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Monthly Archives: May 2012






There simply is no doubt that this terrible set of events was “engineered” by the United States, and blame for the bloodshed belongs ultimately to Americans.

Much of what the press blithely calls “Arab Spring” started with Dick Cheney and the Neocons and the CIA, with Israel cheering while looking on, laying out an ambitious long-term program to disturb all the balance in the Middle East.

There was a huge budget appropriation created, hundreds of millions of dollars, at the time, and likely more secret funds provided.

Naturally, the aim was to disturb things in Israel’s favor, although, in many details as things have played through, it has not always gone that way.

The Syrian situation is especially flagrant with Israel and the U.S. having supplied arms to discontented groups – what country does not have these to one degree or another? – and Turkey agreeing to provide the same kind of safe refuge for rebels that parts of Pakistan supply to Afghan fighters.

The Russians are right to oppose this kind of massive covert effort to overturn the governments with which they are friendly.

The U.S. and Israel are total hypocrites here, yapping about democracy when they couldn’t care less about democracy so long as the next government is without Assad.

What kind of democracy do you see in Iraq? In Afghanistan? In Bahrain? In Yemen” In Saudi Arabia? Or in Libya, where American forces killed hundreds of people directly?

The United States itself is so full of dissidents, unhappy minorities, and far-out kooks, you could find hundreds of thousands, including Aryan Nation folks, Militia types, Millenialists, Separatists, down-at-the-heel minorities, and general discontents.

And if you were so inclined, you could secretly heavily arm these extremists and minorities and unbalanced types with guns and explosives and intelligence and fill them with propaganda.

I’m sure it wouldn’t be that difficult to get riots and revolts going in many places.

But all you have to do is look back to the black urban revolts of the 1960s and later to see what would happen. That’s when the National Guard shot hundreds in the streets, and no one said a word about democracy.

All such killing by governments is unacceptable, but it is even more unacceptable that far-away governments would cynically set such violence in motion and sit smiling contentedly, occasional interrupting their perverse pleasure with histrionic speeches about democracy and human rights.

Recall, please, the United States cynically killed maybe a million people in Iraq, and it had nothing to do with democracy. It gave the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s several billion dollars’ worth of arms to kill Russians. It killed tens of thousands itself in Afghanistan without a sign of democracy. It cynically caused some of the Kurds to revolt in Kissinger’s day, resulting in their mass slaughter. It kills in Pakistan, Yemen, Bahrain, and other places, and democracy has nothing to do with it. And it carried out a holocaust in Vietnam, with 3 million horribly killed, and democracy had nothing to do with it.




“Canada had lost sight of religious freedom as human right,” Baird says

John Baird makes me think of a man suffering from rabies, foaming at the mouth and shouting absurdities.

His words are nothing less than the kind of crazed and incoherent shouts we would expect from a person suffering from late-stage rabies.

No country on earth better respects the principles of freedom of religion than does Canada, full stop.

And certainly not the United States where the venom of religious intolerance enters public debate and even policy on a regular basis.

I, for one, deeply resent being preached at in this fashion by a man who holds a senior cabinet post: a torrent of deliberate dishonesty, bent only for his own political advantage.

He not only fails utterly to serve religious freedom, or any other human or democratic value, he clearly serves the opposite purpose, hoping to inject America’s poisonous religious and ideological debate into Canada’s traditionally peaceful politics and policy.

This is just disgusting.

Freedom of religion, everywhere and always, implies freedom from religion.

You cannot have a free society where government serves and promotes religious interests of any kind.

It is up to religious people in the privacy of their homes and religious institutions to make religion part of their lives.

Good God, the very people sharing John Baird’s delusional thinking are the people who hate things like Islamic republics.

This government is now showing the most dangerous signs yet of destroying the very fabric of Canada with such crazed and severely divisive rhetoric.

“Almost without fail, the lack of religious freedom, except in a few isolated circumstances, can be attributed to religion. Nobody hates and persecutes likely the truly religious, and, they usually go after others who are truly religious.”

The West suffered through centuries of persecution, burning people alive or torturing them with horrible machines, over such trivial matters as the nature of the wine and bread at mass.

Tens of thousands of proud aboriginals in Peru and Mexico and other places were tortured into accepting Christianity, being summarily executed if they did not.

Old women, perhaps suffering from mental illness, were burned at the stake as witches.

There is a huge list, spanning centuries, of abuses by the religious when they were in positions of secular power.

It is so very recently that the West has achieved the precious situation we have of genuine religious freedom.

And people like Baird work relentlessly to set the clock back, hoping in doing so to make a political gain for their party.

Israel styles itself a democracy, but it is a very strange form of democracy we see there.

Do readers know that is against the law in Israel to preach and try converting people to Christianity?

Do readers know that non-Jewish spouses are treated in an entirely unfair way there?

Do readers know that important personal documents in Israel are printed with your religious identity?

That many privileges and public services in Israel depend upon your religious identity?

Is that Baird’s idea of religious freedom?

Is that why he gives public money to a fundamentalist group and now spouts utter nonsense?

