Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Okay, okay, Becker was not really talking about Harper. He was actually talking about the bad choices Tiger has made. But still, surely you can see how Stephen Harper's bad choices of late would cause crazy hair & crazy eyes? I know I awaken every morn' looking the same... crazy hair, crazy eyes, ... and I blame it all on Stephen Harper!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Holy hangover Batman! What was this guy doing all night? Was he at a Bong-a-Thon, a Beer-fest? I know red eyes: I've had red eyes. The eyes in this pic, Harper's eyes, are fried! No wonder Prentice had to give the speech; our leader was clearly too incapacitated.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Answer: They both need to go fuck themselves!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
November 18, 2009 - Daily Mail UK
SOMALI WOMAN... STONED TO DEATH BY ISLAMIC MILITANTS AFTER ADMITTING AFFAIR WITH BOYFRIEND
A Somali woman of 20 has been stoned to death after admitting she had an affair, an Islamic militant judge said today.
The woman was a divorcee - but even though she was no longer married, her affair was seen as adultery in the eyes of Somalia's extremist interpretation of Sharia law.
Her punishment was therefore to be buried up to her waist in front of a crowd of 200 people and stoned to death.Her unmarried boyfriend was given 100 lashes for the affair.
Sheikh Ibrahim Abdirahman, the judge for the group al-Shabab, says the woman was killed yesterday in front of a crowd of some 200 people near the town of Wajid.
Abdirahman says the 20-year-old woman had an affair with a 29-year-old unmarried man and gave birth to a stillborn child.
The militants that control much of southern Somalia and have links to al Qaeda have implemented an extremist reading of Islam's Sharia law.
The stoning death was at least the fourth for adultery in Somalia over the last year.
It was the second time a female has been killed.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
"All the public and private schools will be closed down for three weeks beginning from Monday November 2 and this is a precautionary measure to check the outbreak of A/H1N1 in the country," daily Rah-e-Nejat quoted a statement of the ministry as saying.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Okay, we all have our intellectual shortcomings - and, indeed, my own may be greater than most(?). But how often are you, after reading something, left completely baffled as to its import? I would appreciate it if anyone from anywhere can enlighten me on the guts the story below. I simply (and simple I am), I simply do not get what is being said here. Is this a joke I am missing? Can somebody please enlighten me... PLEASE! I am unable to understand what this story actually means.
[n.b. I don't mind being told I am stupid - I just want to know what is I am being stupid about. I simply don't get this story - any and all help appreciated.]
Danish string theory pioneer Holger Bech Nielsen and the Japanese physicist Masao Ninomiya say that the yet to be discovered Higgs Boson could have the ability to turn back time to stop its cover being blown, reports NewScientist. A New York Times essay describes the theory this way:
The hypothesized Higgs boson... might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.The pair say their theory explains why the U.S. Congress scrapped the funding necessary to bring a Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) to the United States in 1993, and also why the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) had a meltdown in September, 2008. They claim in their updated paper released two weeks ago, that the SSC was so plagued with bad luck that the U.S. congress was forced to shut it down. Neilson calls it an "anti-miracle."
Just last week the project was tossed into the limelight when a suspected terrorist was arrested for alleged links to al-Qaeda and plotting to blow up an oil refinery. In the paper they argue that there should be a restriction on the running of the LHC, determined by the drawing of a card, which was proposed in their original paper, published in 2007. The duo had proposed to prove their theory by printing millions of cards with the words "carry on" written on them, and then slip in a couple of cards that say "shut the thing down". They conclude that if you randomly draw out a card that reads "shut the thing down", that Higgs is attempting to influence the future, and that the world's largest machine should be shut down.
In an email message to the New York Times, Holger Bech Nielsen, of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and co-writer of the papers said, “It must be our prediction that all Higgs producing machines shall have bad luck." Regarding the theory, Dr. Neilson said, "One could even almost say that we have a model for God," the New York Times essay quoted him as saying. In a letter to a friend, Einstein wrote, “For those of us who believe in physics, this separation between past, present and future is only an illusion.”
CERN scientists hope to begin the process of colliding protons at an energy level of 450 billion electron volts in December and gradually turn up the energy until the protons have 3.5 trillion electron volts of energy apiece, reports the New York Times. After a short break over the holidays, scientists will then begin to look for "the god particle", unless something interferes with that plan.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Dear Canadian Prime Minister,
You Bastard! In light of your morally retarded and indefensible stance to try and silence witnesses who are willing to testify in the inquiry into allegations of Canada's complicity in the torture of Afghan prisoners - I believe you should take note of this breaking story by Salon's Glen Greenwald:
Sir, as one pecker-head to another, I aver it is time you reconsidered your efforts to silence those who wish to speak the truth to power. It is time you stopped trying to bury the truth under the faux guise of 'national security' and your turning of a blind eye to the systemic torture of defenseless human beings. Maybe, just maybe, your government's concerted efforts to hide the truth needs to be reassessed? Because maybe, just maybe, the rest of the world is going to start seriously questioning what Canada stands for, who we are, and what kind of government we have. And, maybe, just maybe, the world's spotlight will not be forgiving .... for as Greewald highlights: the "Court's ruling 'a devastating judgment,' ... [saw that] the 'judges roundly dismissed the foreign secretary's claims that disclosing the evidence would harm national security and threaten the UK's vital intelligence-sharing arrangements with the US.'"
Thursday, October 1, 2009
"My dear people of the Diocese,
As Bishop of the Diocese, I have publicly apologized to those who have suffered such abuse, and to their families. I want all victims of abuse to know how terribly sorry we are, how wrong this abuse was, and how we are attempting to right those wrongs.
Money can never compensate fully, but we are trying ... most of all, compassionate. If it was your own son or daughter, your brother or sister, your mother or father who was abused, you would expect and demand nothing less. ....
Sexual abuse, indeed any abuse, is wrong. I want assure you that for many years now this Diocese has taken, and continues to take, proactive steps to avoid the repetition of any such abuse.
