Wednesday, December 31, 2008

getting into the new years eve mood (dutch only)



LINKS
- Vara's HumorTV: Pi-pa-pijpen

Sunday, December 28, 2008

N-America's sanatizing of "raw" war footage shows its Pro-Jewish bias

The complete footage you were protected from seeing:

video

LINKS
- NOS Journaal: "raw" war footage
- Guardian: video footage attack Gaza
- CTV's "version" of the truth

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I know the place...Harold Pinter (1930 - 2008)

I know the place

I know the place.
It is true.
Everything we do
Corrects the space
Between death and me
And you.

LINKS
- BBC: Harold Pinter Dies
- Wikipedia: Harold Pinter
- Soliloguy...Pinter

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hey Iggy, is Sesame Street on your playlist too?

I'm sure it is:

Nearly 20 years ago the US armed forces in Panama used the music of Guns N' Roses and Elvis Presley, played at maximum volume over loudspeakers, to try and drive the country's leader, Manuel Noriega, to surrender. A tactic was born. Since then, music played at unbearable volumes has been frequently deployed in Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere by the CIA, as part of a sophisticated portfolio of torture against detainees. [...]

"What we're talking about here is people in a darkened room, physically inhibited by handcuffs, bags over their heads and music blaring at them," said musician David Gray. "That is nothing but torture. It doesn't matter what the music is. It could be Tchaikovsky's finest or it could be Barney the Dinosaur. It really doesn't matter, it's going to drive you completely nuts."[...]

One of the reasons for using loud music in this way is that it leaves no marks on the body. [...]

Prison playlist

US military interrogators have often blasted music at detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay.

The styles of music used range from heavy metal to pop. According to the British legal charity Reprieve, these are among the songs they have used most frequently: Enter Sandman Metallica, Bodies Drowning Pool, Shoot to Thrill and Hells Bells AC/DC, I Love You from the Barney & Friends children's television show. Born in the USA Bruce Springsteen, Babylon David Gray, White America Eminem. Sesame Street, theme tune from the children's television show.

Iggy is so sweet.

LINKS
- Guardian: Musicians condemn use of their songs as instruments of war
- Ignatieff on torture: We should not take the rule of law "too firmly". Let's prevent war with "indefinite detention of suspects, coercive interrogations, targeted assassinations, even pre-emptive war"

Monday, December 08, 2008

Harper is liar; national outrage confirms he needs to be removed

Given that Ed Broadbent hasn't been sued by Stephen Harper yet (and we all know Harper loves to sue over "nothing"), we can now be confident to assume that Harper is, yes, a liar.

In Ed Broadbent's own words, "They lie. I repeat. They pay people to lie about other people, and destroy things."

Don't believe it? Here's Ed Broadbent on the CBC:


h/t BCer in Toronto

LINKS:
- Wikipedia: Ed Broadbent
- BCer in Toronto: Harper is a liar
- Why Harper should be in jail

Canada's Democracy-light: it would have been funny if it wasn't so backwards



h/t Paulitics

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Stephen Harper Leadership (image)



h/t impolitical

Friday, December 05, 2008

WSWS: Canada’s “constitutional coup” and the corporate media

By Keith Jones
6 December 2008


original here.

Canada's corporate media is either vocally supporting Thursday's "constitutional coup"—the minority Conservative government and the unelected governor-general shut down parliament so as to prevent the opposition parties from ousting the government in a non-confidence vote—or keeping a guilty silence.

Never before in Canada or any other country that follows the British parliamentary pattern has a government prorogued parliament to avoid defeat in an impending non-confidence vote.

That Stephen Harper's Conservative government had lost parliament's support and was facing defeat is incontrovertible. The three opposition parties, who together have a parliamentary majority and polled substantially more than half of the votes in an election less than eight weeks ago, had officially informed Governor-General Michaëlle Jean that they would defeat the government at the earliest opportunity. They had also formally notified her of their intention to form an alternate government, a Liberal-NDP coalition supported by the Bloc Québécois.

