Plusieurs sièges bloquistes dans le 450 pourraient être remis en jeu. La classe moyenne est intéressée par ces questions, et sait faire la part des choses.
Premise 1: Harper Must Go - 2/3 of Canadians Agree
Premise 2: Liberals = Alternative
Premise 3: Liberals Will Do Whatever It Takes to Get Power
Premise 4: If Liberals Can't Win Alone, Then Will Do Coalition
Premise 5: Liberals Would Rather Win Alone
Conclusion 1: A Coalition If Necessary But Not Necessarily a Coalition
Conclusion 2: To Avoid a Coalition, Vote Liberal, So We Can Win Alone
Note that all five premises are largely accepted by public and politicos. See how popular lines of criticism can work in one's favour? Every classic and popularly accepted criticism of Liberals makes it possible for us to force electorate to think hard about their options, to our advantage.
I've said this before, at greater length:
But how does this relate to coalition question? Because when asked if we Libs are contemplating a coalition, we frame it this way: "Harper must go. We're running candidates in every riding, and obviously, like every party, we'd like all our candidates to win - who hopes any of their candidates will lose? - though we know that's impossible. Like every serious national party, we're working for a majority, and failing that, as big a plurality as possible, for as strong a minority government as possible. But what is clear is Harper must go. We're hoping to accomplish that through a Liberal majority, and failing that, as strong a Liberal minority as possible, but this election is about Harper and his dictatorial tendencies. He's destroying Canadian democracy and he has to be stopped. Harper must go. Whatever it takes, he must go. So we're not hoping for a coalition, we're not planning for a coalition, but Harper absolutely has to be stopped, whatever it takes. If the numbers turn out that the only way to stop him is through some sort of agreement or coalition with other parties, so be it. Harper must go. The stronger the vote for the Liberal Party, the less we will need to make deals with other parties. Ideally, we'll win a majority. But Harper must go, and we will do whatever it takes to get rid of him. The surest way to get rid of him is to vote Liberal. Harper must go. Vote Liberal to stop Harper & start a better Canada." Short version: "Harper must go, whatever it takes."
This position is best laid out as early as possible in the campaign, before its official declaration even. By being upfront about how anti-Harper=coalition if necessary, we free ourselves to run on voting Liberal for all these other good reasons (economy, health care, environment, etc.), and remind people that the stronger the Liberal vote, the surer we can deliver, on our own.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
May 26, 2010 by Jeff Gates ·
Israel USA Policy
What’s behind the sudden crisis in Korea? Who benefits?
Which nation’s nuclear arsenal is problematic?
Our “special relationship” with this rogue state has placed the U.S. outside the same system of international law that we now seek to impose on others, including Iran.
Our handling of the current crisis on the Korean peninsula could restore our tattered reputation.
What’s the first issue that needs to be addressed?
Here’s where you the reader may well ask: “Do you mean the issue concerning the collapse of Building 7 of the World Trade Center?” No, but nor is that question irrelevant to this latest crisis.
Here’s the second issue that must be addressed: to which nations has Israel transferred nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons technology? Is North Korea on the list?
That issue became relevant with the release of The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa. Archival research by author Sasha Polakowsky-Suransky uncovered “top secret” minutes of a military agreement signed in April 1975 between Shimon Peres, now president of Israel, and South Africa’s defense minister P.W. Botha.
Though Israel denies the conclusions reached by reporters for The Guardian (U.K.), the agreement suggests an offer of nuclear weapons while its Apartheid regime was under international sanctions.
Israel was then building a surrogate arms industry in South Africa using what was, in practical effect, slave labor. That industry has since moved to Israel where it employs “guest workers.” Peres was responsible for building Israel’s nuclear program with help from France in the 1950s.
Some weeks before the offer, Israel and South Africa signed a covert agreement (code name Secment) governing their military alliance. In the subsequent meetings, “correct payload” was used to describe the nuclear warheads Israel would provide for a Jericho missile system. As The Guardian explained:
“The use of a euphemism, the ‘correct payload’, reflects Israeli sensitivity over the nuclear issue and would not have been used had it been referring to conventional weapons… the only payload the South Africans would have needed to obtain from Israel was nuclear. The South Africans were capable of putting together other warheads.”
South Africa did not go ahead with the deal it was offered though it did develop its own nuclear weapons, possibly with Israeli assistance. The Apartheid government revealed the program to Nelson Mandela when he became president.
In 1986, nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu revealed Israel’s nuclear weapons program to the Sunday Times (London). Vanunu was kidnapped by Mossad agents in Rome and returned for trial in Israel. Sentenced to 18 years, he served 11 years in solitary confinement. On May 23rd, he was sentenced to another three months in prison for breaking the terms of his release by having unauthorized meetings with foreigners.