I would close by asking your cooperation and support, and above all your prayers, ... [so] we can move forward and keep our efforts fully focused on the central mission of Christ’s Church: to preach his Gospel to the people of our time. Now, as always, let us pray for one another.
Yours in the Lord,
Raymond J Lahey Bishop of Antigonish"
Oh, but it gets better! -------------------->
"Police seek ex-bishop facing porn charges: Prominent Nova Scotia Catholic stopped at Ottawa airport over images found on laptop"By Neco Cockburn and Andrew Seymour, The Ottawa Citizen - September 30, 2009 11:31 PM
"Ottawa - Until last week, Raymond Lahey was the Bishop of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Now, he is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest on child pornography charges.
Lahey, who only three months ago oversaw a historic apology and financial settlement for sexual abuses committed by priests in his diocese, was picked up at the Ottawa airport on Sept. 15 when border security agents found images on his laptop computer. Lahey was returning from a trip to Britain at the time.
The Ottawa Police Internet Child Exploitation unit laid charges of possession and importation of child pornography and the warrant was issued last Friday."
** In this photo this abuser, this deviant, this FUCKER is standing on the steps of the church where I was baptized; and like all the other ordained hypocrites who came before him, he is clinging to the pomp and circumstance so often used by the Catholic Church to mask his sickness. One can only pray(?) that Lahey gets what his fucked Church promises to others who deign to violate their supposed sacrosanct teachings - - jail time in Hell!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
And, if you are still not sure - watch this.
As the ever adroit Ms. Maddow demonstrates in her segment - there is an entire generation out there (we Canadians included) who did not 'git their learnin' done'. Susceptible to all sorts of balderdash, they are irrevocably lost because they are quite simply... too dumb for words!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
As reported by the Canadian Press:
"Amid conflicting internal accounts, disappearing e-mails and disastrous publicity following the death of Robert Dziekanski, a top Mountie admitted at the Taser inquiry Tuesday that the RCMP shouldn’t investigate itself. ....
RCMP Supt. Wayne Rideout, who was the third Mountie to take the stand Tuesday, denied a key part of his superior officer’s evidence and then told commissioner Thomas Braidwood that, “We are not perceived by the public to be able to investigate ourselves.
“We’re not good at this, we shouldn’t be doing this,” said Rideout.
He said he thinks “it is time” for B.C. to consider an independent body to investigate the RCMP."
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Could not have said this better myself!
(Thanks Huffington Post.)
August 27, 2009- by Johann HariThe Terrible Moral Emptiness of Quentin Tarantino Is Wrecking His Films
Quentin Tarantino sauntered onto celluloid in the mid-1990s as a Natural Born Thriller, the boy-man who was going to stab adrenaline straight into the heart of American cinema. The movies he wrote and directed were highly stylized ballet dances of torture, hemorrhaging internal organs, and rat-a-tat-tat pop culture monologues about Madonna's vagina, the Brady Bunch, and what they call a Big Mac in France. (It's Le Big Mac.) He showed extreme cruelty in extreme close-up and -- somehow -- made the audience laugh with him through the screams. But there were always dark questions underneath the guffaws and applause -- and his new film, Inglorious Basterds, sucks them to the surface.
The story of Tarantino's rise is a film geek's fantasy-screenplay. Born to a single mother in Los Angeles, he dropped out of school at sixteen, got a job at a video store, and marinated himself in the history of film. He absorbed everything from Lucio Fulci's Italian horror-fests to Preston Sturges' one-liners to John Woo's Hong Kong shoot-outs. And as he took them in, they churned inside his brain -- and spilled out, reassembled and regenerated, into a string of his own screenplays.
The first to be made was Reservoir Dogs in 1994. Like all his films, it took an old stock genre premise -- an armed robbery goes wrong, and in the aftermath the gang tries to figure out which of them is an undercover cop -- and made it twitch back to life. He scrambled the chronology, poured hot sauce onto the dialogue, and made the bleeding after a shooting slow and real. Trapped together in a bare warehouse, the characters slowly destroy themselves. In the most famous scene, Mr. Blonde -- played by Michael Madsen -- captures a cop and tortures him to get him to give up the identity of the fink. As he dances to the old cheese-hit "Stuck In The Middle With You," he hacks off the cop's ear, and douses him with petrol, threatening to burn him alive. It's entrancing and repulsive all at once -- and one of the most disturbing scenes in cinema.
At the time, many critics recoiled, saying this was sadism served up as style. The film was even banned on video in Britain for several years. But I was inclined to defend the film: I thought this violence was more real and repulsive than the glib gore-free massacres of an Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle. When these characters bleed, they really scream. When they feel pain, you really flinch. Here was a director showing violence as it really is.
But since then, Tarantino has enthusiastically proved his critics right, and his defenders wrong. The moral vision of Reservoir Dogs turns out to have been something well-meaning viewers projected onto it: Tarantino really does think violence is "like, cool." He has been systematically squandering his cinematic talent ever since -- in ways that reflect disturbingly on us, the viewers.
He has turned suffering into a merry joke. From Pulp Fiction to Kill Bill, he encourages the audience to chortle at torture and mutilation and anal rape. A typical punchline is -- whoops! -- a man being shot in the face. Where there should be a gag reflex, he gives us a gag. In Inglorious Basterds, a group of Jews undercover in Germany torture and scalp Nazis, and he gets the viewer to roar with laughter as people are carved up, alive and howling.
"Violence in the movies can be cool," he says. "It's just another color to work with. When Fred Astaire dances, it doesn't mean anything. Violence is the same. It doesn't mean anything. It's a color." He scorns anyone who tries to see simulated violence as having meaning. With a laugh, he says: "John Woo's violence has a very insightful view as to how the Hong Kong mind works because with 1997 approaching and blah blah blah. I don't think that's why he's doing it. He's doing it because he gets a kick out of it." Praising Stanley Kubrik's direction of A Clockwork Orange, he says, "He enjoyed the violence a little too much. I'm all for that."
