Thursday, July 31, 2014

The toxic mischief of the First Nations Financial Transparency Act

The Harper government spins the First Nations Financial Transparency Act as something they just had to do to let the native street see how high on the hog their leadership have been living. The implication being that us white folks are overwhelmingly generous to you Indians, and the only reason many of you live in squalor and deprivation is because your leaders are pocketing the money.

Bullshit!

The First Nations Financial Transparency Act is intended to foment discord in the native community while at the same time inciting the racist elements in the broader Canadian society. You know the Ezra Levant crowd is going to be mining the financial reports for salacious anti-native propaganda for years, which is exactly what the Harper gang had in mind when they drafted this legislation.

I have no doubt that some troubling examples of self-dealing and fiscal abuse will emerge, but guess what?!...

http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/07/29/alison-redfords-alleged-ghost-flights-and-faked-manifests-take-scandalous-behaviour-to-a-new-level/

http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/07/17/mike-duffy-to-be-charged-by-rcmp-suspended-senators-lawyer-says/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charbonneau_Commission

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2014/07/29/toronto_mayor_rob_ford_still_doesnt_understand_conflict_of_interest_editorial.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/mulroney-tried-to-cover-up-cash-payments-he-received-in-hotel-rooms-schreiber-1.648379

I could go on and on and on...

What's the big deal about 1500 civilian casualties in Gaza?

Make no mistake; Operation Off the Cliff is political theatre of the highest order. It's not about tunnels and it's not about rockets; it's about avoiding any "peace" that would threaten the long-term goal of the maximalists in Israeli politics, the eventual consolidation of a "greater Israel" from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.

Or perhaps from the Euphrates to the Nile... it's always tough to nail down the borders of the Promised Land.

All the blather about "rockets raining on Israel" sounds good but doesn't justify a war that at this moment has taken the lives of 56 IDF soldiers. That's twice as many dead in a couple of weeks as the number of Israeli civilians killed by Gaza rocket attacks over the last 15 years.

Those Gaza rockets have claimed the same number of Israelis in fifteen years as lose their lives every month in traffic accidents.

In other words, there's absolutely nothing about the rocket threat that could possibly justify the thousands of civilian Palestinian deaths in this war on Gaza, and the one before, and the one before that.

Having said that, the war boosters have a point when they accuse the world of hypocrisy for its condemnation of Israel, especially when that condemnation is emanating from that most exceptional nation, the United States.

Afghanistan has never fired a single rocket at the US, but tens of thousands of innocent Afghan civilians have died at the hands of the US military.

Iraq has never fired a single rocket at the US, but hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians died at the hands of the US military.

Vietnam never fired a single rocket at America, yet millions of Vietnamese civilians died at the hands of the US military.

So, yes, it's hard to argue with that charge of hypocrisy.




Singer v Argentina: financial crimes against humanity

Paul Singer's immoral campaign to extort unearned wealth from the people of Argentina has hit the wall.

Bankruptcy is a funny thing. I remember a real estate broker in Guelph who had survived three bankruptcies. He kept his fine home and his fancy cars throughout, and if his financial history impacted his standing in the business community, it didn't show.

On the occasion of my own bankruptcy, I recall my elderly mafioso neighbour imparting some words of wisdom; "things happen, son; sometimes you just gotta tip it and move on."

Business folks large and small routinely shift their "non-performing assets," i.e mistakes, into their weakest holding company, pull the plug, and carry on as though nothing had happened.

None of the Reichman brothers had to move house or skimp on meals when their Olympia and York flamed out in what was at the time the biggest bankruptcy in Canadian history.

However, if you hear Paul Singer tell the tale, bankruptcy by a nation state is an affront to God, and he is doing God's work when he uses the courts to put the squeeze on already-crippled national economies.

It's not that Singer lent those countries money and wants it back. The Singer M.O. is to wait till a country defaults, buy up their bonds at pennies on the dollar, and then use his vast resources and political influence to extort face value plus interest on that discounted debt.

The reason this works with a nation state and not with an individual or corporate debtor is because in theory, a nation state could amortize those debts so far into the future that eventually they would be paid. In the meanwhile, the citizens of that country will have to forgo a few frills like education and health care, but at least they're confirming Singer's idea of the rule of law.

Thus, when the people of Peru or Congo or Argentina have to do without so that Paul Singer's vulture funds can make a few un-earned billions, all is well with the world.

That's the American way!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Canadian commander of NATO war on Libya now chief of Lockheed Martin Canada

Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard got his hero medal and then scurried off to the private sector, where he is today ensconced as the commander of the Canadian branch of Lockheed Martin.

His most important... no, his only duty, is to make sure Canada signs on for the F-35. Great thinking on the part of Lockheed Martin; who can say "no" to a war hero?

Bouchard has some insights into the War on Libya.

He's disappointed in the lack of progress.

Well, Libya may be going up in flames, but at least Mr. Bouchard has done OK for himself.

Friends don't let friends commit genocide

Where are all those "friends of Israel" when she really needs them?

Not to goad on the current assault on Gaza, which has become untethered from even the most tenuous ties to reality, but to put the brakes on a campaign that has degenerated into a maniacal mission of vengeance.

Targeting the Gaza power station because it's a "symbol of Hamas?" What kind of bullshit is that? Yes, on some abstract level that may be true, but on a concrete level it's only a power generating station that provides 1.8 million people with electricity.

Operation "Protective Edge/Over the Cliff" was a totally fabricated piece of political theatre to begin with, designed to destroy the Hamas/Fatah reunion. It was never about saving Israel from those terror rockets that are mostly known for not hitting anything.

Let's try to get some perspective; in the 15 years before Netanyahu embarked on this dark adventure, Gaza rockets had claimed a total of 28 lives. In fifteen years... that's barely a month's worth of traffic fatalities!

Twice that number of IDF have given their lives to this political theatre over the past three weeks. Where is the sense in that?

To say nothing of the lives lost on the other side, lives that apparently count for nothing in Netanyahu's war calculus, which is another huge mistake. Every son who lost a father and every father who has lost a son in Gaza these past three weeks has a justifiable thirst for vengeance that will play out for decades.

How does that promote peace?

So where are those who profess to be friends of Israel? In the periphery you have the Harper and Baird types who cannot find anything to say, even after three weeks of outrageously one-sided carnage, other than "Israel has a right to defend itself."

On the main stage, you have the Americans, at least pretending to try to make peace.

"Pretending" is the operative word here. All the drama of flying back and forth to here and there and consulting with this party and that is pure schlock theatre.

Obama could end this with one phone call.

Canada "saves women and children in developing world" by subsidizing Monsanto

In the past three months the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development has touted it's worldwide commitment to the betterment of the lives of children and mothers well over a dozen times in its press releases, usually accompanied by trumpeting Canada's "leadership" role.

Here is today's effort in its entirety, with my comments italicized;


Canadian leadership saving the lives of women and children across the developing world

The more you look into these claims of "leadership" the less evidence you will find.
July 29, 2014 - Arnaud, Manitoba - Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
Today, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, participated in a round table hosted by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank that brought together Canadian farmers, local organizations and the private sector. The Minister had the opportunity to discuss Canada's leadership role to date and get feedback on what concrete actions Canada should take to improve global nutrition, a key pillar of the maternal, newborn and child health initiative, Canada’s top development priority.

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank is well-intentioned God-fearing farm folks who donate money and food grains, to help the poor in less fortunate countries. They are generously supported by Dow Agroscience, Syngenta, Viterra, and Monsanto.
After the round table, Minister Paradis announced new funding to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to support Innovative Approaches for the Prevention of Childhood Undernutrition, a project being implemented in Mali, Senegal and Burkina Faso that seeks to prevent both chronic and acute undernutrition in children.

IFPRI is a bio-tech lobby under the umbrella of CGIAR, an agri-business, bio-tech, and crop genetics combine funded by industry and governments.
“The efforts of everyday Canadians, like those who give their time and energy to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, form the backbone of Canada’s resolve to eradicate global poverty and eliminate preventable deaths among women, newborns and children,” said Minister Paradis. “By continuing to work together we are getting closer to reaching that goal. We know that investing in nutrition is among the most cost-effective means of improving the health of women and children and I am proud to support a project that will inform and guide regional, national and global policies to scale up nutrition for young children.”

