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This post isn’t so much about Greece as it is about evil versus imperfection, which certainly allows us to ask whether what’s going on in Europe is a result of imperfection or evil. Really, The same leaders who are showing glee torturing Greece are indifferent, and worse, toward neo-Nazis rampaging in Ukraine. Are they just mistaken? Or evil? How many reports have you read about officials, caught up the the machinery grinding Greece, wringing their hands over the pain that they are causing the Greek people? I’m not talking about polite, diplomatic talk from officials speaking publicly or producing papers that the public will have access to. I’m talking about freely given, unofficial commentary from deciders in Europe indicating that they are aghast at what the troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) is doing to the Greek population.
This dark world’s rulers have modified themselves into being monsters. Their values are: ‘riches for the strongest’. In other words, Their values are machismo, violence, fierceness, betrayal and lawlessness. Perversity can be regarded as a form of lawlessness. When you’re lawless, you are going over the boundary demarcated by a law. Same thing for perversity, although the law broken is often unwritten. People who turn themselves into monsters without empathy look like this: “It was already there in spring 2010, when the then prime minister, George Papandreou, begged Merkel not to crush his country with austerity, and she coolly replied: “We want to make sure nobody else will want this.”” Let me guess; The institutions made her do it. The mass misery Merkel supports, morally and materially, can’t be excused with a “I was following orders” plea either. She’s among those who issue orders. (See “This referendum is a fight between the Greeks and Europe’s cruel capitalism” by Aditya Chakrabortty.)
Such monsters have no hesitation about spiritually and mentally ruining millions if they think, as they have chosen to think, that the result will be glory to them. When you weaken people to the point where you can take anything, including life, from those ruined ones, and then when you proceed to take from them, you get their attention. And that’s your glory, which will meet a greater glory. But that isn’t something they dwell on. It could slow them down.
Anyway, A poster in the discussion attached to the top of post linked-to article asked “Pope Frank, were are you?” I don’t know anything about the poster or why he asked, but the question is a good one. If the Pope can speak out about global warming, a big issue, Can he not speak out about the torturing of Greece by the troika, another big issue? But maybe he has. I don’t know. In any case, my online comment was riffing off of that poster’s comment. I’ll first give you an excerpt from the top of post linked-to article, which is my custom, even though my comment is more general rather than dealing directly with the subject of the Greek predicament and the referendum that may result in Greece’s exit from the corrupt European Union. First the excerpt:
In fact, getting Tsipras out of the way appears to be a major goal of the European leaders and lenders, economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote on Monday.
“After all, it is extremely inconvenient to have in Greece a government that is so opposed to the types of policies that have done so much to increase inequality in so many advanced countries, and that is so committed to curbing the unbridled power of wealth,” Stiglitz argued. “They seem to believe that they can eventually bring down the Greek government by bullying it into accepting an agreement that contravenes its mandate.”
The powerful neoliberal ruling classes in Europe are willing to torture the entire country of Greece in order to use that to get rid of Alexis Tsipras… so that they, and their allies can be free to torture the entire country of Greece. I don’t see any evil there. Do you?
My response to the poster’s question about the apparent mia Pople follows:
Interesting. Has he said anything? I don’t know. I’m not a Catholic or a fan of the Pope. I’ve always held the position that people – not side issues, as important as they may be – come first. I feel that if you truly have faith in God (God as in God, and not humankind collectively), then you’d care about people first and foremost, because God will deal with the big problems that we can’t, in his own way and time.
It’s easy to get all righteous about the relatively superficial stuff (global warming, same sex marriage), if you have to in order to stay popular. Think about all the rightwingers who, right now, are sounding like leftwingers in relation to same sex marriage in the US. I personally don’t agree with same sex marriage – in some ways. My principles and beliefs, while never closed off from discussion (we are imperfect and can get things wrong and so I can’t take the position that I absolutely know that I always get it right), are not negotiable. It’s not horse trading. I believe in human rights. I believe that gays (not always but that doesn’t matter) are actually gay, but I don’t believe that that is natural, except from a certain standpoint. It – and much else – stems from imperfection, which our first human parents introduced into the human race when they willingly and knowingly turned against God and his (right to establish) standards. With time, We don’t evolve. We become more imperfect and if neo-Nazis running around killing and torturing in Europe, with leaders’ blessing, isn’t proof of no evolution, then I don’t know what is. That position, and my belief in an actual creator God, sets me outside of the Left, unless it’s the ‘number’ of issues that I am in agreement on with leftists that make me leftwing, in which case I’m still leftwing. What I care about most, however, is being true to myself, and, so far, that means being faithful to my God.
I’d also like to hear the Pope talk about his past. But that’s just me and a handful of others, like Robert Parry (http://bit.ly/1KlC1CT). Others (environmentalists), who might like to have powerful allies no matter what sort of background they have, may be less interested in digging up dirt. So be it. If you’ve aided and abetted torture and killing, you may get a pass from desperate people who need you for some purpose, but you will still answer to God, eventually. And you don’t get a pass from me. I believe in forgiveness. But I don’t forgive a lot or easily, simply because that’s the kind of forgiveness I show. It’s the kind that can’t be mistaken for a pat on the back for serious wrongdoing or wrongdoing that indicates serious moral failings.
I wish the environmentalists, and gays and lgbt’s (and human rights) success, but do believe that they will only get it, as individuals, if they side with God. It’s a matter of loyalty. And he’s not looking for the impossible. Gays are gay. I don’t want them to pretend that they aren’t or stop living like gays in order to respect a design that they’ve strayed from (not by choice). I could be wrong about that, but I don’t think that God requires it. He doesn’t require the impossible. He does require, however, that they understand that homosexuality is not part of his design and will one day be eliminated. Gays who insist that God is who ‘they’ say he is, can do so. It’s a free universe. But that’s not exactly loyalty, Is it?
“Europe’s Attack on Greek Democracy” by Joseph Stiglitz
An excerpt from the above linked-to article (referred to in the top of post linked-to article) follows:
The rising crescendo of bickering and acrimony within Europe might seem to outsiders to be the inevitable result of the bitter endgame playing out between Greece and its creditors. In fact, European leaders are finally beginning to reveal the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute, and the answer is not pleasant: it is about power and democracy much more than money and economics…
We should be clear: almost none of the huge amount of money loaned to Greece has actually gone there. It has gone to pay out private-sector creditors – including German and French banks. Greece has gotten but a pittance, but it has paid a high price to preserve these countries’ banking systems. The IMF and the other “official” creditors do not need the money that is being demanded. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the money received would most likely just be lent out again to Greece…
But why would Europe do this?…
That concern for popular legitimacy is incompatible with the politics of the eurozone, which was never a very democratic project. Most of its members’ governments did not seek their people’s approval to turn over their monetary sovereignty to the ECB…
And, sure enough, what we are seeing now, 16 years after the eurozone institutionalized those [power] relationships, is the antithesis of democracy: Many European leaders want to see the end of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s leftist government. After all, it is extremely inconvenient to have in Greece a government that is so opposed to the types of policies that have done so much to increase inequality in so many advanced countries, and that is so committed to curbing the unbridled power of wealth.
I believe in the Left, but not the way most Leftists do, including many who don’t believe in an actual God, who created (not ‘evolved’) humankind. I believe in democracy, but not in the way that most supporters of democracy do. For a long time, after I became religious (and I am not now religious in the same way I first was), I simplistically rejected democracy, believing that you can’t be both a theocrat and a democrat. But much of what supporters of democracy believe in is, simply, godly, or decent. How could I object to fairness and a regard for human rights? I don’t. Most of the time, in my discussions (with flesh and blood people and online and in posts I do for my own blog) those distinctions don’t enter into my commentary. They don’t need to. But, in this post, I’ll point out that I am indeed a theocrat, because I indeed believe that like it or not (and normal people will like it), humankind will live (and flourish) under a theocracy. (The so-called theocracies on earth right now are only divinely ruled systems if you are talking about a divinity named Satan.) In a way, We are now. People just don’t see it. And that’s because people aren’t interested in seeing it.
God, whose self-given name is Jehovah (however it’s pronounced and spelled), embraces a type of democracy. He embraces a progressive democracy, one that consists of self-aware individuals who are loyal to him and his son, Jesus Christ, and who look forward to a time when humankind will be able to live to it’s fullest potential because the value of Christ’s shed blood will have been applied to imperfect humankind, raising it to (it’s) perfection. There will be no place in that future world for those who choose to reject God’s standards and his rule over humankind and the universe, for, unlike now, trouble-makers will simply not be allowed to influence society around them. They’ll be destroyed.
Call it cruel if you like. As free moral agents you can accept God’s standards or die. Is that freedom? Ah yes, but reality is reality. There’s only one reality. From our imperfect, and Satan’s scheming, standpoint, that freedom might seem false. But is it? The young child who wants to play in traffic and is told by his parents that he can’t because cars will kill him aren’t being cruel, Are they? In our imperfection, We can really, truly display faulty thinking (and feeling), especially when we are encouraged and compelled to do so by lawless, proud neighbors (including employers and family and friends) who themselves have been influenced by a powerful, invisible spirit creature who they’ve actually been conditioned to believe doesn’t exist. And I’ll leave it there. If you want to know why Satan is Satan and not merely the personification of wickedness, you can read my essay The Issue Of Universal Sovereignty.
*edit, June 30, 2015 – I have a link in the top of post image to an article that I should have quoted from. I will now do so. I will also beef up this post, keeping to the main line of thought.
An excerpt from the above linked-to Globe And Mail editorial follows:
There are many patriotic reasons to reject the grotesque Mother Canada monument being proposed for a rocky outcrop along the shores of Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
The most persuasive is that this towering Colossus of Wars, meant to memorialize Canada’s military dead through the image of a shrouded, beckoning female figure, should never be imposed on a national park. End of the story – except that the official guardians, Parks Canada, appear more interested in exploiting a beautiful seaside site than protecting its natural integrity. Shame on them.
My online response to the above linked-to article follows:
Harper knows his place and that place doesn’t allow him to show solidarity with the people, unless they want to fool themselves into thinking it does. Firstly, I have zero use for soldiers who do not serve ‘all’ of Canada and can be used, in fact, to attack Canadians (First Nations, environmentalists) who the state sees as being in the way of business conducted by it’s (too free) private sector partners (http://bit.ly/1NmAD2L). Canadian soldiers who are defending Canada against actual attacks (and that doesn’t include the bogus war on terror) have much more claim to honor than those who don’t inform themselves and then allow themselves to be used by bloody imperialists.
None of that matters to Stephen Harper who is just using soldiers for political purposes. You get an idea how genuine the guy is by looking at how he eagerly made propaganda videos showing soldiers’ faces after making a big deal about the killing of soldiers in Quebec in 2014 (http://bit.ly/ZQRZS1 and http://on.thestar.com/1Fk6Wu4), changing the rules to prohibit showing soldiers’ (overseas) faces in videos.
What’s it all for? It’s not for victims of terrorists, as Malalai Joya (http://bit.ly/1eNZvFq) and Ukrainians attacked by neo-Nazis (http://bit.ly/1IiMyP6) can confirm. It’s not for Canadians’ physical security or economic security as any number of sources will attest (http://bit.ly/1NlqwdO). The man simply wants to be a player, which requires him to bow to those who are already powerful players.
