Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Man Behind the Mask


The author of graphic novel masterpiece V for Vendetta reflects on the strange new life of his creation as a symbol of protest and resistance.
It all comes back to Moore – a private man with knotty greying hair and a magnificent beard, who prefers to live without an internet connection and who has not had a working telly for months "on an obscure point of principle" about the digital signal in his hometown of Northampton. He has never yet properly commented on the Vendetta mask phenomenon, and speaking on the phone from his home, Moore seems variously baffled, tickled, roused and quite pleased that his creation has become such a prominent emblem of modern activism.
"I suppose when I was writing V for Vendetta I would in my secret heart of hearts have thought: wouldn't it be great if these ideas actually made an impact? So when you start to see that idle fantasy intrude on the regular world… It's peculiar. It feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped the realm of fiction."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Afraid to call a Liar a Liar

The Montreal Gazette headline is 'NDP accuses Tony Clement of doctoring Hansard'. 

Wow, thinks the reader, that's a pretty serious allegation, accusing someone of deliberately distorting the public record of Parliament is a big deal.  But look, the headline just says he's just accused of it, so if its just a case of he said, they said... what's that?

He unambiguously did it?  The Gazette article itself confirms he did in fact request that two times he answered in the affirmative to a direct question and said 'Sure' when asked if he would release records about G-8 spending be removed leaving a blank space in the record?

So then, wouldn't a more accurate headline actually be 'Tony Clement doctored Hansard'?

In the US, Willard 'Mitt' Romney lies about his own name and also releases a campaign commercial featuring Obama quoting a Republican - without including the few words before the quote saying that it was a quote.  That's unambiguously lying.  'Mitt' Romney is a liar.  But don't bother looking for articles in the American mainstream media printing the simple fact that 'Mitt' Romney is a lying liar who tells lies.

Because, as an exasperated Washington reporter once said, the mainstream media now "believe that being "balanced" means giving the same weight to a lie as you give to the truth"

And if that's the case, what possible use are they?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Alison Redford owes me an apology

Me and the millions of other Canadians and Albertans who care about the environment for suggesting that she has the right to go to Washington and lobby for the Keystone Pipeline but those who oppose the project shouldn't have the same right.
OTTAWA — Premier Alison Redford found herself Thursday embroiled in war of words with the federal NDP as she joined her federal Conservative counterparts slamming official Opposition MPs for travelling to Washington to speak to U.S. lawmakers against the Keystone XL pipeline.

In Ottawa, Redford made the comments the same day she sat down with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in their first official meeting to discuss federal-provincial relations.

The two Calgary politicians, who’ve known each other for almost three decades, spoke about issues such as health-care funding, immigration and a new Canadian energy strategy.

The premier, who arrived back in Alberta late Thursday night, had just returned from her own mission to New York and Washington earlier this week to promote Alberta and the province’s energy interests in the United States.

While the contentious issue of the proposed Keystone oil pipeline came up when she met with U.S. lawmakers, Redford said she did not actively lobby regarding it — unlike federal NDP environment critic Megan Leslie and natural resources critic Claude Gravelle.

“It is not appropriate for us to be providing advice to American decision-makers in that context and to be political activists,” Redford said about the NDP trip this week. “So I am not at all supportive of that and I’m disappointed about it.”

Redford maintained her role is clearly different from that of a federal MP, saying a provincial premier “has a certain set of economic interests, social interests and environmental interests.”
“Whereas what we see going on right now is members of Parliament who certainly represent their constituencies, but that’s the extent of their representation in terms of the Canadian perspective on this issue.”

Linda Duncan, the lone NDP member of Parliament from Alberta, said she was stunned the premier would say that elected officials travelling to Washington is inappropriate.

“I find that absolutely reprehensible,” Duncan said. “How dare they suggest that we don’t have a right to interact with officials from other trading nations. Absolutely appalling.”
How dare you Premier Redford?  How dare you?

Arguing that Canadians who have science on their side - both the science of climate and the science of economics - don't have the right to have their point of view represented while making an insultingly specious and lamely hypocritical argument that the rules are somehow different for her is so contemptuously despicable its frankly breathtaking.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

If Ezra Levant pushed his way into your house and wouldn't leave, wouldn't YOU call the cops?

OTTAWA - When the CBC's Mary Walsh shows up unannounced with a camera crew at Toronto mayor Rob Ford's house, the state broadcaster considers it comedy.
When Sun News Network's Ezra Levant pops up in the lobby of the CBC's Toronto headquarters with a camera operator, it's a matter for police.
Access to information requests have revealed then-director of operations and contingency planning at the CBC, Julie McCambley, authorized a call to police on Aug. 19 to force Levant to leave the 13-floor tower.
"Mrs. McCambley approved the ejection of the group with police involvement if they continued to be disruptive," reads an internal security report obtained by QMI Agency.
Levant showed up demanding a meeting with Hubert Lacroix, Ottawa-based president and CEO, or Jeff Keay, head of media relations.
The CBC denied the fiery talk show host any meeting and told him to stop recording his encounter with security.

"This is a public building and I can record here if I like," responded Levant.
Note that the source of this story is Canoe, ie Quebecor, ie Sun Media.  

Hence why an obnoxious, spoiled wannabe demagogue being told to get lost is treated as a major news story.

Punished for Overreach

The number one crippling tactical flaw of the American Republican party is a tendency to drink their own kool-aid.