There is no shortage of food in this world, but too many people have a shortage of money to pay for it. That's why your cat eats and children in South Sudan don't. It's got nothing to do with crop yields or cost-effectiveness and everything to do with allowing a market economy to allocate food resources.
“For too long, there has been a disconnect between programs aimed at managing and treating acute undernutrition and those focused on the prevention of undernutrition in young children,” said Marie Ruel, Director, Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division, IFPRI. “This project is unique in two ways: first, it is intended to bring together interventions to control and prevent both acute and chronic undernutrition, and second, it includes a strong research component that will make it possible to document the impacts and lessons learned for programming and policies to accelerate progress in achieving optimal child nutrition globally.”
The consultation focused on how to ensure that global commitments deliver real results to those I need while remaining accountable to Canadian taxpayers. Canada is committed to scaling up interventions that will have the greatest impact, in the areas of strengthening health systems, reducing the burden of disease, and improving nutrition. This meeting was part of the consultations announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit, which took place in Toronto last May in Toronto.

This press release claims Canadian Leadership is saving the lives of women and children across the developing world, and is doing so by providing undisclosed funding to an agri-business lobby group. Dow, Syngenta, Viterra, Monsanto et al are hugely profitable corporations and do not require subsidies of any kind.

Portraying Canadian funding for biotech conglomerates as "saving women and girls" is beyond disingenuous.

It is outright fraud.

Palestinians savagely beaten by Jewish mob in Jerusalem

That's not a happy headline, but it comes from an impeccable pro-Israel source; the Jerusalem Post.

Throughout my life the human rights activists, the anti-racism activists, the pro-labour anti-imperialist activists and writers I have admired most have more often than not been Jews.

That virulent race hate has so permeated Israeli society as to make such a headline possible is a savage beating for all of them as well.

It's time to cry.

Another dirty foreign worker story

If you spend any time at all reading the self-righteous press releases issued by the unctuous moraliser John Baird and his minions at the Department of Foreign Affairs, it would be easy to conclude that Canada under the Harper gang is a light unto the nations, a shining beacon of hope for the underprivileged and downtrodden the world over. Hardly a day goes by without our condemning this or being appalled by that or outraged by some other stain on the fabric of humanity.

And in principal, there is nothing wrong with that, but the Harper government was elected to govern Canada, not to set the rest of the world right. Why so much effort in finding the mote in everybody else's eye when we have so much to be outraged and appalled at right here at home?

Take the Foreign Worker Program for instance. This story on view at CBC about the plight of Guatemalan chicken catchers lists a litany of abuses, from workers having their passports seized, to dangerous working conditions, to unpaid work, to subhuman living conditions. These workers on entering the country are for all practical purposes the property of their employer-sponsors. If they quit they can't legally take another job here. If they complain they can be dismissed and deported. They have for all practical purposes the same rights as the foreign workers abused as a matter of course throughout the dictatorships of the Middle East, which is to say the right to shut-up and get back to work.

The precedent for institutionalizing the exploitation of desperate foreign workers was set in the 1960's with the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program. The impetus for SAWP were conditions similar to those that brought about the TFW program; the claim by employers that Canadians could not be found to do the work at the wages on offer. In both cases, the more obvious solution, paying decent wages, was overlooked in favour of self-serving arguments about remaining competitive etc., which is another way of saying Canadians would rather live with this institutionalized racism than pay an extra fifty cents for a bag of apples or a chicken.

If Canada truly needs foreign workers, they need to come here as proper immigrants with the same rights as any other citizen of this country, both in the workplace and in general. As long as over a million Canadians are out of work, it would seem unlikely that an authentic need for more labour can be demonstrated. Where there is a shortage of specific skill-sets, it is the responsibility of an enlightened leadership in a contemporary democracy to provide the education and training to eliminate those shortages.

The fact that more and more stories are coming to light about the abuse of foreign workers should be every bit as concerning as the fact that this government has deliberately created the present TFW program to keep the Canadian labour market more "flexible" than it would otherwise be.

In other words, our leaders in Ottawa have devised a strategy that permits the exploitation of foreign workers while at the same time driving down wages of Canadian workers. That's hardly a solid ethical foundation from which to harangue the rest of the world about their faults.




Monday, July 28, 2014

Frack Off!

"Fracking", or hydraulic fracturing, is all the rage these days. Apparently it has breathed life into entirely dead economies in Pennsylvania, Texas, North Dakota, and beyond, by using "new" technology to tap hitherto inaccessible or exhausted oil and gas deposits.

The technology has been around for decades. What's new is its application on an industrial scale. All ya gotta do is pump mystery cocktails of toxic industrial chemicals into the earth under extreme pressure, and the laws of physics does the rest.

But wait? Isn't our water coming out of that same earth?

Hey, not to worry... the oil industry's scientists and engineers are all over it. They done figured out how to make it safe. What could possibly go wrong?

UK PM Cameron has gone all in for fracking. This is possibly the last move in the long-running campaign to destroy Britain once and for all.

From the union-busting of Thatcher to Tony Blair's squandering of the treasury on stupid and counterproductive wars, to the trebling of university fees, to the creation of a new underclass worthy of Dickens, they've sure buggered up their country.

Apparently they're not finished yet.

The magic of outsourcing; why Temp Foreign Workers are displacing Canadians in Calgary's Parks Department

On the face of it, you'd think Rob Ford and Naheed Nenshi would have little in common, other than having been elected mayor of their respective cities.

Nenshi is the cerebral and soft-spoken mayor of Calgary, who has done more than any individual in recent history to roll back that city's reputation as the redneck capital of Canada.

Rob Ford you already know about.

But they do have one other thing in common; they both went down the road of outsourcing public services to private contractors.

In Ford's case that was outsourcing garbage collection in Toronto. In Calgary, it was summer maintenance of the city's parks, which led to this story at CBC today.

To save the good burghers of Calgary a few bucks on their property taxes, which are already among the lowest in Canada, park maintenance was outsourced to a private contractor.

The private contractor needs to make a profit, so they offer the outsourced jobs at 25% less than what the city workers used to make for the same work. Surprisingly, they suddenly run into a worker shortage!

Not a problem; fire off a Labour Market Opinion request to the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, and before you can say "nay ho" you've got happy Chinese foreign workers trimming the lawns in Calgary's parks.

That's the way the system works, and it's the way it was intended to work. The hard-right Thatcherite fundamentalists in the Harper regime are firm believers in the free trade of everything, including labour.

The only reason Jason Kenney has been putting on a show of "reforms" recently is because there is an election on the horizon.

The 300,000 plus "guest workers" we are hosting are doing 300,000 jobs Canadians should be doing. If the cheap-ass employers would let the free hand of Canada's labour market work its magic, they'd soon find their employees. But they'd have to pay the wages that the laws of supply and demand dictate.

That's why they favour government intervention in the labour market; crank up the supply of labour to drive down workers' wages. And the strategy was working beautifully, until a few of the horror stories began to trickle into mainstream media.

Suddenly the TFW program is in the spotlight, people, i.e. potential voters, are getting pissed off, and just as suddenly the Harper gang is keen for reforms, or (if the polling numbers need a goosing) cancelling it altogether!

Canadian workers can vote.

Temporary Foreign Workers cannot.




Why are all the top sprinters Black?

Because outrunning these assholes was a matter of life and death.

You are six degrees of separation away from the Ebola virus

Well that's reassuring!

The basic facts; there is no cure, the mortality rate is over 50%, and it can take up to three weeks for symptoms to appear.

That means my pal Harvard, who is off on a trekking holiday in Africa, can board a plane in the west of Africa, fly to Toronto, gather up all his friends and neighbours to show off his holiday pictures, and infect the lot of us before he even shows any symptoms!

Think I'll look at those pictures in a month or two.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Turkey at the crossroads

Turkey has always been at the crossroads, geographically speaking.

Turkey is where Asia meets Europe.

Turkey was also one of the very first colonies to throw off the yoke of colonialism, under Ataturk.

Today Turkey finds itself the only Muslim country in NATO.

It has become, pursuant to the above, the only NATO country that has objected to Israel's latest war crimes in Gaza.

At the same time, Turkey has worked harder to foster relations with Israel than any independent state in the Muslim world.

While that was going on, Turkey found herself one of the few surviving outposts of Muslim Brotherhood influence.

Turkey is at the crossroads of many competing forces.

Turkey scored an unfortunate own goal with its connivance in the Syrian civil war, offering itself up to its NATO betters as a staging ground for "rebels" of all stripes, even after it became obvious that those stripes were dominated by fundamentalists who were never going to be reliable NATO allies.

So where is Turkey today? The US keeps the Gulen card up its sleeve for a rainy day. Erdogan is recognized as a liability one day and an asset the next.

Turkey is at the crossroads, again.