The US, playing the long running great game (oil resources and control of them and by extension dominance of the fossil-fueled, global capitalist system) counts on it’s allies to support it as it does Cold War 2 in conjunction with a North American energy superpower (and leverage therefore, allowing uncle Sam to favor allies and punish rivals in it’s bid for continuing dominance). Therefore, As the US seeks to forestall a ‘natural’ Eurasion bloc that includes Russia, it must push a narrative of evil commie Putin ‘invading’ Ukraine, which the US itself has done, by stealth. That’s also why Nazis get a pass. Nazis in Ukraine are happy to attack Putin and Ukrainians who speak Russian.
Who are Mother Canada’s arms open for Harper?
Harper’s fascism is showing and he’s okay with that. The world, including those who are fascists and those who are anti-fascists, is noticing Harper. John Barber’s Guardian article titled “‘Offensively tasteless’ Mother Canada statue plan sparks outrage against PM” came with readers’ comments about it, including one poster’s comment in which he asked why the Guardian was carrying so many articles about Stephen Harper. I answered that the whole world notices Stephen Harper because that’s what he’s about. (He could get noticed doing good things, but that’s not who he is.) He ramps up the perversity, churning out omnibus Bills that absolutely gut environmental regs so that his friends in oil, gas and mining can freely plunder plus police state laws plus rules effectively making it harder for many to vote plus the obscene Bill C-51 (an ultra police state Bill) that allows the government to arrest you if it suspects you ‘may’ commit a crime, which former prime ministers and judges have decried. And then there’s the killing of Bills (like C-300) that would make crimes committed overseas by Canadian mining and other companies punishable in Canada. Those within the gangster corporatocracy who depend on people like Harper to smooth the way for their criminal operations notice and are thankful. The Azov Battalion in Ukraine may not be the most powerful organization in Europe, but they are the focus of a lot of positive attention by uncle Sam just now and Harper is always alert to please the US ruling class. Therefore, He favors the neoliberal neo-Nazis running amok in Ukraine. He hopes that he will in turn be noticed by uncle Sam and anyone powerful, and he is. That’s all he lives for.
An excerpt from Murray Brewster’s article, titled “Ukraine’s Azov Battalion is looking for help from Canada,” follows:
In Ukraine, they are sometimes called the Men in Black. It can be a term of endearment for the roughly 1,500 members of the notorious Azov Regiment. But for the rest of the world, there is a different, more sinister connotation —something a spokesman for the group says Canada can help correct…
A notorious ultra-nationalist paramilitary group in Ukraine is appealing to Canada to bestow credibility on them and burnish their image. In an interview with The Canadian Press, Alexander Alferov seemed weary about fending off claims the ultra-nationalist, all-volunteer paramilitary organization is full of neo-Nazis and hard-core white supremacists…
[Alexander] Alferov said it makes little difference whether Canadians provide training. What’s important to them is countering what they see as Russian propaganda.
“The opinion that Azov Regiment is neo-Nazi exists only in the international press,” he said…
The regiment originated as a national socialist group called “Patriot of Ukraine”. Its websites praised white supremacy, racial purity, and the need for authoritarian power.
Andriy Biletsky, a top Azov commander, founded the original organization; local media outlets covered several violent incidents in which the group was involved.
Some of the regiment’s fighters have been photographed wearing Nazi symbols. The group’s own flag is an inverted Wolfangel symbol, which was used by the Waffin SS. They are Slavic symbols that Hitler’s Germany appropriated, Alferov insisted.
Clearly, Alferov isn’t serious about the world having the wrong idea about his, and his associates’, ideology. They’re proud of their racist, white supremacist, neo-Nazi ideology and have no intention of hiding it, as Alec Yuhn indicates in his Foreign Policy article titled “Preparing for War With Ukraine’s Fascist Defenders of Freedom.” He refers to the Azov Battalion (that, note, has been absorbed into the Ukrainian National Guard) as “this openly Nazi unit.” Because it is. Only here, with his overture to Harper, does Alferov pretend that his gang of neo-Nazis isn’t what it is. I assume that that’s because he understands that if he expects to have any hope of getting Harper’s attention, then he must speak like this, for, as like-minded as Harper is, Harper would not be able to respond positively to a Nazi requesting his pledge of support while displaying his swastika. It wouldn’t play well – yet – back in Canada. I don’t see Alferov’s move as being anything other than stemming from a desire to get the attention of someone who is more powerful than he is, who in fact has indicated that he is supportive of the neo-Nazis in Ukraine. Indeed, ‘Canada’ is over there right now showing both moral and material support, and making a show (framing the issue, along with others who should know better) of avoiding the neo-Nazis, which isn’t possible. The issue of neo-Nazis is avoided by the nonsense claim that Canada will only deal with the Ukraine government and it’s army. But Poroshenko has been absorbing the Nazis into the army and other ministries and into government itself. Don’t expect Harper and his attack dog Jason Kenney to say much about that.
From Robert Parry’s article titled “Ukrainians Get IMF’s Bitter Medicine,” we get the following:
After the violent ouster of elected President Yanukovych on Feb. 22 — after he rejected the IMF’s terms — the post-coup parliament cobbled together a new government which involved handing out four ministries to far-right parties whose armed neo-Nazi militias had spearheaded the coup.
Andriy Biletsky is (so far) the commander of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion. From Tom Parfitt’s article titled “Ukraine Crisis: The Neo-Nazi Brigade Fighting Pro-Russian Separatists,” we get the following:
Mr [Andriy] Biletsky, a muscular man in a black T-shirt and camouflage trousers, said the battalion was a light infantry unit, ideal for the urban warfare needed to take cities like Donetsk.
The 35-year old commander began creating the battalion after he was released from pre-trial detention in February in the wake of pro-western protests in Kiev. He had denied a charge of attempted murder, claiming it was politically motivated.
A former history student and amateur boxer, Mr Biletsky is also head of an extremist Ukrainian group called the Social National Assembly. “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival,” he wrote in a recent commentary. “A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”
The battalion itself is founded on right wing views, the commander said in Urzuf, and no Nazi convictions could exclude a recruit.
From an RT article titled “Ukraine’s neo-Nazi leader becomes top military adviser, legalizes fighters,” we get the following:
Ukraine’s Interpol-wanted leader of extremist group Right Sector, Dmitry Yarosh, has been appointed as an adviser to the country’s Chief of General Staff. He has agreed to legalize thousands of fighters as an assault team subordinate to the regular army.
From Robert Parry’s article titled “Burning Ukraine’s Protesters Alive,” we get the following:
However, as resistance to Kiev’s right-wing regime expanded in the ethnic Russian east and south, the coup regime found itself unable to count on regular Ukrainian troops to fire on civilians. Thus, its national security chief Andriy Parubiy, himself a neo-Nazi, turned to the intensely motivated neo-Nazi shock troops who had been battle-tested during the coup.
These extremists were reorganized as special units of the National Guard and dispatched to the east and south to do the dirty work that the regular Ukrainian military was unwilling to do. Many of these extreme Ukrainian nationalists lionize World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera and – like Bandera – dream of a racially pure Ukraine, free of Jews, ethnic Russians and other “inferior” beings. The slur of calling the Odessa protesters Colorado beetles — as they were being burned alive — was a reference to the black-and-red colors used by the ethnic Russian resistance in the east.
The nonsense, ‘Look over there!’ approach by the Harper government toward how it’s selling it’s decision to help train Ukrainian soldiers murdering eastern region Ukrainians (and opposition politicians and journalists and any citizens who object to their new, US-installed, neo-Nazi government) is just that. It’s nonsense. Clearly. Harper and Obama and all of those (all three major Canadian political parties plus Elizabeth May, sadly) going along with that regime change and anti-people program (austerity for most Ukrainians) know full well the character of the government Obama and his secretary of state Victoria Nuland helped birth. It’s fascist and violent and will allow powerful special interests (assorted Big Ag players, bankers and privatizers) to swallow down Ukraine, while ‘defense’ contractors make out like bandits.
Crimes unpunished don’t usually stop. In this dark world, they multiply. The troika, namely the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, are strangling Greece, with German and French leaders egging those ‘hit man’ institutions on and German MPs telling Greece to sell it’s islands! That must give them a particular kind of thrill. Force the nation where democracy was born – the commonly held view – to sell it’s country, literally.
From page 145 of “The Ugly Canadian – Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy,” by Yves Engler, we get the following:
Four years earlier, the National Post reported that Iran’s parliament passed a Nazi-like law requiring Jews to wear coloured labels in public. Harper excitedly jumped on the May 2006 front-page report. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen enough already from the Iranian regime to suggest that it is very capable of this kind of action,” the prime minister declared. Ignoring the fact Jews are represented in Iran’s parliament, Harper claimed: “We’ve seen a number of things from the Iranian regime that are along these lines… It boggles the mind that any regime on the face of the Earth would want to do anything that could remind people of Nazi Germany.” Of course, the story was completely false.
What was it that author Michael Harris reminded Steve Paiken of about Harper’s former ideological soul-mate Preston Manning? Manning’s assessment of Harper’s character included his opinion that he doesn’t think that words mean anything to Harper! See the TVO show titled “Harper In The Hot Seat.”
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
“‘Without tortures, life would not be a life. Nothing raises your vitality as when you’re holding someone’s life,’ says the soldier with the call sign ‘Mujahideen’.”
“In an exclusive interview with Podrobnosti, the soldiers also told about the torture of people. Prisoners were kept in basements. They were beaten with sticks and sexually assaulted. In addition to performing combat tasks, soldiers were ordered by Ruslan Onishchenko to steal civilians’ vehicles and equipment.
“‘Most people who are found intoxicated or homeless were detained and forced to perform work for us–to build something, to weld something. Cars were simply taken by force from ordinary civilians. They were beaten with sticks– that’s all on the video, what was previously heard. They really raped one man, and Mujahideen recorded it all.
“‘We had ten prisoners. Onishchenko encouraged the taking of prisoners and gave the ‘green light’ to such actions. ‘These are your prisoners – do with them what you want’, he would say.’”
Stephen Harper, like the rest of his class, has rejected God and sought to replace him. He’s free to do that, as anyone is. But he’s not free to do that without consequences, you’ll be happy to know. Imagine that type of person always being with us and our posterity. Imagine such an endless hell!
Harper has made moral choices that has resulted in a disturbance within his soul, as I’ve explained before. And that disturbance translates into trouble that he makes for others. He’s got something to prove. I call it The Lie. Part of The Lie is the idea that humankind is God. What do we know about God? Well, One thing we know about God is that he can give life or take it. That seems to be the part of God that people like Harper like most. The rest, having to do with things like simple honesty (Let your word ‘yes’ mean yes, and your word ‘no’ mean no, as Matthew 5:37 reports Jesus admonishing us), compassion and honoring agreements, he has no use for, clearly. (Here’s the latest, from the Toronto Star: “Conservative senators overrule Senate Speaker on union transparency bill” by Joanna Smith and Alex Boutilier) Stephen Harper, and friends of his like Daniel Al Takbir, eagerly play the game of ‘riches for the strongest’. They like a game in which there ‘has to be’ losers who they can then beat and deprive, even depriving the losers of life, so as to win and feel godlike. That’s a value that Harper has and, every time he mouths “Canadians,” tries to associate with the rest of us. He has to always be hurting others, which he does mainly by using his power to take freedom from them, so that they will notice. That’s the glory he seeks, which he values. Glory that is unseen – hating people without letting them know, in no uncertain terms, isn’t glory. Ergo…
“Just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a disapproved mental state to do the things not fitting. And they were filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed and badness, being full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice, being whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, schemers of what is harmful, disobedient to parents, without understanding, false to agreements, having no natural affection and merciless. Although these know full well the righteous decree of God – that those practicing such things are deserving of death – they not only keep on doing them but also approve of those practicing them.” – Romans 1:28-32
There’s no transcript for this video, of course. It’s TVO. For a long time TVO was sponsored by Vale Inco. Vale!!! (I believe it’s now officially known as Vale Canada Limited, and it’s a wholly owned subsidiary of Vale, a Brazillian mining company. pronunciation: vah lay) A freaking mining company! Way to go government of Ontario!
