Category Archives: USA

Logical Absurdities: Only Anti-Government Sentiments Are Political

So, US Iraqi war veterans who oppose the political mission, though presumably they support the troops [themselves, their comrades and friends], aren’t allowed to march in a Veterans Day Parade in Long Beach.

“They do not fit the spirit of the parade,” she said. “The spirit being one of gratitude for what the veterans have done. We do not want groups of a political nature, advocating the troops’ withdrawal from Iraq.” Parade coordinators work hard to keep the event free from politics.

This is the absurd double standard that plagues people cursed with an inability to understand paradoxes.

I remember the early 1990s and how hard it was to make it through the relativist paradox of elements of post-modernism. As an early post-modern zealot, I rejected absolute truths because I rejected any truth as being able to be absolute. I was trying to embrace that concept while rejecting the arguments that have supported the human misery that resulted from absolute truths: white supremacy, genocide in the Americas, heterosexism, two millennia of imperial Christianity.

But at the same time, there is the relativist paradox that rejecting absolutes is itself an absolute.

This inability to contend with the modernist-postmodernist tension shows up in the “support our troops” nonsense, whereby anyone who rejects Canada’s presence in Afghanistan doesn’t support the troops, even though the troops didn’t make the politician send them there.

It also shows up in the more single-minded culture in the USA. If you oppose the government, you are being political. Yet it is not a political act to support it. So a Veterans Day parade is for apolitical people.

It also shows up in this surreal Flickr group, America, America!

It is hard to fathom:

About AMERICA, AMERICA! 1200+ members & growing! **** WE ARE NOW A GROUP OF 1200+ MEMBERS! AWESOME! YAY! WOW!
GOD BLESS AMERICA, AMERICA! THANKS TO ALL OF OUR MEMBERS, OUR FAMILY!
****************************************************************************************
OUR PERMANENT THREAD IS FLAG DAY, PLEASE ALL MEMBERS POST ALL PHOTOS OF OLD GLORY IN THE “FLAG DAY” THREAD! We are building the biggest best collection of American Flag photos on Flickr!! Let’s do it together!!
****************************************************************************************
THESE THREADS ARE CURRENTLY OPEN FOR POSTING:
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL,
MY HOMETOWN;
SPORTS STORIES;
SPACE, THE FINAL FRONTIER!
PLANES, TRAINS AND MOTOR VEHICLES
FLAG DAY (PERMANENT THREAD)
Anyone who posts in any thread receives a special award and will be eligible for front page exposure!

GROUP RULES: NEW RULE, POSTING LIMIT IN POOL 1O PER DAY! Any pictures, photoart, digital art that depicts the good and positive things about America or any place that loves freedom! Photos and photoart that depict patriotism, the spirit of America, family life, and that which shows the ways God has Blessed America and the world. Please *NO POLITICS OF ANY KIND*, *NO CAMPAIGN PHOTOS FOR ANY PARTY*! NO AMERICA BASHING, NO rude or BAD LANGUAGE, and NO nudes. This is a wholesome family oriented group about America and the people who make her the greatest nation in the world.
If you have a gripe about something, write a letter to the editor at your local newspaper -THIS is NOT a forum for anger. Thanks and enjoy! Fantartsy AKA JJ

IMPORTANT NOTICE: ANYONE who blocks administrators will be banned from the group and all their photos WILL BE REMOVED!JJ/ administrator

GROUP MOTTO: FOR THOSE WHO LIVE IN OR LOVE THE IDEALS OF FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE FOR WHICH AMERICA STANDS. Thanks to each and every member for making this a great AMERICAN group! JJ and all the administrators and helpers!

Beyond the planes, trains and motor vehicles fossil fuel worshiping, the philosophy of the group is similarly blind to the reality that they themselves are expressing a political view of supporting the government, an act they ban by definition. I remember in the 1980s Bruce Springsteen said blind faith in your leaders or in anything will get you killed.

The good and positive things about America or any place that loves freedom, however that is defined by the group leaders. Patriotism, the spirit of America, family life [defined again I suspect by the group leaders], how God has blessed America and the world [again, defined by the group leaders]. No politics of any kind shows they have no sense that their whole group is a political expression of rigid, uncritical conformity with the government line.

And yes, America is the greatest nation in the world. I’m always wondering what criteria people use to say that. Constant overt and covert invasions and subversion of other countries for over two centuries? Largest military expenditure? Only country to use nuclear weapons on civilians? Economic imperialist supporting multi-national corporations creating global feudalism with half the world’s 6.6 billion people in the world dying on less than $2/day?