In the slightly pretentious language of postmodernism, he is trying to separate the sign (movie violence) from the signified (real violence) -- leaving us floating in a sea of meaningless signs that refer to nothing but themselves and the sealed-off history of cinema.
What's wrong with this vision? Why does it make me so queasy? I don't believe works of art should be ennobling. I don't believe the heroes should be virtuous, or that bad characters should get their comeuppance. It can show deeply violent and deeply cruel people, and tell us that -- as in real life -- they can be charismatic and successful and never pay a price for their cruelty. But what it should never do is tell us that human suffering itself is trivial. It should never turn pain into a punch-line.
Violence has particular power on film precisely because it involuntarily activates our powers of empathy. We imagine ourselves, as an unthinking reflex, into the agony. This is the most civilizing instinct we have: to empathize with suffering strangers. (It competes, of course, with all our more base instincts.) Any work of art that denies this sense -- that is based on subverting it -- will ultimately be sullying. No, I'm not saying it makes people violent. But it does leave the viewer just a millimetre more morally corroded. Laughing at simulated torture -- and even cheering it on, as we are encouraged to through all of Tarantino's later films -- leaves a moral muscle just a tiny bit more atrophied.
You can see this in the responses of Tarantino himself. Not long after 9/11, he said: "It didn't affect me because there's, like, a Hong Kong action movie... called Purple Storm and they work in a whole big thing in the plot that they blow up a skyscraper." It's a case-study in atrophy of moral senses: to brag you weren't moved by the murder of two and half thousand actual people, because you'd already seen it simulated in a movie. Only somebody who has never seen violence -- who sees the world as made of celluloid -- can respond like this.
Tarantino's films aren't even sadistic. Sadists take human suffering seriously; that's why they enjoy it. No: Tarantino is morally empty, seeing a shoot-out as akin to dancing cheek-to-cheek. He sees violence as nothing. Compare his oeuvre to the work of a genuine cinematic sadist -- Alfred Hitchcock -- and you see the difference. Precisely because Hitchcock enjoyed inflicting pain, the pain is always authentic, and it is never emptied of its own inner horror.
And yet, and yet... I have to admit that part of me loves Tarantino's films. The scene in Pulp Fiction where John Travolta and Uma Thurman dance the twist in a 1950s-style diner, and later when he has to stab adrenaline into her heart after she ODs, are burned onto my brain, even though I have refused to watch the film for more than a decade. There are scenes in Inglorious Basterds of perfect tension. This man knows how to make a scene work more than almost any director working today. But I can't forget -- it sees the Holocaust as just another spaghetti Western, and one where the suggested solution is more torture, coming from the victims this time.
Can you love a film even while you are repulsed by its moral vision, or lack of it? This is a question that goes right back to the birth of cinema (and beyond). The three greatest silent films are all explicit hymns of praise for totalitarianism. The Birth of a Nation champions the Ku Klux Klan, Battleship Potemkin hymns for Bolshevism, and The Triumph of the Will is a paean to the Nazis. They are ravishing and repellent all at once -- and I defy anyone to watch them and not get swept up in their power, even as your frontal lobes yell: "Stop! Danger!"
But aesthetics and the rest of life are not entirely separable spheres -- and anybody who claims they are is simply posing. We don't leave our moral senses at the door when we go to the movies, or pick up a novel, or go to a gallery. We feel such tension in Tarantino's movies because the good and sane part of us doesn't want the violence to come -- while the debased part of us is cheering it on. That's a moral conflict underpinning the aesthetics; by denying it is there, Tarantino is willfully misunderstanding the effect of his films on their audiences.
The artists who have claimed their work was purely aesthetic were either frivolous, psychopathic, or lying. The novelist Vladimir Nabokov -- who I love -- claimed in the introduction to Bend Sinister that, "Politics and economics, atomic bombs, primitive and abstract art forms, the entire Orient, symptoms of 'thaw' in Soviet Russia, the Future of Mankind, and so on, leave me supremely indifferent." He was writing in the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when he and everybody he knew came within a few hours of dying in a nuclear war. How could he be "supremely indifferent" to that prospect? How can you revere aesthetics and not mind if every aesthetic object you love is incinerated? The answer is, of course, he wasn't indifferent. If you read his letters, you find he worried about these issues at great length. Similarly, I suspect Tarantino has deeper instincts beneath his life-is-a-grindhouse-flick pose. He knows what he is saying isn't -- can't -- be true.The tragedy of Tarantino is that he could have been so much more than the Schlock and Awe merchant that he has devolved into. If he had stopped mistaking his DVD collection for a life, he -- to borrow a phrase from a real film, etched with real pain -- could've been a contender. When I remember the raw force of Reservoir Dogs, I still hope that he will. It's not too late. He could do it. How about it, Quentin? Step out into the big world beyond celluloid, and use your incredible talent to tell stories about it. As Mr. Blonde says, "Are you going to bark all day, little doggie -- or are you going to bite?"
Friday, August 28, 2009
From the Huffington Post I found this little gem from American actor (and self-confessed "wise-ass") Steven Weber, I think its got Wings!Posted: August 27, 2009 12:13 PM
I love God.
But I hate government.
I love something that sounds like I wanted my father to be but is really much, much better and lives nowhere near me. I love something that has lots of rules for everyone but ones that I am allowed to break. I love something that requires no logic or facts but which I can profess unyielding faith in.
I hate something that I can touch and that can touch me. I hate something that I must immediately answer to if I screw up. I hate something that can turn against me if I turn against it. I hate that everyone can vote for things I might...hate.
I love money.
I hate people.
I love brute force.
I hate mercy.
I love being a Republican.