Since Prime Minister Harper manifestly did not have parliament's support, the governor-general, according to all constitutional precedent, had no choice but to rebuff his request that parliament be shut down till the end of January.

The anti-democratic nature of the Conservatives' attempt to cling to power in defiance of parliament was further underscored by the visceral, anti-democratic campaign they mounted in the run-up to Thursday's shutting down of parliament. The Conservatives and their supporters in the corporate media openly incited anti-Quebec chauvinism and labeled the opposition's attempt to form an alternate government "illegal," even treasonous.

But rather than telling Harper that the no-confidence vote scheduled for this coming Monday had to proceed, Governor-General Jean, bowing to the wishes of Canada's ruling class, ordered parliament shut down, thereby ensuring the survival of a government without parliament's support.

Given the import and unprecedented character of Jean's actions, one would have expected all of the country's major newspapers to have published editorials Friday analyzing and critiquing them. In fact there was scant editorial comment.

Predictably, the neo-conservative National Post and several other right-wing mouthpieces hailed the governor-general for doing the "right thing."

But most of the press was silent. Neither the Globe and Mail nor La presse, respectively the most influential English- and French-language dailies, commented editorially on the governor-general's action.

The Toronto Star, a newspaper closely allied with the Liberal Party, stated in passing, in an editorial devoted to urging Harper to pursue a less "adversarial" course, that Jean "probably had no choice but to grant" the prime minister his request for parliament to be prorogued "lest her office be accused of partisanship."

The opposition parties, it needs by emphasized, have acted in a like fashion. They have failed to vigorously condemn the shutting down of parliament as a major attack on democratic rights, let alone called on the public to oppose it. As of Friday evening, the web site of the New Democratic Party, Canada's social-democratic party, carried no statement of any kind on the shutting down of parliament. But it did feature party leader Jack Layton's tribute to three Canadian Armed Forces soldiers killed Friday in Afghanistan fighting to uphold the US-installed government of Hamid Karzai.

The media silence has a double-purpose.

First, to stifle public debate of what has taken place and why.

Second, to protect the office of the governor-general and the fictions and fabrications that surround it. The representative of the monarch, the governor-general is a supposedly non-partisan and almost exclusively ceremonial institution. In fact, as the events of the past week have demonstrated, the governor-general has vast "reserve" powers, powers that are subject to no legal check. Jean has not, nor will she provide any explanation for her actions.

The bourgeoisie has maintained this feudal relic precisely so as to arm itself with a means of short-circuiting parliamentary democracy in a time of crisis. And all sections of the bourgeoisie, especially now under conditions of mounting economic crisis and social conflict, are determined to preserve this institution, armed with unlimited constitutional power and utterly insulated from the will of the people.

Given the general lack of editorial comment on Thursday's suspension of parliament, the position adopted by editorial board of the Ottawa Citizen is especially revealing. In an editorial titled "The wounded body politic," the Citizen, conceded that "Canadian democracy" had "sustained long-term damage" as a result of this week's event, but ultimately argued this damage was the necessary price of preventing the coming to power of a Liberal-NDP government.

"A fundamental principle of our democracy," propounded the Citizen, "is that the executive branch cannot govern without the consent and participation of the legislative branch. For the next month and a half, Mr. Harper proposes to govern without a parliament." The Citizen went on to warn that future governments "can now try to escape" parliament's judgment by appealing to the governor-general.

These concerns were raised, however, only to be smartly dismissed: "Practically speaking proroguing parliament will probably make for a better few months for the country, and for the economy, than the alternative that the Liberals and NDP had planned."

In truth, the Liberals and NDP were planning to form a right-wing government committed to Canada continuing to play a leading role in the Afghan war till the end of 2011 and to implementing the Conservatives' plan to slash corporate taxes by more than $50 billion over five years.

But the most powerful sections of the bourgeoisie preferred a government of unabashed reaction and toward that end were quite ready to run roughshod over parliamentary norms and democratic rights.