Evil Doers vs. Evil Doing
Even now Israel strives against all odds to maintain “ambiguity” about its nuclear weapons. But how can you offer nuclear weapons you don’t have?
Who provided nuclear technology to North Korea? That backward state, now nuclear-armed, was included in G.W. Bush’s post-911 “Axis of Evil” speech. Care to guess which Israeli-American wrote that speech?
Shortly thereafter the U.S. invaded Iraq to remove an Evil Doer. Only later did we learn that our “flawed” intelligence was “fixed” around a goal long sought by Israel as chronicled in A Clean Break, a strategy document written for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by a team of Israeli-Americans led by Richard Perle.
In 2001, Perle became chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Review Board.
The United Nations has long been scheduled to review the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to consider the creation of a Middle East free of nuclear weapons. As the date approached, the world community experienced a well-timed torpedo attack on a South Korean warship, reportedly by a North Korean submarine.
In the midst of these negotiations, mainstream media has been flooding the national consciousness with power-of-association stories about Iran, its nuclear program and even its links to North Korea. Tehran, of course, was the third member in the trio of Bush-era Evil Doers.
News outlets controlled by Israeli-American Rupert Murdoch are particularly active, including Fox News and The Wall Street Journal.
Is it true that Tel Aviv transferred to Pyongyang a German-made submarine? If so, does that qualify as evil doing?
Perhaps here is a good place to pose an out-of-sequence question: What about the collapse of Building 7?
Master Myth Makers
Does Israel routinely transfer war materiel to nations subject to international sanctions?
That would help explain their status as the world’s third largest arms exporter. The U.S. holds first place with Russia second. Israel and France vie for third and fourth trailed by the U.K. and China in the Dirty Half Dozen.
If Israel has an extensive arsenal of nuclear weapons, why does the U.S not insist on inspections?
How does U.S. protection of Israel’s illegal conduct advance U.S. interests?
How is our conduct consistent with the behavior we are now pressing on Iran?
What is so valuable about the U.S.-Israeli relationship that we should sacrifice our credibility to cover-up violations of international law that make us appear guilty by association?
By law isn’t the U.S. obliged to support U.N. sanctions for Israel?
Why discredit the U.S. and undermine the stature of the United Nations? Wasn’t the U.N. the post-WWII organization founded in large part by the U.S. to discourage just such behavior?
Serial Provocations and Murderous Misdirection
Instead of sanctions, what do we see instead? Misdirection and intimidation.
The Internet is awash with Men in Black accounts featuring the usual array of conspiracies. Elvis may yet be blamed for a Korean peninsula incident that could ignite a nuclear war in the region.
How long before we see a story blaming Hezbollah terrorists led by the Pakistan Taliban aboard an Iranian submarine advised by Syrian nuclear scientists and Palestinian strategists?
The stage has been set for another 911, possibly featuring a nuclear incident. A series of “plausible” Evil Doers have been prominently featured in assorted “terrorist incidents.”
Enough pre-staging has been done that Americans again feel insecure following the media coverage given the Ft. Hood shooting, the Christmas Day Bomber and now the Times Square Terrorist.
One small problem: none of these story lines hold up under close scrutiny. But then that’s not the point. Neither did the “intelligence” on which we relied to wage war in Iraq in response to the provocation of 911. It didn’t need to be true, just believable.
Time to Redo the Report
Anyone of substance associated with the report of the 911 Commission knows we still need a good faith investigation. Mainstream Europeans routinely call for it. Those demands are routinely couched in code due to the perils facing those in the EU who question our “special relationship.”
Instead, commentators ask about the “collapse” of Building 7. Good question. Also a fair question. The answer could lead somewhere useful. Therefore, don’t ask, don’t tell.
This entangled alliance has been an exercise in deceit since a Christian-Zionist president, a Democrat, was induced to extend recognition to an enclave of extremists.
Harry Truman dismissed the concerns of the Joint Chiefs who warned him about their “fanatical concepts” and their plans for “military and economic hegemony over the entire Middle East.”
We were deceived by our own better nature to embrace a relationship that has long been at odds with our national interest. The durability of the relationship has long failed to pass muster as either rational or consistent with our values. The relationship has changed for the worse who we are as a nation.
Yet somehow the relationship endures. Along with the perceived legitimacy of this “state.”
Deception and Self-Deceit
Its persistence can be traced to the strength of a lobby that, to date, has escaped registration as a foreign agent. Those known for their skill at waging war “by way of deception” have routinely betrayed the nation that first befriended and most reliably defended them.