Anger and “gripe” belong in newspapers. And while they have the right to have Flickr group that shows blind support of America’s junta, saying they brook nothing political is just silly.

They also say this for a current event:

fantartsy (a group admin) says:
04 Nov 07 – YAY!!1000+ members!!** .VETERANS’ DAY THREAD, open for 2 weeks only! Post a photo of the veteran you want to honor> ANYONE FROM ANY COUNTRY may post in this “special” thread!OPEN NOW! JJ/admns

I suspect that if Iraq Veterans Against the War members try to post pictures of events that are critical of the policy in Iraq, those pictures will be removed.

USA vs. Iran and Cubazuela

When w.Caesar should be gracefully entering his presidential lame duck status and thinking about who to pardon [whoops, he already got on that with Scooter Libby], he is instead feeding warm, bleeding horse meat to the dogs of war.

From today’s Washington Post:

In approving far-reaching, new unilateral sanctions against Iran, President Bush signaled yesterday that he intends to pursue a strategy of gradually escalating financial, diplomatic and political pressure on Tehran, aimed not at starting a new war in the Middle East, his advisers said, but at preventing one. …With yesterday’s actions, which included the long-awaited designations of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and of the elite Quds Force as a supporter of terrorism, Bush made clear that he is willing to seek such leverage even without the support of his European allies.

I seem to remember the rhetoric in late 2002. Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction and that despite all the OCD midnight rifle barrel cleaning, w.Caesar only wanted peace, until the UN Security Council wouldn’t sanction the US invasion plans making him invade with his ethereal Coalition of the Willing instead of Old Europe.

Life is rarely this simple: listen to politicians so that we can believe the opposite of what they say. w.Caesar is good for that.

Moving on to our own hemisphere, w.Caesar can’t stand anti-neoliberal, democratically elected leftist governments in Latin America.

Responding to US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said that Hugo Chavez is a “threat to regional stability,” Venezuelan Vice-President Jorge Rodriguez affirmed that Hugo Chavez is indeed a “tremendous threat” to the “empires of the world,” and assured they would continue to be a “greater threat” as time goes on. “Of course he [Chavez] is a threat to the stability of the empires of the world, for those who consider themselves the world police, for those who think they have a right to invade countries and massively murder the population,” replied the Venezuelan vice-president to a recent statement made by Robert Gates during a visit to El Salvador. …

Gates then warned that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was mainly a “threat to the freedom and economic prosperity of the people of Venezuela.” According to Gates, Chavez “has been very generous in offering their resources to people around the world, when perhaps these resources could be better used to alleviate some of the economic problems facing the people of Venezuela.”

Gates should have said the word “rich” when he called Chavez a “threat to the freedom and economic prosperity of the rich people of Venezuela.” Conveniently, Gates ignored all domestic economic and social reform in Venezuela.

I’m not entirely comfortable with Hugo Chavez’s desire to have decree power. When he has such legislative support, I’m not sure it’s necessary. The USA criticizes Venezuela as being dictatorial, despite its electoral unambiguity compared with Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004 and hundreds of other jurisdictions with Republican electoral fraud this decade. Add to this a steaming pile of soft fascism in the USA and we get a sense of US hypocrisy: w.Caesar’s signing statements asserting which parts of legislation the executive branch will not obey, and this tasty list of Amnesty International’s worries about the land of the free and the home of the brave that sounds quite a bit like Chile after 9.11.1973:

  • Secret detention
  • Enforced disappearance
  • Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
  • Outrages upon personal dignity, including humiliating treatment
  • Denial and restriction of habeas corpus
  • Indefinite detention without charge or trial
  • Prolonged incommunicado detention
  • Arbitrary detention
  • Unfair trial procedures

So then yesterday when w.Caesar warned the world that there will be a transition coming in Cuba [presumably when Castro dies], but Cubazuela responded assertively:

“He spoke like an imperialist and a colonialist,” said Venezuelan parliamentarian Saul Ortega about Bush’s statements. Ortega assured that the reaction to these threats will be increased unity among the people of Latin America. “In response we have to close ranks in defense of the principles of sovereignty and self-determination,” he said.

Vice-foreign minister Rodolfo Sanz assured that the United States was making a mistake with their statements towards Cuba and maintained that the “times have changed.”

“We aren’t going to sit here with our arms crossed before some diabolic adventure,” he said. Sanz assured that the Cuban people can count on support from nations like Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, among others, stating that “Cuba is not alone.”