Whilst the editorial pages largely avoided commenting on the shutting down of parliament, the dailies did publish many copy-inches of reportage. The common refrain of this reportage was that the governor-general had called a "time out."

The "time out" metaphor has a very definite political significance. It is meant to lull the population to sleep, to foster the notion that little, if anything, of significance has taken place and everything will, in any event, soon go back to normal because parliament has merely been "suspended."

The truth is otherwise. The suspension of parliament and of MPs' right to defeat and replace the sitting government strikes at the most fundamental democratic principle—the right of the people to choose their own government.

If not overturned by a movement from below, Canada's constitution, through the power of precedent, will have been rewritten and the powers of the executive, of both the sitting government and of the governor-general, to ignore parliament and rule by decree will have been significantly increased.

As for the question of "suspension," this is precisely how democratic rights are taken away. Governments moving in an authoritarian direction don't generally outright abolish democratic rights; they "suspend" them, claiming that they need to be temporarily withdrawn so as to confront a purported crisis or emergency.

Working people must take heed: The corporate media's support for the constitutional coup engineered by the Conservatives and the governor-general attests to the fact there is no significant constituency within the ruling class committed to the defence of constitutional principles and democratic rights.

A little humour never hurts. Heil Harper!


h/t Canuck Attitude

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Time for some counter-spin: Stephen Harper is a separatist

Time has come to put some counter-spin on Harper's main buzz-word "separatists".

The reality is that Harper has done nothing to embrace Quebec into a unified Canada, on the contrary. Harper has been burning bridges, so much that you wonder who it really is that wants to separate.

Who's the separatist now?
Wouldn't it be a great idea if, from now on, WE call HARPER a separatist?
That message would certainly not get lost on the public (the Harper machine has done the hard work for us) and is far closer to the truth.

The poll results of Harper's attacks on the Bloc show that Harper's battle to keep the country together resulted in completely the opposite effect in Quebec: the Bloc gained more support while all other parties remained or lost ground.

I'm arguing that Harper has not only united the left, but has also brought us closer to the breakup of Canada (I believe one of his ultimate goals).

Turning your perceived weakness into your strength.
Harper's "separatist VETO" message worked very well outside of Quebec. By blaming the coalition for their willingness to break up the country by working with the separatists, he was able to portray the coalition as an un-Canadian coalition (at least in the eyes of English Canadians).

It's time to turn our perceived weakness into our strength.

Harper has isolated himself with his separatists remarks, yet to make parliament work parties need to work together. Only the coalition is willing to work together, and only the coalition is working to keep this country together.

Anti-Separatist motto....
Which leads me to the coalition's motto: Let's work together.

UPDATE 1
I'm not alone in saying that Harper is a separatist

UPDATE 2
I've added a picture from an anti-coalition rally - h/t daveberta

Please be part of this online poll

Canoe has an online poll, straight and simple. Be part of it and show your support for the coalition.

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Survey/2008/12/03/7618901.php

Thousands at pro-coalition rally in Ottawa

From xtra.ca

The country was mostly watching the door of Government House. The heavy, wooden doors opened, then closed, then opened again and Stephen Harper immerged.

On his advice, Governor General Michaëlle Jean prorogued Parliament until Jan 26, 2009. That means Harper and the Conservatives will not face a confidence vote next week which would have surely toppled Parliament and replaced it with a Liberal-NDP coalition.

Minutes after Harper stepped away from the microphone, Parliament Hill erupted with the shouts of thousands of pro-coalition supporters.

PROTEST PROTOCOL. An upbeat crowd shouted traditional chants. Hey hey, ho ho, Stephen Harper's got to go.
(Marcus McCann)
The demonstration was planned earlier in the week — the first of two dozen pro-Liberal-NDP coalition rallies being held in the next three days.

The timing of the Ottawa rally gave opposition leaders a chance to address throngs of supporters about the latest development, news that had just started circulating among supporters, many of them on their lunch breaks from downtown office jobs.

Stephane Dion spoke first.

"For the first time in Canadian History," he says, "the Prime Minister of Canada is running away from the Parliament of Canada."