"Lucky" Gazans with acute injuries get life-line to Jordan hospitals- but it takes ten days

Yup, that's what you want to hear when you show up at the ER; see you in ten days.

These are the depths that the National Newspaper of Record (and, yes, most people who think and read still put the NYT ahead of the Washington Post; sorry Bezos) will sink to in their desperation to wring happy stories out of Israel's latest attack on Gaza.

But it will have to do, because there's not much to work with.

Now that we have successfully democratized Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, let us bestow our blessings on Ukraine

Even the skeptics must admit that over-throwing a democratically elected government is a curious way of introducing democracy to a benighted land.

That's been the Nuland-Pyatt-Harper-Baird approach to Ukraine since well before the February Putsch.

The primary propaganda mills (WaPo, NYT, Globe & Mail etc.) have been keeping the pedal to the floor in the non-stop bullshit blitz to blame Putin and bury Western responsibility for the horrors unfolding in Ukraine.

The latest faux outrage is the MH17 debacle, which is the result of Putin himself personally shooting down that Boeing 777, a reasonable conclusion after following Western media coverage of the incident.

And if he didn't pull the trigger personally, it's still Putin's fault, because it happened near Russia.

Oddly enough, it is Putin who has consistently called for an independent investigation of the MH17 tragedy.

And even oddlier, just as a multinational Dutch-Australian-Malaysian investigative team is ready to deploy to Ukraine, after securing the permission of the rebels in the area, Poroshenko commences a ground war that renders the crash site out of bounds.

Coincidence?

And where are those air traffic control recordings that the Kiev government seized in the hours after the downing of MH17?

Still being "investigated" by the Poroshenko team, apparently.

Hmm... deliberately preventing international investigators from reaching the crash site, suppressing the air traffic control records... you don't think the Poroshenko regime could have something to hide, do you?


Libya continues to enjoy blessings of "Operation Unified Protector"

As you may recall, that was the code name for the eight month long NATO bombing campaign against the infrastructure and government of Libya.

The Nations of Virtue don't actually win many military encounters with those pesky terrorists who insist on resisting their good intentions. That's a fact. But, goddam, do they ever deserve a prize for coming up with bullshit names for their military operations.

Operation Pillar of Bullshit.

Operation Over the Edge.

Operation Valiant Guardian...

But back to Operation Unified Protector.

Canadians were particularly pleased with this operation, because it's simply not every day that they get to drop bombs on a country with no air force or air defenses. Their pride stems in part from the fact that a Canadian was in charge of the NATO air war.

In fact, Ottawa was so chuffed they even minted a new military medal to honour our heroes.

So how are things faring out for the Libyans since we liberated them from their leader...

Not that well, as it turns out. Three years after we dispatched the Monster of the Maghreb to his reward, Libya is disintegrating into complete chaos. Even the virtuous NATO liberators are shutting down their embassies and fleeing the scene of their crime.

Hell, even that sweet Libyan crude we fought so hard to liberate is slipping from our grasp...

Somebody needs to be held to account...

GADDAFI!!!...

Yes, it's all Gaddafi's fault!


With all eyes on Gaza, Israel green-lights oil wells in occupied Golan

While the eyes of the world are distracted by the appalling spectacle being played out in Gaza, Israel quietly gave the go-ahead to a controversial oil exploration program on occupied Syrian territory.

Presumably the Syrian leadership is too preoccupied by more pressing contingencies to raise much of a fuss.

Genie Energy, a US company with links to former VP Dick Cheney, has spent years lobbying the Israeli government for permission to access the potentially lucrative oil reserves in the region.

The fact that those reserves legally belong to Syria, and not to Israel, does not seem to be a concern, but it should be.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

The arithmetic of happiness and the inevitability of shit

There's a lot of nasty headlines in the world 'o news these days, eh?

GazaukraineMH17PutinhondurassyriaISbringbackourmalialqedaimmigrationbordersbordersborders.

Frankly, I find you have to keep the headlines at arms length, otherwise this stuff is gonna take you over. It's a messed up world, to be sure, but is it really more messed up than in the past?

It seems so because it's what's on our screens now, right now, this instant, as we... well, we're not actually speaking, but you know what I mean.

So I try to stay above the fray as it were, although it is sometimes difficult to refrain from speaking out about one travesty or another, which I find myself doing more often than I wish.

But mostly I worry about more mundane things.

Like death.

Death in and of itself is not a particularly worrisome topic. Death is just that big camp counsellor in the sky turning the lights out for the last time.

It disturbs me no end to rummage through the obits and find way too many folks younger than me.

I AM A YOUNG MAN!

Well, in my head I am.

But I read those obits. There are basically two categories of deaths;


  • The sudden death. This can happen with a car crash when you're seventeen or in your sleep at 97, although at 97 everybody figured you were a gonner anyway so even if your demise was sudden it was not a surprise
  • The lingering death. This is where folks gradually, over many years, succumb to whatever, and their dying takes over not only their life, but the lives of their entire circle.
It's interesting that I never gave these things much thought at seventeen, but that was one thing I had in common with every seventeen-year-old; when you're 17 you know you're gonna live forever!

In fact, when you're 17 you pretty much know everything! I sure did!

I'm pretty much down to nothing now.



Pot-addled blogger predicts Gaza missile crisis AND Libya meltdown three years ago

Told ya so.

OK, so I was wrong about Gaddafi getting to Gaza to play chess...

But plenty of other stuff apparently made it to Gaza.

As for Libya, NATO, aka "the Nations of Virtue," have long since washed their hands of the failed state that they rendered a failed state.

Before NATO's glorious victory over Gaddafi, Libya was the most prosperous country on the African continent by a wide margin.

Gaddafi's subjects enjoyed free or subsidized housing, education, health care, foreign travel... but none of that was good enough in the eyes of the Nations of Virtue.

Because the Monster of the Maghreb was promoting pan-African unity and acting like a pied piper wanting to lead all those black folks out of the US sphere of influence.

No way was Uncle Sam gonna sit still for that...




We tried to warn Netanyahu, but would he listen?...

Surely our modest think-tank here at Falling Downs weren't the only ones who figured out there was way more than hashish and Mercedes sedans coming through the Gaza tunnels. Oddly enough, that story referenced in the link happened under Morsi's watch.

Which kinda makes you wonder... Morsi was a MB man, Hamas are an MB franchise; did Morsi order a few high-profile busts just to get happy headlines, while allowing unprecedented volumes of anti-tank weapons and Stinger missiles through the tunnels in those sedans?

Looks like Netanyahu and company are determined to find out.


Chainsaw Tai Chi

Me and the Farm Manager took the ferry over to Manitoulin yesterday, just as a day trip to get away from the morbidly intimidating to-do list around here.

We're on the 551 hard by Mindemoya Lake, having a lovely slow cruise of it, when I spot this guy doing what looks like Tai Chi, except he's got a chainsaw in his hands!

WTF!?



This is just some crazy shit to see, so needless to say I had to pull over and have a chit-chat.

Turns out the dude is a retired lumberjack. Tells me Tai Chi swept through all the logging camps on Manitoulin about 15-20 years ago. He says every morning the crew would gather round before breakfast and spend 45 minutes going through a Tai Chi routine with their chainsaws in hand!

Now that must be a sight to see...

But apparently injuries are down, productivity is up, and the wood they're cutting has a smooth grain and a mellow aroma...


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Netanyahu to double down on Gaza war

Looks like Netanyahu wants to keep the party going till Hamas has no more tunnels and no more rockets.

That will require how many more to give their lives?

And does anyone imagine that there will be no more tunnels or rockets after he has declared victory?

Canada celebrates "win" of selling armed troop carriers to Peru, to help Peru win battle against pesky peasants fighting Canadian mining conglomerates.

I think that's what's known as a "win-win".

Canada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Free Trade, Mining, and Weapon Sales was chuffed to announce the "win" of selling 32 armored personnel carriers to the government of Peru today.

That's a win for the General Dynamics plant in London, and a win for the government of Peru, which has been struggling to contain anti-mining activism directed largely against Canadian multinationals, activism that has already claimed the lives of many protesters.

Which is why the Peruvian government needs those armored personnel carriers, I guess.

Hmm... could there be any losers in this story?

When the wily Erdogan tells you to get out of Libya, Libya must REALLY be fucked!

Keep in mind that Mr. Erdogan is a MB insider. Not that I personally have a problem with that, but if you look at the arc of history, you could almost conclude that the MB is on its way out.

Morsi.

Hamas.

They don't exactly have momentum on their side, do they?

Erdogan?

