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Monthly Archives: May 2011



This is rather a question-begging editorial.

What “peace process”?

There never has been a “peace process” except on the pages of newspapers.

Netanyahu’s speech to Congress was basically a declaration of war against President Obama.

Israel hasn’t the slightest intention of seeking peace, and it never has.

It wants land, other people’s land, and it wants that land minus the people.

The only people waging war in Israel/Palestine are Israelis.

The only people who conduct an illegal and immoral blockade, keeping a million and a half people at near-starvation level nourishment are Israelis.

The only people who keep another couple of million people in virtual bondage are Israelis.

The only people showing utter contempt for numerous United Nations Resolutions are Israelis.

The only people who carry out piracy on the high seas are Israelis.

So wouldn’t you think it the logical thing to do to pressure Israel?

Blubbery stuff, always talking about two fighting sides, is rather like the school teacher who refuses to deal with the obvious bully in class, instead going on about how everyone is responsible, an ineffective and dishonest approach.

Of course, now that we have a 39.6% majority government led by Harper, Canada will not for a long time demonstrate its dedication to even-handedness and genuine concern for a solution.

Harper’s attitude is like the American Congressmen applauding a dishonest and bloody man who shouldn’t even have been addressing them, each of them applauding to keep the special-interest campaign funds flowing.


‘A case can be made that the attack on Gaza was “justified”‘

George Orwell must smile bitter smiles when he looks down to observe such claims.

There was no more justification for Israel’s savage act than the Serbian leaders – one, Mladic, just arrested – had in their savage acts against Muslims.

Four hundred children and another thousand people slaughtered in what is essentially a big fenced-in refugee camp.

For what?

Because Israel does like the government the people elected.

Israel used its muscle-bound friend, the United States, to get a fairly elected government – a number of them are in fact middle-class professionals – declared as terrorists. It’s called demonizing your enemy.

Show me the hundreds of Israelis Hamas slaughtered. Show me the leaders of Israel Hamas has assassinated. Show me the hundreds of buildings in Israel Hamas has destroyed or damaged.

You can’t, but we repeat this garbage claim about a government Israel doesn’t like.

Readers should know that Hamas in its early days was husbanded by Israel’s secret service in order to grow an opponent against Arafat’s Fatah.

Well, they succeeded, but then Israel turned around and claimed the people they nurtured are horrible terrorists.

What Israel wants, as a first choice, is for the people of Gaza to leave their homes en masse and emigrate somewhere, anywhere, they don’t care where. As a second choice, Israel wants a Palestinian government that does exactly what it is told in every respect, a kind of Step-n-Fetch-It bureaucracy to do their dirty work and never raise any issues, a government like the ones apartheid South Africa set up in the Bantustans.

There will never be what most people call peace in Israel/Palestine until Israel is pressured to be reasonable.

Obama is the first American president to understand this, but he has been rather weak in implementing the required policies. He knows the power of The Lobby. He saw it in action with the bloody Netanyahu speaking to Congress, a place he no more reason to be than Mladic would.


“Why should any Palestinian recognize Israel’s “right to exist” without even knowing where Israel’s borders are – and while Palestinians are under occupation?”


What is Israel? Where is Israel?

Besides, it is a normal diplomatic procedure to withhold recognition for negotiations.

The United States has done it many times.

In 1948 Truman was not inclined to recognize the self-declared state of Israel.

A monumental lobbying effort by American Jews, plus Truman’s weakness in the coming election, convinced him otherwise.


“The Arabs and the Jews have been engaged in old fashioned tribal warfare for anywhere from 1,500 to 5,000 years”

That’s simply a fable.

Someone with a reasonable knowledge of history would never make this statement.

As a matter of fact, it is very likely that much of the Palestinian people are the actual descendants of the Jews resident when Rome conquered the area.

Rome typically did not remove populations in its conquests.

Only if people were difficult and refused to accept Rome’s authority did they come to a bad end, and that did not happen in Palestine.

Also, it is well known that Jews and Arabs are closely linked genetically, both falling under the heading “Semitic.”