The boldness of the Latin American political economic agenda in the last decade is a testament to the recovery of economic shock, terror and genocide visited upon them by Milton Friedman and his neoliberal storm troopers over the last 35 years. Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine‘s final chapter talks about how when people or cultures rebuild their communities and name their oppressors when they recover from shock. This is the spirit in which Cubazuela has responded to w.Caesar’s signaling of regime change in Cuba. Let’s be honest. The US corporate interests in Cuba are legion. Cuba will become the next Haiti as Canada and the US have squashed hope into desperation there.

Words like diabolic, imperialist, colonialist, sovereignty, self-determination and the simple phrase–times have changed–indicate that a Grenada-style hemispheric military excursion into Cuba will not easily guarantee the Republicans’ retention of the White House or a recovery of Congress.

Cuba is indeed not alone. The whole hemisphere is tilted against w.Caesar with the exception of business/media elites and the apolitical or ignorant, RRSP-hoarding, gadget-worshipping [dwindling numbers of the] middle class in NAFTAland and Latin American compradors.

And with the record oil profits that w.Caesar has facilitated as he helped oil pass $80 a barrel, he has ended up funding Venezuela’s upgrading of its military.

Back to Naomi Klein, however, to follow her thesis: war is good for corporate profitability and the GDP. Peace impairs economic growth. So it might not even matter to the disaster/conflict capitalists that a war with Iran or Cubazuela is just, desirable or winnable. It’s just another opportunity to bankrupt governments and shift public wealth to global corporations.

Luckily the other Naomi [Wolf] and thousands of others including sitdownfortheconstitution.org have started what will hopefully be a 54 week campaign for Americans to steal back their constitution.

The rest of our hemisphere better get on [not off!] our asses and support them in their attempt to stifle w.Caesar’s soft fascism before it grows horns and starts sending Blackwater mercenaries into US streets. Oh, I forgot. It is already be too
late for that since they’ve been in New Orleans.

Crossing the 49th: Dangerous for the Majority of Canadians Now

Alison Bodine had it right when she explained the intimidation intent of the Canadian Border Services as they nabbed her the other day: “This was a bit of a test, to see what happens when they arrest someone who isn’t agreeing with their current foreign policy.”

Carrying literature opposing Canada’s occupation of Afghanistan and an extremely threatening book of Ansel Adams photos, she was detained by Canadians. Her possessions were confiscated a few days ago when she was entering the country. When she returned to claim them, they arrested her with no intention of releasing her before her September 17th hearing. After a significant impromptu rally and her participating in radio interviews from jail, it appears the feds’ red faces found the gumption to actually release her.

Since the majority of Canadians oppose our presence in Afghanistan, driving south then returning with literature critical of our mission there may land any of us in the pokey.

Border Services claim she was misrepresenting herself. Perhaps she was. Perhaps it was all just a misunderstanding. If it wasn’t, it is intimidation…and a warning to us all to toe the line.

And after the agents provocateurs in Quebec last month, the establishment doesn’t have a great deal of goodwill to waste here.

Moving Past Complacency in Protest

Activists need some inspiration. Salutin’s piece in the Globe today [see below] is key to reminding us of the necessity of a fight, not just a polite march through some streets to a park for a peaceful rally. That’s important. However, the injustices seeping into the fabric of our rapidly decaying democracy need to be challenged radically, in part to wake up a complacent public distracted by Canadian Idol, iPhones and the fall TV line up.

Neglect of social, political and economic for First Nations, the creeping SPP and our recent success in outing the agent provocateurs at Montebello [though we still need an inquiry and a government to topple because of it] all should remind us of what is at stake.

Indeed, the success with the rock-carrying masked cops in Quebec should let us know that the anti-democratic elites running our country are desperate to undermine dissent.

Their desperation is our vindication of the importance of what they are doing and what we need to do to stop them.

Mild social change can be polite. But when elites are transforming our democracies into soft fascism, the stakes are incredibly higher. Perhaps the biggest indication of this is in the USA where habeas corpus has now been declared optional and the population is largely unaware of it and certainly too complacent to do anything about it.

George w.Caesar is not Jack Bauer. In the backs of too many people’s minds, I think he is seen that way. This kind of complacency will be our undoing.

Salutin’s piece is a welcome tonic.

A Canadian labour moment: Don’t apologize, never placate
The Globe And Mail
Friday, August 31, 2007
Rick Salutin

Labour Day weekend, 2007.