My online response to the above linked-to video follows:
Well, I wanted to spell Christian Loydcraft’s name right but for the life of me I could not find him online. It figures. Did Steve pronounce his name right? I typed “Christian” into the search field on the Queen’s University website and got lots of returns but nothing resembling Christian Loydcraft. I guess he’s moved on. Maybe he’s working for CSIS. Or Stephen Harper.
Christian, Steve points out, spoke at the same Parliamentary Committee that Pam spoke at. Steve quotes him commenting along the lines of ‘Canadians need to develop a more mature understanding of what it means to reconcile freedom with security’. Take that you do gooder Pam!
We understand Christian, and people like him. He’s essentially saying “Tough luck victims of neoliberal capitalism.” I absolutely agree that Canadians need to understand what it means to have a mature understanding of what it means to reconcile freedom and security and I thank people like Pam and David Milward for helping them to acquire that understanding.
There’s many others also doing so, but they would not be warmly received by the Harperites and their powerful media and private sector friends. Nor would they be warmly recieved by educators and liberals who have been spiritually and mentally ruined. It’s up to (active and inactive) activists to get the word out and help to counter the spin of the major media and help to inform people where there’s no information at all.
I highly recommend as a starting point Todd Gordon’s book “Imperialist Canada,” which looks closely at Canadian history in the area of it’s mistreatment of First Nations people and bad intentioned dealings with them. What’s great about Todd’s book is the way it also widens it’s scope, looking at Canadian imperialism at home as well as abroad. And that helps us to understand what, and who, we are dealing with.
In a nutshell, Stephen Harper is okay with neoliberal capitalism (the liberalization of trade and the liberty of the 1% and exploitative corporations) and wants work in the neoliberal capitalism field. He’s found it as the corporatist leader of an advanced (and declining) industrial nation endowed with lots of resources – mineral, water, oil – that powerful players, notably uncle Sam (and it’s defence contractors, whose wares are oiled and fossil-fueled), and corporations generally, want. But those are destructive, exploitative agents, So Harper is forced, like other corporatist leaders in similar situations, to make a choice (which he has). He can either show solidarity with Canadians who would otherwise be harmed by powerful special interests who don’t care what they do to make money and keep their privileges and power or he can show solidarity with those powerful, exploitative, unprincipled special interests. We see the choice he’s made. It’s ‘free trade’ party time, all the time, with Harper. And only the most bovine citizens miss the fact that free trade deals are really about freeing powerful, tax evading, special interests from their social obligations.
Also, Canadian based corporations (banks and mining companies notably) don’t mind taking destructive neoliberal capitalism to other countries, where they harm people who also lack security because their leaders too choose solidarity not with them but with powerful special interests and their political tools, knowing (Canadian companies) that when those foreigners squawk about what is done to them by Canadian mining companies and the thugs they (or their allies) hire, Canada’s government has their back. There will be no [consequences]. Remember when Harper rejected proposed laws that would make Canadian-based companies doing harm abroad answerable for that in Canadian courts? If Harper doesn’t care about long-suffering First Nations people, Why the heck would he care about powerless foreigners?
Christian is absolutely right. As for his attitude, We don’t need it.
A kind poster on The Agenda website passed me the name of the expert to whom Steve Paiken referred. His name is Christian Leuprecht.
In 2010, Conservatives voted en masse to kill Bill C-300, “An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries.”
“The Defeat of Bill C300 Another Shame For Harper” by Scott Stockdale
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
In 2007, both parties agreed upon a number of recommendations to improve corporate social responsibility (CSR) for Canadian extractive companies operating in developing countries.
The creation of an independent CSR ombudsman, who would be able to investigate complaints and mediate disputes, and the withholding of federal financial support from Canadian firms that fail to meet corporate social responsibility standards, were key recommendations that came out of the roundtable discussions.
Two years later, in defiance of the recommendations from the above-mentioned consultative process, the Harper government announced voluntary guidelines for corporate behaviour in the mining industry, along with the appointment of Marketa Evans, as a federal counsellor, who can investigate a complaint, only if the accused company agrees to cooperate…
Moreover, opposition to Ms. Marketa’s appointment as CSR counsellor centred around her role as the founding director of the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre on International Studies, and as founder of the Devonshire Initiative.
The Munk Centre is named after Peter Munk – chairman and founder of the world’s largest gold-mining company, Barrick Gold – who contributed $6.4 million to its construction.
“Mining Victims Seek Justice in Canada” by Liam Barrington-Bush and Jen Wilton
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
Other countries make an effort to hold their corporate citizens to account for acts beyond their borders. Foreign plaintiffs who suspect companies based in the United States of committing criminal acts abroad, may sue in U.S. courts under the Alien Torts Claims Act. Germany and Belgium have similar legislation in place.
Canada, by contrast, has little legislation that can be used to hold companies to account for their actions abroad. According to a report by Oxford Pro Bono Publico, an award-winning legal project in Oxford University’s Faculty of Law, “The state of Canadian law with respect to … extraterritorial corporate social responsibility … is generally recognised to be insufficient.”…
In 2005, the bi-partisan Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (SCFAIT) issued a report based on their work looking at the activities of Canadian mining companies in developing countries. It recommended that the government “establish clear legal norms in Canada to ensure that Canadian companies and residents are held accountable when there is evidence of environmental and/or human rights violations associated with the activities of Canadian mining companies.”
Four years later, the Government of Canada introduced a corporate social responsibility (CSR) framework for the Canadian extractive industries working abroad…
The CSR Counsellor is not able to sanction companies, and can’t even investigate complaints against one, without its permission. The government has so far ignored calls for a legally binding process to allow redress for mining-affected communities in developing countries…
In 2011, Peter Julian, NDP MP for Burnaby-New Westminster, tabled Bill C-323, the International Promotion and Protection of Human Rights Act. The aim of the bill is to establish a judicial process in Canada for non-Canadian citizens to sue Canadian corporations for damages arising from violations of international law in foreign territories. The bill, if passed into law, will pave the way for victims of acts ranging from murder and rape to the contamination of local drinking water, to receive compensation.
Just recently, on June 3, Pamela appeared on Democracy Now to discuss the historic conclusion of The Truth And Reconciliation Commission which the Harper Government has ignored. (As the Toronto Star notes, Harper had to be sued into allowing the TRC. It wasn’t a gesture of goodwill.) That wasn’t just indifference. It was, as Pamela explains, more. That can be seen from the fact that when Justice Murray Sinclair gave a statement containing his conclusions, the whole room broke out into applause, even standing to do so, while the embarrassing Minister for Indian Affairs, who was also in the room, just sat there. You don’t have to be a law expert to see exactly where the government stands on this matter.
“Aboriginal rights a threat to Canada’s resource agenda, documents reveal” by Martin Lukacs and Shiri Pasternak
Interestingly, There have been a number of efforts by NDP MPs, I see, to push through Bills that accomplish the same basic goals as Bills C-300 and C-323, which goals amount to making unwilling Canadian corporations act socially responsible at all times and in all places and account for any criminal behavior they engage in (which a principled government would care about because a principled government would like Canada to have a good reputation). But we shouldn’t expect an irresponsible, criminal government to be concerned about irresponsible, criminal, tax evading Canadian companies. Another attempt to have corporate social responsibility and accountability made into law, namely Bill C-584 (the Corporate Social Responsibility of Extractive Corporations Outside Canada Act, introduced by NDP MP Ève Péclet), brought forth this response in Parliament from a Conservative MP named Erin O’Toole: “Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House tonight to speak to Bill C-584. This is a bill that has tapped a number of themes that keep surfacing from the opposition members from time to time, who show a profound lack of understanding of the extractive industry here in Canada and globally. That should not be surprising, coming from a party that is essentially opposed to private sector job creation.”
We see what the Conservatives under Harper mean by job creation. As another post I recently did shows, the one area the Harper government is loathe to cut spending in is in the area of policing, jails and the military. Of course. You can’t keep those pesky citizens, and First Nations people, at home and abroad, in line by just asking them politely to just take your class’s abuse. (On the subject of military spending, Readers who believe Harper is a super economist and a super prime minister should examine the “politically engineered” F-35 fiasco, not that there aren’t others. http://bit.ly/1Iw2Thx and http://vnty.fr/1Gg0tmp and http://bit.ly/1Tcr7U0). Harper is a super tool who wants powerful special interests who will use him to give him a lot of attention in return for the favor.
Yves Engler notes, in his book “The Ugly Canadian,” that “Despite the beliefs of some, Canada has long been an important middle power, but the Conservatives have further militarized this country’s foreign policy. Military spending is 2.3 percent higher than at the peak of the Cold War in 1952-53 and 26 percent greater than when the Berlin Wall came down. The Department of National Defence (DND) budget increased from $15 billion in 2005 to $23 billion in 2012 and the Conservatives plan to steadily increase the annual outlay to over $30 billion by 2027-28.” Which it might as well do if Corporatocracy continues and Canada must ally with the world’s most powerful superpower which is determined to stay on top and therefore must feed it’s fossil-fueled military while the people of the world pay dearly to keep the defense contractors in business.
From page 55 of “Crisis And Control – The Militarization Of Protest Policing,” by Lesley J. Wood, we get the following:
As Noami Klein 920070 has pointed out, neoliberal politicians seeking power are prone to emphasize the ineptitude of existing leadership to handle social and economic crises. The rhetoric they use condemns inefficiencies as both economic and moral failings. In response, they propose to cut social services that are “soft” and that foster the “dependency” of the poor and marginalized, with a celebration of “tough on crime” policies – that rely on law enforcement bodies to take on an increasing range of tasks. Police agencies are seen as an increasingly necessary and central part of maintaining the social order. This, in combination with powerful police unions and an increasing reliance on high-tech solutions has shaped the restructuring of police agencies and meant that despite cuts to social spending, the costs of policing continue to rise.
Consider the following excerpt from “The Conservatives, Sound Finance And The Facts Of Recent History,” by Louis-Philippe Rochon:
So what are the facts? Are Conservatives really better economic and fiscal managers?
On job creation, the evidence is clear: unemployment remains stubbornly high today, almost five years after the end of the crisis. In fact, the rate at which jobs are being created slowed down considerably since 2011. Unemployment also remains higher than before the crisis, and in fact remains even higher than when the Conservatives came into office. In January 2006, unemployment was about 6.6%, but it stands at 6.8% now, and is on its way up. And whatever jobs are being created are bad jobs: part-time and self-employed jobs. To say there is an unemployment crisis in Canada is no exaggeration. Yet, to deal with this unemployment crisis, the Conservatives have adopted no policies to encourage job creation.
