Saturday, December 31, 2005

"New Years Day" (U2)

All is quiet on New Year's Day.
A world in white gets underway.
I want to be with you, be with you night and day.
Nothing changes on New Year's Day.
On New Year's Day.

I... will be with you again.
I... will be with you again.

Under a blood-red sky
A crowd has gathered in black and white
Arms entwined, the chosen few
The newspaper says, says
Say it's true, it's true...
And we can break through
Though torn in two
We can be one.

I... I will begin again
I... I will begin again.

Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Oh, oh.
Oh, maybe the time is right.
Oh, maybe tonight.
I will be with you again.
I will be with you again.

And so we are told this is the golden age
And gold is the reason for the wars we wage
Though I want to be with you
Be with you night and day
Nothing changes
On New Year's Day
On New Year's Day
On New Year's Day

U2, "New Years Day," from War, released 1983

New Year's Eve

It's new years eve. I'm not doing anything, nor do I care to.

I'm starting to get into The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs. It's supposed to be a seminal book. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Nixon was brought down. Shouldn't Bush be?

The revelation that Bush secretly authorized wiretaps on certain people is yet another indication of the creation of a police state. Spying on peace groups, restricting access to government information, willingness to torture -- all these signs there should be setting off alarm bells. This is an administration, cabal with an agenda, and they will do whatever it takes, including lying through their teeth, to see their agenda through. This cabal running Washington is one of the most critical threats of our time. Throughout history there have been people or governments who will be remembered as the most dangerous men/women of their time -- Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler and the Nazis to name a few examples. The Bush cabal, actually led by Dick Cheney, fall into that category. It is esseential that the benevolent mask be removed from this horrendous monster so that the American people can see them for what they are.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


I saw Syriana tonight. It was an excellent movie, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to see a movie that would challenge them intellectually and make them think. It is a comlicated movie in terms of plot. There are a number of spearate yet interwoven storylines, so pay attention.

I do think it is an important movie in that it challenges current reality in a number of respects: our dependence on oil, the oil industry's vested interest in violence and unrest, the lengths that industrialists or fundamentalists on either side would go to, including assasinations and bombings, to furhter there own interest, are all highlighted during the course of this film.

Watch it with someone you love. Or someone you want to kill. I have no idea what that means.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Klein on torture

Klein's main point in the column I linked to in the repvious post is that the US commission of torure is not a new phenomenon by any means. It has a history, the best example of which is the School of the America's, in which trainees were taught "coercive interrogation techniques" Thus, the claim of shock by many at revelations of torture by the current US government, and shouts of "never again" are problematic in that they deny this history. Nevertheless,

Despite all the talk of outsourced torture, the Bush administration’s real innovation has been its insourcing, with prisoners now being abused by U.S. citizens in U.S.–run prisons and transported to third-party countries in U.S. planes. It is this departure from clandestine etiquette that has so much of the military and intelligence community up in arms: Bush has robbed everyone of plausible deniability.

For those nervously wondering if it is time to start using alarmist words like totalitarianism, this shift is of huge significance. When torture is covertly practised but officially and legally repudiated, there is still the hope that if atrocities are exposed, justice could prevail. When torture is pseudo-legal and when those responsible merely deny that it is torture, what dies is what political philosopher Hannah Arendt called “the juridical person in man”; soon enough, victims no longer bother to search for justice, so sure are they of the futility (and danger) of that quest. This impunity is a mass version of what happens inside the torture chamber, when prisoners are told they can scream all they want because no one can hear them and no one is going to save them.

Gulp. That's makes my blood run cold.

The terrible irony of the anti-historicism of the current torture debate is that in the name of eradicating future abuses, past crimes are being erased from the record. Since the U.S. has never had truth commissions, the memory of its complicity in faraway crimes has always been fragile. Now these memories are fading even further, and the disappeared are being disappeared all over again.

This casual amnesia does a disservice not only to the victims but also to the cause of trying to remove torture from the U.S. policy arsenal once and for all. Already there are signs that the administration will deal with the current uproar by returning to the Cold War model of plausible deniability. The McCain amendment protects every “individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government”; it says nothing about torture training or buying information from the exploding industry of for-profit interrogators.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

spontaneous post.