Canadian labour had a good moment two weeks ago at the Montebello protest. Union leader Dave Coles denounced three undercover cops posing as anarchists and cradling rocks to give the protest a bad name. They retreated behind police lines, not a normal anarchist tactic. But he went a step too far for my taste, in shouting, “This is a peaceful demonstration.” He sounded perhaps overeager to placate TV viewers or police or maybe the people who write editorials in places such as The Globe and Mail. To be sure, it was a peaceful protest, but radical movements such as labour have been most effective when they had a touch of menace.

Uh-oh, I’m having a Dave Coles moment. I don’t mean they should be violent or threaten violence. But they need a sense of implacable determination that takes them beyond any desire to seem respectable. The best example is the movement for Indian independence led by Gandhi. He more or less invented non- violence as a political tactic. Yet, he didn’t shun violence when it arose and, in cases, courted it. He wouldn’t instigate or retaliate, but lots of bloodshed was involved. Here’s 90-year-old Baji Mohammed, “one of India’s last living freedom fighters,” interviewed recently: “On August 25, 1942, we were all arrested and held. Nineteen people died on the spot in police firing … Many died thereafter … Over 300 were injured. More than a thousand were jailed … Several were shot or executed. There were over a hundred shaheed (martyrs) … ” Others, such as Nelson Mandela, went to jail for causes that did involve armed resistance. But I’m saying the key is not violence, it’s relentless determination.

A sense of commitment at any cost draws the attention of others, and sometimes their respect, especially if every normal recourse has failed, sometimes for centuries. I’m thinking of the case of Shawn Brant, the Mohawk leader who spoke eloquently for native protests that recently closed Highway 401 and the CN rail line. He was jailed and has twice been denied bail. In an eloquent plea of her own, his wife, Sue Collis, compared his situation to labour protests against Mike Harris in Ontario 11 years ago. Then, she says, “economic repercussions … far surpassed” those of the recent one, “yet no labour leader was ever jailed, let alone charged.” So why is Shawn Brant in jail? I’d say there was an implacability in his expression; he cut his opponents no moral slack. He didn’t threaten, but he didn’t try to mollify, either.

In its heyday, the labour movement had this kind of single-minded, almost stoic conviction. Its main weapon, the strike, was non-violent but aroused feelings comparable to those during war, toward scabs or bosses. In that frame of mind, there is no need felt to placate the other side and none at all for respectability. What would you want it for?

I think a society benefits from this kind of challenge. It clarifies choices and discourages endless avoidance. Sue Collis writes that, after the Mohawk blockades in June, polls showed “71 per cent of Canadians wanting actions on land claims and 41 per cent of Ontarians prepared to acknowledge rail blockades as justified.” There’s also a social loss when fierceness and passion vanish almost entirely from movements such as labour or the environment. I sympathize with the dismay of green veterans at the rise as a green icon of Al Gore – who couldn’t even beat George Bush in his home state in 2000 or fight the battle of the Florida recount with bloody-mindedness, despite its dire implications.

Sue Collis writes that, after the second bail hearing, she found herself “contemplating the best way to tell my children that they would have to wait an unknown period of time before seeing their dad, and wondering how to explain … why.” From a very minimally comparable experience, I’d recommend playing them a Peter, Paul and Mary song: “Have you been to jail for justice? I want to shake your hand …”

Maybe John Edwards Has Been a Progressive Democrat All Along?

[Doesn’t he look a little bit like early Elvis here?]:

I’d like to think he’s been progressive all along. I’d like to think the 2004 run was a time when he had to be just the running mate.

But now that Edwards is sounding all anti-Republican-Lite and anti corporate cronyism, I can’t help but think that the Hegelian dialectic of thesis-antithesis-synthesis is at play…from Dennis Kucinich.

Kucinich’s messages of peace, multilateralism, progressive values and anti-graft…populist among a jaded American public…have been anointed by ABC’s recent attempts to censor his airtime.

The messages are resonating and Edwards is sliding left to pull them to the media-designated top tier of candidates, perhaps only as a wedge to use against more establishment Democrats like Clinton and Obama.

Imitation may be the most sincere form of flattery, but not when you’re running for president, I think.

No to MexAmeriCanada: Vancouver Protests the SPP

Tearing up the Magna Carta

We are witnessing the dismantling of the Magna Carta with the North American Union, The Security and Prosperity Partnership [SPP] and the North American Competitiveness Council.

Almost 800 years ago we somehow wrestled the elites of the British monarchy to issue the Magna Carta, a bill of rights for humanity, optimistically anyway.