“Problem for atheists: If God doesn’t exist, where did the first life come from? Where did good and evil come from? Why is it that life hasn’t been found on any other planets?

“If we’re all just a fluke of chance, you’d think that there would be many other ‘flukes’ in the universe.”

There is a perfect example of the kind of rubbish bulldozed to the surface, contaminating public policy matters, by Baird’s unacceptable words.

What this pathetically uninformed comment-writer does not understand is that we are at the very dawn of space exploration, comparable perhaps to the first tests of ocean-worthy ships before even travelling to North and South America to discover them teaming with life.

And despite that, scientists at NASA are now convinced some forms of life do exist on Mars, the only planet we have begun to explore. The proof will come within a decade or two.

And, please, our solar system is only one pitifully insignificant collection of matter in the cosmos. Our own galaxy contains hundreds of billions of suns, and so far we know that there are more than a billion other galaxies.

Only genuine fools would say what this comment-writer says in light of any knowledge about the current situation of science.

As to problems for people’s ways of thinking: the biggest one in all of history is whence evil if there is a god who is good?

It’s never been answered – Milton tried and failed and only survives because of his poetic genius.

It is easy to observe in the world, if you bother looking, that evil not only exists, it thrives and prospers almost everywhere. Good people regularly suffer, and monsters enjoy untold influence and wealth and power.

But the important point is this: what does your religious muttering have to do with public policy? Or what should it have to do with public policy?

The answer is obvious: nothing.

And just so Baird’s insane rhetoric.

“Why didn’t they just give Amnesty International the $5 million and request that it be directed to cases involving religious persecution??”

Good question.

But, of course, Baird has no genuine interest in such matters, and his words only disguise far less worthy purposes.

My great fear here is that they are working towards a government construct that could one day serve to criminalize or penalize those who, for example, speak against the human rights abuses of Israel.

It would be easy to frame that kind of genuinely repressive law in a pseudo-religious context.

And with that, Messrs. Baird and Harper would be taking us back to the 16th century in terms of freedoms.

Please see, postings two and three here:

The irony of the reality of Baird’s private life versus the kind of repressive forces he supports – for campaign funds, of course – is genuinely painful.

‘He said that Canada now will “stand with the Jewish state.”‘

That phrase is ominous indeed, suggesting again the sense of my comment, previously, concerning the genuine ultimate aims of this backward idea for a government agency.

By definition, “the Jewish state” is not a place for religious freedom, any more than would be an Islamic republic or a Christian democracy.

You cannot, by law, even preach Christianity in Israel.

And there is a host of other things you cannot do or say in Israel, all of them concerning religious identity.

The very fact that Israel wants to be recognized as “the Jewish state” is frought with danger, because Israel has about 19% of its (formal) population, Palestinians who refused to run from the 1948 terrors of Irgun and Lehi and Stern Gang.

Israel didn’t – and doesn’t – want them but it is more or less stuck for now. Many Israelis speak in public for their expulsion.

I use the word “formal” because in Israel there are effectively two levels of citizenship: those with an Israel passport and those who are part of what is legally deemed the superior Jewish nation. All rights and treatments under law are affected by this terrible distinction.

To endorse that kind of human rights abuse so forcefully as does Baird is frightening to Canadians who regarded theirs as one of the world’s freest and most just societies.

And the same man is trying to create an engine of government that is wholly inappropriate in a free society, and which is potentially far more dangerous than it sounds at first pass.

And the same man gave a million dollars in public funds to a fundamentalist religious group.

Does anyone in his or her right mind trust John Baird?






My perception is that Harper’s government has precisely one competent and respectable senior minister, Jim Flaherty, and even he has his shortcomings.

He remains the only one in international exposure that is not an embarrassment to the country.

Harper’s list of clowns and weasels is long and may well serve as further evidence for the demonstrated principle that extremely conservative views are associated with lower intelligence.

Peter Kent, Bev Oda, Peter MacKay, Leona Aglukkaq, Vic Toews, and, in the past, Helena Guergis, Maxime Bernier resemble a skit from Monty Python on government. We’ve never been so low in public esteem.

I’ll add John Baird who, although intelligent, has the manner of a savage ultra-orthodox Israeli settler shooting at Palestinian children and bulldozing olive groves.

How do you “sweep” with toxic material like that?

“Amazing – after 4 elections the Harper party is still talentless.”

Yes, pretty well talent-less so far as ministers.

But you cannot call Harper talent-less.

His set of redoubtable skills is a dark one, truly Machiavellian . Canada has not seen anything quite like him in my lifetime.

He has a thick hide, little or no respect for opponents and even disappointing associates, and, while mouthing slogans, his whole direction shows virtually no respect for democratic values or genuine human rights.

He displays many qualities that might fairly be described along the lines of an intelligent, manipulative, sociopathic personality.






It’s the “right time” only in the sense it serves America’s need for a costly charade of multi-country support for its continuing dirty and pointless war.

How can there be a right time to exit a mission of killing and destruction against a people someone – America in this case – just doesn’t like?