Anyway, that's quite messed up, but what is even more messed up is that while Erdogan is almost the last man standing in Muslim Brotherhood ranks, he's also an insider in the NATO ranks.

Like, how the fuck does that work?

When a story begins with "the US says", is there any reason to believe anything that follows?

This is on my mind because I'm trying to make sense of this story.

The US says it has evidence that Russia has been firing artillery into Ukraine.

I don't know if they have, but the point here is, if the Yanks claim it to be true, does that claim make it more or less likely to be true?

Given the sheer volume of American lying that's shaped history over the past couple of decades, should we give them the benefit of the doubt?

I think it would be prudent to doubt the benefits of giving them the benefit of the doubt.

What might be different today had Netanyahu given peace a chance last April?


Does anyone remember last April?

Hamas and Fatah announced an historic reconciliation agreement.

Netanyahu went on the attack immediately. Abbas was choosing terror over peace, etc..

Well, maybe he wasn't.

Maybe Hamas was prepared to give peace a chance.

Too bad Netanyahu didn't.

What would be different today?

Several dozen IDF funerals wouldn't have happened.

800 Palestinian dead would still be alive.

Thousands injured would have remained whole.

But Netanyahu knew from the first moment he was having none of that.

What did he have to lose?

And what is he winning now?

Ukraine; Yats bails as country circles drain

Arseniy "Yats" Yatseniuk, the Ukrainian PM "democratically elected" last February by US ambassador Geoff Pyatt and State Department no. 2 Victoria Nuland, has announced that he is abandoning ship. He will no doubt turn up soon in a non-teaching "teaching post" at a prominent American University, or as a "senior fellow" at a big-name think tank. Maybe both!

After all, he deserves it, having done what he could to deliver his country into the apparently not-too-eager arms of the West.

While the West is keen to use Ukraine as a tool to browbeat Putin, thus far they have been somewhat niggardly in coming up with tangible support. Just today it emerged that Canada, by far the loudest booster of Ukraine's turn to the West, has yet to get at the paperwork involved in processing that $200 million they promised months and months ago.

Meanwhile, President Poroshenko struggles with an official army that doesn't follow orders, a "new" army made of hastily conscripted neo-fascist nutters and foreign white-power mercenaries that doesn't follow orders either, and a new sugar daddy in the EU who makes lots of promises but seems in no hurry to cover that multi-billion dollar Gazprom tab that the snubbed Putin would prefer to see cleaned up before he turns the taps back on for next winter.

Nevermind paying for this war.

These have to be trying days for The Chocolate King, as he finds himself a victim of history instead of a maker of history.

So it's forward full steam with the default strategy; hunker down in his office and issue non-stop press releases blaming Russia for everything.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's not just the telegenic dead babies; Israel's public image goes down the toilet

The "greatest leader since Moses" got some bad press recently for his cynical remarks about how the "telegenic dead" are being ruthlessly exploited by Hamas to make Israel look bad.

That's the trouble with dead babies; gift dozens of dead babies to people like Hamas, and God only knows what the opportunistic bastards might do with them... surely it was predictable that some of them would end up in the international media.

Telegenic dead are common in conflicts everywhere, but in Israel the dead babies are getting lots of help from people whom one might expect to know better.

For example, here is Professor Mordechai Kedar of Bar Ilan University musing about using rape as a terror deterrent. Such a gift is beyond anything the Hamas propaganda department could possibly make up.

And here's another upbeat headline guaranteed to bring joy to anti-Semites everywhere; "Jewish law permits destruction of Gaza to bring safety to Israel."

Is this what Israel is becoming?


How to bury Gaza

I've been reading newspapers long enough to know that the biggest stories go on the front page. Or at least the story that the editors deem to be the biggest.

For a whole lot of reasons, the Gaza story is by far the most important at the moment. Sure, global warming could bake us to a crisp, but not this week. MH17 is a plane crash that killed three hundred people. That deserves to be front page news, for a day or two, maybe a little longer if there are peripheral elements to the story, such as when that plane is shot down by a missile.

I was therefore perturbed when, as I was perusing the front page of Canada's newspaper of record yesterday morning, I couldn't find Gaza. Instead, five days after the event, MH17 remains the top story.

Except it's not so much about MH17 anymore; it's all about what Putin will do next, which could be anything from shooting down another civilian airliner to annexing Lithuania or Poland or the rest of Ukraine, apparently. Other stories deemed worthy of the front page are the Duffy Drama, a Chinese guy in BC charged with spying for China, and a court ruling about Canadians' legal rights to portage a canoe.

But no front page news about Gaza.

I'm leafing through the paper... mayor dies of wasp sting... car gets stolen... Rob Ford...

Pages 6 and 7 are entirely given over to anti-Putin propaganda presented as an insiders report on the imaginary Donetsk People's Republic.

Still no Gaza news.

On page 8 I was shocked to learn that big-talkin' John Baird wants Europe to take a tougher line toward Moscow.

Finally, on page 9, I encounter a Gaza story; "Hamas shows resilience despite shelling."

Hmm... that's not a good sign. Globe editors with an admiring headline for Hamas? Things must be going worse than we realize in Netanyahu's "Operation Over the Cliff."

OK, no wonder they buried it on page 9.

So today I pick up my paper, and guess what the top story is? Putin! Oh for f@cks sakes! And once again two pages of anti-Putin propaganda on pages 6 and 7!

First glimpse of Gaza-related news comes on page 8, where I learn that Ottawa has not yet formally banned flights to Israel but Air Canada is cancelling them anyway.

They're probably anti-Semites.

The editorial board at The Globe and Mail, on the other hand, should know better than to bury the biggest story in the world deep in their newspaper.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Let's all say NO to the scourge of nationalism

Seems to me that the ground-level conscripts in the Ukrainian Army and the ground-level fighters in the so-called separatist movement have way more in common with one another than they do with the oligarchs manipulating the respective sides.

That's pretty much true in the latest Israel-Hamas conflagration too. An awful lot of those IDF "heroes" will return to a civilian life in which they will struggle to find a job or an apartment. The big dogs on either side will have no such difficulties.

And do those NASCAR fans in those huge race-track stadiums wonder why half the seats are empty when they stand for the benediction and the mandatory fly-over by the air force that has brought death and destruction to millions the world over?

If they gave it a moment's thought they would realize that the air force they are saluting mows down people just like them; folks who want to go to work and raise their family and make it to a special event once or twice a year.

The reason half those seats are empty is because America's oligarchs have profited mightily from throwing half the middle class, the folks who used to sit there, into the dumpster these last 30 years.

People are people. They have pretty much identical aspirations the world over, regardless of creed or skin color. Live their lives, raise their children, and leave the world a better place than they found it... if for no other reason than that their children will be living in that world.

So why do we have to hate one another?

Toronto Maple Leafs management back on crack; hire 28 yr old weenie as Assistant GM

Kyle Dubas has quite the track record.

For two of the three years that he was GM of the OHL's Soo Greyhounds, they made the playoffs.

Yup, that's it. Made the playoffs, as did 15 other teams.

Apparently he's a wizard with "analytics."

I suppose that might be better than pyramids under the team bench... but analytics?

Maybe Shanahan is a wizard at spotting young management talent.

We shall see.

Canada's Foreign Minister Baird in throes of mid-life crisis; accidentally brings peace to Middle East by embracing UN charter!

Well, that's better than embracing a teen-age hooker in the throes of your mid-life crisis, I suppose.

Today Baird informed the world that he was "appalled" to learn that a UN school in Gaza had discovered a rocket stash on the premises, and may have turned those rockets over to Hamas.

It's not exactly the best of times in Gaza these days, and I have a hunch that if such a thing happened, it may not have been an entirely consensual transaction.

But Baird, generally more inclined to piss on the UN Charter than to promote it, saw this as the moment to remind us of the sanctity of this document by quoting from Article 1;

Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations states that the UN’s purpose is to “…maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.”

Since Mr. Baird brought it up, let's have a closer look. Hmm... "take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace?"

So I'm a little confused here... Sounds like Little John is going to speak out and condemn Israel's nuclear arsenal, the only one in the Middle East. After all, what could constitute a greater threat to the peace?

Does that mean he will lobby to have Israel sign the nuclear non-proliferation pact, as Iran has? Will he lobby Israel to join Iran in advocating for a nuclear-free Middle East?

Hey, I'm behind you 100% Mr. Baird!

And seeing you quote the bit about "principles of justice and international law" would seem to hint that, going forward, you will use your masterful powers of persuasion to convince your friends in Israel to abide by international laws, principles of justice, Geneva Convention, and so forth, ad infinitum.