NDP leader Jack Layton echoed the sentiment.

"Stephen Harper just put the locks on the House of Commons so that we can't vote him out of office," says Layton. "I call on all of you not to give up for one second."

TEMP JOB. Stephane Dion addresses the crowd on Parliament Hill Dec 4. He insisted that Harper's grip on the Prime Ministership was failing.
(Marcus McCann)
The event was hosted by former Rabble editor Judy Rebick. Rebick says that the Conservative government has to be held accountable for its economic update, a document many have criticized for being overly partisan.

"What we've seen in the lasy few days is the return of the reform party, their anti-feminist policies, the anti-worker policies, the vicious anti-Quebec policies," she says.

Jean's decision ends days of speculation about the immediate future of the government.

Turnout at Ottawa protests are often tepid compared to the outpourings at sister rallies in Toronto, Vancouver, and smaller Canadian cities like Hamilton and Halifax. But with more than 2,000 supporters turning out for the daytime rally, every indication is that subsequent demonstrations will be even bigger.

For a list of demonstrations over the next three days, go to makeparliamentwork.ca.

SUPPORT. Representatives from the public sector unions, dressed in orange vests, handed out chocolates and signs declaring their support for a coalition government.
(Marcus McCann)
FIGHTING FORM. Layton gave a fiery speech where he told the crowd Harper had put a padlock on Parliament.
(Marcus McCann)


Disappointed, but NOT DEFEATED!

Disappointed
Of course I'm truly disappointed. Technically, I think the Governor-General made the wrong decision and set the wrong precedent. But I accept her decision, and find further discussion on her decision unproductive.

Harper is still in the looser's seat
Harper is playing political games, and he's good at it (I'll give him that). But the fact is that the numbers needed to govern this country haven't changed: the majority of MPs want this government OUT.

It's up to our elected MP
Our MPs have the key to the demise of the current government. A majority of MPs wants this government, led by Stephen Harper, out. Let's make sure they stick to it.

Keep the left united
Get in touch with your MP (especially those MPs that support the coalition of course) and tell them how much you are looking forward to see the coalition parties in power, ALL OF THEM. I'm sure our MPs are just as disappointed in GG's decision as us, and in need of our support.

Action required
Write a letter, send a postcard, leave a positive phone message on the answering machine. Be nice, hopeful, even demanding. We can do this, yes, we can :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Harper's last 5 days in office - I'm feeling fine!

Harper will be removed from office in 5 days!





What the "raging left" should do now: cool down to show how absurd the Raging Right really is

Stay calm
The main thing that Harper and his bigoted bullies is out to do now is to create an outrage, which seems to be taking place all over the country.

It's in the interest of the coalition to do EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE, and either calmly rebuke Conservative talking point, or ignore them all together.

Be careful to not come off as a "raging left" as that is only helping their cause of creating outrage.

It's the economy, ....
There is no outrage, no political crisis, only a change of power which will take place 5 days from now. The only real crisis is economic.

We need a stable, majority backed government to deal with the economic crisis.
It's the economy, (but leave out the "stupid").

Jack said it right, and the right way:

Prime Minister, your government has lost the confidence of the House. And it is going to be defeated at the earliest opportunity in the House of Commons. I urge you to accept this gracefully.
Remain confident and democracy will take its course.

Canada's political turmoil made it onto The Real News (video)

Well done, The Real News!



Consider donating to the Real News - Getting It Right does.

NUPGE's Larry Brown on the Bullying Bigots and their Bogus Democracy.

National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) on the bullying bigots and their bogus democracy. Read the full version here
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stephen Harper's bogus democracy

By Larry Brown
National Secretary-Treasurer
National Union of Public and General Employees


Ottawa (3 Dec. 2008) - Life doesn’t often get more interesting than this. The Harper government introduced a so-called economic update that amounts to a vindictive attack on unions, on the opposition parties, on democracy itself; an economic statement that had no valid economics in it.