Again, proof of the pointless nature of this effort is that every country in NATO has had what can only be called almost token forces there and those often working under severe restrictions.

That’s not how people instinctively respond to a genuine threat.

But America has such overwhelming economic and financial and diplomatic power that it is able to keep other NATO members carrying out their covering charade of coalition force while a 100,000 American killers continue invading people’s homes, cutting throats in the middle of the night, and dropping bombs on families – all while assassinating innocent people in Pakistan by robot bombers.

We’re supporting a gigantic extrajudicial killing operation which has no resemblance to a genuine war and has nothing whatever to do with justice or democratic values.

Your choice of words is so clearly intended to build up the image of Harper as wise statesman, but that image is so false to so many people, you only become laughable offering it.






Cheap shot?

Black might try asking shareholders whose funds he abused about cheap shots.

He is British, too.

So “British criminal’ is a factual statement.

And, please, does anyone believe that any ordinary former-Canadian would receive such treatment?

I don’t doubt that Black made no underhanded efforts in achieving this – after all, any evidence of that would blow him out of the water.

But there are implicit understandings in such matters, and Black has associates who undoubtedly spoke on his behalf to the minister, including a bit of the old “nudge, nudge, wink, wink.”

You can certainly place a large bet of Black’s being a future substantial campaign-fund provider to Harper and Co, and isn’t that what all this was about?

“I can hardly wait for Khadar’s return to Canada. Most here who are blasting Conrad Black will be marching arm in arm with the likes of Amnesty International…”

Khader is a mistreated child soldier. He was 15 years old when American soldiers blasted him in the back and dragged him off to secret prison and torture for years.

He is also a legal Canadian citizen.

There are no parallels with Black, none.

To say there are is willful ignorance.

“While you may not find Conrad Black a likeable man, he has nevertheless served his time and thus paid his debt to society.”

Yes, he has paid his debt, but that debt was to American society.

And his only claim to citizenship or residence is British.

Now, you explore the possibilities of a convicted felon being given such special treatment by Canada in other circumstances.

Indeed, going the other way, a convicted felon is excluded from the United States.







“Finally the vast majority of the demonstrations have been peaceful. The subway smoke and the class invaders are not a protest problem they are a criminal problem and need to be dealt with in a criminal way. To associate a bunch of thugs with the 115000 students who have demonstrated peacefully is wrong.”

Yes, and it is an especially sensitive matter in Quebec because the previous generation there, before the Quiet Revolution, had low opportunities for university attendance. So in their eyes, this is more than a financial concern.

And I might add, Wente, in getting it wrong, is only performing at her expected level.

She amuses and supports herself by tossing bloody hunks of meat into the beast compound.

She has virtually never honestly analyzed a serious problem.

“Without the rest of Canada supporting it, Quebec is worse than Greece. At least Greeks have a glorious past. Quebecers have always been lazy, useless socialist twits.”

These words are a perfect example of what someone like Wente brings floating to the surface, much like toxic residue.

One could cite many such comments here.

Surely this provides hard evidence for the level and quality of Wente’s appeal, but that’s what one expects from the work of a professional propagandist: members of the Politburo clapping their bloody paws together, hooting and bellowing, following her words.

‘The tuition protesters must be doing something right if Globe and Mail orders this piece from one of their “Commentary writers”.’

And not just ‘one’ of their commentary writers.

But the amazing Ms. Wente, utility-infielder political hack in the great tradition of 19th century scurrilous scribblers, the kind of folks who used to call Lincoln an obscene ape.

Considering Ms. Wente’s track record, it is hard to understand how anyone takes her seriously.

Just some egregious examples were inaccurate reporting on Vancouver’s safe-injection site courtesy of one prejudiced source; even worse, her garbage on the Middle East, including the trashy notion of Palestinian mothers not caring for their children; and, her all-time whopper, her dangerously dishonest columns from conquered Iraq, a catastrophe that cost a million lives.

One can only hope to understand her having any audience from the scientifically determined fact that her kind of conservative views tend to appeal to lower intelligence.

“Entitled Quebeckers brought to you be Albertans dollars!”

Again, the kind of toxic waste Ms. Wente’s words always bring floating to the surface of any issue.

Albertan dollars?

I thought our currency was national?

Of course, someone in Texas might equally say:

“Blowhard Albertans brought to you by Texas dollars!”







This entire business is overblown nonsense – puffed up in the press owing to American efforts to make this resemble something from the Cold War.

In fact, neither this man nor his family has ever been in any serious danger.

He has managed to leverage the propaganda possibilities into free emigration to the United States.

With all the genuine horrors in the world – the United States is killing innocent people every day in half a dozen countries – it is pathetic to see the press giving any play to this non-story.






“Liberal arts students have been sold a bill of goods by universities…”

Typical Wente: what is at best one aspect of a situation – a partial truth – is offered as an explanation for it. In this case, what she is writing about is more an effect than a cause.

The truth is that, starting sometime after WWII, North American high school graduates have sought “higher education” in increasingly great numbers.

Every family in the United States loves telling others, “My kid’s in college,” and it is the same in Canada, only parents are more likely to say, “My kid’s in university,” the word “college” never having achieved quite the same meaning.