No one knows exactly how the Jewish people arose, but the best thinking puts them as a group of religious dissidents in ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq) who, owing to the unpopularity of their views and harsh religious rules (they would likely all have been ultra-orthodox originally) were much disliked and left.

The pattern resembles that of the original cantankerous English Puritans of the early 17th century. They were extremely unpopular, and many migrated.

This further note on ancient Jews and Arabs, Muhammad always respected the Jews and called them the “People of the Book.” In his earliest religious instructions, the rule was to pray facing towards Jerusalem. He changed it later to Mecca for various reasons. But Moses is still regarded as a prophet.

There’s a lot of loose-lipped talk and propaganda out there on these matters, and it is a reflection of how one-sided the information is that we receive in the press.




This is an abuse of language and logic.

There is nothing paranoid about seeking safety when someone is genuinely trying to kill you.

NATO planes and missiles have bombed Gaddafi’s compound on several occasions, killing his son once.

NATO – and of course that is just a fig leaf term for the United States – has completely distorted the UN mandate for a no-fly zone into a bomb-anything-that-moves effort, including the leader of the country.

It’s the purest abuse of power to be doing this, entering into a civil war with high-tech, low-risk (for us) killing machines, trying to tip the balance against a man we don’t like.

Gaddafi is not a pleasant man, but then neither are the last few prime ministers of Israel, men who have killed more civilians almost certainly than Gaddafi has.

And places like Bahrain are just forgotten despite leaders who are every bit as ready to shoot people down in the streets.

There is nothing about this whole enterprise that has anything to do with human rights or democratic values.



Political gravity has shifted in the country?

Harper through years of work has increased his support from about 30% to 39.6%.

Almost two-thirds of Canadians still reject this man and his party.

The only real lessons from the election are three.

One, we have a serious democratic deficit in Canada when less than 40% of votes turns into a majority.

Honest and conscientious men concerned with our affairs would work towards correcting the situation, not crow about it.

Two, dirty and unethical tactics do achieve some success in politics. The United States is rife with them. Now Harper has introduced them to Canada, debasing the decency of our politics.

As an interesting sidelight here, we get a hint here of how little a role religion – both Harper and Manning being religious – actually plays in genuine ethics.

Three, leadership matters, and the Liberals did not have any.

They appointed a weak man who missed almost every opportunity to respond forcefully to Harper’s half-truths, evasions, and outright dishonesty.

This weak man also sneered at a coalition which would have long ago stopped Harper, and he was inept enough to end up being accused of plotting to have one. Pathetic.

“Preston just keeps looking better and younger every time his photo appears…”

Preston had a complete make-over at some point, maybe as part of his initiation as president and CEO of the one-man institute founded by himself.

Hair dyed.

Eyebrows skillfully dyed to match.

Dumped the granny glasses and fit-up with contact lens

New wardrobe.

Possibly a few needle-loads of botox.

Coaching on how to look at the camera without making people laugh at the results.

I do think he missed the chance to turn up the back collar of his jacket, a la 1959 rockers. That would be in keeping with his newly-learned smile, rather suggestive of an early Elvis snarl.

Bet with his self-appointed institute job he has a shiny car, maybe something sporty like a pink and black convertible.

The guy’s clearly now a regular chick-magnet.

But when he opens his mouth or takes his quill pen from the inkstand, we hear or read the same old crotchety noises.

What was it Obama said during the campaign about putting lipstick on a pig…?



“The paranoid can’t handle the truth”

The arrogance and just plain ignorance of this article are appalling.

First, Ms Manji lumps together a great variety of people under one heading, the “paranoid.”

While there certainly are paranoid people out there, there are also critical thinkers and skeptics galore. Calling them paranoid is willfully ignorant.

Indeed, since paranoia is a genuine mental-health problem, Ms Manji’s use of the word flies in the face of all our society’s good intentions about removing the stigma from mental health issues.

Would Ms Manji say “Brain cancer patients can’t handle the truth”? If she did, she would be castigated for her ignorance and crudeness.

Well, just so the statement about “paranoid.”