Business elites in government and the corporate world are now taking over, completely unapologetically, in an almost Taoist spin. The SPP, against which there was vigorous protest today across the country, is a secretly negotiated international agreement/treaty designed to harmonize and integrate the NAFTA countries. It is not being ratified by the “democratically” elected legislatures in the three countries, nor are citizens able to provide input into its design. There is no national election or referendum on our embrace of it.

This is the height of arrogance, and people are mostly in the dark, thanks to highly concentrated corporate media that fails to exercise its free press responsibilities by ignoring much criticism and playing down its threats to democracy and sovereignty.

With rallies across the country, at times up to 250 people marched and rallied in Vancouver in a coordinated effort to educate the largely oblivious pedestrians surrounding them about the SPP and its threat to democracy.

The North American Union, or Security and Prosperity Partnership, moved one step closer to its anti-democratic formation today as Prime Sinister Stephen Harper decided to not receive an anti-SPP petition with over 10,000 signatures:

The Council of Canadians is demanding that the Harper government cease all SPP talks until the agreement is brought before parliament and the public.

“If they are unwilling to accept paper petitions, how credible is the claim that leaders will view or hear, through video feed, the message of protesters outside the summit?”

I have no faith that the “Three Amigos” will respect democracy. In fact, Mexico’s Fox wasn’t an original amigo as he preceded the newly “elected” Calderon and Paul Martin was Canada’s first friendly representative to this cabal. This is a strong indication of how similar the Liberals and Conservatives are in selling out democracy.

Even the moniker “Three Amigos” has the happy benefit of painting the trio as a group of benign beer buddies shooting pool, having some good clean fun. Maybe watching some NASCAR, perhaps.

So as the Amigos of MexAmeriCanada meet to rubber stamp what their ministers have been hacking together for months now, all in secret with no legislative oversight or sanctioning, we get the odd happy, grinning, hand-shaking announcements from the goodfellas now and then.

Meanwhile, the toxic, parasitical plague virus that is capitalism is Borg-ifying North America with the massive North American SuperCorridor, a quarter-mile wide stretch of movement from Mexico to Canada containing car, truck, rail, data, oil and water transportation. Resistance is futile. You will become one with the Borg. It will be a secure zone like behind the metal detectors at airports and it will convert the pathetic 20th-century attempts at efficient transportation into a highly assimilated movement system. Click to see the images in their full glory!

The top point of the highway is Winnipeg, which will extend north to Churchill and West to Vancouver. And oh, do they have plans from the Winnipeg node. Note the flourish of movement out west and to the Asia-Pacific. This is special because the recent treaty signed between BC and the Tsawwassen First Nation allows land to be sucked out of the Agricultural Land Reserve for parking intermodal containers at DeltaPort.

And Churchill allows us to go polar to trade with Asia.

The Face of Vancouver Protest

The almost 200 marchers flowed through downtown Vancouver late this afternoon from Canada Place to the Robson Street steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery, stopping and blocking key intersections for up to 15 minutes for speeches and chants. The occasional burst of horns lasted only 20-30 seconds at most.


Speeches in intersections reflected how much the SPP is becoming a focal point for broad social protest. First Nations activists, anti-imperialists, Marxists, socialists, civil society advocacy groups, nationalist groups and scores of individuals came together to reject various elements that the SPP is entrenching in our new North American Union.

The march took a winding tour of some of the corporations who now belong to the NACC’s Corporate Legislature: Manulife, Scotia Bank, Bell Canada.

They stopped at the Canadian Forces Recruitment Centre to protest our military partnership with US imperialism, smearing red paint on the sidewalk, walls and windows, laying symbolic corpses, and posting large stickers. When protesters and police came too close to each other at times, dueling video cameras from members of each side appeared to document each other.


Some semblance of democracy still exists in Canada, albeit over 2,000 kilometres away from Montebello as Vancouver city policy on bikes and in cars blocked traffic while the protest occupied streets. They also blocked the entrance to the CF Recruitment Centre and other targets of protest, all the while filming elements of the protest and taking notes like the mostly non-corporate media present.

The march ended at the Art Gallery with the Raging Grannies, the Carnival Band, representatives from MAWO, StopWar.ca, and the Council of Canadians supporting a garish effigy of George w.Caesar dangling a Stephen Harper puppet behind a security barricade.

Signs reflected the general mood of the rally: “SPP is Treason”, “Stop the North American Union, We’d Rather Be Canadian, Eh!”, “Harper=Sellout”.