With respect to economic growth, the evidence is unfortunately no better. The economy has stalled considerably even since the crisis. We are at best hovering at rates of growth that are insufficient to do any good, especially in terms of lowering unemployment. We have settled in a situation of long-term stagnation. Therefore, taking into account their entire tenure in office, the Conservatives have failed at providing sufficient growth stimulus.
To add insult to injury, the latest budget provides zero incentives to stimulate growth. Arbitrary tax cuts, especially when focused upon higher income earners, won’t contribute to economic growth. Tax cuts are never a good way of stimulating growth, especially when compared to the stimulative government spending. In other words, you get a much bigger bang from government spending, especially when spent on infrastructure, than from tax cuts, arbitrary or not.
Consider the following excerpt from “Dutch Disease, Prices And Wages In Saskatchewan” by Erin Weir (switching indents for italics):
Jim Stanford recently pointed out that many of the conservative economists who had defended the overvalued loonie have quickly shifted to applauding its depreciation.
The Government of Saskatchewan may be making a similar conversion on the road to Damascus. When federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair expressed concern about Dutch disease, premier Brad Wall denied that the high exchange rate was hurting Canadian-based exporters.
But on Friday, the Regina Leader-Post reported online:
[Provincial] deputy labour minister Mike Carr said that a lower exchange rate, through its ability to stimulate sales of Canadian-produced goods, including, significantly, agricultural and mineral products of the kind produced by Saskatchewan, historically has tended to help the province and its workers . . .
So, the Wall government’s position is that the high loonie was not curtailing Canadian output and employment, but a lower loonie will help expand Canadian output and employment? It doesn’t believe in Dutch disease, but it wants the cure.
Consider the following excerpt from “Who will save Canada’s economy from Harper and the CEOs?” by Murray Dobbin:
Recent media reports just reinforce what we have known for decades about the Canadian corporate elite. One highlighted Canada’s dismal performance when it comes to research and development, the other our pathetic efforts at broadening our markets for exports. More and more evidence piles up that we are de-industrializing — reminding me of the Star Trek episode where the whole crew starts devolving. Captain Picard is destined to become a pygmy marmoset. I wonder what the end point for Canada might be?
Signs of economic decline
An OECD study reported in the Globe shows that Canada has dropped out of the top 10 in R&D spending and now ranks 12th. While we de-industrialize and fall back on raw resource exports, previously underdeveloped countries — Taiwan, Indian and Brazil — are now outspending us as they industrialize.
We continue to decline in the World Economic Forum’s World Competitiveness Index as well. For 2014-2015 we rank 15th. But even worse, in the category of “innovation and sophistication factors” we rank 25th. In 1998 our overall rank was sixth. Some of the countries that now beat us: the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The dramatic decline in R&D has a continuing negative impact on labour productivity as well. According to OECD figures, for the year 2012 we stood at 73 per cent of the U.S. benchmark of 100. This failure to increase labour productivity through investment in new machinery and innovation has a huge impact on our standard of living and the domestic economy: as wages stagnate and personal debt increases domestic consumption starts to flat-line — and that further suppresses investment.
Bill C-51 includes a section that allows the authorities to arrest you if they think ‘you may’ commit a crime! Seeing how the legislation (now passed, thanks to a disgusting Senate) specifically mentions crimes such as hurting the economy (which Harper has done, but that’s okay because he has the ‘right’ political views from the standpoint of the wild beast of corporatocracy which he worships) and damaging infrastructure, things that the government can argue First Nations and environmentalists protesting pipeline projects are engaged in, it’s not hard to see what groups specifically Harper is attacking with Bill C-51. And yet, like a redneck out-of-control killer firing at his target in a crowded area (or like Obama with his drones doing ‘signature strikes’), Harper is happy to mow everyone down with his Bill C-51. Afterall, It’s going to get our attention. We see who lords it over us and that equals the glory Harper craves, like all who have modded themselves into eager players in the game of ‘riches for the strongest’. Seriously though, Does Harper have precogs? Then again, He does think he’s God. Unfortunately for us, he likes to demonstrate his omnipotence. Otherwise, He wouldn’t get this kind of attention.
We are horrified. But his corporatocracy colleagues are impressed. It’s a win win for a guy who worships the powerful (unless you’re the real God) and wants them, and us, to view him as powerful. As for details, Pamela, I think, explains Harper’s attitude perfectly. She notes that it’s about who her people are as Indians, by which she means who they are as Indians in a political and legal sense, which she explains.
PAMELA PALMATER: Yeah. Well, I mean, I think the Truth and Reconciliation Commission went about as far as they felt comfortable in naming it cultural genocide. But I – it’s just genocide through and through. If you look at the U.N. definition on genocide, it meets every single one of those factors. And there’s nothing cultural about it. They weren’t killing us because of our culture. They were killing us because we were Indians, and we stood in the way of accessing all of the lands and resources and settlement in this country.
Think about it. All of the overrepresentation in this country in prisons – you know, some prisons have as high as 60 percent indigenous peoples – that’s not because of our culture; it’s because we’re Indians, and we have rights and aboriginal rights that still stand in the way of unfettered resource development. Why are our kids overrepresented in Child and Family Services, to the tune of 30,000 to 40,000 in Canada? Here in Manitoba, 90 percent of all kids in care are indigenous. It’s not because of their culture; it’s because of who they are as Indians and that we’re the indigenous peoples here, and we have rights to protect this territory, and we’re essentially the last stand against complete, unfettered development here in this country…
AMY GOODMAN: Last year, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police revealed at least 1,181 native women and girls were killed or went missing between 1980 and 2012. The new Truth and Reconciliation Commission report made a link between the residential schools with the missing and murdered women. The report states, quote, “The available information suggests a devastating link between the large numbers of murdered and missing Aboriginal women and the many harmful background factors in their lives. The complex interplay of factors – many of which are part of the legacy of residential schools – needs to be examined, as does the lack of success of police forces in solving these crimes against Aboriginal women,” unquote. Paula Palmater, can you talk about what is being planned now? I mean, that’s a government commission. What is the follow-up at this point?
PAMELA PALMATER: Well, there is no follow-up. And probably one of the most insulting, shameful things that happened yesterday was when the Truth and Reconciliation commissioner, Justice Murray Sinclair, got up and said there’s a clear link between what happened in residential schools and the vulnerability of our indigenous women and girls that go murdered and missing, and that he recommended and supported all of the calls for a national inquiry: Everyone stood up, gave him a standing ovation, except the minister of Indian affairs.
What is at the core of the fascist Bill C-51? A respected expert on law at the University of Toronto shares with us what his first (See above video) impressions were upon examining Bill C-51. He refers to the government’s new idea of activities that undermine the security of Canada as being one of the things in the Bill that caused alarm bells to go off in his head. He mentions Quebec sovereigntists’ protests, aboriginal protests and environmentalists’ protests, which he sees this Bill as criminalizing, and he views that as bad for democracy. Clearly, The targets are mainly First Nations and environmentalists. Bill C-51 targets First Nations people simply trying to deal with a government that allows the oil and gas companies to invade their territory and destroy at will.
“Canadian capitalism is driven by a logic of expansion. This insatiable drive to seek out new markets and territories in which to accumulate wealth in the capitalist game of survival of the fittest drives it deeper into soverign indigenous lands within its borders and increasingly beyond its own borders…
“Canada has become a significant player in the Third World, especially in its own backyard – Latin America and the Caribbean. And thus we find that in 1980 profits from Canadian Third World investments were $3.7 billion, while by 2007 they were $23.6 billion after tax – an increase of 535 percent, which is greater than the increase in profits earned at home over the same period of time.
“There is no bright side to Canadian investment in the South. It is accomplished by displacing indigenous people and poor peasants from their land (to get at mineral and oil deposits, for example), destroying ecosystems and ruthlessly exploiting the sweat labour of typically poor women in the region’s export processing zones, where workers’ rights are minimal if they exist at all. We can also add to this the steep burden of debt obligations Third World governments are forced to pay Canadian banks, money which otherwise could go to social programs for their own citizens…” – pages 10, 11 of “Imperialist Canada” by Todd Gordon
As for Canada’s First Nations people, Todd notes that:
“Most importantly, no tinkering with Indian Affairs or the claims processes, and no Supreme Court decision, can change the basics of capitalist economics: there will be constant pressure by corporations and the state to expand into First Nations’ territory. Consequently, indigenous anger will not dissipate, and direct actions will likely continue.
“This is the price of imperialism. These conflagrations, where indigenous peoples must physically assert their opposition to Canadian colonialism, forcefully display the colonial tension that is more than a mere hangover of the original European settlement of present-day Canada; it is a historically rooted and ongoing conflict over the future of the country and its resources. Canada is, for the moment, willing to endure this conflict, whatever the costs. This is the dialectical interplay – the shifting balance of forces between colonizer and the colonized – of empire building. Even in the face of indigenous defiance, the state is not yet ready to seriously reconsider its policies. The state still considers militarization and the deployment of increasing levels of violence as a potential option for dealing with insurgent First Nation activists. The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) after the Oka Revolt, and the RCMP after the Gustafsen Lake stand-off both increased their militarization considerably in preparation for future confrontations, and aggressive policing more generally has become an important part of state policy toward indigenous direct action.”
Hello Bill C-51. As Murray Dobbin noted back in November of 2010, “This Is The Security State Steve Built.” Simply, The state and those who it partners with, take stock and look ahead. That’s what you do when you want to survive and dominate. (That’s also what you do when you care, although those who care don’t go on to exploit and rob others.) The politicians who were most connected to the most entrenched and powerful special interests in the mafia capitalist system, namely the defense contractors and the oil and gas industries, are those politicians who ‘got it’ most. For example, see the above link to the Vanity Fair article about the F-35 – which story posits that government mismanagement resulted in defense contractors playing the Pentagon, but really, it’s only the people getting played here. The latest news from ceasfire.ca is that Harper has hit the pause button on purchasing the F-35s.
As can be expected, Connected politicians, who possess the ‘right’ political views (pro free trade, neoliberal, imperialism is okay, ‘riches for the strongest’) are also those who get promoted and protected most – by those same powerful special interests who they’ve got connections to. (For an example, see my post titled “What is lost is needed to find it.” Jane Holl Lute is a real lesson.) We read about them all the time – if we are interested in knowing, which comes from caring. Those politicians and special interests have no intention of doing business in any other way than they have been. They are not interested in democracy, which could trip them up. Democracy would involve the people in a positive way, bringing them into decision-making, and the abused people would in turn call for a halt to the planet-cooking, polluting, exploitative and destructive capitalism happening. Many, like Naomi Klein, are calling for that now, although some, like Bill Hopwood, criticize Naomi Klein for being unclear about what kind of social economic system precisely she proposes. (I personally expect God to put a stop to any form of capitalism.) Those benefitting most from the exploitation and destruction of neoliberal capitalism would lose those benefits were democracy to gain a foothold and so, from their standpoint, it can’t. They were on it from the beginning.
Right after the oil crisis of 1973, They (notably the Trilateral Commission [formed in 1973] and the Business Roundtable [formed in 1972] in the US and the Business Council on National Issues [formed in 1977] here in Canada and now known as the Canadian Council of Chief Executives) began their counter-pushback against the people and their gains from the civil rights and New Deal era. During World War II everyone pulled together, more or less, because the owners of the world needed the workers of the world to help the save that world. Post World War II, there was an afterglow when the tacit arrangements that saw labour and business working with each other, for the most part and for the benefit of all, was the norm. That glow came off for a number of reasons, but the business community proved to be every bit as godless (purportedly) as the communists they, and Stalin, turned the people (including the NAAC and AFL/CIO) against as they used their clout to launch a class war that has never ended.