The childishness of her writing is demonstrated too in an over-used, trite expression from a movie, “You can’t handle the truth!” That’s high-school writing.

The fact is, in politics and international affairs, we do live in a shadow world where very little of what’s in newspapers is complete or accurate.

Why is that? Because very great matters are at stake involving the projects of very powerful organizations.

When, in the early 1960s, a New York Times reporter discovered the impending invasion of Cuba by an American proxy army, the paper suppressed the story. To have done otherwise would have been to invite the wrath of the CIA and Pentagon and White House and an end of the kind of cooperation and leaks so vital to any newspaper.

Does Ms Manji not understand that most of the “great” news stories of the past depend upon such cooperation on a selective basis?

The CIA a few years ago violated its own rules about the release of files of a certain age. It did this concerning the matter of Guatamala in the 1950s. The CIA engineered the coup that brought down an elected government (only one of a number so treated in that era), but judged it was still too early to release the facts on its dirty work.

Even now, almost three-quarters of a century after World War II, new secrets from that time are sometimes released.

We only learned the other day that Israel from 1967 into the 1990s engineered the statelessness of 140,000 Palestinians who happened to travel abroad. Our press never told us that ugly story.

What about apartheid South Africa’s small nuclear arsenal, created with the cooperation of Israel? Our press never covered it. What about Israel’s own still secret nuclear arsenal? What about the fact that President Kennedy made efforts to stop Israel’s getting the bomb? Did our press cover those?

There are countless examples.

Somehow I doubt Ms Manji would show the same deference towards the powers that be and stupid use of language were she writing about women’s issues, but then I may be wrong. She may well be as inept on any issue as she is here and has been in other columns.


“Manji is one of those new breed of wannabe narcissistic writers, who thinks everything they write is important.”


I think it’s possible this silly person went to one of those primary schools where kids in grade four have their “works” published (put into covers resembling a real book) and put on display shelf.

The immense ego of this woman – an ego supported by absolutely no demonstration of real learning or intellectual talent – would have been force-fed by such educational silliness into the throbbing monster she unleashes with every “column” she writes.

At least a throwback propagandist like Margaret Wente can be funny at times, but Ms Manji has no discernible talent of any kind.

She displays only earnest arrogance with a remarkable lack of genuine education.



These are pathetic arguments, Boris Johnson.

Using every bit of logic you have – and that’s not much when you cut out the unwarranted assumptions and unproved assertions you make – it could be used to defend almost any act against an accused where the public had been pre-disposed by a barrage of publicity against him to utterly dislike him.

That is not how a free society works.

Nor is it how we have an international community bound by standards of human decency and democratic values.

Yours are the arguments of a 16th century tyrant.

You either have laws and obey them or you do not, in which case anything is possible.

What these events represent is nothing other than the principles of might makes right and to the victor belongs the spoils.

I regard it is barbaric and irresponsible that a man in your position, Mayor of London, in the great nation which gave the world most of its concepts of democratic government and justice through centuries of struggle, speaks as you do.

Response to another reader:

No, my friend, you are the one being ridiculous, actually rather more than ridiculous. Yours are the statements of a member of a raving lynch-mob.

And your numbers of bin Laden’s supposed crimes, too, are beyond ridiculous. Did you get them from the Paranoids’ Guide to the Internet Site?

There is not one shred of proof we have ever been given that bin Laden is responsible for anything but intensely disliking the United States and the House of Saud.

We do not know bin Laden’s connection with 9/11.

I don’t say there is none. I simply don’t know whether there is, and you, whether you recognize the fact or not, also do not know.

And if we had proof, it belonged before the Court in The Hague. Full stop.

But the United States has never recognized the International court for War Crimes.

And why not?

Because George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney would face the Court themselves on the gravest charges.

We certainly don’t need paranoid speculation about what those gentlemen did. We know they destroyed an advanced society for a generation, inflicting or contributing to the deaths of about a million souls.

By the way, the number of people killed in 9/11 ten years ago was almost exactly equal to the number of innocent people Israel has killed in just the last few years of its activities in Gaza and Lebanon and on the high seas.