There are several genuine reasons for this.

After WW II, with developments like veterans’ benefits for education and the crash expansion of many state and provincial universities, new waves of post-high school students were created.

We had a second boom in post-high school education when the post-war baby boom swelled demand for higher education in the 1960s.

In truth, many of the expansions may have been excessive, but an institution once built will want to be filled.

Family and personal pride played, and still play, a great role with many families proud of their first member ever to graduate beyond high school.

There is also a decades-long trend in grade inflation in our elementary schools and high schools. An “A” average today may not in many cases equal the strength of a “C” average of 60 years ago, but it will get you across the threshold of some academic institution.

Entering here too is a new sense of democratization in North American society. What was once an institution for people only of superior intelligence has become something serving the average and sometimes even the below-average. Indeed, we saw an extreme example of the forces at work here in the recent case of a mother insisting she should attend classes with her retarded child to assist.

The opening of new state or provincial institutions or branches of existing ones – always expanding the number of places – now typically responds to many regional political pressures. We also have the phenomenon of former polytechnical schools aspiring to becoming universities.

And we have waves of earlier graduates hoping to land university teaching posts.

College or university has also become a place to spend some time with job markets having no resemblance to those of 60 years ago.

Then, any reasonably bright high school grad could get a job with prospects quickly and quickly find another if the first proved unsatisfactory. Neither is the case today. A good job advertised is as scarce as a gold nugget and will attract hundreds of resumes.

Indeed, today people submit resumes for jobs like janitors or store clerks, unheard of 60 years ago when such jobs were quickly filled by sight..

The resume has something of the effect of a bidding war on a house for sale: the ones with more pluses get the only chance at success.

Institutions and companies and organizations have increasingly demanded academic study beyond high school.

In some cases, this reflects genuinely increased needs for expertise with new technology and systems and concepts, but in many cases it is just an extension of the grade-inflation process and a process of pseudo-professionalization of what are really vocations, not professions.

Companies today know that half the high school graduates are indeed not at all good prospects ( the same half that 60 years ago dropped out and landed a good job in a steel mill or auto plant or a police force) and instead of wasting great resources sorting through them, they allow the higher education system to pre-sort them.

Thus, by inertia, we’ve allowed costly higher institutions to sort out to some extent what we might have done more economically at the high school level.

This process is effectively never-ending, with master’s degrees replacing bachelor’s and doctorates replacing master’s degrees on top of bachelor’s degrees replacing high school graduation.

A perfect example of this is found in elementary school teaching. Once, not too many decades ago, a high school graduate spent eight months getting a certificate and could then teach. Today the prospect must have a general bachelor’s degree and a certificate.

No one, other than those with sinecures in the public education establishment, believes that the average elementary teacher is any better in skills or knowledge, and indeed there is an argument for their being worse since today there is virtually zero evaluation or assessment of teachers in their classrooms.

Now McGuinty talks of two-year certificates: a case of pure grade inflation and pseudo-professionalization.

And we have pseudo-professionalization in many fields from nursing to police. You can get a degree in the United States at least in playground supervision or circus or television.

The idea of a good liberal education making a flexible person ready for a now ever-changing job market remains a true generalization, but like all generalizations, the devil is in the detail. A student of mediocre abilities remains a graduate of mediocre abilities, regardless of any degree. And a second-rate university luring students with easy entry requirements and soft grading is not doing a great deal to equip them for the tough demands of a globalized world.

The universities want to fill seats since education has become commoditized and government support per student is less than it once was in real terms. The fact that so many still want to go, despite their private knowledge of their academic limits, is what is driving the system. Sadly many will earn only debts and not prospects. Again, education provides a good example with Ontario graduating about 12,000 certificate students a year for what is said to be 7,000 places. Those with experience in public education will doubt even that number.

In some sense, we’ve created the worst of all possible worlds of education. It has tended to copy that of the United States now for many years, the American system being the world standard of a system without almost any standards, only elite schools still holding to old ways and not even them in many instances.






“A Congress without compromise serves no one”

Yes, indeed.

But Mr. Simpson is spitting against the wind.

Extreme and divisive attitudes absolutely characterize United States’ politics, the same kind of politics Harper works diligently towards establishing in Canada.

But the principle in Mr. Simpson’s quote is only in part true.

The Congress can serve no genuine purpose for the community at large, but it perfectly serves special interests.

The battle between the individual (or regional) interest and the community (or national) interest is an old one for any legislative body, but once you allow the special-interest payment for government though campaign contributions – which is exactly what the U.S. has and what Harper works towards – then the community interest will virtually always loose.

It is almost an unwritten rule of representative government.

“The political stalemate in the U.S. should give pause to those who clamour for an elected upper chamber in Canada.”

A good point.

And with Harper working towards special-interest financing of elections, the situation would only be more pathetic.

“The problem in the USA is and always has been that it is not a multi-party democracy, but a two-party power sharing agreement that gives special interest groups enormous power to sway political decisions by promising to deliver blocks of voters over single issues. It does not matter who is in power.”