While corporate, government and media elites in North America continue to smooth over the neoliberal globalizing western imperialism introducing us to a well-marketed Soft Fascism, the hundreds of millions of North Americans need to get aware, educated and mobilized.

The Canada-US Free Trade Agreement ended up being the subject of the 1998 federal election. The federal Liberals seized power in 1993 on a promise to not sign NAFTA. They did anyway. MAI died in the late 1990s because citizen groups objected to corporate rights trumping democracies. The lesson? Democracy is bad for business.

After the MAI, though, the corporate neo-feudalists just got craftier by negotiating these agreements in secret, often under the cover of post-9/11 hysteria, ignored legislative ratification and began to alter our whole social, economic and political landscape regardless of citizens’ thoughts.

Democracy is something to fight for, something wrestle away from the grasp of the government, media and corporate elites whose 21st century neoliberal, neo-feudal imperial agenda is now marching almost effortlessly over the dying corpse of our democratic institutions. If we don’t fight for our democracy, perhaps we deserve to have it euthanized while we’re watching American Idol and checking out the best price on plasma TVs at Future Shop.

Police States ‘R Us

A 25 km security perimeter is fascinating, as is turning away cars with more than 5 people in them.

But forcing a public centre to not rent space for a public meeting is astonishing.

Essentially, the right to free public association is arbitrarily over.

This is the context in which the new North American Union is being negotiated. Democracy and transparency and civil rights as variables. Welcome to the New World Order.

MEDIA RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2007

RCMP, U.S. Army block public forum on the Security and Prosperity Partnership

The Council of Canadians has been told it will not be allowed to rent a municipal community centre for a public forum it had planned to coincide with the next Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) summit in Montebello, Quebec on August 20 and 21.

The Municipality of Papineauville, which is about six kilometres from Montebello, has informed the Council of Canadians that the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) and the U.S. Army will not allow the municipality to rent the Centre Communautaire de Papineauville for a public forum on Sunday August 19, on the eve of the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership Leaders Summit.

“It is deplorable that we are being prevented from bringing together a panel of writers, academics and parliamentarians to share their concerns about the Security and Prosperity Partnership with Canadians,” said Brent Patterson, director of organizing with the Council of Canadians. “Meanwhile, six kilometres away, corporate leaders from the United States, Mexico and Canada will have unimpeded access to our political leaders.”

As well as being shut out of Papineauville, the Council of Canadians has been told that the RCMP and the SQ will be enforcing a 25-kilometre security perimeter around the Chateau Montebello, where Stephen Harper will meet with George W. Bush and Felipe Calderón on August 20 and 21. According to officials in Montebello, there will be checkpoints at Thurso and Hawkesbury, and vehicles carrying more than five people will be turned back.

Founded in 1985, the Council of Canadians is Canada’s largest citizens’ organization, with members and chapters across the country. The organization works to protect Canadian independence by promoting progressive policies on fair trade, clean water, safe food, public health care, and other issues of social and economic concern to Canadians.

Harper: Canada to Leave Afghanistan in 2009…You Missed it, Right?

Well, after a weekend to thoroughly digest Prime Sinister Harper’s speech to mark the end of Canada’s sad and waning 39th parliament, I feel moved to grumble about something he didn’t bother to mention formally and officially.

I was going to talk about how he frames taxation as slavery from which we need emancipation, despite all the rich social, educational and health services we receive and largely take for granted: “Largely as a result of our tax reductions in budget 2006, tax freedom day arrived Wednesday, four days earlier than last year.”

Instead I want to comment on what he said in a rare moment when he stooped to speak to the press. So many emails from the PMO describe Harper’s upcoming schedule. “Photo op only” has become scripture.

So instead of in a formal political speech to end the session of parliament, Harper, on a Friday at the end of the week’s new cycle, mutters that Canada will leave Afghanistan in 2009.

Huh? I kid you not:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who once insisted that Canadian troops will stay in Afghanistan until the job is done, now says the military mission will end in February, 2009, unless the opposition agrees it should be extended.

The acceptance that the mission’s lifespan may be limited comes as the Prime Minister faces growing opposition to Canada’s combat role in the Afghan south – a decline in support that has been particularly pronounced in Quebec.

“This mission will end in February, 2009,” Mr. Harper said yesterday at a rare House of Commons news conference held to mark the end of the spring sitting.

Isn’t this major news? The most significant Canadian military mission in decades, the most controversial episode of Canadian imperialism will end because Harper said quietly that we’ll stay past 2009 only if all parties in parliament agree.