Great news! You will go down in history as the man who brought peace to the Middle East!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Al Jazeera's relentless anti-Putin fear-mongering

I like Al Jazeera because it's a reliable if somewhat slanted news source. Once you can reliably discern the slant you know what to look for and what to discard.

The Qatar-funded news platform certainly has a degree of anti-American and anti-Israel cred. Otherwise you wouldn't see Israel's inveterate hate-monger FM Lieberman lobbying to have them kicked out of Israel. After all, they are among the prime proliferationists in that proliferation of "telegenic" dead baby pictures coming out of Gaza.

Nor would you have seen "the Shrub" plot to bomb them ten years ago.

While their anti-Israel and anti-USA bona fides may have a wiff of legitimacy, the guy they really hate is Russia's Putin.

Witness this spot of anti-Putin fear-mongering; Moldova, under the influence.

Yup, Moldova could be next... could be over-run in a matter of hours...

Well, it could be, just like Canada could be over-run by the US in a matter of hours, or Monaco could be over-run by France in a few hours, or Liechtenstein could be over-run by Austria in a matter of hours...

But there is utterly no reason to expect that such a thing would happen. These stories are fabrications of NATO PR hacks who constantly need to find more imaginary threats to justify the continued existence of a bureaucratic behemoth that has long outlived its mandate.

Long shadow of 9/11 falls on Owen Sound Salmon Derby

The Owen Sound Salmon Derby is a pretty big deal in Owen Sound. The late-summer extravaganza brings thousands to the area to do what fishermen and fishers do; drink beer and spend money, and plenty of it.

But this year there's a fly in the ointment; Transport Canada has decreed that the "terror gate" on the east side of the harbor be closed permanently, just a month before the Salmon Derby.

That terror gate came about in the hysterically paranoid post-9/11 environment, when international rules dictated by America's determination to secure any port where a US ship might dock were amended accordingly. And yes, US ships dock in Owen Sound to unload or load corn and cement.

Obviously those would be prime terrorist magnets... a ship loading corn in Owen Sound... yup, a chain link fence will keep those evil-doers at bay.

An attack on a freighter in Owen Sound harbor is so far down the Jihadi hit list that the locals correctly see this as complete bullshit. And in the event that the few Muslim families in town might be secret terror cells who have been biding their time, just waiting for the right moment to attack a cement barge, well, I don't think that chain link fence is gonna stop them.

But it's going to mess up the Salmon Spectacular.

This is a problem that can be resolved with a decent set of bolt-cutters.

Gaza war is Netanyahu's Waterloo

Every observer not blinded by nationalistic jingoism or outright race hate predicted the disaster that Netanyahu has precipitated.

Even before the ground invasion, Israel was massively losing the PR war on a global scale. As long as one confines their news consumption to safe platforms in the usual Israel-first states like the US and Canada and a few others, it is possible to ignore that fact, but the fact is, those "telegenic dead" are making an impact.

With the ground invasion, Israel is losing not only the PR war, but the lives of Israeli soldiers as well.

This Haaretz article reflects the doubts that many Israeli's are having about the greatest leader since Moses. The writer knows that this war was instigated by Netanyahu. He knows that the so-called objective has morphed from stopping rockets to finding tunnels. He knows that the goal of pursuing this mission until there is "quiet" is unattainable without a complete re-occupation, and he knows that will entail many more Israeli lives lost.

And he knows that the Israeli public won't stand for it.


So what are the US Marines up to in South Sudan these days?

Delivering humanitarian aid, I would guess, because after all, those po' black folks just can't figure out how to manage their affairs and feed their people etc..

The think tank here at Falling Downs has long been skeptical about the US role in the manufacturing of this fake state.

While the epic fail that is South Sudan seems to make headlines on a regular basis, US involvement there is oddly absent from the news horizon.

The media blackout was briefly breached a few days ago when an unmarked airplane landed on a highway near the capital of Uganda, and turned out to have a cargo of US soldiers. Apparently they had been on their way to South Sudan.

To do what?

Who knows?

Usual Putin-haters have field day politicizing MH17 tragedy

The bodies of those 298 unfortunates had hardly hit the ground before Canadian PM Harper issued a statement blaming Russia. No evidence? No problem!... using 298 tragic deaths as a cudgel to bash Putin doesn't require evidence, merely an appalling level of cynical opportunism.

By Saturday the pretend "punk rocker" and professional Putin critic Masha Alekhina had an article in The Guardian likewise holding Putin to account using the same evidence Harper had, which is to say none.

And in a brazen feat of journalistic one-up-man-ship, The New Yorker was able to reveal today that no less an authority than U.S. VP Biden concluded that Putin has no soul!

In these days of hypocritical moral outrage we would do well to recall another moral outrage, the shooting down of Iran Air 655 by the US Navy in 1988.

That wasn't a mistake by ill-trained hooligan militiamen or semi-literate hastily conscripted regulars, it was a deliberate attack on a civilian airliner by the most powerful military in the world.

The U.S. VP of the time, one George Bush, remarked that he would never apologize, and no senior American politician ever has.

Putin has been downright civil and gracious in comparison.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A six-second tow-car pretty much puts paid to the history of drag racng

I remember when Don Garlits ran the first six second quarter mile in '66 or '67.

Now we're seeing a tow car running under seven.

How is such a thing even possible?

When your tow-car runs a six second quarter-mile, what the fuck is your racer doing?

Oh, I get it... the tow car IS your race car.

How the fuck does that work?

Back in the day, we were towing stuff to the track that was running tens and elevens. In fact, pretty much anything that ran a ten or eleven arrived on a trailer.

Even twelves and thirteens!

And now the tow vehicles are running six seconds?

Jimmy Addison is spinning in his grave!

Ukraine horror deepens as Gaza horror remains invisible

Reuters is informing me that the US is pressing the case against Russia as the Ukraine horror deepens.

The "Ukraine horror" refers to those 298 unlucky souls who boarded a passenger jet that they had no idea would be flying through a war zone. That horror is the result of a civil war ceaselessly fomented by the "democracy promoters" in Washington.

The Gaza horror (400 plus killed, many thousands wounded, billions of damage to civilian infrastructure, tens of thousands displaced) is nowhere in Western media referred to as "horror", rather it is about Israel's "right to self-defence."

Apparently the wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure and wholesale murder of civilians is not in any way a horror.

Rather, it is the benign manifestation of an ethos that "values life."

And if you have any problems with that, you're obviously an anti-Semite.

Crop circles reveal Moshe Feiglin is the Messiah!

Yup, I was out in the fields today, investigating the latest crop circles, which the aliens seem to leave here on a regular basis, and sure enough, I was able to make out "Feiglin = Messiah" in the corner field by the side-road...

No wonder the calves have all been still-born there.

How Before it's News gets tens of thousands of pageviews for retarded gibberish

Today's top story at Before it's News is about demonic faces appearing in the skies above Arizona.

Ya, right!

And I've got crop circles spelling out that Moshe Feiglin is the Messiah!

I'd prefer to keep that quiet though, because Feiglin is likely to believe it. Especially if The Oracle has spoken via crop circles.

But seriously, where do those pageviews come from?

One thing I've noticed frequently is that when a blog-post is getting a lot of traction, as in dozens of pageviews in the first few minutes, it will suddenly hit a wall. I know that doesn't just happen to me, it happens to plenty of bloggers who appear on Before it's News.

Even more miraculously, the pageview count can actually go down. Yup, you can have 125 hits ten minutes after you publish... and a half hour later you'll be down to 75!

How is such a thing possible?

If you follow who is publishing the top stories of the day at Before it's News, the rubbish about aliens and the NWO etc, you'll find that it's almost always written by B4 insiders.

Looks to me like those sly dogs have engineered the software to re-direct my pageviews to other sites, and not just mine, of course, but anybody who is not an insider.

That's how silly twaddle like this has got over 1,000 views in the last hour!

How to create lasting peace in Israel/Palestine

The current state of affairs in Gaza is providing plenty of food for thought about how this situation could have been avoided, and how we can prevent it happening again.

In that context, it's worth having another look at a document titled U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel, prepared for the Congressional Research Service in 2014.

Tables on pages 26 and 27 provide a breakdown of annual US aid to Israel, from the inception of the state to the present time.

What we see is that US aid was consistently in the mid tens of millions per year for about the first 15 years of Israel's existence. The first time aid breached the 100 million mark was the year before the Six Day War.

Did that boost of confidence help instigate that war?