I hate you.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Yet, as a voter I pine for a day when the NDP will abandon its absurd machinations, preening pretensions, and ill-advised ranting outrage at media ops and finally say what it means, what it believes, and what it stands for and let the chips fall where they may.
This is a good start:
“One of the things that's irked me about this silly talk about changing the name of the party is we're not a democratic party, we're a social democratic party, the core value of which is equality.”
Too bad Jack will probably shy away from this sound advice from his elder. But Ed Broadbent is right. Its time this party stopped pussyfooting around, looked in the mirror and called a spade a spade: The NDP must become a true Social Democratic Party that stands for equality - for if it not that- then it is doomed to remain a perpetual nothing.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Washington Post - 08/09/09
An Unhealthy Debate: Rhetoric and distortion imperil the opportunity to fix the American health-care system.WHEN IT comes to health-care reform, August is shaping up as the loudest month. Angry protesters, spurred by conservative groups, shout down Democratic lawmakers at meetings to discuss reform, with congressional Republicans cheering these "recess roastings." Congressional Democrats lash out at what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) described as "villainous" health insurers making "immoral profits."
These are unfortunate, unnecessary and counterproductive developments. No one, liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, should be happy with the current system, which spends too much to cover too few. Insurance is increasingly unaffordable. Even those with coverage are at risk of losing it, being denied needed care or being locked into jobs because of preexisting conditions. Rising health-care costs threaten the economy, while entitlement spending consumes a growing proportion of the federal budget.
The moment is ripe for a responsible fix, which is what makes the current eruption of smackdown politics all the more depressing. Among serious lawmakers of both parties, there is more agreement than during the Clinton health-care battle of 1993-94 about the need for an overhaul. The hard-edged opposition of interest groups that helped kill the Clinton plan has softened; sensing the inevitability of change, insurers, pharmaceutical manufacturers and hospitals have been trying to position themselves to cut the best deal possible rather than to kill reform outright.
If this moment is squandered, it will be a sad indictment of the political system -- and there will be plenty of blame to go around.
Democrats, with polls showing increasing nervousness about health care, have resorted to vilifying the health-insurance industry. No doubt, insurers engage in rational but disturbing practices under the current system: They angle to attract the healthiest customers, refuse coverage to the riskiest and seek to avoid paying claims. But the insurance industry of 2009 is in a far different place than it was 16 years ago; it has agreed to accept all applicants and generally charge the same amount, in exchange for a requirement that all individuals obtain insurance.
So it is disappointing, to say the least, to see Ms. Pelosi and other Democrats revert to round-up-the-usual-suspects demagoguery. President Obama has been more restrained but hardly more accurate; in a news conference last month, he inaccurately complained about insurers making "record profits, right now." In fact, among U.S. industries generally and other parts of the health sector in particular, insurers are not particularly profitable. The latest Fortune 500 ranking of most profitable industries has pharmaceuticals third, medical products and equipment fourth, and health insurers down at No. 35. Drugmakers reported a 19.3 percent profit margin; insurers, 2.2 percent.
More fundamentally, the Obama administration is peddling health reform as an everybody-wins scenario in which no one, except perhaps the wealthiest of the wealthy, has to sacrifice anything. We recognize that selling dessert is easier than selling spinach, especially when the other side is falsely claiming that your food is poisonous. But if health reform passes and starts bringing down costs, it is going to pinch some patients who have become accustomed to getting every test or procedure they want. At that point, Mr. Obama might wish he had done a little more to prepare people for the changes.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Watch video below to see how Buchanan get owned by Ms. Rachel Maddow. Hardly a fair fight. Maddow, confident and forthright, gives crazy "dated" Buchanan all the rope he needs to hang himself. Railing against the future, Buchanan epitomizes the worst of those biased white-Americans who came of age in the white bread world of the 1950s.
One suspects that, tonight, Mr. Buchanan is having a nightmares that revolve around being bested by one of the best minds on MSM who (undoubtedly to Buchanan's utter horror) also happens to be a lesbian. One can only imagine how this haggard bitter old man is sleeping... probably poorly. And that is how it should be.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Good? Yes, good! Why? Because neither of the principles in this deal has graced us with a clear idea of where they want to lead this country. Neither man has bothered to advance a vision that distinguishes between where we are, where we need to be, and how we are going to get there. Neither man is being truthful over the absolute fiscal imperative that will see the federal government necessarily raise our taxes to offset our burgeoning national deficit. Neither man has come to grips with the fact that band-aid solutions tied to ill-conceived business friendly stimulus projects will not see us through. We need something more, something lasting. We need one of them to speak to people first, business second, and partisanship last.
Small differences and ephemeral core values do not a platform make. I, for one, am happy to wait until the fall to consider my options. Hopefully, by then, one of these gentlemen will be able to speak honestly, and with clarity, about why they deserve to be my Prime-Minister. As it stands, I have a lot of reason why Harper should not; but, as yet, I have few as to why Iggy should.
Both Iggy and Harper have some serious genuflecting and hard homework to do over the summer. Both have to learn how to speak honestly!
Do your work gentlemen, you may listen to Canadians this summer, but don't intrude too much - - spare us any further petty machinations, obtuse obfuscations, and asinine accusations borne of suspect intellectual and ideological rationalizations. All that can wait until the fall. In September, come back as leaders replete with vision - or, do not come back at all!
p.s. Manic Jack, you best do the same. Nobody wants to hear your outrage all summer; just bring us your ideas in the fall.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
He's old now. And he's often forgotten. But the man has seen, lived, and failed in interesting times. Maybe we should listen to what he has to say?
Below is full excerpt of Mikhail Gorbachev's Op-ed piece in today's Washington Post. Not sure I agree with all his assertions; but I believe it is worth a read. If nothing else, it demonstrates that we should take to heart the criticisms of those who know our society in ways we never can. Gorbachev, I believe is sincere, ... here in North America it is indeed "hightime" that we listen to other voices... if not now, when?