The deficit forecasts were farcical, and there was no economic stimulus, which experts of every stripe are calling for unanimously. The update was a monumental, colossal mistake.

And now, in the face of a coalition of the Liberals and the NDP, we are being treated to completely bogus arguments as to why the Harper government should not be defeated and replaced by the coalition. Here are some of the arguments, none of which are valid.

(1) In this time of financial crisis we need a stable government.

It’s amazing the Conservatives would trot this out as an argument.
The coalition is promising to govern for a minimum of 18 months. The Harper government can be defeated any time it makes the kind of mistake it made last week.

So if we need a stable government, the choice is obvious – we should go with the coalition. They promise much more stability than Harper can. [...]

(2) It would be undemocratic to defeat Harper after winning re-election.

[...] Harper didn’t win his majority of seats, the only real reason he had called the election. A majority of voters (63%) voted for political parties that disagreed with Harper on almost every issue.

Our democratic traditions say that to defeat a minority government, and replace it with another party or parties that have the support of the House, is perfectly valid - in the period following a election. That is democracy. To argue that the voters of Canada gave Harper a strong mandate is nonsense.

(3) The Harper government has backed down on his contentious economic statement so the problem has been resolved.

[...] Harper did not back down on all of his attacks on democracy. He has pulled back on party financing, at least for now. He has grudgingly admitted that his attack on the democratic right of workers won’t proceed, at least for now.

[...] What Harper has not backed down on is his attempt to use the law to overturn freely negotiated collective agreements.

[...] What Harper also has not backed down on is the attack on pay equity that would deny women workers their democratic right to non-discrimination in the workplace. [...]

It's about time

The union, without the right to set salaries, would be jointly liable if the employer refused to agree to fair wages. These would be the same unions that Harper thinks should not have the right to freely bargain their wages in the first place!

What remains in his plan is attacks on the fundamental democratic right of federal public sector workers. What is remotely democratic about an attack on democratic rights?

What we are seeing in Parliament is democracy in action. It’s about time.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring that our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE


Web posted by NUPGE: 3 December 2008



Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Globe and Mail's pro Harper bias: it's everywhere

If one thing has become evident in the last few days it is the following: Canada's capitalist media has a clear pro-Conservative bias. And I'm not just talking about the National Post.

Take the Globe and Mail.
Example #1: Andrew Steele's “Harper's Options”. Anyone who has read it will have to conclude that Andrew did not include all options available, on the contrary.

How about the option of letting democracy prevail by doing “non of the above”? Did Andrew really forget the most decent option of all or has his (anticipated?) bias in favour of the Conservatives tainted his ability to proper reasoning?

Why it is bias: it is pro-Harper bias because Andrew seems to have intentionally left out the most obvious and descent thing to do: after the government falls (on Monday), let the majority backed coalition rule.

Example #2: Jeffrey Simpson's “Harper bulldozes his way to the brink”. His opening puts right away on the wrong foot:

What an unpalatable choice now beckons Canadians: a government led by a Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, whose approach has disappointed so many; or a government led by Stéphane Dion, the Liberal Leader Canadians resoundingly rejected six weeks ago.
Does anyone see a problem with this kind of reasoning? Well, I do! First off, Jeffrey implies that Canadians need to make a choice. Wrong! Canadians have already resoundingly spoken in the last election, only six weeks ago. Suffering from temporary Alzheimers, Jeffrey?

Why it is bias: Jeffrey Simpsons suggests that Canadians need to go to the polls (something favoured by the Conservatives, if you haven't noticed). But our democracy is designed in such a way that a majority of MPs make the choice of who gets to govern; no other intervention is needed to let the majority-backed coalition govern.

The rest of the article is more of the same bias, combined with some more of the same (blah blah blah - national paper lost in provincialism); I will leave that for what it is.