The first time annual aid passed the billion dollar threshold was in 1974, the year after the Yom Kippur War. By the mid-eighties annual multi-billion dollar gifts to Israel had become the normal state of affairs. With the emergency funding for more Iron Dome installations we should hit four or five billions this year.

As US aid has increased, illegal settlements in the occupied territories have blossomed. Israeli belligerence towards any perceived enemy has risen in lock-step, and the centre of gravity in Israeli domestic politics has shifted massively to the right, to the point where far-right politicians routinely make racist pronouncements that would not be tolerated in any other developed nation.

The expansionist triumphalist Netanyahu is today being pilloried as a moderate, even a leftist!

Who can imagine such a thing?

Alas, he is being out-manoeuvred by Neanderthal warmongers like MK Feiglin who openly advocate for the genocide of the Palestinians.

That such advocacy is countenanced in the Israel of 2014 speaks volumes.

Israel's permanent war footing and the rise of the extreme right have been facilitated by American indulgence. Israel today is a modern fully-developed nation that does not require US aid in any way, shape, or form. In fact, if you look at the economic fundamentals, Israel should be sending foreign aid to America!

Only when America turns off the "aid" tap will Israel's politicians come to their senses and realize that the road to lasting peace is to make peace with the neighbours.

Until then, many more are destined to die.

On all sides.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Oh lookee!.. as US courts back US hedge fund weasels, China steps in with an offer Argentina can't refuse

The mere thought that American courts can dictate the finances of sovereign nations is a throwback to the colonial era.

The Singer v Argentina case is almost two hundred years removed from France extorting 90 million francs from Haiti after the slaves declared their independence.

Paul Singer doesn't realize that times have changed.

Slaves are still slaves in his world. Singer has left no stone unturned and no palm ungreased in his quest to turn his Argentina bonds, bought for pennies on the dollar after the default of 2001, into full face value plus interest!

That would turn his hedge fund's $48 million investment into a billion plus!

That's how the richest get even richer these days. No contribution to the greater good, no jobs created, no communities supported... pretty much just straight-ahead theft from the people of Argentina.

And so far the US court system has backed him every step of the way.

It may be unjust and immoral, but Singer will be celebrated in the financial press as a great capitalist hero if he can pull this off.

But here come those commie-capitalists to spoil the party. China just inked a deal for 7.5 billions that by-passes the Singer controversy and even the prospect of another Argentine default.

Hedgie Singer might want to hedge his bets by going long on the Yuan.

Will Puffy Duffy take down Big Steve?

The news that the RCMP have charged Canadian Senator Mike Duffy with 31 counts of fiscal hanky-panky has raised eyebrows across the land.

Are the RCMP out to get Duffy, or are they after Big Steve?

After all, these 31 counts should be before the courts and all over the front pages during the run-up to the 2015 federal election.

Teflon Steve might have a few awkward moments if he is called as a witness, as he inevitably will be. After all, he's the guy who made the Puffster a Senator, and he's the guy who so ruthlessly cut him loose when the so-called "expense scandal" hit the fan.

Which I thought was rude, because by all accounts Duffy was a loyal foot-soldier in the Harper legion, and a damned effective fund-raiser.

As for the expense scandal itself, that seems to be a case of changing times. What Senators have traditionally got away with they can't anymore.

Yesterday's norms are today's no-no's.

What everybody is looking forward to is the court grappling with the question of how that $90,000 cheque from Nigel Wright was not a bribe when Nigel handed it to Mike, but became one when Mike trousered it.

How does that work?

Maybe it's because Nigel is a Big Money guy, an insider at Onex, whereas Duffy is, underneath it all, a regular schmuck who made good.

It's gonna be a good show!

Israel's "extreme right" now the mainstream

If you have any doubts, have a gander at Mowing the grass in Gaza - and beyond by David Weinberg, on view at The Jerusalem Post website.

In an op-ed that drips with Chosen People exceptionalism, Weinberg clues us in to Netanyahu's "updated strategic thinking", which I suspect is not so much updated as just being spoken aloud in public in a way it wasn't even a few months ago.

The Two State Solution is dead, the West Bank is now a "security envelope" under permanent Israeli occupation, and "Israel will act to mow the grass as frequently as necessary to degrade enemy military capabilities and keep Israel's rivals off balance".

"Mowing the grass", in case you don't know, refers to cutting those rivals, be they in Gaza, Lebanon, or anywhere else in the region down to size. The "grass" allusion is illuminating; grass keeps on growing, as does resistance to Israeli hegemony, and therefore both need to be trimmed back on a regular basis.

The IDF is busy cutting the grass in Gaza at this very moment.

Weinberg explains that Israel "will be lashing out frequently to quash nearby insurgencies and their armories, especially when the weapons are actually fired at Israel". This too is a telling statement. It tells us that going forward any neighbour state not sufficiently deferential to Israel is a candidate for a grass-cutting, whether or not they have ever fired a shot in Israel's direction.

And who will determine when it's time for Gaza or Lebanon to get the next trim? Why, the paranoid cynics in the Knesset, of course! The "by itself" reference is intended to signal that no international norms or laws need be considered. It's a turn of phrase that's been cropping up in recent comments by Canada's rabidly pro-Zionist Foreign Minister as well, and not by accident.

Twenty years ago these sentiments would have been considered hate-mongering, and would only have been voiced in fringe publications of the extreme right, or behind closed doors... today they are in The Jerusalem Post.

My question to Weinberg is this; how does regular violence against any potential rival inside or near Israel contribute to the long-term peace and security of the country?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gaza "ground operation" thus far limited to long-evacuated north Gaza communities

So far it looks like Netanyahu's so-called "ground invasion" of Gaza is being engineered to get the ink while avoiding the stink.

This is probably a shrewd political move. Everybody understands that neither the IDF or the government have any interest in house-to-house and street-to-street combat in Gaza.

But sending a few tanks into the north and trumpeting a "ground operation" will get lots of PR in the West. The "international community" will plead for restraint, the IDF will grudgingly accommodate those pleas, and Israel can once again claim the moral high ground for aborting a ground mission that would have had calamitous consequences...

But so far it looks like a PR stunt limited to a few nearly-deserted communities in the north of Gaza.


Canada PM Harper solves Malaysia Airlines crash in Ukraine

Yup, Big Steve knows the score.

With no evidence whatsoever, PM Harper went public with what really happened to MH17.

It was Russian aggression.

Putin!

While we must give Mr. Harper credit for showing enough self-restraint to not name Putin personally, I think we all get the drift of what is meant by "Russian aggression".

Harper and his Tonto, the always blustery Foreign Minister John Baird, have done more to besmirch Canada's image on the world stage than the last 100 years worth of bureaucrats from the Deep North.

From being a genteel "middle-power" in the Pearson era, Canada has morphed into the loudest cheerleader for the fascist, racist, state of Israel, and the neo-fascist putschists in Kyiv.

All for the sake of scoring a few votes from right-wing Jews and right-wing Ukrainians in the next election.

Shame!

Post-colonialism; black people are too stupid to manage their own affairs

What else can one conclude from the announcement that France, under a supposed socialist no less, has signed off on a neo-colonial protection agreement with Mali.

And look at Hardluck Jonathan a couple of doors down; he has at last count got American, British, Chinese, Canadian, and Israeli forces on the ground helping to "bring back our girls".

In fairness, the Israelis may have been called home by now because they've got bigger fish to fry, but still, that's an impressive load of help from a lot of really smart white folks, and a few yellow ones, who are even smarter.

Are "our girls" back yet?

No, but that does not mean that their usefulness to the state has diminished. Goodluck came out today with a request to borrow a billion dollars to fight Boko Haram and bring back our girls.

Does anyone imagine that American, British, Chinese, Canadian, and Israeli forces would be giving all this "help" if Nigeria were not the oil capital of Africa?

And how is it that the leader of the oil capital of Africa needs to go cap-in-hand to the IMF to beg another billion to bring back our girls? Bear in mind that this is the same leader squandering $100,000/month on a top Washington PR firm to polish his image ahead of the elections.

The Nations of Virtue have been "helping" Africans for about 400 years now.

Are things getting better?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fukuyama was wrong; history is just getting started

Anybody who reads the news on a regular basis can see the evidence all over the place.

If this is about "a clash of civilizations" it should be obvious that we're losing.

There's no doubt that there's enough Western firepower left to retake the Kabul airport, but what about the next attack, or the one after that, or the one after that?...

There's no doubt Israel will prevail in the current Gaza conflict, and probably the next one, but who knows about the one after that or the one after that one?...