The people are not winning this class war. Because nothing – extreme inequality, extreme and widespread poverty, environmental destruction – can change the minds of those who own and run the world, they are therefore determined to deal with the natural pushback from the abused people that they know will come. Glen Ford gives us a glimpse into that reality in his report on Minerva. The state foresees the pushback, since it’s determined to force it, and has planned to deal with the people by force, terror and manipulation, when out and out propaganda doesn’t work and by propaganda and indoctrination when things are calmer. Although I think it’s fair to say that, in practice, the state uses all of the above measures at the same time often enough. (See “Beyond the Swindle of the Corporate University: Higher Education in the Service of Democracy” by Henry Giroux.)
Canada wouldn’t be any different, although I don’t have at my fingertips much in the way of specific examples of preparations by the Canadian state to do counter-pushback. There is Project Hero, a joint effort by Stephen Harper and Rick Hillier which Cameron Fenton talks about in his Dominion article titled “Building Heroes.” Also, Tricia Jenkins book, “The CIA In Hollywood – How The Agency Shapes Film And Television” was an eye opener. Add to that Peter Maas’s recent article looking at a report that finds that Americans, who are not a different species than Canadians, are more likely to have their political thinking influenced by movies than political ads and you begin to see how ruthless the state is in conducting it’s class war against the people it abuses. And there’s the general redesign of governments to make them less responsive to social movements and people and more responsive to the demands of the business community, which has succeeded wonderfully, yielding neoliberal capitalism. Tony Clarke looks closely at the redesign of the Canadian state undertaken by powerful special interests in his 1997 book “Silent Coup – Confronting The Big Business Takeover Of Canada.” Rightwing think tanks, protected by successive rightwing Canadian governments have been channeling darkness to the corporate owned, dominant, media, helping with the task of propagandizing the people and manufacturing the consent needed in a fake democracy, while think tanks that are not biased in favor of the needs and wants of exploitative corporations and the % have been attacked by the Harperites, as the The Harper Record, below, outlines.
Certainly, the owners and the rulers of the world will take steps to have people like Stephen Harper put into positions of authority. The Trilateralists found, groomed and had installed Jimmy Carter, he of the Carter Doctrine. (See Patrick Wood’s article “The Trilateral Commission: Usurping Sovereignty.”) And all the Right people helped Stephen Harper to rise to the top of Canada’s political system too. Tony Clarke’s book titled “Tar Sands Showdown,” in the chapter titled “Energy Superpower,” also looks at who Stephen Harper is and his connections to the “Alberta oil patch.” Yves Engler briefly looks at Harper’s “deep ties to an Alberta oil industry” on pages 22 & 23 of his book titled “The Ugly Canadian – Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy.”
“Meet the People Who Made Possible Stephen Harper’s Reign” by Donald Gutstein. An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
Harper is one side of an ideological coin; missing from the discussion is the other side of the coin — the network of conservative think-tanks such as the Fraser Institute working over many decades to change the climate of ideas that make sense to many of us. By climate of ideas, I mean our commonly accepted notions about how government and the private sector should operate, and our understandings of ourselves as self-centred individualists or as compassionate members of society…
Once in office, Harper was able to put into practice the principles the think-tanks could only talk and write about, tempered of course by the necessities of governing…
Combining Harper’s efforts to bring private property rights to First Nation reserves with a think-tank discourse that claims prosperity and economic development are possible only with such rights, constitutes a classic example of Harperism…
The ideology the think-tanks promote is properly called neoliberalism because, in contrast to libertarians who want a small, powerless state that leaves people alone, neoliberals require a strong state that uses its power to create and enforce markets, and prop them up when they fail…
Neoliberalism came later to Canada than to Britain and the United States…
Neoliberalism became entrenched under the Liberal governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, who accepted the ideology as their own policy orientation, as Chrétien signed NAFTA and Chrétien–Martin brought in an era of privatization and fiscal restraint.
By the time Harper took over the reins of government, neoliberalism was normalized as the accepted way of running the country. That was Harper’s starting point. Harperism, then, is label for Harper’s unique way of furthering neoliberalism.
The undemocratic, fascist Harper isn’t attacking only First Nations people. Unfortunately for them, however, they are uniquely positioned to be, as they have always been, as their counterparts elsewhere have always been, the first victims of capitalist expansion. And there’s nothing lovely about capitalist expansion or capitalism. Neoliberal capitalism can be regarded as ripe capitalism. Sometimes the line between ripe and rotten isn’t clear. If capitalism can be made to work for everyone, if not made to work perfectly, that doesn’t undo the established fact that those who moulded it and gave it to the world and who today maintain it have made it into brutal neoliberal capitalism in which social safety nets are shredded and corporations and the rich know few constraints. They’ve ‘successfully’ engaged in the politics of escape (deregulation and tax havens for example. William Greider in “One World, Ready Or Not”). And their escape has taken place at the same time as our enslavement.
First Nations were on their own, more or less, for a long time. Recent efforts by powerful special interests in oil and gas, with uncle Sam and the American military industrial complex seeing cooperation with those as paramount for the furtherance of their own goals, has meant grief for both First Nations in the US and Canada and for all residents in areas where fracking and pipeline construction have proceeded, not to mention neighborhoods where oil tankers have crashed and oil bombs on rail have exploded. The maintenance of American national security means maintenance of the fossil-fueled (and huge) American military that that security depends on. The American corporatocracy government seeks to both acquire as much energy (oil mainly) as it can in a world where soon enough (even with a delay due to increased fracking and new fracking technology, namely horizontal drilling) there will only be enough oil for one superpower, and it seeks to use oil it possesses and controls as leverage that will allow it to maneuver and retain dominance over the rest of the globe, including over the other superpowers. That is why it would like to have pipelines routed through the US. It will export oil and maintain the fossil-fueled, global capitalist system it created, but will also be able to maintain it’s dominance within that system, it hopes, by having in it’s hands levers that will allow it to favor cooperative states and allies with energy and acceptable terms and protection and subdue potential contenders for dominance by withholding the same – until it all crashes. When peak oil does arrive and things get really hairy, the spigots in the US can be turned off and the oil kept for just the US.
First Nations have their own unique challenges in facing down that behemoth, and those challenges are great precisely because the state has foreseen that the first victims of capitalist expansion, which it worries about (in a negative sense) a great deal, will be those First Nations. (No doubt, as time passed, the Canadian state saw more clearly the contours of the capitalist expansion that would go where it shouldn’t, by some measures. If American national security policy wasn’t top of mind before Gerald Ford, in Detroit on the Canadian border!, warned oil producing states not to deprive the US of oil, or before the Carter Doctrine, or before the proposed and stifled (?) Security and Prosperity Partnership, it is now.) Belatedly, Others, helped by scientists (without Harper’s support or approval) to know that the efforts to help indigenous people push back against the oil and gas industries that the state allows to invade and destroy their territory, and much more territory, will also be in the service of fighting to preserve a liveable earth for all.
The book is titled “A Woman Among Warlords – The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice.” It was published in 2009. The author, assisted by Derrick O’Keefe, is Malalai Joya, whom the BBC called the bravest woman in Afghanistan. I would add that her supporters in Afghanistan, male and female, are pretty damn brave too.
“Joya worked effectively for human rights, particularly for women; she was elected to Parliament and then expelled when she continued to denounce warlord atrocities. She now lives underground under heavy protection, but she continues her struggle, in word and deed.” – Noam Chomsky
After the tragic day of September 11, 2001, many in Afghanistan thought that, with the ensuing overthrow of the Taliban, they might finally see some light, some justice and progress. But it was not to be. The Afghan people have been betrayed once again by those who are claiming to help them. More than seven years after the U.S. invasion, we are still faced with foreign occupation and a U.S.-backed government filled with warlords who are just like the Taliban. Instead of putting these ruthless murderers on trial for war crimes, the United States and its allies placed them in positions of power, where they continue to terrorize ordinary Afghans.
From the start, Stephen Harper’s powerful friends in the oil industry, which the US military depends on (as do all militaries), had no qualms about getting it’s oil and making money by hurting others who might otherwise prevent them from doing so. None of that ever bothered Stephen Harper. When September 11 happened in 2001, the US used it as an excuse to invade Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden became the most wanted man in the world, but the actual evidence that he was involved in 9-11 was slim. Still, Even the Taliban, as others have noted, took a reasonable – and sane, considering the fact that they possibly faced a US invasion were it impossible to placate the Americans – position on the subject of suspect bin Laden, offering to hand him over to the US once evidence of his crime was shown. “The Wall Street Journal accurately described the documents [purportedly showing bin Laden’s involvement in 9-11] as “more like a charge than detailed evidence,” relegating the report to a back page. The Journal also points out, accurately, that it doesn’t matter, quoting a senior U.S. official who says that “The criminal case is irrelevant. The plan is to wipe out Mr. bin Laden and his organization.” The point of the documentation is to allow Blair, the Secretary General of NATO, and others to assure the world that the evidence is “clear and compelling.” (page 131 of “9-11 – Was There An Alternative?” by Noam Chomsky)
Harper’s oil and gas industry buds want to sweep aside the First Nations and other landowners and any who get in their way as they scurry about looking for resources. (How could the war criminal Netanyahu’s regular slaughter of Palestinians possibly bother Harper who went out of his way to let Netanyahu know that Harper is his best buddy? That should please the Americans as well.) The victims want to be left alone and they don’t want the oil and gas and mining interests to harm the land and it’s waterways upon which their livelihoods exist. And it so happens that the oil and gas industry, when it gets it’s way, not only destroys directly and immediately, but then destroys again when the fossil fuels it creates from oil and get burned contribute to global warming and help to bring the earth closer to a tipping point that will see life on it become hellish and perhaps altogether impossible (unless God steps in, which is what some believe will happen).
Helpfully, Politicians like Harper, who have already allowed the oil and gas industry to self-regulate, mostly, step up here and make laws that make resisting the invaders illegal! That’s what Bill C-51 does! Being a victim, as is the case for Afghans resisting imperial aggression, which Harper has been a part of, makes you a criminal in this upside down world. When people like Malalai Joya speak out and denounce the twisted, violent warlords who the US protects, they call her names like commie and whore. That’s not infrequent either. That kind of ranting is regular and comes from all quarters in Afghanistan. I truly think that something deeper is at work here than just nastiness. The Afghans, in my opinion, could use some sexual liberation, which is not the same as the freedom to take, by force, from others the pleasure, let alone resources, you want. Nothing’s changed over there in this regard, so I guess that uncle Sam and uncle Canuck didn’t bring sexual liberation to Afghanistan. It occurs to me that if all the females in your country, except, possibly, your mothers, are whores, then your desire to have sex with them isn’t wrong. Carrying out that desire isn’t wrong. And if you just want to kill people who get in your way, then it helps that they are all they are commies (and commie huntin’ is something that your Western backers are going to really get behind!). And if you want to screw them and kill them, Well then, They can be both commies and whores! There’s a similar dynamic at work here in Canada, with Harper and all of the pathetic, pathological people who support him gleefully labelling those who they abuse, because they are in the way of capitalists busy expanding, and then again because they resort to self-defense, commies, eco-terrorists, extremists, radicals, etc.. Fascism isn’t radical. Being a victim of fascists is.