Even when a Christian-Zionist president, a Republican, led us to war on fixed intelligence, we were unable to identity the common source of our troubles. Some blamed G.W Bush. Others now blame Barack Obama. Both critiques miss the point. This treachery is now systemic and thoroughly embedded in both political parties.
Even now, an undisclosed media bias blocks Americans from the facts they require to make an informed choice about this relationship. And about the legitimacy of a transnational operation that murders with impunity (as in Dubai) and provokes with pleasure—anywhere they please.
Americans are now emerging from many quarters to resist the influence wielded on (and from within) our government by special interests. This special relationship often tops the list.
Many supporters of Israel have been deceived to believe that this relationship is in their best interest. The facts confirm otherwise. Like the nation itself, they too were “the mark” in this long-running fraud.
We have been seduced by those masterful at deceit to freely embrace the very forces that de-legitimized us as a nation and collapsed our economy from within.
Which brings me back to the question: what about Building 7?
Intellectual Rights Retained
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
First, Fraser. Desmond Morton was wrong, separatists, or the Bloc at least, should build two statues in front of the National Assembly, not one: one for Gomery and one for Fraser. Both were and are vastly overrated, suffering from the typical "stars in their eyes" syndrome of the quietly narcissistic technocrats who've climbed to the top of the field, in limited, circumscribed roles where their jobs require them to be convinced of their own rightness at all times, which only reinforces their own ridiculously high opinion of themselves, and their concomitantly low opinion of everyone else, who they spend their lives correcting and judging, "and if only they were in charge, they'd get everything right, and the world would finally see what incomparably brilliant stars they are." Gee it's hard to figure why the commentariat feel such a kinship with them....
But it is bizarre. Gomery was given an open goal, and proceeded to trip over his own feet. He resembled the penalty taker in soccer who tries to demonstrate his superiority by chipping the ball into the net, instead of simply slotting it, and watches as the goalie easily gathers his useless slow looping ball. Of course, like megalomaniacal strikers the world over, it was the ball's fault, the turf moved, the ref put him off, etc.. But when one is supposed to preside an impartial inquiry and plays such silly buggers as to be criticised and repudiated by the courts, and whose final report issued a ton of recommendations which were mostly stupid, impractical and anti-democratic, as their full adoption would have signalled the end of responsible government - which of course was no surprise, since buddy spent his life squirrelled away in the courts, and never had the slightest idea of how government and politics actually work, let alone a coherent philosophy of capital-P Politics - then one really is a complete duffer. But his astonishing underachievement was only possible thanks to the idiocy of another megalomaniacal technocrat, Sheila Fraser. They are such arrogant nerds, real Zuckerberg types, those angry D&D aficionados who can't understand why the world doesn't appreciate their genius.
In her quest for glory, Fraser's language on the sponsorship question was extraordinarily inflated, her initial estimates shockingly torqued. When one considers her subsequent committee appearances, much later, and her false claims that it was the media that revved her words, and they may have been off on the actual abuse by, oh, what, 95% or so, and how little coverage this received, and how utterly blithe she was, it is disgusting. And this is supposed to be the cool, calm, efficient national auditor!? Given the mandate of the AG, and the sensitivity of what she was studying, any half-decent AG should have been extremely careful with their language, and scrupulously accurate in her numbers. She failed badly, on both. And the AG is one of the few jobs where you're absolutely not supposed to fail in this way. She's not some Business Page Editor tosser, who can scream Bull one day, and Bear the next, shamelessly, without recognising any mistakes. She's supposed to be the AUDITOR GENERAL! For Gods' sakes. What a complete tool. Her empire-building attention-seeking megalomania should have been made clear, even for the slow learners, when she effectively subjugated the Environment Commissioner - it was odd observing the media, who'd built her into this great hero as the antithesis to all the "EVIL" in Ottawa, deal so briefly and awkwardly with that episode. But consider, her argument then was exactly the same as MPs' now: the law gives us certain prerogatives which we intend to use for our own political purposes. Just as Fraser says now, so then, whatever the law said, it wasn't meant to be used to prevent certain ends, in this case the audit of expenses, then, the environment commissioner's independence. Fraser could easily have allowed the freedom and independence necessary, if she were reasonable. But she was determined there was only going to be one big Officer of Parliament Star, and it wasn't going to be Gélinas, "that uppity bitch", in Fraser's internal monologue. The difference was, the MPs' situation is already under control, legitimately, while Fraser-Gélinas was needlessly conflictual, because Fraser Must Be Boss Of Everything.