Over and over they make the same mistake, confusing what they believe with what the majority of Americans believe.  They have managed through the enormous efforts of a right wing media to freight the terms 'conservative' and 'liberal' with enough rhetorical baggage that a slim majority of Americans identify themselves as conservatives but the media and political elite congratulating themselves over this repeatedly fail to drill down to specific positions on specific issues that make it clear that whether they realize it or not Americans are actually far more liberal then they think.

American Republicans blearily woke up today to the tragic revelation that last night was not a nightmare, they did in fact get their asses handed to them over and over the country last night.  They gulped nervously, looked ahead to next years big election night and collectively went "Uh, oh."
The results were not entirely unexpected. But the margins and the uniformity of last night’s election results tell an important story going into 2012. Across the country, Republican overreach coming out of the 2010 election was decisively rejected by voters in multiple states.

In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich’s signature anti-union legislation was rejected by an almost 2-1 margin. That’s a big win for the labor movement and will put in place a deep anti-Republican undercurrent next November. Kasich will be an albatross around the neck of the Republican nominee and there’s organization on the ground that will be an important force too.

But it wasn’t just Ohio. An anti-choice, anti-birth control “personhood” initiative was rejected in Mississippi. Maine voters rejected limits on voter registration — part of the larger Republican push to limit voting rights in 2012. And the author of Arizona’s controversial and trend-setting anti-immigration law looks to have lost a recall election.

What is telling about these numbers was not simply the consistency by which right-wing initiatives and candidates went down but in many cases the margins.

The larger political context remains one in which virtually every political movement and party is unpopular, in the climate of seemingly immovable crisis-level unemployment. But 2012 is looking to be quite different from 2010.
One wonders if Stephen Harper will take any lesson about reactionary overreach from last night?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

"just another bad thing that happened in downtown Vancouver

Somebody overdoses decently out of sight in the east end and the response from the Vancouver government, the media and too much of public is a collective shrug. Have it happen 15 blocks to the west and suddenly its an urgent public health and safety crisis.
Ashlie Gough was happy and healthy the last time she visited her father's house on Vancouver Island.
She was 23. After high school she had drifted a little - she studied tattoo design and travelled the world with a new boyfriend who was a scuba diver.
"She zig-zagged back and forth a bit and led an interesting life, but she was really starting to grow up," her father, Tom Gough, said on Monday.
On the weekend she went to visit friends who were camping out as part of the Occupy Vancouver protest and on Saturday she was found inside a tent, unresponsive. The cause of her death isn't official yet, but it may have been a drug overdose.
During an interview at his Vancouver Island home on Monday, Tom Gough appeared sombre, if not in shock.
His partner Glenda Mercer's voice broke as she detailed how cheerful Ms. Gough had been the last time she saw her.
"She was just on top of the world," a teary-eyed Ms. Mercer recalled.
Mr. Gough said his daughter was not involved in the Occupy protest against corporate greed.
"We don't want her made into some kind of poster child for the occupation because Ashlie's death had nothing to do with that," he said. "This has nothing to do with the tent city or Occupy Vancouver. She just happened to be there. It's just another bad thing that happened in downtown Vancouver."

The Settler's Army

A report six years ago showed the Israeli Army rapidly becoming an arm of the Settler movement as theocratic anti-Palestinian forces gain increasing control.  Apparently its gotten even worse.
The 2005 Talia Sasson report on illegal outposts presented a clear picture of military forces renouncing their duty to impose law and order on West Bank settlers, not just Palestinians, which led to the growth of illegal outposts.
The report describes how soldiers turned a blind eye to illegal activity and even secretly cooperated with settlers and leaked them information; some officers lived in the outposts.
The army's clear preference for the settlements was bolstered by the identity of the soldiers deployed in the West Bank. The IDF units serving in the settlements were largely made up of settlers and other religious men, and the IDF also armed some of the local security teams protecting the settlements. Thus the social boundaries between the settlers and the IDF units were blurred.
Since the army has attempted to change the rules of the game and loosen the settlers' grip on military conduct, because of the government's political obligations, "price tag" revenge attacks on Palestinians have become the response of those who are unwilling to accept the new rules. That's what Alon was complaining about as his army career was coming to an end.
In fact, there is no better evidence of the undermining of the IDF's control over its forces in the West Bank than an order Alon had issued to restrict information about the army's plans to enforce order in the West Bank - out of a well-founded suspicion that the information was being leaked to the settlers to confound the orders of the top brass.
This is in addition to the soldiers' protests and threats to refuse to carry out their orders that already hinder the army.
The Simhat Torah incident, in which female soldiers were sent to an area about 50 meters away from the post-holiday hakafot shniyot dancing - even though they were already dancing separately from the men, in accordance with Orthodox practice - paints a similar picture.
In that case, the heads of the religious pre-military academies and the hesder yeshivas, which combine army service with Torah study, were making a concerted effort - in conjunction with the IDF rabbinate - to create a theocratic military culture.

Friday, November 04, 2011

The Price

Republicans hate Keynesianism - unless its military Keynesianism sustaining southern and gunbelt constituencies with Military industrial complex jobs that require a constant state of fear mongering and international belligerence to sustain. 

The rest of the American population subsidizes these jobs by forgoing the kind of basic social safety net every other industrialized nation takes for granted and the rest of the world subsidizes them by living with a constant state of war or threat of war.

We are constantly told that America 'keeps the peace'.  In fact the USA may be the most profoundly destabilizing force on the planet, and this is why.

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