This is Robert Lovelace’s explanation for Harper’s actions, taken from his article titled “Violence against Aboriginal women and the right to self-defence”:
For months now First Nations Leadership has been calling on the Federal government for a commission to study why there are so many murdered and missing Aboriginal women in this country.
The government of Canada has refused. Stephen Harper and his government have said that it is a matter for law enforcement, not for politicians or the public.
When Aboriginal women experience violence of any kind it is a political act. It is so, because Aboriginal women as a group are the most vulnerable sector in the Canadian population. This is not an accident. It is a historical reality and a direct consequence of colonial policy over the last 150 years…
However, with all of these reasons why Aboriginal women are victimized I believe the most important cause of this violence, like all of the other rights that colonial society has taken away from peoples indigenous to this land, is the right of self-defense…
Canada committed billions of dollars and hundreds of lives to a war in Afghanistan, and among the most popular reasons was, to protect Afghan women and their rights. Canada shed its role as a peacekeeper and became a warrior nation to do so. A Colonial government won’t do that for Aboriginal women in Canada so we need to do it for ourselves. And unlike Canada in Afghanistan, let’s not abandon our mission.
Robert’s apparent assessment of the intentions of the Canadian government in Afghanistan appears faulty, but he does get that in Harper’s eyes, defending oneself against abuse is a crime, especially if it’s abuse committed by Harper and his partners. Therefore, Robert’s statement is somewhat contradictory, if I’m reading it correctly.
Ok. But… Come forward to June 2015 and How do things look? The below comments are from the Toronto Star article which can be reached via the link embedded in the photo of Tom Lawson, below.
Consider Yves Engler’s comments on Harper and his mining company friends. From pages 46,47 & 185 of his book, titled “The Ugly Canadian,” we have the following:
As part of their promotion of voluntary efforts the government launched Building the Canadian Advantage: A Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector. In October 2009 they established an Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor with a $620,000 budget to probe complaints about abuses committed by Canadian companies in poor countries. But, the Counsellor could not intervene – let alone take any remedial action – without agreement from the company accused of abuse. But late 2011 the Toronto-based CSR Counsellor’s office had received only two complaints, noted CBC.ca, “one of which was dropped because the mining corporation chose not to undergo the voluntary investigation.”
The person Stockwell Day appointed as the initial CSR Counsellor, Marketa Evans, was the founding director of the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for International Studies. Established with funding from Peter Munk, chairman and founder of Barrick Gold, the billionaire maintained significant influence over the Centre with its director reporting to a board set up by the Munk family. Munk espoused far-right political views. He defended Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and virulently attacked Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. In a March 2011 Globe and Mail interview he dismissed criticism of Barrick’s security force in Papua New Guinea, which led Norway’s pension fund to divest from the company, by claiming “gang rape is a cultural habit” in that country…
On the other side of the world… Afghanistan’s natural resources may have influenced Canadian military policy in that country. “Is mineral rich Afghanistan the next mining hotspot?” asked a March 2008 Financial Post headline…
In November 2011 the Afghan Ministry of Mines awarded Toronto-based Kilo Goldmines a 25 percent stake in Hajigak, the largest iron deposit in Asia. The Conservatives hailed the move. “Canada is strongly committed to helping Afghans rebuild their country, and this investment by Kilo Goldmines will create jobs and prosperity for Afghans and Canadians alike,” said trade minister Ed Fast…
Despite Conservative claims, the war in Afghanistan wasn’t about improving women’s rights. Canadian officials ignored or downlplayed the misogynistic policies pursued by President Hamid Karzai. In early 2012 the notoriously corrupt presient backed a decree claiming women are worth less than men. “Men are fundmantal and women are secondary,” noted the statement by a government-sponsored group of religious leaders known as the Ulema Council. “Women are subordinate to men, should not mix in work or education and must always have a male guardian when they travel.”
How can you tell when the Canadian military and their supporters are lying about a war? When they know a reporter is present.
The sad fact is that in Afghanistan, killing a woman is like killing a bird. The United States has tried to justify its occupation with rhetoric about “liberating” Afghan women, but we remain caged in our country, without access to justice and still ruled by women-hating criminals. Fundamentalists still preach that “a woman should be in her house or in the grave.” In most places it is still not safe for a woman to appear in public uncovered, or to walk on the street without a male relative. Girls are still sold into marriage. Rape goes unpunished every day.
Harper sent Canadian soldiers to Afghanistan in order to help out the US, and it’s installed puppet leaders – who were monsters, as Malalai Joya points out. This doesn’t trouble Harper. There’s enemies and then there’s official enemies, just as there’s barbarism and then official barbarism. Harper can deal with those who are intolerant and racist, if they have the ‘right’ political views and connections. If he’s confronted with people who have the ‘wrong’ political views, which means that they don’t appreciate being victims of imperialists and neoliberal capitalists and their tools, then they will be ignored or just as easily end up wearing the label of terrorist, barbarian or racist (anti-semitic). They were turning their attention to Iraq and Afghanistan was keeping them from doing that fully. Harper would of course give the same reasons for Canadian soldiers presence in Afghanistan as Malalai outines above. But no one should believe that the man is capable of caring about the women in places like Afghanistan. There’s no reason to believe it. And there’s reasons to believe the opposite. Hundreds of indigenous women go missing and turn up raped and murdered (with many still missing) and the man not only doesn’t want to look into it, but he very clearly showed what he thinks of indigenous women, and all indigenous people, when he ignored the Truth And Reconciliation Commission, which recently concluded that the government of Canada engaged in cultural genocide against First Nations. That’s weaker than it should be, as Pamela Palmeter notes. It was genocide straight up. And there’s no reason to suppose that Harper, in fact, does care about First Nations people, whose communities have lived with boil water alerts for years. There’s no reason to suppose that Bill C-51 only looks like it’s targetting First Nations and environmental activists. The undemocratic Stephen Harper is all about business and please powerful business interests. That’s it. That’s his vision. That’s his reason for living. That’s what he chose and that’s because he’s modified himself to become a believer in inequality and an enthusiastic player in the Darwinian game of ‘riches for the strongest’.
Roger Annis has something illuminating to say about that in his (Sept 7, 2005) article titled Ottawa steps up support for US-led war efforts:
At a press conference on July 13 to announce the Kandahar mission, Hillier told reporters of his views of the July 7 bombings in London and the Canadian role in Afghanistan. He described the perpetrators of the London bombings as “detestable murderers and scumbags”, and likened them to those opposing imperialist occupation in Afghanistan.
“They detest our freedoms, they detest our society, they detest our liberties”, he said. “We are going to Afghanistan to actually take down the folks that are trying to blow up men and women… We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people.”
Hillier described the targets of the Canadian military as a “ball of snakes”, made up of terrorists, drug dealers and other “rogue” elements. His message was that it’s time to toss away the myth of Canada as a “peacekeeper” in the world and pursue a far more aggressive foreign policy.
Hillier believes that Canadian military policy must do more to facilitate and promote investment opportunities for Canadian capitalists. In a speech on July 22, he likened Canada’s military interventions to recent trips by Canadian political and business leaders to promote Canadian investments in “emerging markets”.
From pages 171 & 172 of “Imperialist Canada,” by Todd Gordon, the following:
CIDA INC [Canadian International Development Agency/ Industrial Cooperation Program (sic)] had consistently financed investments in countries engaged in human rights violations or in the midst of civil war, including, among others… Afghanistan…
In the eyes of the Canadian state and capital, investment and profit considerations trump human rights. Here again, Canada really is not any different from other imperialist countries. A key goal of its foreign policy is making the Third World a good place for Canadians to do business, and anything that could interfere with this, including concern for human rights, is perceived as a threat to Canadian interests… This is the cold calculus informing Canada’s human rights policy: if it undermines corporate opportunities for profit, or gives our international competitors and edge over us, then the best option – the business option – is to disregard it.
In the above excerpt, notice the easy conflation of business interests with Canadian interests. With Bills like C-51 we see clearly that “Canadian interests” actually means Canadian business interests. Also, While Todd there reveals the true approach and thinking of our ‘leaders’, that is not going to be their claimed approach, as Todd considers on pages 300 & 301 of “Imperialist Canada.” He writes: “Military and political leaders commonly refer to the “three block war” doctrine now, which was originally articulated by American military strategists. It holds that future military engagements will involve combat in one block, patrolling streets and maintaining order in another and providing humanitarian relief in a third – all at the same time and involving the same subject population. There is, in other words, no humanitarianism without war – a convenient conclusion for those who wish to extend their military power into foreign countries.” Keep all of that in mind when, soon enough, you’ll be treated to much preaching ‘at’ you by Harper et al about what Harper has always said his number one priority is, namely the economy. Harper’s top priority is to assist the business community, whatever that does for the Canadian economy. With neoliberal capitalism in play, managed by corporatists who believe in inequality, that should result in disaster for the economy and the country. That’s pretty much where we are. Were Harper to care about Canadians, as in ‘all’ Canadians, and try to improve the economy with a view to improving the lives of all Canadians, while limiting the freedom of neoliberal capitalists and free traders to wreak havoc in pursuit of their riches and glory, then he’d be a good man and a leader in a positive sense. That Stephen Harper is nowhere in sight.
“The Harper Record” by 46 authors in association with the Canadian Centre (sic) for Policy Alternatives, isn’t up to date, but it’s contents are relevant and well researched. Click this link for an ‘about': The Harper Record. An excerpt follows:
On December 20, 2001, the UN Security Council agreed to sanction the creation of an International Security Assistance Force (IsAF) under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, an enforcement mandate. The IsAF is completely outside the United Nations, part of the “coalition of the willing” created by the U.S. government. This “stabilization mission” was to support the UN humanitarian assistance program. Canada was to be part of the IsAF, under British command. Between 2001 and 2003, the IsAF was confined to Kabul in a peace-keeping role. By early 2003, the rebellion against the interim Afghan
government and the occupation forces had begun. Under direction from the Bush administration, which was preparing for an attack on Iraq, NATO assumed the responsibility for the IsAF. Canadian forces served in Kabul between October 2003 and November 2005. They were then moved to Kandahar, first under oef [operation eduring freedom] and then in July 2006 under the authority of the IsAF. Canadian military forces made a major shift from a peacekeeping role in support of humanitarian assistance to fighting a counter-insurgency war. Over this period, the governments of Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, and Stephen Harper all gave full support to the Bush administration’s position on Afghanistan. In April 2008, a resolution was passed in Parliament authorizing Stephen Harper’s government to extend Canada’s role in the counter- insurgency war through 2011…
The formation of a post-Taliban government began in November 2001, when the U.S. government brought some representatives from Afghanistan together at Bonn, Germany, to create an interim government. The Bush administration chose groups aligned to the Northern Alliance, the Islamists who have been their close political allies since 1979. Five broad groups representing the democratic forces in Afghanistan asked to participate, but they were refused official status and voting rights. This set the pattern for everything that followed. The democratic forces have been excluded from all the operations to create a new constitution and government, as well as from the first elections. It is widely known that the Afghan people wanted a restoration of the liberal, democratic constitution of 1964, a constitutional monarch with a parliamentary government, political parties, elections by proportional representation, and a federal state. The U.S. government, backed by the Canadian government and representatives from the United Nations, blocked this development. At the Bonn meetings in November 2001, the U.S. government mandated that Hamid Karzai be appointed the new interim president. He named 30 people, mainly Islamists from the Northern Alliance, to form the transitional administration.