But the problem is, just as when the PQ used Gomery as the premise for questioning about corruption in QC and PLQ responded, accurately, that he was a bad example for them to use, given he was basically found incompetent at his job as Commissioner by the courts, that while that may be true, no-one knows it. "Gomery Good. Fraser Good. Commentariat Good. Chrétien Bad. MPs Bad. Politicians Bad." That's all anyone knows.
Now, if you take the time (takes two seconds, literally) you can find how overjoyed QC ultra-nationalists and separatists were and are by Fraser and Gomery killing off a crucial part of the Federal effort to reassert it and Canada's place in QC. One has to be a real idiot to say "well, we shouldn't need to do such things, etc.". QC is not Brandon, Manitoba, dears. There are only a billion and one studies on the importance of symbolism and visible presence. Separatists & ultra-nationalists have only been aware of this from the beginning and spent a lot of productive effort trying to bring the symbols and identity-influencers over their way, through the decades. Like every other brand on Earth, for Gods' sake. And the Federal Government, faced with a constant aggressive campaign of symbolism and presence by the other side, shouldn't respond? Just how stupid can one be?
But these are not tangential anecdotes, these are essential. Because as many people have pointed out, the rise of these Officers of Paliament, their proliferation, and of "outside experts", is testament to the enfeebling of Parliament, not its empowerment. If representative democracy is about 308 elections, and it is, and those 308 MPs are supposed to be the 308 most important people in Canada, and they are, making policy and holding Government to account, then when these folk have fallen so low in public esteem, and more importantly, in their OWN self-esteem, that they can bullied by "the pure outsider", with all that image's fascistic echoes, then things are in a bad way. The sponsorship program was good public policy but too often badly, corruptly implemented. And MPs, intimidated, threw the baby out with the bath water. Parliament has already got a tight auditing system for expenses that are already very circumscribed and supervised, with sanctions, but MPs seem well on their way to letting an unelected, wrongheaded egotist bully them into submission, with the help of her fellow jealous self-interested D&D nerds in the media. So MPs, which are supposed to be adults, doing the most important work in the country, are letting themselves be turned into irresponsible children, to be chastised by The Almighty Fraser, even though they have perfectly good reason for their initial position on expenses. They, our representatives, think her request is unnecessary, a waste of resources, and hence bad public policy. But they are so hesitant to step up and say so, and tell Fraser off. And of course they get no help from the media, who are Fraser's ennablers.
So we have all these people saying how terrible it is we don't have healthy parliamentary democracy, but then doing all they can, in fact, to act against parliamentarians doing their jobs, and getting a fair shake in arguing their position, and thus, in fact, hurting parliamentary democracy. Of course, MPs would also need to have some balls and willingness to clearly and openly stand up for themselves, but it is a vicious cycle,
The people we elect as our experts on public policy are ever more hamstrung by the same people we claim are essential to the democratic process. Good programs are eliminated because problems are overblown, bad recommendations are implemented that worsen the efficiency and DEMOCRACY of administration, and our elected representatives constantly lose, as does our Parliament, and our democracy. And then media tut-tut at the poor state of things.
Anyway, this post was a waste of time, Robson is right, the MPs are right, but it makes no difference. Until, somehow, MPs recover their self-respect sufficiently to argue for themselves clearly and confidently, for their rights, for their necessary privileges, for their salaries and pensions, and necessary expenses, and all the rest of it, and it is all of a piece, orders of Parliament and work conditions and everything, and until they also somehow get a fair shake from the media when they argue these things, then things will only get worse. I urge MPs to be sharper and more forthright and confident in their own defence, and in criticism of others. But I hold out little hope, nor of their treatment as a result. But I saw Robson speak up, against the consensus, and one can never leave a righteous man to fight on his own (however astonishing it is that it's ROBSON, for Gods' sakes, who is right on this one. Robson! C'est le monde à l'envers.)
Thursday, May 20, 2010
100% of full-time faculty - all of the same gender!
75% of part-time faculty - all of the same gender!
100% of postgraduate award winners - all of the same gender!
96% of research associates - all of the same gender!
100% of postdoctoral scholars - all of the same gender!
Even 100% of the staff - all of the same gender!
The gender quotient of allocation of their four scholarships (go to arts & sciences, and then women's studies) is hard to ascertain, but from the available information it seems no less than 75% for just one gender, and likely much higher!
In light of this shocking news, and given the statements some of its faculty have recently made regarding the illegitimacy of other contributing factors in the allocation of positions and prizes for research, it is clear the Institute must initiate a serious reflection on its own, undoubtedly unconscious, sexist behaviour. And I haven't even gotten into the unconscious racism: under-representation of the Chinese (20% of the world population, and zero representation at the Institute!), Indians (17% of the world population but almost zero at the Institute!), etc..