Example #3 Adam Radwanski's “From the kitchen table to the cabinet table”. Lets not dwell on the title for now, but jump right to the end of the article:
Oh, and if Pat Martin is poised to take a cabinet seat, Stephen Harper is entirely justified in proroguing Parliament, barring the doors to the House of Commons, and doing whatever else it takes to prevent this thing from ever happening.
Why this is bias: It is a majority-backed coalition's full right to elect a government of their choosing. Where's the logic that a failed Prime Minister of Canada (a.k.a. Steve) is “entirely justified” to prorogue Parliament on the basis of a disliked MP? Where does Adam Radwanski's disdain for democracy stem from? Are all writers at the Globe and Mail that biased?

Keep reading

Example #4: Front page presents four links, three of them link to overly (or should I say overtly?) biased articles justifying the Conservative's "we-are-sooo-outraged" propaganda crap forward by the Conservatives:
Let me explain.

1. Audio: New Conservative Radio ad (!)
2. Can the PM sack the Governor-General (discussed above, #1)
3. Who would the NDP put in cabinet (discussed above, #2)
(4. Globe Politics)

Here's what a progressive would have enjoyed to see in a national paper:

1. Audio: Listen to the latest Conservative and Coalition backing ads.
2. Can Harper regain the confidence of the house?
3. Is Harper going to spend his Christmas in Ottawa?
(4. Globe Politics)

Why it bias:

(1) Publishing exact copies of Conservative ads but not once mention the latest ad in support of the coalition goes against one of the general rules of journalism: bring balance by finding and reporting on every side of a story. Why not at least present both ads?


I've already discussed Radwanski's (3) lack of logic and disdain for parliamentary democracy. Suggesting that the GG (2) is subordinate to the PM (when the opposite is closer to the truth) is favouring the all-over-the-capitalist-media-bias that what has been done to the PM is outrageous when in fact there's only one person to blame for his own misery: Stephen Harper himself. Had Harper presented a more agreeable budget and not provoked the majority opposition with his mean-spirited cuts to political financing then I would not have been writing this post.

Our Prime Minister has lost all confidence from the newly elected MPs (the house), yet he continues his campaign of misinformation and slander (and even lies that seem to have been "missed" by this wonderful paper) in order to organize as much "outrage" possible in order to influence an upcoming decision by Michaele Jean.

His disrespect for the house and the majority of people who did NOT elect this Bush backing Conservative is far more outragious to people than anything else. I would like to see a goverment that works.

Lastly, I do realize that this posting is far from conclusive. Nevertheless I hope I have been able to show my readers how highly biased (in this case in favour of the Conservative Party) Canadian corporate media is.

Harper's last 6 days in office - and I'm feeling good :)

Who hasn't seen one of the pro-Harper counters? Most Blogging Tories carry one. To show some compassion I've added one myself (see below).

1030 days in office, not bad. But the countdown has begun.

Harper will be removed from office in 6 days





Canadian Labour supports a majoity backed coalition, and so should you (video)



The Grumpy Voter is NOT progressive

Here's a message I left at "the Grumpy Voter", Canada's most right-wing progressive :)

Perhaps you take plesure in calling fellow Progressive Bloggers "idiots" , but let's remind everyone who the real idiot is here.

national unity trumps everything else

I agree! Does the word coalition mean anything to you? Conservatives are the most divicive people still in the house.

This majority-backed coalition is willing to cooperate with ALL oposition parties, but none of them will help the Bloc in their effort to separate. What's so hard to get about this?

The only explanation why it is so hard to get is, because you are a Rightwing Conservative backer in disguise.

Where did you get that Progressive Blogger Banner anyways? I'm sure Scott regrets having given you one because you are obviously as progressive as Stephen Harper himself. There's noting progressive about keeping a minority government in power when a majority-backed coalition is about to take over control.

Suck it up, Mr. Conservative, Harper is on his way out. Good riddance!

I do want to take this opportunity to thank Stephen Harper for one thing , because he's been able to do what many others couldn't.

Thank you for uniting the so-called left in Canada; well done!


Banner and Poster to support the "Coalition Government Now!"

It's time to organize!

Banner for Vancouver Rally:



Poster "Let's make Parliament Work!" (pdf)



LINKS
- Let's make parliament work - Coalition Government Now!