Sunday, October 29, 2006

Reasons not to vote for Stephen Harper

These are the reasons I can come up with at this point in time. I will publish a more extensive list when the next federal election comes.

1) abandoning Kyoto commitments, in the face of overwhelming evidence of the climate change threat, which Canada and almost all other industrialized countries had already signed.

2) refusing to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, a document that many countries including Canada has worked on for 20 years, thus further harming relations with aboriginals in Canada.

3) phony choice in child care policy, in place of national child care policy agreed to by Canada and the provinces

4) trashing of the Kelowna accord for aboriginal peoples, again agreed to by the feds and the provincesw

5) raising the income tax of the poorest income group.

6) supporting the Israeli flattening of Lebanon.

7) gutting of social programs which support women, aboriginals, volunteers, and adult literacy.

7) language and decisions used by Stephen Harper which is eerily similar to language and decisions used by George Bush, such as "cut and run," "stay the course," banning coverage of soldier's caskets.

8) as detailed above, an unwillingness or inability to work with the provinces or the international community.

9) inability or unwillingness to work with the opposition parties, after complaining as the official opposition in the previous Parliament that the government was unwilling to work with them. The Difference is that the previous government did work with the opposition; it was just a different party. The Harper regime is unable or unwilling to work with any of the opposition parties.

10) David Emerson.

11) Garth Turner.

12) threatening to kill gun registry.

13) proposed legislation that would allow police to spy on internet users without a warrant.

14) if elected with a majority, a Harper Conservative government will likely sign on to the US's dangerous misguided ballistic missle defence program.

15) breaking promises to increase foreign aid to G* average, and instead letting it fall.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bill Maher takes on the neocons

From Crooks and Liars, check on Bill Maher do a new segment in which he rips into the neon "thinktanks'" histry of abject failure.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Bad move, Stephen Harper.

I'm not a member of the Liberal Party, but as a concerned Canadian citizen, I do care who will be prime minister of Canada after the next election. When Michael Ignatieff called the Israel attack on Qana a war crime, I finally felt that he might actually be OK after all in that position.

I don't think he had in mind what was coming from the Conservatives in response, but I'm not surprised. When Stephen Harper called not only Ignatieff but all Liberal leadership candidates anti-Israel, he implicitly also called all of us who agree with Ignatieff anti-Israel, and that's a lot of Canadians. He called me anti-Israel.

I think that even most Canadians who would disagree with Ignatieff and agree with Harper on Israel wouldn't be so myopic and simple-minded as to believe that that necessarily means that Ignatieff is anti-Israel.

I think Ken Dryden said it best, when he said that Harper is "completely wrong."

He said, “all that is, is creating divides and Mr. Harper has shown himself to be a great divider," and went on to say that since Harper became prime minister, he has proven himself to be a great divider, dividing Canada into black and white, into those with us and those against us.

Now to the heart of the issue, as far as I'm concerned. The indiscriminate killing of civilians is wrong, regardless who the victim is and who the perpetrator is. Simple and easy to understand, one would think, but apparently beyond the comprehension of many.

One of those many, the Prime Minister of Canada, called myself and many other good Canadians anti-Israel. Bad move, Harper.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Give me hegemony or give me death

This is from

The problem is not that the Democrats are intimidated. The problem is that the Democrats are part of the problem. The editors of Impeach the President indirectly acknowledge this fact when they report that Congress "looked the other way" when Bush acknowledged that he lied to cover up his felony of illegally spying on U.S. citizens and declared the real criminal to be the NSA official who blew the whistle. Democrats, no less than Republicans, have permitted the Bush regime to violate the separation of powers and the rule of law. A branch of government that no longer defends its power is a branch of government that no longer believes in its power. Just as the Reichstag faded away for Hitler, the U.S. Congress has faded away for the Bush administration.

Claes Ryn is correct when he says a change of mind has occurred. The Constitution and the political system based on it are on the ropes because the players no longer believe in them. They believe in executive power to act forcefully in behalf of "American exceptionalism."

Civil libertarians rely on the judiciary to defend constitutional rights, but the Supreme Court has been compromised by Bush's appointments of Roberts and Alito, men who believe in "energy in the executive." Without support from Congress, the judiciary cannot protect civil liberty. With the passage of the recent detainee and spy bills, Congress has allied itself with the Bush regime against civil liberty.

Beliefs are more important than institutions. Michael Polanyi wrote that if people believed in the principles of Stalinism, democracy would uphold Stalinism. If people believe in American hegemony, they will not complain when barriers to hegemonic actions are removed. If people believe fighting terrorism is more important than civil liberty, they will lose civil liberty.

What America needs to refurbish is its beliefs. Without renewing our beliefs, we cannot renew our civil liberties and hold government accountable.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Chomsky on 9/11 conspiracy theories

Here's Chomsky making the best succinct statement I have heard yet against the proliferation of 9/11 conspiracy theories, in a Znet sustainer forum.:

ZNet Sustianer: Dear Noam, There is much documentation observed and uncovered by the 911 families themselves suggesting a criminal conspiracy within the Bush Administration to cover-up the 9/11 attacks (see DVD, 9/11: Press for Truth). Additionally, much evidence has been put forward to question the official version of events. This has come in part from Paul Thompson, an activist who has creatively established the 9/11 Timeline, a free 9/11 investigative database for activist researchers, which now, according to The Village Voice’s James Ridgeway, rivals the 9/11 Commission’s report in accuracy and lucidity (see,,mondo1,52830,6.html, or

Noam Chomsky: Hard for me to respond to the rest of the letter, because I am not persuaded by the assumption that much documentation and other evidence has been uncovered. To determine that, we'd have to investigate the alleged evidence. Take, say, the physical evidence. There are ways to assess that: submit it to specialists -- of whom there are thousands -- who have the requisite background in civil-mechanical engineering, materials science, building construction, etc., for review and analysis; and one cannot gain the required knowledge by surfing the internet. In fact, that's been done, by the professional association of civil engineers. Or, take the course pursued by anyone who thinks they have made a genuine discovery: submit it to a serious journal for peer review and publication. To my knowledge, there isn't a single submission.

ZNet Sustianer: A question that arises for me is that regardless of this issue, how do I as an activist prevent myself from getting distracted by such things as conspiracy theories instead of focusing on the bigger picture of the institutional analysis of private profit over people?

Noam Chomsky: I think this reaches the heart of the matter. One of the major consequences of the 9/11 movement has been to draw enormous amounts of energy and effort away from activism directed to real and ongoing crimes of state, and their institutional background, crimes that are far more serious than blowing up the WTC would be, if there were any credibility to that thesis. That is, I suspect, why the 9/11 movement is treated far more tolerantly by centers of power than is the norm for serious critical and activist work. How do you personally set priorities? That's of course up to you. I've explained my priorities often, in print as well as elsewhere, but we have to make our own judgments.