And only recently, we have had a report from Prof. Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, saying that Israeli forces killed 1,335 children in direct military operations and arbitrary shootings over the last decade.

But, of course, Israel only has contempt for the U.N., just as it has for every other international organization dealing with justice or human values.



Bin Laden’s killing was simply cold-blooded murder.

A bunch of heavily-armed thugs grabbed an unarmed man and shot him in the head, and with his family in the house.

A disgusting act, no matter what he may have been guilty of.

He could have been taken to The Hague and charged, but that might require some proof of something.

And we have never, never been given one ounce of genuine evidence that bin Laden was guilty of anything except intensely disliking the United States and its good friend, the House of Saud.

But murder and vengeance and abuse have become American passions, with people cheering murderers and Obama sending fleets of drones and “kill-teams” into Pakistan regularly, taking the lives of hundreds of innocent people.

And even when they do kill a suspected “bad guy,” it is done with no legal authority or procedure, no charges or trial. What is the difference from the former Argentinean junta’s death squads making people disappear? None.

And America’s high-handed treatment of Pakistan, demanding the right to enter and kill people at will, has had terrible effects within that poor country. Thousands have died with people in revolt against the government’s quiet acceptance of America’s death machines and “kill-teams” wondering around the land assassinating people as they please.

Our only protection as free societies is in our laws. It has taken centuries to build those laws and treaties and to gain widespread honoring of them.

But the United States has unilaterally decided, since the war criminal Bush and now very much under the savagely unethical Obama, to decide who to bomb and kill in the world regardless of treaties, regardless of laws, regardless of long-term consequences.

You cannot make the world a better place with that kind of vicious descent into lawlessness.

There is the terrible example of Israel’s lawless behavior before us. It has kidnapped, tortured, abused, murdered, committed piracy, and plotted against the legitimate interests of its neighbors for decades. It stands in contempt of the United Nations and international law and humanitarian agreements of every description.

And what is the result of all that horror? A small group of people, armed to the teeth and hiding behind walls, huddled in a garrison state surrounded by people whose customs and very existence it has utter contempt for. Its government has built a future for its people of endless abuse and trampling on the rights of others, a bleak netherworld with no hope for decency, integrity, honesty, or any ideals concerning human rights or meaningful democracy to shine through.

That is what the United States is copying, precisely, and the results will be the same, precisely.

If you want to live in a world of laws, then you must honor the laws. There is no other choice.



The Archbishop has long been one of the West’s most important moral critics, as one might expect from a genuine Christian leader.

Contrast his tough and honest views with the kind of diplomatic pap we typically get from, say, the Vatican.

Or compare his moral bravery with certain American Christian fundamentalists who sound as though their job was to serve as cheerleaders for the American military-industrial complex.

In books and stories about the past, we invariably praise the kind of character we find in the Archbishop.

But in real life, the establishment and substantial parts of the population have no use for them, because their tough views and moral authority call into question accepted clichés and create inconvenient truths.

Recall the powerful and famous scene in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov in which Jesus returns to earth to meet the Grand Inquisitor, and the two have a conversation.

Jesus himself recognizes none of his teachings in the words of the Grand Inquisitor, and the Grand Inquisitor grows irritated with someone he regards as a nuisance, finally sending Jesus off to be heard from no more.

That is, sadly, the immortal truth of how power and establishment welcome honesty, decency, and truth: they don’t, ever.

America has descended to the ghastly moral level of Israel in all of its reactions to 9/11: illegal arrests, kidnapping, torture, assassinations, ignoring international laws and treaties, imposing harsh new laws completely out of the spirit of its Constitution, maintaining an international torture gulag, and making deals with monsters like General Dostum.

When you throw away everything of genuine human value in a place like America, all you are left with is a great imperial power ready to crush anyone with whom it disagrees.



Al-Qaeda said?

You certainly do not have to be a “conspiracy theorist” to look on such a statement with hard cynical eyes.

First, we have the word of former British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, as well as other distinguished people that there is no “Al-Qaeda,” the term being a made-up catch-all for “bad guys” in general.