The NDP is opposed to our presence. Unless they see the light of imperialism in the next dozen or so months, our support for our troops will be supporting them home.

The Globe and Mail covered it on Saturday. Thanks.

But the volitional decision to end our occupation of Afghanistan and cease our imperial agenda there was not plastered all over the front pages of the Sunday and Monday morning papers.

This is a major victory for sanity in Canada. It is also a major reversal of Harper’s militarism in the face of growing national opposition to the stupidity of what we have been trying to convince ourselves we could do there.

And Harper’s embarrassment over his decision to radically change his entire war prime minister image made him squeak it out on a Friday afternoon in Ottawa in front of reporters, for whom he holds shocking and tremendous disdain.

Thank God for Harper that they haven’t skewered him for it. Lucky man.

Maybe Harper’s American Idol speech ending “God Bless Canada” has returned to save him from having to blush over changing his over-inflated sense of his military legacy.

The poor fool.

More "Support the Troops" Brainwashing on CanWest Global

I’m glad I “support our troops” because if I didn’t, maybe I’d be a threat to the free world or something. And since I’m not as talented as the 22 Minutes folks who quite effectively ridicule [see “I support our troops”] all the rhetorical sheep claiming to support the troops, let me just say that disagreeing with government policy in Afghanistan/Haiti/wherever does not mean I hope our soldiers there get slaughtered. Unless you’re intellectually stunted, I mean.

So here is a domestic news story with a military angle. A farmer has a legitimate disagreement with the government regarding his neighbour, a military base.

It has nothing to do with Canadian imperialism in Afghanistan or the creep of Soft Fascism up from w.Caesar land. It has to do with ditches.

And in the end, the reporter, thank god, lets us know that the farmer still supports the troops. I suppose the alternative would be that because of a ditch problem, he hopes the Taliban slaughter all Canadians in Afghanistan, kill all literate female Afghans, blow up more North American corporate and military imperial landmarks, outlaw anything other than radical Islam and invade and occupy Canada because they hate our freedom. Or something.

The effect of the “support our troops” lunacy is to separate us from them: those who support the soldiers from those who wish them all to die. No. Not at all. The job of that phrase being used in the corporate media and government is to make sure that anyone who questions the government policy of the current and previous political party taking part in the Afghan debacle is seen as someone who wishes the troops to all die. The troops are employees of our government, following orders to go here or there and do this or that, not forcing now 3 prime ministers at gun point or anything to send the Canadian Forces somewhere.

The illogic is astounding. But the continued use of this phrase is part of the Soft Fascism creep of the truly evil people in our country.

And the fact that it goes largely unchecked in our country means they are winning. Its smooth inclusion in this issue that is totally unrelated to Canada’s presence in Afghanistan, is part of the brainwashing of corporate media.

It’s time to read 1984 and Brave New World again, eh.

=====

Farmer takes government to court; [GLOBAL NATIONAL Edition]
KEVIN NEWMAN. Global News Transcripts. Toronto, Ont.: Apr 5, 2007. pg. 1

KEVIN NEWMAN: They’re known as Canada’s elite fighting force – highly trained, deployed in a moment’s notice with stealth and deadly force. Tonight, an update on a story that we first brought you two years ago. A farmer from the Ottawa valley who dared do battle with Canada’s commandos, and won, kind of. Here’s Peter Harris.

RON MAYHEW (Farmer): Starting all over again.

PETER HARRIS (Reporter): Ron Mayhew found out the hard way, how difficult it could be to take on Canada’s elite fighting force, JTF2.

MAYHEW: Everybody around here thought it was the RCMP musical ride moving in here beside us. Thats what we were told.

HARRIS: He’d owned this land since 1984. In the early 1990s, Canada’s secret military unit, Joint Task Force 2 moved in next door.

MAYHEW: I have no idea how it escalated the way it did. I just don’t understand it. It makes no sense to me. You’re being watched there now, too.

HARRIS: Ten years ago, the government came on to his property and dug these two trenches. Hundreds of metres long, because they had water problems on their land. It’s like a creek.

MAYHEW: Well, it’s about four feet deep. Five feet deep along here they dug.

HARRIS: And this digging led to piles of clay on his land where he hoped to grow vegetables.

MAYHEW: This is just grey subsoil, grey clay. And when they dug it out, they took it and spread it over, or at least, oh was it twenty, twenty-five feet.

HARRIS: After years of promises and threats to take his land, and nobody cleaning up these ditches, Ron Mayhew took the government to court.