By Mikhail Gorbachev - - Sunday, June 7, 2009 "Years ago, as the Cold War was coming to an end, I said to my fellow leaders around the globe: The world is on the cusp of great events, and in the face of new challenges all of us will have to change, you as well as we. For the most part, the reaction was polite but skeptical silence.
In recent years, however, during speaking tours in the United States before university audiences and business groups, I have often told listeners that I feel Americans need their own change -- a perestroika, not like the one in my country, but an American perestroika -- and the reaction has been markedly different. Halls filled with thousands of people have responded with applause.
Over time, my remark has prompted all kinds of comments. Some have reacted with understanding. Others have objected, sometimes sarcastically, suggesting that I want the United States to experience upheaval, just like the former Soviet Union. In my country, particularly caustic reactions have come from the opponents of perestroika, people with short memories and a deficit of conscience. And although most of my critics surely understand that I am not equating the United States with the Soviet Union in its final years, I would like to explain my position.
Our perestroika signaled the need for change in the Soviet Union, but it was not meant to suggest a capitulation to the U.S. model. Today, the need for a more far-reaching perestroika -- one for America and the world -- has become clearer than ever.
It is true that the need for change in the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s was urgent. The country was stifled by a lack of freedom, and the people -- particularly the educated class -- wanted to break the stranglehold of a system that had been built under Stalin. Millions of people were saying: "We can no longer live like this."
We started with glasnost -- giving people a chance to speak out about their worries without fear. I never agreed with my great countryman Alexander Solzhenitsyn when he said that "Gorbachev's glasnost ruined everything." Without glasnost, no changes would have occurred, and Solzhenitsyn would have ended his days in Vermont rather than in Russia.
At first, we labored under the illusion that revamping the existing system -- changes within the "socialist model" -- would suffice. But the pushback from the Communist Party and the government bureaucracy was too strong. Toward the end of 1986, it became clear to me and my supporters that nothing less than the replacement of the system's building blocks was needed.
We opted for free elections, political pluralism, freedom of religion and an economy with competition and private property. We sought to effect these changes in an evolutionary way and without bloodshed. We made mistakes. Important decisions were made too late, and we were unable to complete our perestroika.
Two conspiracies hijacked the changes -- the attempted coup in August 1991, organized by the hard-line opponents of our reforms, which ended up weakening my position as president, and the subsequent agreement among the leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus to dissolve the Union. Russia's leaders then rejected the evolutionary path, plunging the country into chaos.
Nevertheless, when I am asked whether perestroika succeeded or was defeated, I reply: Perestroika won, because it brought the country to a point from which there could be no return to the past.
In the West, the breakup of the Soviet Union was viewed as a total victory that proved that the West did not need to change. Western leaders were convinced that they were at the helm of the right system and of a well-functioning, almost perfect economic model. Scholars opined that history had ended. The "Washington Consensus," the dogma of free markets, deregulation and balanced budgets at any cost, was force-fed to the rest of the world.
But then came the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, and it became clear that the new Western model was an illusion that benefited chiefly the very rich. Statistics show that the poor and the middle class saw little or no benefit from the economic growth of the past decades.The current global crisis demonstrates that the leaders of major powers, particularly the United States, had missed the signals that called for a perestroika. The result is a crisis that is not just financial and economic. It is political, too.
The model that emerged during the final decades of the 20th century has turned out to be unsustainable. It was based on a drive for super-profits and hyper-consumption for a few, on unrestrained exploitation of resources and on social and environmental irresponsibility.
But if all the proposed solutions and action now come down to a mere rebranding of the old system, we are bound to see another, perhaps even greater upheaval down the road. The current model does not need adjusting; it needs replacing. I have no ready-made prescriptions. But I am convinced that a new model will emerge, one that will emphasize public needs and public goods, such as a cleaner environment, well-functioning infrastructure and public transportation, sound education and health systems and affordable housing.
Elements of such a model already exist in some countries. Having rejected the tutorials of the International Monetary Fund, countries such as Malaysia and Brazil have achieved impressive rates of economic growth. China and India have pulled hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. By mobilizing state resources, France has built a system of high-speed railways, while Canada provides free health care. Among the new democracies, Slovenia and Slovakia have been able to mitigate the social consequences of market reforms.
The time has come for "creative construction," for striking the right balance between the government and the market, for integrating social and environmental factors and demilitarizing the economy.
Washington will have to play a special role in this new perestroika, not just because the United States wields great economic, political and military power in today's global world, but because America was the main architect, and America's elite the main beneficiary, of the current world economic model. That model is now cracking and will, sooner or later, be replaced. That will be a complex and painful process for everyone, including the United States.
However different the problems that the Soviet Union confronted during our perestroika and the challenges now facing the United States, the need for new thinking makes these two eras similar. In our time, we faced up to the main tasks of putting an end to the division of the world, winding down the nuclear arms race and defusing conflicts. We will cope with the new global challenges as well, but only if everyone understands the need for real, cardinal change -- for a global perestroika.
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, heads the International Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies, a Moscow-based think tank."
Sunday, May 24, 2009
"New Requirements on Border ID Stir Worries at Crossings"
"Still, Canadian officials said that their government, like the United States, ... [is] establishing its own homeland security agency, ..."
Our own HOMELAND SECURITY AGENCY? Do they mean the existing Canadian Border Security Agency? Or am I missing something here?
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
How old is he again? What, what's that.... he's 71? You mean he's SEVENTY-ONE YEARS OLD and never done nothing wrong.... "knowingly"!!
You kidding me?
He really said that? Aw shucks, ... talk about malarkey and bullshit all wrapped up into one offensive bun!
He's 71 and never done nuthin' wrong? (Guffaw, snort, puke)
Who would ever believe ever that?
I tell's ya what, I can't wait for Ben's tell-all book in 10 years. Hmm, "Lies my Father Told Me" has a nice ring .... don't ya think?