Since the word literally means “toilet,” it has always seemed unlikely there is such an organization even without the testimony of people who know.

Second, we pick these things up off a supposed Al-Qaeda web site?

Please, how long do you think it would take – with the NSA and CIA and other agencies constantly monitoring the Internet – to have special forces breaking down your door if you had a web site designated as an official Al-Qaeda web site?

A day? Maybe hours?

This kind of report lacks journalistic credibility.

Response to another reader who says:

“So really the threat is still there and all must be vigilant.”

Vigilant for what?

People-eating aliens from space?

The Rapture?


Spores from space?

Asteroids on a collision course with earth?

That is a ridiculous mode of thought which the propagandists and powers that be exploit to the hilt.

People who do murderous things are always part of life, especially in places like the United States.

You don’t have call them terrorists, just criminals or violent mental cases.

And responsible citizens have always reported truly doubtful behaviors to authorities.

Today we have lunatics day and night seeing things that aren’t there.

Response to another reader who asks:

“Was there ever a Bin Laden?”


He was a son of a distinguished and rich Saudi family and he is known to have intensely disliked the ruling House of Saud, and that’s why he could not live in his own homeland.

He served in America’s proxy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

He is reputed to have been a brave man and a quite intelligent one.

Being an enemy of the House of Saud was itself a very dark mark against him for the United States after his being used in Afghanistan, but he also grew to dislike the United States.

He disliked the U.S. for manipulating his people over Afghanistan. They fought against the Soviets based on the notion that the Soviets were godless interlopers in Afghanistan, set on suppressing Muslims – that is the kind of line the CIA repeated endlessly while handing out Stinger missiles, rifle grenades, and packages of plastique.

After the Soviet defeat, he saw the U.S. beginning to do the very things they used to inflame hatred of the Soviets in a long series of events which saw Americans encroaching on what he and others regarded as sacred land. American troops in Saudi Arabia, land of the Prophet, and supported by the corrupt House of Saud, were especially detested.

Beyond that, our knowledge is pretty sketchy.

The U.S. never offered proof of his involvement in 9/11.

Indeed, the Taleban government in Afghanistan was willing to extradite him when the U.S. requested it after 9/11, if evidence were supplied, that being the normal international procedure in all extraditions.

It was the U.S. who refused, a fact never explained.

The U.S. made up its mind to invade Afghanistan and teach the world a lesson in the meaning of vengeance.

The odd fact is it was not the Taleban who even invited bin Laden to live in the country, it was the previous Northern Alliance government, the very same people the U.S. used to fight the Taleban, the very people who rule there today, and many of them are just as intolerant and backward as the Taleban.

The Taleban, while backward and nasty in their views, need never have been our actual enemies.

Many responsible people believe bin Laden was killed in the horrific bombing of Tora Bora a decade ago. If such were the case, it is reasonable the U.S. would want to keep it a secret to prevent the creation of a martyr.

I don’t know, but I was somewhat inclined to accept that.

This recent claim of his assassination, even if true, is so full of uncertainties and inconsistencies that great doubts exist as to what actually happened, and I am not referring to pictures or the lack of them.

It is quite possible that the Pakistani government actually gave him up to the CIA in return for some benefit – as perhaps a slowdown or halt to all the drone attacks and special forces assassinations.

There is a credible report from Pakistan that it was the Pakistani military who landed and entered the compound – this would have the effect of handing Obama a prize for his re-election – something which has not been at all certain.

Any government would be tired and angry about such high-handed treatment. But American activity’s impact on fundamentalist areas of Pakistan has been devastating in terms of terror incidents against the government for its silent cooperation. American arrogance has caused Pakistan to pay a high price in instability, literally tens of thousand of deaths.

On the other hand, Obama may just have staged a big show, a setting for announcing what may have been true for ten years.

I don’t see what gruesome pictures would settle since we can be sure there would have been pictures taken ten years ago in the mountains of Tora Bora.

Whatever is the case, I’m sure he is dead, but again we have no idea as to what his responsibility for 9/11 or other acts was. It does seem to me that he provided the United States with something of an Emmanuel Goldstein figure, the mythical arch villain with whom Oceana constantly frightened its citizens in Orwell’s 1984.