Islam is on the rise.

If we were smart, we would make peace with that.

Unfortunately, foreign policy in the West is too often left in the hands of the warmongers and their fellow-travelers in the military-industrial complex, who see conflict as a profit opportunity.

So I suppose it's gonna be salad days for the warmongers and the worst of days for the rest of us.

Lockerbie wreckage disposed of in Canada

The Pan Am 103 that went down over Lockerbie Scotland has always been a bit of a mystery.

It was pinned on a Libyan security guy who was supposedly in the employ of the ever-evil Gaddafi. Gaddafi wrote a big fat cheque to compensate the virtuous nations for his bad, at which point he thought he was free and clear to assume a business as usual mode with his new-found "friends" in the west.

We know how that turned out.

But what I didn't know was that the actual Lockerbie wreckage met a hasty end in the blast furnaces at one of the nickel mines in Sudbury.

There has long been theorizing about Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's culpability in the Pan Am 103 disaster, with a strong case being made that Libya may not have been the guilty party at all.

So the fact that the Pan Am 103 wreckage, just like the 9/11 wreckage, is no longer available for independent perusal, shouldn't come as a complete surprise.

Netanyahu's options on Gaza

The first and best option would of course be making peace with the neighbours.

But anyone who has followed Netanyahu's blood-soaked career knows that's not in the cards.

Having got yet another "war" that was cynically and obviously provoked by him alone, he seems unsure what to do now.

Faced with a Hamas leadership every bit as cynical and opportunistic as he is, if not more, he is being goaded by his own right wing to a ground invasion.

Netanyahu knows that's a bad idea, but at the same time, quitting the war he started while Hamas can still fire one single rocket anywhere will look like failure for him and victory for Hamas.

So that means a ground invasion, which is exactly what the Hamas are waiting for.

Iron Dome has been surprisingly effective in deflecting Gaza rockets.

Iron Dome won't save those Israeli tank crews once they are running rough-shod over Gaza City.

Hamas has already surprised Israel with the exponential improvement in its rocket inventory since Pillar of Defense. Gaza rockets hitting Haifa has been unheard of in any previous conflict.

Those rockets came through the Gaza tunnels.

What else has come through the Gaza tunnels?

The IDF and everybody in Netanyahu's government knows what else has come through those tunnels, which is why they're all hoping "international pressure" will provide a convenient excuse to abort a ground mission.

It will let them pose as the humanitarians who stopped a ground invasion or reoccupation of Gaza because they were concerned about the loss of life etc..

The reality is that a ground invasion means Israeli casualties, and plenty of them.

It will be the Hamas dream come true. Sure, lots more Gaza civilians will die, but there's lots more where they came from.

Even while Israel gets token support abroad from Israel-firsters like Canada's foreign minister John Baird, the reality is that this "Protective Edge" (and who comes up with these really stupid monikers?) has already done grave damage to Israel's reputation.

Netanyahu is up a stump, and no matter which way he jumps, it's only gonna get worse... for both the Palestinians and Israelis.

Then again, you could always give that up and make peace with the neighbours.

You can help keep Emma Czornobaj out of jail.

I personally don't put a lot of stock in petitions. The only one I ever started was to get Canada out of NATO. You know how that's gone.

But today I signed one that is intended to keep Emma Czornobaj out of jail, and I hope you sign it too.

Emma made a dumb-ass mistake a few years ago, a mistake that took the lives of two people on a motorcycle who realized too late that she had left her car parked in the middle of the road... so she could shepherd a family of ducklings across the highway.

A dumb-ass mistake for sure. But a mistake made for the most noble of reasons. Emma will have to live with her mistake every day for the rest of her life.

There is nothing to be gained by throwing her in jail.

Fine dining with Johnny Roadkill

A few years ago I was out on a gravel run with my pal Johnny. I've known him my entire life, and his, and I thought I knew him pretty well.

Johnny was a hunting and fishing and hockey-playing kinda guy. Decent chap through and through. Always there to lend a hand if you have to move a piano or something.

I was therefore shocked when, as we were cresting a hill on a gravel road somewhere north and east of Fergus, a rabbit ran out into the road in front of us.

Now if I'd been driving, I would have braked and swerved to miss it.

Johnny stepped on the gas and swerved to hit it.

I was dumbfounded. My pal Johnny a cold-blooded bunny killer?

Johnny pulls over, grabs a knife out of the glove box, and by god, he's got Mr. Rabbit skinned and gutted in five minutes, right there on the side of the road.

Drops the bunny in the beer cooler and heads into town.

We grab a roll of Alcan foil and a fistful of those little salt and pepper packets they give away at fast food joints. Rubs up Mr. Rabbit with salt and pepper, wraps him in foil, opens the hood, and deposits our road kill on top of the engine block.

We pick up another case of Chrystal and hit the road.

Two hours later we're sitting in a farm field somewhere south of Caledon, the Toronto skyline in the distance, Pink Floyd on the stereo, chowing down on some of the tenderest roast rabbit I've ever had.

Four stars, Johnny!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What would Jesus do about climate change?

I wonder where Jesus would stand on the carbon tax?

With that "render unto Caesar" rant He pretty much threw His lot in with the statist pay-your-taxes crowd, which might incline one to conclude that He would advocate paying whatever taxes were decreed by the government of the day.

Then again, He did throw the money-men out of The Temple.

His followers today do not generally play a significant role in the battle to save the planet. Sure, you get the odd Christian/Environmentalist like Wiebo Ludwig, but neither the Christians or the Environmentalists seem to be particularly eager to embrace that legacy.

Yet one would think Jesus might have an opinion about the mess we've made of the world God created.

I think He'd be pissed off.


Gotta love that global warming!

I was just saying to the Farm Manager, that if we lose a couple more degrees, we may have to turn the furnace on.

In the middle of July.

Obviously, "warming" was a poor choice of word on the part of the climate change alarmists.

They really meant "cooling".

In the middle of July we are within a couple of degrees of having that rain shower that's happening right now turn into a snow squall.

In the middle of July.

That ain't warming.

Putin leads carnivale of America haters in death-to-USA chant

Just look at them;

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma

At least we can be thankful Frau Merkel didn't join the party.

That those third world despots can embrace the evil Putin is not entirely unexpected. After all, they enjoy a long history of biting the hand that feeds them.

After all we've done for them, they are spitting in Uncle Sam's eye.

Democracy is dead

This is nowhere more obvious than in the greatest democracy of all time, that city on the hill on the banks of the Potomac.

Americans have for several generations now freely elected politicians who consistently do NOT work in their interests.

How is such a thing possible?

Those who framed the constitution could not have foreseen how technologies two hundred years hence would distort their intentions. As communication technology has become ever more pervasive, and as the "public" has become ever more informed, a curious thing has happened.

In the dog-eat-dog world of winner-take-all capitalism, the winners have taken over the means of communication.

Just as the authors of the second amendment could not have imagined .50 caliber sniper rifles and 600 rounds-per-minute assault rifles, the men who dreamed America into realization couldn't have seen radio and TV and the internet on a horizon two centuries distant.

But here we are.

During the many years Hitler flunky Albert Speer enjoyed in Spandau Prison to reflect on the error of his ways, he once opined that if the Nazi's had television they'd be ruling the world.

He wasn't kidding. The power of technology to shape public opinion is a modern phenomenon.

In the US, technology has allowed the ruling class to control the dominant societal narratives for several generations now, and the results are not pretty. Unions are virtually non-existent, elite initiatives like the Citizens United case have legitimized corporate activism, and the greatest democracy in history has become the play-thing of moneyed interest groups.

The US has become a cartoon democracy.

Here in Canada we have a buffoon democracy.

The Harper gang won their 2011 majority on the strength of about a quarter of eligible voters, but that quarter has enabled an anti-democratic reign of error that will impact Canada for many years.

Nowhere in history has a Canadian government had such a gulf between the public image it pursues and the reality of its policies.

This is the most jingoistic government in memory, forever celebrating Canadian military prowess while cutting back funding to the military.

It has the most aggressive pro-Israel policy while closing embassies that could provide vital communication channels for making positive things happen in the neighborhood.

It shamelessly reshapes foreign policy to favor Israel and Ukraine in regional conflicts to entice a few votes from right-wing Jewish Canadians and right-wing Ukrainian Canadians.

It re-defines foreign aid as aiding Canadian mining companies operating in foreign lands.

None of this would be possible without the benefits of the internet and television advertising.

The "only democracy in the Middle East" could not survive without the never-ending stream of technology-enabled propaganda that has for years succeeded in presenting the bully as the victim.