Harrumph, never "knowingly" did anything wrong . . . Jesus, who does this sociopath think he's kidding? Us . . . again?
Friday, May 15, 2009
I tell's ya', the big jawed bugger just can't help himself!
“I wondered, why is it every time we turned around, Mr. Schreiber was here like the Energizer bunny non-stop,” Mr. Mulroney said, ...
Well, it's probably because he knew you would keep taking the money that bought access, ya dim witted dildo!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Documents released late Friday suggest a senior adviser in the Mulroney government wanted to keep key facts about the 1985 Air India bombing hidden.
Lawyers for the victims' families have accused the Mulroney government of covering up information to limit financial liability.
Callous is as callous does... somebody SHOULD sue them. Enough is enough.
And to think, some people are saying we should believe what these two have to say at the Oliphant Inquiry. Poppycock!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
"Why couldn't the flu have been dubbed the H1N1 flu, for the sake of accuracy, when farmers first raised concerns?"
Well it turns out, this is why ..... This just in: "Alberta Pigs Believed to be infected with Swine Flu"
Oops! And this only one day after our incompetent Agriculture Minister, Garry Ritz, and Canada's Tory answer to 'just a brain stem', Minister Stockwell Day, issued a news release assuring one and all that:
"The government of Canada is confident that Canadian pork is safe. We want to reassure Canadians that human swine influenza cannot be contracted through eating pork or pork products."
What! Okay, maybe its true we can't catch it from eating pigs. But if they can catch it from us and we can catch it from them.... maybe it should be called "Farmers-Swine Flu"? And maybe Ritz should not have released Friday's news release if they already knew the story of sick Alberta pigs was going to break today.
Oh well, ... chalk up another one for the Tory's. They've tried to say 'Don't worry, be Happy' one too many times - (see: Tory fall debacle over the true state of the economy). While we can understand why they want to spin a bad situation; rather than issuing an its-okay-to-eat-pork memo on the very eve of a more ominous news release they probably knew was coming was too cute by half. Coming out with a news release that draws attention to pigs and professes them to be safe when you know there is a good chance a bad announcement is on the way is just plain silly. And all it does is draw attention to how stupid and just plain wrong you are ... yet again!
Can't imagine what this will do our pork export market. One things for sure - it ain't gonna help! A year from now Ritz will be in charge of another closed door inquiry that will be guaranteed NOT to get to the bottom of the issue.
Whew, the more things stay the same, the more they....
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
"The Egyptian government began slaughtering pigs today as a preventative measure to stop the spread of the swine flu, reports the AP. Over 300,000 pigs will be killed immediately despite no reported cases of the pandemic in the country."
Hmm, . . . crazy or prudent?
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Yeah, okay.... but the donation is, nevertheless, a mistake.
Look, First Nations leaders repeatedly and rightly are critical of Ottawa's "irresponsible" appraoch to their needs. Further, they are constantly calling on Ottawa stop perpetually underfunding First Nations bands who wish to protect their communities from such things as flooding. As such, the AMC should put its money where its mouth is and spend this $1-million elsewhere? Hmm, ... like perhaps on Manitoba's Peguis reserve that just suffered "$1 million in damages to several hundred homes"? No?
Well, if this is the current reality on First Nations Reserves:
- On the Human Development Index, First Nations on-reserve would rank 62nd, some experiencing Third World conditions, while Canada as a whole consistently ranks near the top.
- Almost half (47%) of First Nations people on reserve live in poverty, with an income of less than $10,000; three out of five Aboriginal children under six years of age live in poverty.
- Unemployment and poverty rates are three times those in the non-Aboriginal community.
- Suicide is now among the leading causes of death among First Nations children and youth.
- The suicide rate is 40 per 100,000 among First Nations as compared to the national average of 13 per 100,000.
- The First Nations population is increasing by 2.3% annually.
- Aboriginal children die at three times the rate of non-Aboriginal children.
- First Nations birth rate is two times the comparable rate for Canada.
- Canadians have one of the world's highest life expectancies but Aboriginal people can expect to live a decade less on average.
THEN how the fuck can the AMC possibly rationalize using money raised from its gambling enterprises to buy a kiosk at the CHRM? Talk about "irresponsibility" - the donation reflects badly on all concerned.
The AMC's misplaced priorities in this matter speak volumes about the sad disconnect between what passes for First Nations political leadership in this province and the ongoing plight of those who have a right, a human right, to expect more from their elders. The AMC's Grand Chief Ron Evans should give his head a shake and reconsider the donation. He should do the right thing and immediately redirect the funds in question to where they are needed most - on Manitoba's First Nations reserves.
Let the insular social elite running this museum find funding for their vanity project elsewhere. Christ what's next? A picture of Gail Asper accepting donations from starving Sudanese school children and/or underage Thai hookers? Bloody absurd.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
There is no excuse for state sanctioned torture.
[n.b. - Maddow's comments in the first five minute of this clip are not so much priceless - they're just accurate.)
Saturday, April 11, 2009
"Capitalism is your servant, and must never be your master, but Capitalism should be treated fairly. When it goes wrong, as it has gone wrong, it must be corrected; and when it goes right, might it not be applauded? ... We will get nowhere by recklessly & stupidly clouting capitalism into a paralysis of ineffectiveness. ... treat capitalism decently, not for its own sake but for your own sake, for it can serve you well. Make it work, and make it work hard for you. Get all you are entitled to out of it; that is far more sensible than shooting it dead." - Prime Minister R.B. Bennett - September 11, 1935
Don't know about you - but I'd rather shoot it dead!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Premier Dalton McGuinty's admission yesterday that "Ontario's pension plan safety net isn't large enough to cover auto workers if GM goes bankrupt" signals a new round of TAG YOU'RE IT in Canadian politics.
And in this case, PM Stephen Harper is the 'it'.