Also a good point.

It is a duopoly in politics, and everything true of duopolies in economics is true in politics.






Mmm, I wonder why the Globe doesn’t advocate this approach to the United States?

After all, not a year goes by the US isn’t ready to start a new war.

And all it does in places like the Middle East is supply weapons and threats against any nation Israel chooses to frown at.

And while China is not a free society, it does not have killer drones patrolling its skies and those of a half dozen others to kill people without charges or judicial procedure of any kind.

And, please remember, for about two centuries, the United States has arrogantly asserted its right to the entire hemisphere to be free of all foreign influences.

What China is doing is no more than – and indeed perhaps a good deal less than – the US would do in a heartbeat were anyone else’s ships to enter the Gulf of Mexico or Gulf of California or the St Lawrence without their approval.

Your editorials in almost all matters anymore too much resemble the Stephen Harper influence – that is, the influence of the Republican right wing.

Truly, the Globe either needs to upgrade the quality of its editorials or give up the practice of publishing them.

This one, as a number of readers note, not only reflects ignorance of the area and its history, but an attitude of willful ignorance as to what the US is doing in Asia today.

One can only guess that harridan Hillary’s State Department is using the Philippines as stalking horse here.

The United States has long implicitly (in public) claimed the Pacific Ocean as its lake.

That’s what was behind so many events from their constant provocations of rising Japan to the Vietnamese Holocaust.

And Obama’s recent policy assertions about Asia are more of the same.

I’m genuinely concerned that the United States will keep pushing China to the point of war.

That really is how brutally stupid Washington is.



“For a president, pride can prove a fatal weakness’

What a colossally ignorant assertion, demonstrably false.

No one runs for that office who does not have an ego as big as an aircraft carrier.

And the greatest presidents have had the most overweening pride.

Franklin Roosevelt had a titanic ego.

So did Theodore.

And Kennedy.

Globe, please get a new columnist who has something to say to educated people.

“it doesn’t matter who wins. The usa is on the wrong track and neither side will do what is needed to right the ship.”

Yes, It truly does not matter.

Other than to the giant egos of the two contenders and to those benefitting from the disposition of the spoils in appointments.

The United States has learned the neat trick of appearing to be a democracy while in fact being the same kind of plutocracy it was in the 1790s.

The government within the government gets its way no matter which of two very similar candidates wins.

Faux journalists like Reynolds play around the edges with meaningless details having nothing to do with the real engine of power.



“Michael Rafferty’s evil defies explanation”

Sorry, Timothy Abbleby, this is a ridiculous piece of superstitious bunkum.

Nature is constantly conducting its genetic experiments on us, a process that’s simply part of ongoing evolution.

Some of these experiments produce monsters unacceptable to the standards of a humane society, as in the case of all psychopaths and child predators.

But using the word “evil” to describe them not only explains nothing, it in fact adds to humanity’s already overloaded store of mumbo-jumbo and misunderstanding.

This man, capable of such vicious acts, will be where he belongs, removed from society.

“See how all the LibDips tip their heads back and bawl when Vic Toews trys to empower the police over this kind of scum”

Regular use of mindless expressions like “LibDips” surely reveals a mentality not altogether unrelated to Rafferty’s twisted one.

“Dead man walking. Sooner or later the inmates will get to him. Can’t be soon enough.”

Again, here, as in a number of other posts, we see a bent way of thinking not unrelated to Rafferty’s.

What else is this but primative bloodlust?






United States policy in the region is sick.

It chooses which tyrant to support and which to oppose, having nothing to do with a free society’s ideal of opposing all tyranny.

Of course, that is exactly what it did through the entire Cold War, supporting tyrant after tyrant – Marcos, Ceausescu, Pinochet, Thieu, and many others – as it chased the great white whale of communism.

Now, it has merely substituted forms of Islam for communism, and it continues its same twisted and mindless quest to remake the world to its liking.






This is nothing less than misappropriation of public funds by John Baird.

And it would be so no matter which religious group asked this inappropriate favor.

But it is also unpleasant to see a photo of Baird playing the same smarmy game as Newt Gingrich and Company in the United States, going after campaign funds by wearing a yarmulke and carrying out other acts having nothing to do with government or proper politics or indeed his own faith.

I think it also proper to note that Hasidic Judaism, the association of the group to which he granted these funds, is in many respects as backward towards women as fundamentalist Islam.

Also, in view of the rather widely known fact that Baird is a closeted gay, does it not matter that Hasidic Judaism regards being gay as sin subject to some pretty unpleasant penalties?

Harper’s crowd in every respect follows the Republican Right Wing, many of whose political campaigns are paid for massively by special interests responding to this kind of grotesque fawning and favoritism.

An American casino billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, almost entirely financed Newt Gingrich’s recent primary campaign, having given him, at last count, 16.5 million dollars.

Adelson was quoted as saying he would give another comparable amount to the Republican campaign in the fall.

Just one of many groveling stunts Newt Gingrich did in return for such largess was to make public statements that there was no such thing as a Palestinian. It doesn’t get any more pathetic than that.