MAYHEW: Well, they jerk you around, I guess. They keep jerking you around and jerking you around. Finally I said, well, partly because of my age, I said I can’t continue this on much longer. I want to leave something for my kids.

HARRIS: They finally settled, enough to cover his costs, to repair the land and fill in the ditches that have been left for so long.

MAYHEW: There’s the finality about it. That chapter is done and now we can go on and do repairs, do what we have to do, and enough to do what I wanted to do ten years ago.

HARRIS: Despite his fight against the government, he still supports the troops, but is glad this fight is finally over. In Ottawa, this is Global National’s Peter Harris reporting.

NEWMAN: And that’s Global National for Thursday. I’m Kevin Newman. Local news is next on most Global stations.

Women: Staying Unequal to Preserve Marital Peace…by Jen Keefe

This is in response to Lidia Lovric who writes for the province. The article
I’m responding to [see below] showed up in today’s paper.

Having read Lidia Lovric’s previous neo-conservative anti-feminist articles,
it is clear that the implication of her most recent article, “A woman
president is OK, but is the White House Ready for a ‘First-Man’?” is that
women should sacrifice their success for the sake of preserving peace in the
household. Because our society allegedly raises men to be insecure, selfish
and unable to be supportive of strong and successful women, women should
continue to occupy subservient roles so as to not threaten their men. Like
most of Lovric’s articles, this is disempowering to women and discourages
women from seeking success outside the home ‘for the sake of the family’ and
societal relations as a whole. The implication of Lovric’s article should be
that our society needs to do a better job of celebrating women’s successes
and chastizing men for being uncomfortable with it.

Furthermore, Lovric’s husband’s responses to her prodding about what his
level of comfort would be with her earning more money should be an
indication that he views her position in the home as being less threatening
likely because he views it as less significant than his contributions;
Otherwise, he wouldn’t be threatened. This is supported by his remark that
if she earned more than him he could stay at home, implying that staying at
home is easier than working for a wage. Unfortunately, the reason men are so
supportive of women staying at home is because they do not perceive their
role as being as important as men’s in the workforce, and thus this is why
it does not threaten them.

============

A woman president is OK, but is the White House ready for a ‘First Man’?

Lydia Lovric

Friday, February 02, 2007

When Laura Bush concludes her term as First Lady, it’s quite possible that the White House will experience a little role reversal.

With Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton announcing her bid for the 2008 presidency, husband Bill is being touted as America’s first probable “First Man.”

“I’ll do whatever I’m asked to do,” said the ex-president in a recent New York Post article. “I am very proud of my wife. So is her daughter. I wish her well.”

Although the former president appears to be supportive of his wife’s presidential bid, one must wonder how Bill would truly feel if Hillary becomes the most powerful person in the world.

While most couples can’t really relate to life in the White House, more and more husbands are finding themselves married to highly successful women with greater income levels or loftier titles. But is it a blow to the male ego?

Political correctness dictates that men today should graciously celebrate the achievements of their partner. Yet, I believe most men still like to wear the pants in the family.

When I questioned my husband about how he would feel if I earned more money than him, he hesitantly asked, “How much more?”

“Double,” I replied.

At first, he said it wouldn’t be a problem, and joked about whether he would be able to stay home. When prodded further, he admitted that, yes, it likely would bother him a little. I suspect most men feel this way.

This is not to say that men would not be proud of or happy about a wife’s success, only that, if their own achievements failed to measure up, some would feel like “less of a man.”

Relationships where the female earns considerably more money are likely fraught with problems, whether the couple admits it or not.

Consider the following hugely successful women: Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart and Kim Campbell. All have had tremendous careers. Their success on the homefront, however, has been less than stellar.

It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly contributed to the breakdown of their personal relationships. But bruised egos are plausible culprits.

One exception: Women who earn their wealth and fame through modelling, acting or singing. I think it’s easier for a husband to deal with this success, because the rest of the world regards such stars as being grossly overpaid and incredibly lucky.

A woman who has conquered the corporate world, broken down barriers in politics or contributed greatly to science or medicine is far more intimidating.

To be sure, there are a handful of men able to live happily in the shadow of their formidable wives. But I believe they’re in the minority.

Most men today still expect to be the breadwinner.

They’re OK with the missus earning some dough as well. But when she brings home a giant baguette and he brings crumbs, well, it’s bound to create a bit of tension.

Lydia Lovric can be reached through her website: www. lydialovric.com

© The Vancouver Province 2007