Well, I don't have a lot of time. Want to go to bed soon, as I've got an early morning tomorrow. Was going to talk about Naomi Klein and torture, but fuck it. I'll do it tomorrow.

Have a good night.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bush's friend Stephen Harper

I found out about this while watching the CBc National tonight, even though it happened a vew days ago. Turns out that American conservatives view Stephen Haper as the great hope with respect to the prospect of "steering Canada in a more conservative direction."

This commentary from a contributor to the Washington Times from the Cato Institute is a great example of this:

Why does President Bush hope Christmas comes a little late this year? Because on Jan. 23, Canada may elect the most pro-American leader in the Western world. Free-market economist Stephen Harper, leader of the opposition Conservative Party, is pro-free trade, pro-Iraq war, anti-Kyoto, and socially conservative. Move over Tony Blair: If elected, Mr. Harper will quickly become Mr. Bush's new best friend.

Warnings abound about the continued presence of progressive politics if the Liberals win. Heaven forbid:

If Martin's Liberal Party is re-elected for the fourth consecutive time, Canadian taxpayers will continue footing the bill for an expensive welfare state epitomized by its archaic government-run health-care system. Social policy experimentation on issues such as drugs and homosexual rights will continue in an incremental but decidedly progressive direction.

To be fair, Stephen Harper has attempted to distance himself from American conservatives by writing a retort to the Washington Times

Thursday, December 08, 2005

John Lennon 1940-1980

As I listen to Happy XMas (War is Over) right now on the John Lennon Collection, I recall. I must have been almost 13 years old when I heard that John lennon has been murdered. Did it impact me? I don't remember where I was. My political views had not developed by this age. I did know, however, that John was my favourite Beatle.

Since then, especially in my adult years when my progressive views have solidified, I have taken him on as somewhat of a hero. He was a mortal human being with imperfections, but it was he stood for. He stood for love and peace, two ideas which were bouncing around in my head like ping pong balls.

This is for John, and may his (our) dream come true:

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

And for the coming holiday season:

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
Ans so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
Ans so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
War is over over
If you want it
War is over

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Vigil for hostages

Candlelight vigil. Tomorrow, 7:00 pm, English Bay beach. For the CPT hostages in Iraq.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Sign this petition, please

Please go to this website and sign the petition there pleaing for the release of the CPT hostages in Iraq. Here is how it reads:

An Urgent Appeal: Please Release Our Friends in Iraq

Four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams were taken this past Saturday, November 26, in Baghdad, Iraq. They are not spies, nor do they work in the service of any government. They are people who have dedicated their lives to fighting against war and have clearly and publicly opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They are people of faith, but they are not missionaries. They have deep respect for the Islamic faith and for the right of Iraqis to self-determination.

C.P.T. first came to Iraq in October 2002 to oppose the US invasion, and it has remained in the country throughout the occupation in solidarity with the Iraqi people. The group has been invaluable in alerting the world to many of the horrors facing Iraqis detained in US-run prisons and detention centers. C.P.T. was among the first to document the torture occurring at the Abu Ghraib prison, long before the story broke in the mainstream press. Its members have spent countless hours interviewing Iraqis about abuse and torture suffered at the hands of US forces and have disseminated this information internationally.

Each of the four C.P.T. members being held in Iraq has dedicated his life to resisting the darkness and misery of war and occupation. Convinced that it is not enough to oppose the war from the safety of their homes, they made the difficult decision to go to Iraq, knowing that the climate of mistrust created by foreign occupation meant that they could be mistaken for spies or missionaries. They went there with a simple purpose: to bear witness to injustice and to embody a different kind of relationship between cultures and faiths. Members of C.P.T. willingly undertook the risks of living among Iraqis, in a common neighborhood outside of the infamous Green Zone. They sought no protection from weapons or armed guards, trusting in, and benefiting from, the goodwill of the Iraqi people. Acts of kindness and hospitality from Iraqis were innumerable and ensured the C.P.T. members’ safety and wellbeing. We believe that spirit will prevail in the current situation.

We appeal to those holding these activists to release them unharmed so that they may continue their vital work as witnesses and peacemakers.