Poor al Qaeda has no imagination at all I guess.

All they have to do is mass produce their underpants – they could get them done cheaply in China – and label them as Stansfield’s or Fruit of the Loom.

Then flood the market with them at discount prices. Tens of thousands of unknowing guys wearing explosive underpants on airplanes.

But then we do have the word of a former British Foreign Minister, as well as several other well-known figures, that there is in fact no such thing as al Qaeda – the term is a American one used as a catch-all for “bad guys.”

But we do know the CIA exists and we know that it has done and does a lot of stupid and expensive stunts.

This entire farce is just another example of someone at Langley hitting the keys of their “great Wurlitzer,” as they are wont to call their set of contacts in the media for planting stories.

“This is a good site.”

Good for what?

Confirming your prejudices?

“Karl Marx: everything happens twice. The first time is tragedy. The second time is farce.”

The person commenting seems unaware that here Marx sounds like the late wit, Oscar Levant, all cleverness and style with no real meaning.

And how very odd to see Right Wing extremist quoting Marx.

Of course, you didn’t get the quote quite right, but that’s okay.

Anyone educated in modern science knows that Marx had it completely wrong.

You can never repeat the same set of events.

The ancient quote – variously attributed – had it right: Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice.

One simply cannot avoid the mental image of a man blowing off his own “vitals.”

It could well be that the CIA contrivers of this silly story intended that as a little inside joke.

Any clever twelve-year old could come up with several more damaging ways of doing harm to the West than fizzling underpants on a plane.

Please don’t forget that in the first Gulf War the United States government commissioned an ad agency to come up with the nonsense about Kuwaiti babies being ripped from their respirators.

That was to make people feel good about B-52s dropping 30-ton loads on poor Iraqi peasant recruits huddled in sand piles on the desert. The numbers killed – tens of thousands certainly – were never released, and their bodies bulldozed into mass graves.

Of course there were the brave American jet jockeys who while they strafed retreating Iraqis outside Kuwait City gave us such memorable moments as our hearing pilot chatter along the lines of, “Wee, this is like shootin’ fish in barrel!”

And of course all of that was the direct result of the U.S. giving a deliberate false signal to Saddam to go ahead with his wishes. It doesn’t get more cynical and brutal.

“Good of Obama to put his Nobel Peace Prize down for a minute so he could order a revenge assassination.

“I’m sure liberals are outraged at this Bush war mongering.”

No, it is not liberals who are outraged; it is all decent, ethical human beings.

You clearly exclude yourself from that group and try kicking up dirt with pointless talk of liberal versus conservative.

No, the distinction couldn’t be more clear: it is ethical, civilized people versus savages.

And Obama never had to put his Peace Prize down because he has demonstrated that he is in the complete control of the Pentagon/intelligence agency/Israeli Lobby from day one.

The most disappointing man in memory for certain.

He never deserved that prize. Its award was an act of futile hopes in Europe.

Does a double-agent underwear bomber require two sets of underwear to use depending on which side he is at any time?

“Now we know why they check children and the infirm, I wouldn’t put it past al Qaeda to use a bomb diaper or depends.”

Don’t you just love that “I wouldn’t put it past…?”

But then again, here’s a further development of my idea for a line of men’s explosive underwear to be sold to the unwitting at discount.

You could have a factory in China do a knock-off of Pampers or Depends complete with secret explosive formula.

Horrors, just imagine some poor souls like actors in a Depends ad – someone with the sweet smile of June Allyson – suddenly having their groins flash and smoke and fizzle?

What an evil plot.

Well, there’s just one answer for it: never use another Pamper or Depends diaper without taking it in for X-rays first.

Would Medicare cover the X-ray costs I wonder in the interests of health and safety?

This is a threat surely that outweighs all of Israel’s illicit arsenal of nuclear and chemical weapons, wouldn’t you say?

The great threating shadow over our generation, exploding underpants and diapers!






I don’t think Ms. Verma’s analysis hits the mark.

The American public is pretty evenly divided on gay marriage.

So there is no gain or risk in Obama’s taking this public position.

The even split simply allows him to take what is a principled position.

American politics are so poisonous and divisive in general that no one takes a principled position on anything, unless it happens to be favored by at least half the people.

Obama himself has demonstrated in over three years of power not a single meaningful position of principle apart from this.

He is, sadly after such promise in his rise, a complete creature of the establishment, and today’s establishment in the US doesn’t genuinely care about matters like this.

It is the belly-over-belt crowd that is viciously opposed to this basic principle, and Obama cannot command their votes in any case.

“We get away with doing alot of stupid things, for a while. Then the accumulation leads to more stupid decisions until we reach a tipping point.

“Same sex marriage is just one more stupid thing heaped upon the pile.”

Yes, and it is clear you are a true expert in stupidity.

“America is a Christian nation!

“Obama is trying to force his lifestyle on America!”

Christian nation?


You do not have any idea what you are talking about.

Can you see the Christ who chased the money-changers out of the temple thinking corporate America was to his liking?