Harper’s actions are unforgivable. So is his church’s actions. His church, The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C & MA), has kept it’s mouth shout about their celebrity member, who happens to be a mass murderer and criminal of the highest order. It’s silence matches the silence of Harper toward the Truth And Reconciliation Commission and Malalai Joya. Harper isn’t an adult in any positive sense. But he is an adult predator. Sometimes, predators employ stealth or silence.
“Child sex abuse rampant in Afghanistan, documentary shows” by Rick Westhead
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
U.S. Marine Maj. Bill Steuber, like most people in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, knew that local Afghan police were keeping young boys as sex slaves.
The practice, known as bacha bazi, or “boy play,” was an open secret in Sangin, a town of 14,000 in Helmand.
So Steuber sat down to confront deputy police chief Qhattab Khan, hoping he could convince him that the practice — which is as illegal in Afghanistan as it is in Canada — would cost the police the support of the local community.
But what Steuber heard left him shaking his head in disbelief.
During their meeting in November 2012, Steuber said, Khan mocked the idea that his men shouldn’t have sex with the boys. Without the boys, Khan said, using graphic language, his men would be left with few options other than their own grandmothers…
Anderson’s 90-minute production offers a sobering look at Afghanistan, a decade after Canadian and other western armies arrived, and raises questions about why it has taken the Canadian military more than five years to complete an investigation into allegations that Canadian officers told their subordinates to ignore cases of sex abuse.
The probe continues with no specified end date, a Canadian Forces spokesperson said, long after most Canadian soldiers have left Afghanistan and nearly five years after a board of inquiry was convened on Nov. 21, 2008.
“Chaplain says senior officer aware of rapes by Afghans” by Rick Westhead
From “A Woman Among Warlords”:
“In 1992, for a brief period of time, my family returned to live in Farah. I was then fourteen and my memories of those months are frightening… There was anarchy on the streets. Young girls were being abducted, raped, and killed by roaming gangs.”
“As early as May 1992, Ayatollah Asif Mohseni, the interim governing council spokesman (now a close friend of Karzai and the United States in Kabul), and Sayed Ali Javed (now a member of Parliament) publicly announced a new set of rules governing the conduct of women: the “Ordinance on the Women’s Veil.” It proclaimed, “A denier of the veil is an infidel and an unveiled woman is lewd,” and outlined the conditions of wearing a veil:
1. They must not perfume themselves.
2. They must not wear adorning clothes.
3. They must not wear thin clothes.
4. They must not wear narrow and tight clothes.
5. They must cover their entire bodies.
6. Their clothes must not resemble men’s clothes.
7. Muslim women’s clothes must not resemble non-Muslim women’s clothes.
8. Their foot ornaments must not produce sound.
9. They must not produce sound-producing garments.
10. The must not walk in the middle of streets.
11. They must not go out of their houses without their husband’s permission.
12. They must not talk to strange men.
13. If it is necessary to talk, they must talk in a low voice and without laughter.
14. They must not look at strangers.
15. They must not mix with strangers.
“In most parts of Afghanistan women now had to wear a burqa because of the fear of being kidnapped, raped, and murdered. Young girls were forcibly married to the jihadi commanders. These so-called Muslims married four women in public, which is permitted in Islam, but most of them had more than four wives. They used rape as a weapon to dominate and terrorize the people. Their men raped children as young as four, and cut off the breasts of the women. There were even reports reaching Pakistan of these criminals raping the dead bodies of women and the old grandmothers – which is beyond imagination.”
pages 70, 71, 72
“…Here in Kabul, there was a huge, mixed audience in the grand hall, and the atmosphere was charged and tense…
“My name is Malalai Joya from Farach Province… Why would you allow criminals to be present here? They are responsible for our situation now!”…
“Suddenly, I could no longer hear my voice echoing over the PA system. I had been speaking for barely ninety seconds when the chairman cut off my microphone…
“At first I continued speaking, but soon realized that my words had provoked a very serious situation. There was an enormous commotion. Angry men were lurching in my direction. Chakari was the first to raise his voice against me, shouting “Down with communism!” to provoke others. Even one of the female delegates threatened me, pointing and shouting, “Take the pants off this prostitute and tie them on her head!””
“When he saw that I would not take back my words, Mojaddedi grew angrier.
“Oh, you still do not apologize?” he said. “Oh, my God, she does not even apologize!” Then, when he called me “a communist” and an “infidel,” I knew it was time to leave.”
pages 73, 74
“Sure enough, that night a group of people angered by my speech went looking for me in the university residence where I had been staying. They carried sticks in their hands to beat me. Screaming insults, they stormed in on my friend Nafas.
“Where is that prostitute girl?” the men demanded. “When we find her, we will rape her and kill her!”
pages 178, 179
“In 2005, Mrs Bush made a six-hour stop in Afghanistan, staying just long enough to proclaim how pleased she was with our progress. At a teacher’s training institute in Kabul, the American president’s clueless wife announced, “Tyranny has been replaced by a young democracy and the power of freedom is on display across Afghanistan.”
In a way, she was partly right. “The power of freedom” was – and remains – available for the warlords, drug lords, and Taliban to brutalize the people, particularly women. Women are “free” to beg in the streets under the cover of burqa; they are “free” to resort to prostitution to feed their families; they are “free” to sell their children instead of watching them starve to death; they are “free” to commit self-immolation as the only way out of the cycle of humiliation, destitution, and despair.”
“Some took Laura Bush at her word when she said the purpose of the American invasion was to restore women’s rights, or took at face value the words of then U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell in November 2001: “The rights of women in Afghanistan will not be negotiatiable.” Perhaps Powell had meant to say that women’s rights would not be negotiated. It was obvious from the very first days that the United States had compromised the rights of Afghan women by supporting some of the worst enemies of women that our country had ever seen.”
“Women in Afghanistan: a human rights catastrophe” by Amnesty International
An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Ella Bedard follows:
On Tuesday, just as the provincial government started the process of instituting back-to-work legislation, the OLRB rendered its decision, ruling that the three local strikes were, in fact, illegal…
In his ruling, OLRB Chair Bernard Fishbein, stated that elements of the three strikes contravened the School Boards’ Collective Bargaining Act because they pertained to issues being negotiated at the central, as opposed to local, bargaining table.
[OSSTF Peel District President Mike] Bettiol believes that the issues that the union was bringing forward are all local issues.
“Everything that we tabled was a local issue,” said Bettiol. “Really none of the communications that we had from our bargaining unit to the public, or to our members really were about central table issues.”
“The Board seemed to hinge their case on what was on picket signs, and the fact that some of our members had written things on picket signs that were central issues. But we didn’t give those people those signs, they chose to express themselves. So really what they are saying is that if you are on a picket line, you don’t have freedom of expression,” said Bettiol.
My typo-corrected online response to the above linked-to article by Ella Bedard follows:
I think the viciousness of the government is showing here, and in other areas. It is indeed, as Mr. Bettiol indicates, telling that the government let the strike go on for three weeks and a day and managed to bargain with the teachers one day within that time period. I guess there’s no ‘written’ law that says that they have to bargain more. But I don’t know.
There are many fronts in the class war and lots of blood being spilled in it. Most of that blood belongs to the people and their champions. That’s because the class war is not between equals, any more than Gazans are equal to the obscene IDF, which Stephen Harper is a big fan of. It’s a class slaughter. It’s police state rules and austerity. Speak up about atrocities or injustice and go to jail for it. Commit atrocities or lesser crimes and get a get out of jail free pass. The examples are numerous. Here’s a few: Pierre Poilievre, who understands that it’s his class that possesses privileged access to the minds of Canadian citizens, of all ages (http://bit.ly/1HVQwuY). And Stephen Harper whose holy war on terror means that his warriors are precious and deserve our full support and protection. Not (http://on.thestar.com/1Fk6Wu4). And Diane Ablonczy, who doesn’t have patience for those who don’t appreciate the important work that her class is doing for the gangster corporatocracy, which from time to time might need judges to assist them in doing by just forgetting about what the laws are (http://bit.ly/1SFCvaQ).
Julian Assange recently spoke with Amy Goodman, who visited him in his Ecuadorean Embassy home. He revealed some interesting information (about the illegal grounding and searching of Evo Morales’s plane [a flying embassy actually]), which we had snippets of only. And he reported on recent political developments in the UK that look like recent political developments in other developed ‘democracies’. The fascism is ramping up constantly. It’s just too fun. Here, while we are hyperventilating over the fascist Bill C-51, Harper then announces that he wants to make it illegal to disagree with him about Israel! (http://bit.ly/1B9igat). Some US politicians are thinking along the same lines. Do they need to do that? Of course not. Even from the standpoint of the owners and rulers of the world, that’s not necessary. But the corporatocracy and it’s various national components are vicious. That’s their character. In Britain, which is a lieutenant of the US (and not a ‘partner’, as Chomsky notes), politicians just can’t get enough power tripping. Maybe it’s their way of compensating for being told by uncle Sam what to do rather than being free to discuss with him what to do. Consider:
“There’s a number of nations involved who have relationships with each other. U.K. has a relationship with the United States. There’s domestic things happening here in the United Kingdom which are concerning, on the one hand. The U.K. says it will arrest me regardless. It refuses to reveal whether U.S. has already put in an extradition request. It says it will pull out of the European Court of Human Rights within a hundred days. I think it’s going to find it harder than what it is saying politically. It is engaged in this crazy adventurism in Libya.
“It is introducing new legislation to say that it’s not enough anymore to follow the law. This is the incredible rhetoric coming out of the prime minister’s mouth, and the home secretary, who’s responsible for policing, police, that it’s not enough anymore to follow the law, it’s not a matter of introducing new laws to make new crimes, but people who make statements, which are perfectly lawful, need to be stopped; otherwise, criticism against the U.K.’s foreign policy could lead people into… it’s a stepping stone to domestic extremism.” – May 28, 2015 DN show
You don’t want to be labelled ‘extremists’, Do you teachers? You know what ‘extremist’ sounds like these days. The government uses the word, often enough, interchangeably with the word ‘terrorist’. Then again, things like thinking, skepticism, science (http://canadaswaronscience.com) and questioning authority do terrify our elites and their political tools.
The gangster corporatocracy uses unprincipled, macho people to run it. Elites and their political tools don’t need principled people in high places to trip them up, although when it happens they enjoy showing the frightened people what it means to have the power of God by making an example of them. Corporatocracy governments and their instruments of repression are trying to terrorize whistleblowers, social justice activists, journalists and educators (Project Hero for example – http://bit.ly/1FdMRo5) into submission (and intellectual and moral suicide, as Chris Hedges would put it) and some of those ones are paying dearly for resisting and for speaking truth to power and for trying to follow democratic rules (informing the people about what their ‘representatives’ are doing in their name and with their tax dollars). The way you operate, positively and productively, in a gangster corporatocracy is: ‘You get together with others to agree on the rules and then you proceed to strategically break them in order to get ahead of and on top of others’. Those who are more important and powerful than you expect you to do that, which you probably know. Gangster-minded people in this system understand and are okay with the way this works, understanding that from a position of dominance (and relative dominance), one can more easily guarantee outcomes, including economic and career outcomes. And one can more easily do the bidding of more powerful class warriors.