# Arundhati Roy, author, The God of Small Things
# Tariq Ali, author, Bush in Babylon
# Denis Halliday, former U.N. Assistant Secretary General and Head of the U.N. Humanitarian Program in Iraq (1997-1998)
# Cindy Sheehan, mother of Casey Sheehan
# Noam Chomsky, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
# Haifa Zangana, Iraqi novelist
# Kamil Mahdi, Iraqi economist and anti-occupation activist. Lecturer, University of Exeter
# Mahmood Mamdani, "Herbert Lehman Professor of Government," Columbia University
# Rashid Khalidi, "Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies," Middle East Institute, Columbia University
# Cindy and Craig Corrie, parents of Rachel Corrie, killed by Israeli military
# Hasan Abu Nimah, Permanent Representative of Jordan at the United Nations (1995-2000)
# Ralph Nader, former independent presidential candidate
# James Abourezk, former US Senator
# Howard Zinn, historian
# Naseer Aruri, Professor (Emeritus) University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
# Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence/Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
# Naomi Klein, author/journalist
# Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights
# Rev. Daniel Berrigan, poet
# Jeremy Scahill, independent journalist
# Mazin Qumsiyeh, author, Sharing the Land Of Canaan, board member US Campaign to End the Occupation
# Milan Rai, author, War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq
# Sam Husseini, writer
# Dahr Jamail, independent journalist
# Ali Abunimah & Nigel Parry, Co-founders, Electronic Iraq
# Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator, United for Peace and Justice
# Eve Ensler, author
# Jennifer Harbury, Director, Stop Torture Permanently Campaign
# Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Detroit
# Anthony Arnove, author, Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal
# Medea Benjamin, Global Exchange
# G. Simon Harak, SJ, War Resisters League
# David Hartsough, Co-Founder and Capacity Building Director of Nonviolent Peaceforce and Executive Director of Peaceworkers. Nonviolent Peace Force
# Blase Bonpane, Office of the Americas
# Carol Bragg, Coordinator, Rhode Island Peace Mission
# Rev. Richard Deats, former Executive Secretary and Fellowship Editor, Fellowship of Reconciliation
# Omar Diop, Président de la Coalition Sénégalaise des Défenseurs des Droits humains
# Jim Forest, Secretary, The Orthodox Peace Fellowship
# Thomas C. Cornell, The Catholic Worker
# David Grant, Nonviolent Peaceforce
# Ted Lewis, Global Exchange
# Charles Jenks, Chair of Advisory Board, Traprock Peace Center
# Jeff Leys, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
# Andréa Schmidt, independent journalist
# Michael Albert, ZNet
# Richard McDowell, Senior Fellow for Iraq Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation
# Dave McReynolds, former Chair, War Resisters International
# Peter Lems, Program Associate for Iraq, American Friends Service Committee
# Kevin Zeese, Director, Democracy Rising
# Sunny Miller, Director, Traprock Peace Center
# Dave Robinson, Director, Pax Christi USA
# Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, National Coordinator, Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq
# David Swanson, Co-Founder, After Downing Street, Board Member Progressive Democrats of America, Washington Director
# Mary Trotochaud, Senior Fellow for Iraq Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation
# Michael Birmingham, activist
# Barbara Wien, Co-Director, Peace Brigades International/USA
# Bishop Gabino Zavala, President, Pax Christi USA

Thursday, December 01, 2005

World AIDS Day

Today is world AIDS day. This cruel virus has been ravaging people and communities for about 25 years now. In spite of medial advancements, the onset of AZT, coctails, and so forth, the ravaging continues. Unfortunately, there is still much work to do, in terms of material and emotional support for those aflicted in their families. The vast majority of current AIDS deaths take place in continental Africa, where a lack of education and support resources, with which the West could help greatly. Every day in Africa, 6000 Africans, 1300 of them children, die of AIDS.

On this day, I would ask people to think about those who have passed from AIDS, and to find out more about the disease and related social issues. There are numerous organizations which attempt to address the AIDS pandemic, including the Stephen Lewis Foundation, Debt AIDS Trade Africa, and UNAIDS.

Addendum: Here is a statement give by Stephen Lewis on World AIDS Day.