Can you see the Christ who addressed the least of these accepting America’s ghettos and grinding poverty while wealth spills out like water in many places?

Can you see the Christ who commanded turning the other cheek accepting the blood-soaked horrors of Afghanistan or Iraq or Vietnam?

If, by Christian nation, you refer to its founders, then you simply have read no history:

Readers may also enjoy these examinations of America’s Christian Corporatism and its crackpot leaders:






Yes, in the long term, Peres is right.

And he should know since he is considered to be the father of the Israeli nuclear weapons.

But, as the saying goes, in the long term we are all dead.

And it is dangerous politics like Israel’s that will kill us.

“the israeli regime gets billions in welfare from the Americans. It’s not a real country, wherever it is.”

And those billions each year are only a part of the total haul pouring into Israel.

It is, quite simply, the most subsidized entity on earth.

By the way, why is it that a right-winger like Harper likes hanging out with the representatives of this international corporate welfare case?






The photo of Netanyahu included with this piece is surely the very picture of evil.

A man who is at one and the same time a bellicose blowhard and a coward.

He’s determined to attack an innocent country, knowing full well the United States will have to go to his assistance when Iran responds, as it should.

And all for what?

So that Israel can keep stealing the homes and farms of others, killing anyone it doesn’t like, and starting any war it pleases.

I do believe that is the very definition of a rogue state.

We cannot have a peaceful world with psychopathic politicians like Netanyahu determining affairs.

And beware, Canada, with Netanyahu’s loyal retainer in office in Ottawa, we could well get dragged into it this time.

“If this is a precursor to war, when many of the Israeli intelligence and military experts have denounced the folly of it, then we will know who to blame for the consequences.”

And knowing whom to blame changes precisely what?

We know Bush and Cheney were responsible for perhaps a million deaths.

But our knowing saved no one.

And here we go again.

It is well past time for all citizens of democratic countries to speak up about the ugly excesses of Israel.

Not even North Korea generates more threats and death and nastiness than Israel.

It will only stop when our governments pressure Israel instead of allowing themselves to always be pressured by Israel.

We could have peace tomorrow, were Israel willing.

“We were right to stay out of Iraq, but we should support Democratic Israel in all ways possible.”

Democratic Israel?

Just where do you see that, except in their politicians’ speeches?

A country which steals the property of others weekly?

A country which constantly engages in extrajudicial murders?

A country which keeps thousands in prisons with no proper legal process?

A country which keeps 4.5 million people in apartheid bondage?

A country where citizenship, and the right to vote, are based on ethnic identity?

A country which has attacked every neighbor that it has, many twice?

If that’s what you call democracy, the world would be a far better place with fewer such democracies.

“It is both interesting and revealing that under every article about Israel, no matter the content, the most popular comments are always the hateful ones.”

I think you have the cart before the horse, apart from several other errors in logic and coherence.

Could it just happen to be the case that every article about Israel is about some hateful act or threat?

I honestly cannot recall a single news story about something good Israel has done.

And for such an insignificant country – in size and in population – it manages to be in the news regularly.

People who have the courage to speak against pointless wars and human rights atrocities are only anti-barbarism.

“Yet, Israel, a tiny country on the other side of the globe seems to generate so much hate and condemnation especially considering that almost 21% of Israel’s population are Arabs”

Actually, it’s closer to 19%.

And just who are those Arabs?

The men and women who failed to run from Israeli terror in 1948 – the Irgun, The Lehi, the Stern Gang, and the ragtag Israeli army of the time whose ranks were full of foreigners.

Israel didn’t succeed in scaring them off, so what was it to do? Murder them? And there were advocates even for that.

As to their citizenship, you leave out far more than you tell.

Israel treats them in every regard as second-class. Many prominent Israelis speak publicly of expelling them sooner or later.

Their papers are marked to distinguish them from Jews.

They cannot enjoy many rights and privileges of Jewish Israelis.

Israel always insists on being recognized as “the Jewish nation.” Were that ever to become the case, what would happen to these non-Jewish, second-class citizens? I think we all know.

Some citizenship.






We need the Bible?

Please, you’re talking about a selection of old manuscripts, many of them the work of mentally unbalanced hermits, priests, and jingoes.

It is not correctly even called a book. It has no coherence and no subject, just random mutterings and legends and unpleasant tales of savagery.

The “books” contained represent a careful selection from hundreds of other oddball old manuscripts, and their translations from original tongues has been heavily influenced by ideology, often meanings being quite distorted.

Of course, when you call something the word of a god, you can accept anything associated with it.

The Bible has unquestionably helped instigate and justify more brutality and injustice than can be listed – from the Inquisition and the conquests of Mexico and Peru to slavery and the modern horrors of Israel’s occupation and mistreatment of millions.

‘As an example of how the Bible is “genetically embedded in our history”, it should be noted that the following passage from the Bible formed part of the legal basis for the enslavement of Africans:

‘”However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)”‘

And that “book” alone contains more insanity than any modern rational person can deal with: stoning and torture and brutal treatment of women and meaningless prohibitions about what you can wear and what you can eat.