If only it was a war of equals. But it’s a slaughter. That’s because the slaughtered are more likely to follow inconvenient, but good, rules. Just ask those many whistleblowers and journalists paying for their adherence to principles of fairness and democracy. The Gazans have it hardest, but they are not alone in dealing with fascist murderers. Yep, that’s extreme language. But in a money system, money means life…
People should not have power over other people, period (outside the parent-child relationship.) But in this dark world, with it’s gangster corporatocracy, that hierarchical feature of unequal social relations is normal. The teachers need to know their place, whether or not democratic principles are trampled. We all need to know our place and for most of us, it’s low. We are all ‘under’ corporatocracy but we are not all ‘in on it’. We are all cogs in the monstrous machinery of the vicious corporatocracy. The only question is: Do we resist?
Fewer people resist all the time. The ranks of the vampire class are swelling. As they swell, the ranks of the resisters shrink. The resisters’ ranks shrink faster than the vampire ranks swell, because if people don’t become lawless abusers they are just buried instead.
*edit, May 19, 2015 – I just noticed that the Public Citizen article about the WTO ruling on COOL isn’t visible on the Common Dreams website. That is to say, It’s there, but it’s found via a link in their Progressive Newswire section. You can therefore use the search feature on CD’s website to call up the article.
An excerpt from the above linked-to article from Public Citizen’s Ben Beachy follows:
WASHINGTON – Today’s final ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body against popular U.S. country – of – origin meat labeling (COOL) policy spotlights how trade agreements can undermine domestic public interest policies, Public Citizen said today.
The WTO decision is likely to further fuel opposition to Fast Track authority for controversial “trade” pacts that would expose U.S. consumer and environmental protections to more such challenges…
COOL requires labeling of pork and beef sold in the United States to inform consumers the country in which the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.
“The president says ‘we’re making stuff up,’ about trade deals undermining our consumer and environmental policies but today, we have the latest WTO ruling against a popular U.S. consumer policy. Last week, Canadian officials announced that our financial regulations violate trade rules, and earlier this year, the Obama administration, in response to another trade agreement ruling, opened all U.S. roads to Mexico – domiciled trucks that threaten highway safety and the environment,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.
In a May 1, 2015, letter, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack informed Congress that it will need to repeal the COOL law or else change it if the final WTO ruling were to go against the United States. In contrast, in his recent speech at Nike, President Barack Obama said, “Critics warn that parts of this deal would undermine American regulation – food safety, worker safety, even financial regulations. They’re making this stuff up. This is just not true. No trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws.”…
Today’s decision on the final U.S. appeal of a 2012 initial ruling against the COOL policy paves the way for Canada and Mexico, which challenged COOL at the WTO, to impose indefinite trade sanctions against the United States unless or until it weakens or eliminates COOL, which is supported by nine in 10 Americans…
Today’s ruling is not subject to further appeal.
The decision initiates a WTO process to determine the level of trade sanctions that Canada and Mexico are authorized to impose on the United States as retaliation for COOL.
My online response to the above linked-to article follows. I will activate the links for your convenience:
Ralph Nader, when talking about Bernie Sanders recently, listed a number of areas where Obama was breaking the law. (There’s plenty of lawbreaking being done by the leader of our Canadian ‘law & order’ government as well – http://bit.ly/1JWgPkQ). Ralph was being interviewed by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. I sensed that Ralph was uncomfortable saying what he said. (He noted that the problem is with the power structure. He noted that it wouldn’t matter who you had in there, the outcome would be the same. There is something to that. But that sort of let’s Obama off the hook. No one has to join that terrorist organization. But Nader isn’t prepared to seriously attack a system that he wants to win in.) The topic was Bernie, not Obama. But you can’t not discuss Obama when you are talking about someone who is about [to] run to replace him. (Bernie Sanders, incidentally, has ignored Ralph Nader for 15 years. Think about it.)
Gangsters, like Obama, will look for work in the criminal corporatocracy. The public might be okay with the idea that there is only deliberate criminality in an ‘underworld’, as Peter Dale Scott notes, but the reality is that criminality isn’t confined to conventional criminal organizations, as Michael Parenti explains in his article “The Mafia And Me” (http://bit.ly/1KhzY44).
Indeed, The wolves among us have found that the way to dominate is to break rules. After getting together with the rest of your community to decide on the rules that will make society work for all, you then strategically break rules that will allow you to leap over and get on top of others. Why would you do that? People are free to modify themselves, to reject the golden rule of love your neighbor as yourself and to see winning as life’s most important value. Anyone – rich, poor, dumb or smart – can mod themselves and embrace the Devilish game of ‘riches for the strongest’. It’s a free universe. ‘Riches for the strongest’ is this dark world’s dominant paradigm. With that game, there ‘has to be’ losers. The lawless winners in this world get a kick out of surviving, and winning, by taking the means of survival (and much else) from others. When they do that, it makes them feel strong. When we squawk after being betrayed, deprived, abused for speaking up about it, That’s like blood to vampires. They can’t get enough of it. It’s the glory-seekers glory, for glory that is unseen isn’t glory. That’s why you see a strange tension between what those with power want to hide from you (in their calculation that you might hinder them if you know) and what they want you to know so that you know who God is.
The lawless fear no rules. But they do find them useful. The people get all kinds of rules – murder is prohibited (unless, as Voltaire noted, it’s done by large organized groups), free trade rules, rules about revealing state secrets that jeopardize national security, etc – while the powerful and their allies can break them with impunity.
Really, Is there any better illustration of the mafia character of the global capitalist system than the ISDS (investor state dispute settlement) in free trade agreements? Tax evading corporations are literally allowed to shake the people down. There’s nothing stopping them. Certainly the lawless, perverted, grinning mobsters who go through the undemocratic, captured electoral system so that they can attach the label of ‘democratically elected’ to themselves aren’t going to stop them. Additionally, Obama surely has an incentive to stay the lawless course when he looks upon the $25 million that Bill and Hillary have earned in speaking engagements since 2014 (http://bit.ly/1Fqtih1).
Here we see that Obama isn’t just lawless, in that he’s broken clearly written rules, like the constitution and other American laws, but he’s broken rules that aren’t written as rules one must [follow] – unless you want to point out that leaders who profess to be Christian violate Christ’s edicts when they lie etc.. Anyway, Obama bald faced lies to the American people, and the world that is watching, by claiming that free trade is good for them and those who say otherwise are “making stuff up,” as Lori notes (http://bit.ly/1INIxl3).
These modded people who are now our ‘leaders’ are something else. They are lawless, dishonest, perverted, murderous and macho. It’s not enough that Obama finesses his lies. He’s got to bald faced lie. It may be harder to do, but if you want to prove to yourself that you’re hard… And the economy he cares about isn’t one in which average Americans participate. They are barred from that. Under neoliberal capitalism and a regime of free trade agreements, the people get austerity while the criminal 1% and it’s tools get prosperity. And so the WTO, which is a hit man for the corporatocracy, is free to shake down the American (and other) people, while grinning Obama lies about how great things will be when he aids and abets that shakedown. This is nothing new.
Southern white supremacists used to tell black Americans that segregation and inequality was good for them. When the equality line was losing them more support than it was winning, they opted to focus on the segregation system. But it was all about inequality. It was all about a way for white industrialists – who didn’t hesitate, like today’s ‘leaders’, to ruin the minds and souls of the population by propagandizing people into thinking that racism was in accordance with science and God – to maintain their racialized labor system. The result was ugly enough, with events like the patriotic murder that Chris Hedges wrote about in his book “Death Of The Liberal Class.”
Macho capitalists push until things break. They aren’t terribly… conservative. Or wise. I recall – easy enough to do since I have the book (“Defending White Democracy” by Jason Morgan Ward) before me and will resume reading it when this post is done – reading about the pushback of the southern white supremacists against the gains of the civil rights movement, and how they offered to make black public schools separate ‘and’ equal. They actually put their money where their mouths were in this instance, although that led to interesting outcomes. Here’s the thing, From the start of James Frances Byrne’s employment of the tactic to make segregation and segregationists seem respectable, via a sincere offer of establishing equality for blacks (in the public school system), the offers were also accompanied by threats. This was just prior to the Brown decision of 1954, making segregation illegal. That’s what they were trying to stop. They threatened to completely abandon public schools and they’d look after white kids while poorer black American parents were on their own. They just couldn’t help themselves. It was in their macho nature.
“From the outset, Byrnes balanced his unprecedented equalization pledge with an ominous threat. Once in office, he made good on both. In the fall of 1952, Palmetto State whites voted two to one to strike from their constitution the section mandating public schools. Afterward, Byrnes found himself lumped with less savory southern leaders… Alex McCullough, a Spartanburg newspaperman serving as “research secretary” to Governor Byrnes, resented northern newspapers’ increasing unwillingness to say anything nice about his boss. While southern newspapers regularly printed McCullough’s glowing profiles of South Carolina’s “educational revolution,” northern editors largely ignored the public relations campaign. Instead, McCullough complained, Byrne’s threat to abolish the public schools was being “used out of context to picture him as a relentless persecutor of Negroes.” -pg 138
And, as happens when you join up with a vicious gang, you don’t want to behave in such a way as to condemn the bullies’ behavior. They might turn on you. (Wall Street might turn on Obama if he says no to them or jails banksters.) So you imitate their behavior instead, especially if you have dangled before you the two options of penury and fear vs riches and glory. That the southern racist industrialists and their political allies were holding back their states and even hurting their country’s image on the world stage, with economic consequences, wasn’t enough to make them behave. They could only be forced to behave. (The NAACP, incredibly, went along with an immoral argument that segregation gave communists a reason to disparage the US. They aren’t so ‘ignorant’ now, I hope. Capitalism and force and slavery are one package deal, as we now know very well, if we care to.)
Obama, like my prime minister, Stephen Harper, fresh from cutting our throats with Bill C-51, which he immediately followed up with a push to make it illegal for Canadians to disagree with him about Israel (http://bit.ly/1B9igat), which is something US politicians are looking at also (http://bit.ly/1QZpcQT), are asking “Where’s God?” Those modded men have replaced God and need, badly, to know that a real, inconvenient, party-pooping God isn’t there. It’s an interesting pathology. The God who they’ve replaced, and whose standards they have no use for or they wouldn’t be interested in replacing him, is a God of love. One way to get his attention, then, would be to do things that would force a God of love to step out from the shadows and deal with it. Since these leaders haven’t seen God in their lifetimes, they, along with millions of others, choose to believe he isn’t there and won’t be coming. But they aren’t sure. Lucky us. They commit their abuses on the people, at home and abroad, in the most vicious manner, and await a response that doesn’t come. It’s like a hit of cocaine or something. It gives them a momentary high. But it wears off. And they come back for more. As I said, Lucky us.
But God has his timetable. Those losers aren’t going to manipulate God. They are merely going to fill up their measure and be judged for their crimes by a perfect Source of justice. He doesn’t use baseball cards and signature style drone strikes. There will be no miscalculations. And yes, Obama, change is good.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more… And the One seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new… Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowards and those without faith and those who are disgusting in their filth and murderers and the sexually immoral and those practicing spiritism and idolatry and all the liars; Their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This means the second death.”” (Revelation chapter 21)