Effectively, McGuinty gave notice to the federal Tory's yesterday that Ontario "is moving to limit the amount of money it would have to pay in a pension bailout." Ergo, come what will for Canada's auto sector (hell, high-water, or bankruptcy) the ball is now in Ottawa's court. In case there was ever any doubt, McGuinty made it clear that it is Harper's government that is going to have take ownership of the mammoth catastrophe that may await the ten of thousands of auto retirees who depend on their pensions to survive.
Of course, Ontario "is partly responsible for the pension crisis at GM Canada because of 1992 legislation that enabled the company to underfund its own plans." It was a change that all but guaranteed that if GM were ever to fail, her long serving employees and generations of pensioners were bound to find themselves where every worker man and working woman finds themselves at the end of the day amidst an economic collapse - Shit-out-of-Luck. While McGuinty did admit Ontario had "a political and moral responsibility to pensioners"; he also confessed that, really, the province has no capacity to meet the needs of those "experiencing troubles with their pension plans". According to the Report on Business, the problem is that Ontario's Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund, mismanaged for decades, is running a deficit. Though to be fair, even had the fund been administered properly, it was never designed to meet the demands created by a wholesale collapse of the auto sector. Simply put, if GM goes bankrupt, there is no way Ontario will be able to step into the breech to fix a "total pension shortfall may exceed $6-billion".
"Tag" Harper - you're it!
No worries though, Harper's federal Industry Minister Tony Clement is doing his best to help prepare pensioners for their possible fate by "offering words of warning" that they "need to be prepared for possible bankruptcy filings in the auto sector." But tell us Tony, how do 70 and 80 year old auto retirees "prepare" themselves for the disappearance of their pensions? What do you recommend? Do they take to the pavement in search of work with their walkers, wheelchairs and oxygen tanks?
As one retiree shouted at Finance Minister Jim Flaherty yesterday in Oshawa: "Your government asked me to take a haircut as a retiree, ... I took the haircut, but, dammit, I'm not going to let you scalp me on my pension, too." Frustrated by the retirees questions, Dim-Jim Flaherty responded to their concerns with this observation nugget; "Listen, this is a very serious time! ... All of these issues being raised about jobs, about pensions, ... these are very major questions that are being discussed right now in a serious way."
"Serious"? No kidding. Again Harper - "Tag you're it!"
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Canadian Prime-Minister Stephen Harper craps out a lot. But if the BBC is right, he's going to have to get himself a pair of depends. After all, missing the official photo at the G-20 because you're on the potty is just bad optics. What is he? In kindergarten?
Not the kind of PR we need right now.
It might even give some credence to assertions that he flushing our country's future down the toilet!
Take 2: G20 group photo snapped again after Harper's absenceCBC: Thursday, April 2, 2009 | 9:24 AM ET
The traditional photo of the G20 leaders was reshot after Prime Minister Stephen Harper missed his opportunity Thursday to be in the first snap.
Harper met with his officials following the first working session in London on Thursday morning when the picture — dubbed the family photo — was scheduled to be taken.
Officials said the prime minister was getting a quick briefing on changes to the communiqué that is expected to be released by the G20 at the end of the summit.
The BBC, however, is reporting that Harper was in the bathroom while the photo was being taken.
The other leaders initially waited for Harper but then went ahead with the photo without him.
Harper was scheduled to stand in the right flank of the group next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the original photo.
A second attempt to gather the leaders for the photograph was made about an hour later with Harper there.
Some of the other leaders ribbed Harper as they gathered for the second take, reportedly calling out, "Harper, Harper, is Harper here? Harper, this one's for you."
Friday, March 20, 2009
Need proof? See this story in the very same paper.
"Lawyers for Nortel Networks Corp. [NT-T] are to appear in court on Friday to ask for approval of a controversial $23-million (U.S.) bonus plan for its top executives that the company says is needed to boost falling morale at the company..... The bonus plan for executives would reward them for achieving cost reduction goals and tightening the organization's focus, based on their annual base salaries."
Executive Rewards? Hmmm? If you go to Pink Sheets to see a real time stock quote on just how well these executives have been performing their duties you will be greeted with this banner warning.
Bonus indeed! Reward for what? Driving the shareholders stock value to the 0.78 pennies mark?
The rampant hypocrisy that seems to govern the mindset of North America's economic elite should not be allowed to stand. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann nailed it last night: "ENOUGH!"
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Contrary to what sweaty, verbose, twisted, bombastic Neo-con windbags such as Rush Limbaugh sputter - "socialism" in America is dead. The bogeyman Limbaugh and company keep trying to inflate to frighten Joe & Jane America is an illusion of Potemkin proportions. Only true idiot villagers see it as a "threat." In fact, the only air in the sails of "socialism" today actually comes from the gaseous emissions the far-right is constantly trying to blow up its long dead ass. And no matter how hard they try to resurrect "Socialism" as a whipping-boy of convenience, it will not float.
Long ago, during the nadir of the Great Depression, America's socialists traded their dogma in for the pragmatic promise of progress. At the periphery of the political process ever since, today's socialists pose no threat to American capitalism: capitalists do. As the Washington Post's Harold Meyerson has aptly observed, US socialists were lured by FDR into trading in their fundamental guiding principles for a chance at partaking in the promise of the New Deal. According to Meyerson, the shift conformed perfectly to the theories of German socialist Eduard Bernstien "who argued that the immediate struggle to humanize capitalism through the instruments of democratic government was everything, and that the goal of supplanting capitalism altogether was meaningless".
Meyerson pegs the US Socialist Party's 1936 decision to endorse FDR's New Deal as the moment when American Socialism abandoned its core beliefs. Since then, in the perverse dance known as US politics, socialists have become little more than the acne riddled policy geeks who can't get the elitist Belle of the Ball to dance with them. Out of tune and out of step with the electorate, they operate solely on the political fringe. The GOP's fear mongering notwithstanding: Today's US Democrats are to socialism, as George W. Bush was to deep thought: both unfamiliar and unacquainted.