When we get to The Revelations, we are dealing with the ranting of a paranoid schizophrenic.

The trouble with talking about “The Bible” is this: you conflate charming myths like Jesus’ birth or David and Goliath with all the other nasty stuff jammed between those covers.

Leviticus alone is reason enough to relegate The Bible to musty old library shelves.

“The fanatical and unpleasnat tone of the atheists posting here shows there is a major need for religious education in Canada.

“Hand out more Bibles’

The fanatical side of things is precisely what we find in “books” like Leviticus or The Revelations and in the advocacy of readers like the person commenting.

If there has been a failure of religious education as the reader suggests, whose responsibility is that?

Obviously, it is the religious institutions themselves. They are clearly not doing their job for their own people, if the writer is correct.

But a free society, everywhere and always, contains people who do not belong to any religious group, and it is entirely their right not to and not to be subjected to religious instruction or literature.

Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion.

Religious instruction or literature has no place in public schools or other public institutions.

This principle seems so obvious, but it is the fanaticism of religious zealots which makes it otherwise.

Do whatever you feel the need to at home or at church, but leave others alone.

That principle is the basis for a civil and enlightened society.

After all, even among the religious, there are so many groups and denominations and sets of beliefs that one religious text cannot be acceptable to all believers.

To say otherwise is merely to reveal a tyrant’s mindset.

We spent centuries burning people at the stake for so much as a small heterodox understanding of the mass. Western society has paid a dear price for religious freedom.

One can just imagine the reaction of unthinking people like the reader were the Quran or the Bhagavad Gita given out to children in public schools.






The Russians are absolutely correct on this issue.

The U.S. has not only lied consistently – talking about imagined Iranian threats – but its entire effort here is in the nature of aggression.

It is the kind of aggression psychologists call “passive-aggression,” a condition in which a certain personality plays the role of weak or passive person while actually carefully manipulating every opportunity to attack another.

It is America which for a decade has espoused the terrible concept of pre-emptive strikes against those believed to offer a future threat, so Russia merely is mimicking the concept.

The American missiles clearly are intended as a threat against Russia’s ICBM force.



A good first year only if you choose to ignore the lying, the many incompetent acts of ministers, the refusal to take responsibility for election fraud, the effort to suppress those – such as the former Chief Statistician – who will not accept manipulation, and a number of others.

This is the most dishonest man ever to hold the office, and he has set a new low standard for political dirt.

Well, the editorial putz who wrote this piece has good reason to say otherwise, hasn’t he/she?

After all, you endorsed this shabby man.

“The G+M has outsourced its editorial writing to the conservative party.”

A brilliant comment, right on the mark.

Only one slight correction, I believe the editorial-writing consultant is a figure from the East Texas Republican Party: our Conservative Party now is a wholly-owned subsidiary of that group, showing not one moment of independent thought.

It is no wonder the Globe no longer features the words of Junius as its motto:

“The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures.”

I can always respect an honest person whose political views are different to mine, but the kind of anonymous Republican frat-boy who writes this kind of public relations swill is beneath contempt.

There is absolutely no analysis here, only praise for a chief magistrate mired in dishonest practices.

“Check out the NYT.

“Posts must make a relevant, well thought out point, and advance the debate.

“On the other hand, if you applied these standards to this particular article, you would probably have fewer than 10 posts, so far.”

How very wrong you are, although I agree that the purest name-calling is not generally permitted there.

But I can accept a little name-calling so long as a good number of diverse points of view are represented, as they are in the Globe and as they are not in The Times.

My comments over the years were posted there many times, and my written letters published many times.

But there is subtle pattern of selection and censorship ongoing at The Times.

There is an immensely unfair but silent process of editing Letters to the Editor.

The Letters page is almost a hoax, there are so many edits and exclusions.

You would only know this if you participated significantly.

I lost all respect and quit reading The Times.

I’ll give the Globe top marks for what it does in comments over every other “quality” paper in English, being familiar with all of them.

Incidentally, the Toronto Star much follows The Times’ practices, only in a more limiting manner. You rarely will see a quality comment in The Star disagreeing with their editorial assumptions, and they allow no space for making important points.

Quite shameful really.






Robin Adams, below, has it right.

And there were still other less-than-Sterling qualities.

Roosevelt as assistant Secretary of the Navy when the Spanish-American War broke out. He actually functioned as Secretary of the Navy owing to the incapacity of his senior. Roosevelt thus was in charge when the phony attack on the USS Maine happened. Roosevelt was quoted in those days as saying he welcomed war, any war, to test out American troops.

To my mind one of his worst qualities – in complete contradiction to his written love of birds – was his hunting activity.

I’m not castigating normal hunting.

But Roosevelt didn’t hunt, he slaughtered on a massive scale.

He would shoot wild game by the dozens and scores, piles of them at each outing.

It was a disgraceful unethical and wasteful behavior, very revealing I think of the mentality that made him one of America’s great imperialists.

He was a man of many talents and tireless energy, and he was remarkable for overcoming his childhood disability of severe asthma, but he was a man to admire in only qualified terms as a leader.