There is no shame in admitting these biases - it is in fact all to one's honour to be able to recognise one's errors, however unconscious. Speaking of the Chinese, I think they used to have an excellent re-education system for all the benighted and unenlightened - perhaps that is something that could inspire the Institute as it engages in the crucial "re-visioning" exercise which must inevitably follow these shocking revelations. Sisters and brothers, it is time to gather your yoga mats, your best uruguayan folk mixes, your strongest chamomile teas, your least flatulent bean-based vegan takeout, your strongest bulgarian red wine, and all other necessary supplies (don't forget your fair trade sandals - for safety's sake, it may not be possible to always go barefoot), and gather for a fundamental reexamination of your minds, yourselves. I know that you engage in such re-examinations on grueling daily basis in any event, but this one, considering the issues of unconscious structural racism and sexism that strike at the very soul of the Institute, must be especially profound. Remember, spare nothing, bring the very strongest chamomile teas!
I feel your pain. In solidarity, in this difficult time,
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
After an election, to ensure basically functional governance, the State, embodied in the Crown and in her Governor General, needs a government that can BEST command the CONFIDENCE OF THE HOUSE for the forseeable future. How best to ensure that a majority of MPs will support the government on matters of confidence? Obviously, as convention dictates, the largest parliamentary GROUPING is usually favoured by the Crown.
In the hypothesis that, for example's sake, MPs of one party, the outgoing government perhaps, win a plurality of seats, but discover that the parties with the 2nd and, say, 4th most seats, have formed A LARGER PARLIAMENTARY GROUPING, MORE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PUBLIC WILL, then by convention, the PM would ask the Crown to accept his resignation as her principal advisor, and that of his government, and advise her, in his last act as PM, to invite the leader of this grouping to become her first advisor, her Prime Minister, and his grouping to fill the positions of government, as this grouping, being the largest, would seem to have the best chance of maintaining the confidence of the House.
It is possible, I suppose, in this hypothesis, that the outgoing Prime Minister and his party, though representing fewer Canadians and comprising fewer MPs than another parliamentary grouping, might be so vile as to attempt to ignore the constitution, and remain in government. No matter. Whatever hypothetical machinations might be attempted, one would expect the Crown to dismiss her outgoing Prime Minister and his government, were they tardy in their duty to resign, and call on the largest grouping to form the government. Should the Crown, upon the advice of her outgoing Prime Minister, wish to give the incumbent government the chance to test their support in the House, the Throne Speech would rapidly provide the first such occasion. Should the Throne Speech be defeated, and there be a larger parliamentary grouping with a greater chance of maintaining the confidence of the House, the Crown would give them the opportunity of forming the government. After all, Canadians having just elected 308 MPs, these MPs representing the individual wills of Canadians, made collective, as best understood through our electoral system, one would hope that they might find a way to provide peace, order and good government for some period, without plunging us into another election, into constant elections.
So it is that there is nothing remarkable about such a hypothesis. The largest parliamentary grouping inevitably forms the government, whether the Conservatives in 1979 or in 1984, the Liberals in 1968 or in 1972. Through the centuries, the formation of such groupings has always been the affair of negotiation and compromise, some more public, much private, some earlier, some later.
It has indeed been entertaining, since 2004, to observe the rediscovery of parliamentary democracy, of parliament's and parliamentarians' powers. One of the most piquant illustrations of unreflective doublethink is that of commentators still coming to terms with our system, as their political education seems to have been woefully betrayed by our historically deficient education systems. Given the American influence that seems to afflict many of them, might I suggest they think of the American House of Representatives, and the Speaker of the House, currently Nancy Pelosi, as the closest thing to a Prime Minister, were the Americans to magically abandon their Presidential system overnight (I'm ignoring the different Senates on purpose, to keep things simple). The American Speaker, like our PM, maintains her position because more Representatives support her and her party than any other. As soon as a larger grouping was formed, however loose, then their leader would become Speaker. So it is with the PM and the House of Commons.
In conclusion, one cannot declare oneself an enthusiastic democrat, a partisan of strengthened parliaments, more representative of the heterogeneous desires of Canadians, and then turn around and say it is wrong or illegitimate for parliamentarians and parliaments to exercise their rights and responsibilities in the name of the Canadians who participated in those 308 elections, and of all Canadians. One is either a democrat or one is not. And in the Canadian system, that means MPs, and Parliament. They decide who is the government, for how long, under what conditions and following what plans. If you are a democrat, you have to support the largest parliamentary grouping's right to form the government.