In Canada, our 'socialists' long ago found themselves morphing into watered down 'new democrats'. Content to rest on their ancestral laurels and the myths associated with the fight for Medicare; today's NDP is lost. More interested in high profile shenanigans than in presenting voters with a truly alternative political vision; the NDP vainly continues to try and make deals with a status-quo devil their ideological forefathers would have rejected out-of-hand. Opportunists in the true Bernstien-ian sense, Canada's NDP Party perfectly exemplifies Meyerson's point - in North America, socialism is dead.
Socialism is sooo yesterday because its proponents are afraid to speak plainly and take the steps necessary to advocate for the ideology's true principles: nationalization of major industries; and the abolition of the usury speculative fiscal marketplace that props up an economic elite that preys on the poor. In Canada, this has led to the NDP becoming a weirdly-wired and sadly predictable political party destined to remain inconsequential to the debate over true reform. Here, as in the US, voices in support of true socialist ideals are rare, muted and marginalized. Fated to remain largely absent from the coming debate over how we restructure capitalism in the wake of the present crisis. That is a pity.
Better Canada's NDP admit now that they will never win federal power. Better, instead, that it commit itself to a radical new take-no-prisoners political action plan. One designed to exert as much pressure as possible on the sitting government to bring forth real and meaningful social and economic reform. One that pushes the boundaries of acceptable political discourse in this country. One that fervently lobbies for the kind of economic reforms needed to protect us from the very same political status-quo the NDP are constantly trying to appease. Otherwise, nothing will change. Usury capitalism will secure new concessions from the state that see it re-emerge unrepentant and unbowed; and at the end of the day... still in control.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
was full of so many spending
items that it boggled my little-pecker mind.
Who, I wondered, was going to oversee all the spending? Surely Finance Minister Friggin' Flaherty was going to need some Help!
"Okay," I said to self, "No worries, we have an Auditor General and a Parliamentary Budget Officer. What could possibly go wrong?"
THEN I remembered reading this mid-January National Post story:
OTTAWA -- Canada's budget officer Kevin Page says... [he is being 'systematically undermined' in] his work .... Mr. Page pulled no punches in a written plea to party leaders, urging MPs and senators to bring "clarity" to the confusion over his mandate ... [Mr. Page] argues ... interference in the management of his office is preventing him from doing the oversight he believes he was hired to do - at a time of economic upheaval when every dollar counts.... Mr. Page says it's up to parliamentarians to decide what they expect from the post.
"In order for me to fulfill the legislated mandate I require restoration of the PBO budget ... and ongoing and greater clarity from parliamentarians on the independence and operating model of the PBO function."
.... the embattled budget officer says he needs more independence to manage his office. The office deals with potentially politically explosive issues, such as studies into the sale of assets, the auto bailout, and the risks of ongoing deficits, so it needs protection from reprisals if it publishes reports that don't sit well with the government.... Some speculate the hiring delays and budget cut will effectively squeeze Mr. Page out of a job and that it wouldn't be happening without the government's blessing... "
AND now Friggin' Flaherty wants to have carte blanche authority over a new $3 Billion discretionary chequing account??? How do we know it won't be used to fund a Tory re-election campaign? Who is accountable?
To simple Jim's request for a slush fund I say NO! No matter how pressing the recession (you denied existed) gets - no matter how you frame your argument - no matter how you rationalize it - - I say, emphatically ... No Thanks!
Friday, February 20, 2009
During the Great Depression we had a Worker's Unity League. We had Tim Buck. We had voices who spoke and fought for me and you. We saw a 'ginger group' evolve - to speak for others. To the south, we had John Lewis and his brothers.
We witnessed Estevan, Stratford and 'Onto Ottawa'. We saw a solidarity in purpose. And sacrifice. We saw brave one's speak against the madness in their midst ... against capitalism and its vice.
Today? Amid our growing collective discontent and marginalization there is a perverse disconnect - a voice missing.
Labour is mute.
Its leaders, long ago co-opted and bought off by the capitalist machine, now beg borrow and steal to keep their own position's safe and their noses clean. All the while making faux Versailles-lian peace with a morally bankrupt system that is concurrently raping the worker of their livelihood and dignity.
Stimulus this - Stimulus that. Today's labour leaders care not they are abetting the preservation of greed and corporate dynasties. All they care care about is the insular 'me'...
Unlike the 1930s, a voice missing today....
Labour's done and gone away.
Monday, February 9, 2009
What strikes one most about our present economic crisis are the paucity of voices from our big-business sector speaking against Tory PM Stephen Harper's desperate stimulus plan.
My, how times have changed.
During the last depression, after his own death-bed conversion, Prime-Minister R.B. Bennett announced before a stunned Board of Trade in St John, New Brunswick that: "I warn you that in the days to come there will be more, not less, interference by government with business."
Years later, Bennett's former private secretary, R.K. Finlayson could not shake the moment, As he recalled, the events of that night stuck because of "the look of horror on the faces of those men hearing such an utterance coming from a man who was regarded as the embodiement [sic] of big business untrammeled by state interference."**
Funny, eh? This time around Canadian capitalism seem's to be 'on-board' with the Tory programme. No real outcry this time. Aside from the odd dissenter there seems to be virtually no opposition emanating from the economic ruling class. Where's their outrage? Why are they not protesting Harper's abandonment of his principles? Where's their demonstrable fidelity to the free and unfettered market?
Ah, ... but of course this time big-business is guaranteed a bailout!
Silly me. How then could we possibly expect our men of integrity and industry today to react otherwise?
After all, what's better than a government guarantee that will not only protect one's privately-owned corporation but commits to preserving the flawed status-quo that spawned this horror in the first place!
The time for a revolution is nigh? - - - No?
** R.K. Finlayson, 'Life With R.B.: That Man Bennett' (unpublished manuscript c.1967?), LAC (Library Archives Canada), MG30, E 143, (ms.) p.252.