We saw it again today. The casualty count in the latest Gaza adventure stands at 200-1, and nobody needs to ask who is at 200, or who is at 1.

But our media are saturated with stories blaming the victims, our political elite make more news blaming the victims, because after all, we have an obligation to support the only democracy in the Middle East.

Democracy is dead.


Top Israeli security insider admits Israel "has been negotiating with Hamas for years"

Of course they have!

Efraim Halevy has unimpeachable credentials as an Israeli patriot. The former Mossad boss admitted today to the long history of negotiating with those who the political elite always claim cannot be talked to.

The 2012 Israeli assault on Gaza was launched with the assassination of Hamas boss Ahmed Jabari, who had been a frequent negotiating partner of elements in the Israeli security apparatus.

This is of course not the public image that Israel's political elite want to project. It is essential for them to maintain the "we don't talk to terrorists" narrative, especially for foreign consumption. The standard "no partner for peace" line has been a godsend over the years as international law and international opprobrium are ignored and the settlements relentlessly expand.

Common sense dictates that your enemies are the most important people to talk to, and while the politicians and their communication consultants deny it ever happens, behind the scenes it happens every day.

Monday, July 14, 2014

More evidence that you die when your number gets called...

...in that big hiring hall in the sky.

We've all read about, heard about, or lived through those times when, by God, you shoulda been a gonner, by for whatever reason, be it sheer dumb luck or God looking out for imbeciles, folks walk away from the wreckage unscathed.

Well, it's not luck and it's not God looking out for your sorry ass. It's because your time is not yet up.

And when it is, it is.

Look at these folks for example. Missy is just out there for a spin on her four-wheeler. She's not been into the grapes, she's wearing her helmet, and she's probably done this a million times without giving it a thought. What could go wrong?

And Buddy is just gone fishing. What could possibly go wrong?

What neither of them realized was that their time was up,

Their numbers got called. At the same time as it turns out.

Missy falls off her four-wheeler and dies. Four-wheeler continues on and bunts Buddy into the river, whereupon he drowns.

When your time is up, your time is up.

Canada sends elite Tim Hortons Regiment to guard Ukraine border

Gentleman third in line suspected to be Russian infiltrator
Members of the 3rd battalion, Tim Hortons Regiment, gather at their secret base near Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border.

Spirits soared across Ukraine today at the news that 120 Canadian soldiers had deployed in the east to ward off any future aggression from the Russian troops massed on the other side of the border.

Early indications are that the deployment may be counterproductive. Already there are reports of Russian infiltrators slipping over the border disguised as Ukrainians, just to score a double-double at Timmies.




Sunday, July 13, 2014

The brazen stupidity of Harper's immigration policy

The Harper gang has done their level best to undermine Canadian workers with the wholesale importation of "temporary foreign workers" and so on.

But here's a guy who has lived in Canada for 16 years, is not "temporary" by any stretch of the imagination, has lived a productive life here, and they want to send him back to Congo?

How stupid is that?

Mr. Betoukoumessou is exactly the kind of ambitious immigrant this country should be recruiting.

Nevermind "temporary foreign workers". That program should be shut down entirely right now.

But folks like Debase Betoukoumessou should be welcomed with open arms.


As Gaza burns, Israeli politicians angle for strategic advantage

As the disaster in Gaza unfolds, it's not surprising that Israeli politicians are jockeying for position to maximize their personal benefits from the latest outbreak of hostilities.

Modern Israel bears little resemblance to the country that the idealists of my generation flocked to back in the sixties and seventies.

We now see a nation consumed with race hate, wherein the "democratic process" is given over to those who can promise the most vile retribution to that intransigent rump of Palestinians who insist on their own freedom and human rights and sovereignty.

But Israel's blind collaborators in the West insist on trumpeting the case for "the only democracy in the Middle East..."

Malala takes on Boko Haram

Here's a story destined for major traction in Western media; Malala has showed up in Nigeria to advocate for the "bring back our girls" campaign.

Malala was always a theatrical prop used by her Western oriented parents to further their anti-Islamist agenda. When she survived a Taliban assassination attempt it was a dream come true.

Those parents were utterly shameless about using her to further their own agenda, which is what made her a Taliban target to begin with. This is a kid who was exploited by her parents to write anti-Taliban propaganda from the time she was ten years old.

Do ten year olds typically write their own thoughts?

But she eventually, thanks to her parents, caught that Taliban bullet, and the miracle that followed ensured her a place in the pantheon of anti-Taliban activists, which brought about a Nobel nomination and A-list brand recognition in the West.

She is now bringing her celebrity show to Nigeria.

She will succeed where Goodluck has failed.

Or not.

Malala obviously knows nothing about the legacy of institutional incompetence and corruption that has created Boko Haram. Yet she is trotted into Nigeria by her management team to advise the locals on what they should be doing to resolve the Chibok girls crisis.

If Goodluck can't figure out Nigeria, there's no way a 16 year old girl from Afghanistan will.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Canada; saving the girls of planet earth before it's too late

The do-gooders at Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, Free Trade, Foreign Aid, Free Mining, Human Rights, Gay Rights, and Mining Rights have a new publicity stunt going on where they're saving girls around the world from child marriage!

Which is a good thing! I mean, adult marriage is bad enough, but to imagine that there are children in the world being forced out of their childhoods and into marriage, well, that's just too much, and I couldn't agree more with the goal of stopping child marriage.

What I'm wondering about is that "girl" image in the logo for this campaign, seen here.
Together, we can end early, child and forced marriage

I know it's an artsy thing and all that, but does that look like the profile of someone being forced into child marriage?

I don't want to be judgemental, but that looks like a representation of what some middle-aged, middle-class Canadian white folks might conjure up as the perfect symbol of girlness.

The modest knee-length skirt, the flowing mane of (uncovered) hair, the distinctly Caucasian profile... didn't I see her in the Wizard of Oz?

Why does Kyiv Post, Ukraine's foremost English language news source, get its Ukrainian news from the US and France?

While I hate to be cynical, maybe it's because from its very beginnings it's been a conduit for pro-NATO, anti-Russian propaganda.

The Kyiv Post pops up prominently whenever I google "news from Ukraine". I assumed it was a serious Ukrainian news site. Little did I realize that it's a newspaper totally founded and funded by Western interests, and boasts a circulation of about 11,000 in a country of 40,000,000 plus.

Ergo, this is not a serious news source.

That first crossed my mind when I was visiting the Kyiv Post website today. It struck me that their top stories all came from the New York Times, or the Wall Street Journal, or AFP. How is such a thing even possible? Ukraine has been one of the hottest of hot spots world-wide for more than six months... how is it possible that a Ukrainian news site needs to get its Ukrainian news from New York and France?

Maybe because it's been a false front fake news outlet all along, with no roots and no legitimate Ukraine credibility, but a convenient way for the "colour revolution" democracy promoters in Washington to sway international public opinion.

Lieberman incommunicado in bomb shelter, Canada Foreign Minister Baird now speaking for Israel

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay issued a press release yesterday scolding both Israel and Hamas for violating international law and pleading with them to "abide by their obligations under international law".

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, being run off his feet running back and forth to the bomb shelter, was unable to respond to Ms. Pillay and therefore asked his good friend John Baird,  Foreign Minister of Canada, to stand in for him.

Here is Mr. Baird's riposte to Ms. Pillay;

Canada Rejects UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Criticism of Israel’s Response to Rocket Attacks from Gaza

July 12, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:
“Canada rejects UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s uncalled-for criticism of Israel’s response to rocket attacks from Gaza. Focusing her comments on Israel is neither helpful nor reflective of the reality of this crisis.
“There must be no moral equivalence between Hamas, a listed terrorist organization, and its blatant disregard for human life, and the liberal democratic State of Israel’s duty and obligation to defend its people from cowardly and indiscriminate attacks.
“Canada mourns the death and suffering of innocent civilians in Gaza. Responsibility rests solely with Hamas and its allies, who launched and continue to feed this crisis.
“The Israel Defense Forces have taken extraordinary steps to reduce civilian casualties in very difficult and trying conditions. Israel should be commended—not criticized—for these efforts in the face of an enemy clearly determined to put civilians, from both sides, in mortal danger to suit its own purposes.
“Canada calls on Hamas and other militant groups to end the rocket attacks on Israel and bring an end to the ongoing violence that threatens the lives of innocent Israelis and Palestinians. The path chosen by Hamas and its allies does not lead to peace.”

By God, this guy can out-Lieberman Lieberman! Sign him up!