Not much satisfaction in this.

He was killed by a far greater butcher, the one responsible for a million deaths in Iraq, three million in Vietnam, and who knows how many in Afghanistan, Somalia, Cambodia, Pakistan, Chile, and a dozen other places.

Only the pathetic Peace Prize President – who regularly has his drones killing people in Pakistan – takes any real satisfaction because he is looking forward to a difficult election.

Obama’s re-election is hardly something to celebrate, but that is what this unbelievably costly deed concerns.

By the way, there has never been one shred of proof offered of Bin Laden’s guilt of anything except not liking the United States.

The FBI never even put him on its Most Wanted List.

Justice has been done?

I truly believe the predatory United States has no concept of what justice is.


The excesses reflected in many comments simply prove the impact of propaganda and public gullibility.

Even if he was guilty as charged – and we have never, never been offered proof – his crime is smaller than many crimes of the same American military who killed him.

His crimes, if so they be, also are absolutely no greater than those of Israel, and just in recent years.

Here is a state which killed 400 children in Gaza and another 1,000 adults, about the same number in Southern Lebanon, who knows how many week-in-week-out in raids of various towns, and of course murdered about ten people on the high seas in an act of savage piracy.

There is no justice in any of this. Only more proof, if any were needed, that might makes right.



Parties, like great families or national empires, do have a limited life.

A great family like the Eatons rose to being a household word and then declined to nothingness in several decades. Except for the name on the Eaton Centre, no ordinary young person of the next generation will even know who they were.

It is possible, but I don’t absolutely think so, that Canada’s Liberals have begun just that same descent along the arc of power.

To explain this phenomenon of declining power, it is not necessary to assert notions like being spoiled by success.

After all, the set of problems facing a nation changes over time, so much so that in periods of say fifty years, the old problems are forgotten or unrecognized by a different generation.

There have been countless examples of this in my lifetime, the greatest surely being America’s barbarous war in Vietnam.

Today, I’m sure if you asked most young adults about that ghastly effort, killing three million people in ten years of terror, many would not know where Vietnam is located and many would have no idea of when the war occurred.

That inevitable process of fading mass memory over the generations is part of why parties fade away.

But also, leadership always plays a key role. We’ve all seen in great family dynasties the way the iron-willed founders are succeeded often by less capable sons and grandsons.

Just look at Trudeau, one of our great leaders – whether you like his policies or not, he was a great leader. His son Justin, a handsome and intelligent young man, clearly does not possess the same talents and ruthless drive for success. One can almost feel the difference in temperament and attitude and drive.

And the Liberal Party has made some bad choices in its leadership recently.

Then there is the inevitable role of luck and fortune in the rise and fall of parties and families.

Old man Kennedy in the United States made his serious money through work with the Mob during Prohibition. Take away the historical mistake of American Prohibition and likely the Kennedy family would never have risen to such heights.

The bad luck of the Liberals has been two-fold, at least.

First, Quebec having been taken out of play in national politics. Second, the appearance of an opponent more dark and ruthless in his application and abuse of power, Stephen Harper, than they have ever faced.

Harper is simply a new phenomenon in Canada – a man who is perfectly comfortable with the Republican Right types like a Dick Cheney or a Tom Delay or Newt Gingrich – ugly, bad-tempered, ruthless men all.

The Liberals have never faced such a man before. Moreover they do it not with a Trudeau or a Chretien but an Ignatieff, a man of no political experience and little political talent.

From another reader:

“Shouldn’t Bob Rae be front and centre reminding us what an NDP Government can do to You !!!”

Bob Rae was a responsible and capable premier.

Those were dangerous days economically, and Rae got us through.

He tried the path of the least hurt to people. If it had been someone of Harper’s ilk, I guarantee thousands would have lost their jobs, permanently.

Just wait, if Harper gets his majority, the budget will be balanced on tens of thousands losing their jobs as whole departments and programs are abolished.

To say anything else is just ignorance.

The people still whining about Rae Days make themselves sound like pathetic big babies.