Happy 2010!

The spectacular fireworks display from Sydney, Australia last night, where of course, it’s already tomorrow.

Best wishes to everyone for a safe and happy New Year’s Eve celebration. Let’s all hope the next year/decade isn’t quite as massively craptacular as the last one.

One Nation Under God?

It doesn’t seem to matter how easily demonstrable it is from the writings of the founders themselves that the United States was most assuredly not founded on “Christian principles” let alone under the direct auspices of Jesus Christ, evangelical fanatics will continue to insist the contrary to be true.

John Adams, Second President of the United States, wrote in his 1788 A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America that:

Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind…

The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this even an era in their history.

Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses…

Click on the picture above or here for a larger version where you can zoom in on all of its glorious details such as the black robed judge on his knees hiding his face in shame over various SCOTUS decisions enforcing the separation of Church and State… A descriptive tour of the painting with often hilarious explanatory notes can be taken here.

Cheney & The GOP: Masters of Disaster

Rachel Maddow resoundingly demolishes the Republican’s lying, hypocritical douchebaggery in response to last week’s attempted terror attack.

As for Dick Cheney’s latest mendacious tirade, perhaps this recent piece from James Fallows says it best: “The former vice president, Dick Cheney, has brought dishonor to himself, his office, and his country. I am not aware of a case of a former President or Vice President behaving as despicably as Cheney has done in the ten months since leaving power…. Cheney has acted as if utterly unconcerned with the welfare of his country, its armed forces, or the people now trying to make difficult decisions. He has put narrow score-settling interest far, far above national interest.”

Why the right-wing continues to venerate this utterly disgraceful coward, completely escapes me.

Political Tourettes Update: On yesterday’s Ed Show Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) delivered a stinging rebuke and challenge to Cheney.

So come on Dick, man up and debate Massa on Fox or wherever. I’m sure lots of folks would pay to see that contest.

Mmmm… Proroguey!

If anyone seriously thought that the Dear Leader wouldn’t prorogue parliament for the next couple of months, you really need to give your head a shake. And why not? The fact of the matter — that I’m entirely confident will be affirmed by opinion polls — is that most Canadians don’t and won’t care in the least bit that their elected representatives have been furloughed for the balance of winter.

Going Prorogue Update: Coverage from last night’s The National.

Terra Grabbag

This clip spanning a mere 11 minutes of coverage from last night’s ABC World News broadcast is quite remarkable if for no other reason that it manages to seamlessly condense so many controversial and highly-charged memes into such a short space of time.

First up to bat was more information on the Obama administration’s evolving, tougher response to the foiled “Terror Plot” on Christmas, including speculation about possible head-rolling accountability to come following the inter-agency blame game and teasing suggestions of retaliatory cruise missile and/or drone strikes against “Al Queda” Monkey Bar 101 “training camps” that might soon be forthcoming in the failing and hitherto entirely obscure country of Yemen.

This was followed by a segment called “Show Me the Money” describing how the tens of billions of dollars spent since 9/11 to beef up aviation security is still woefully inadequate to the task for various reasons… Again, plenty of blame to spread around for the “business as usual” attitude; from profit-hungry, corner-cutting airlines and persnickety civil rights groups, to witless government agencies hopelessly enmeshed in bureaucratic red tape.

Finally, the Disney network’s ABC’s suave new anchor turned our attention to the purportedly mysterious and apparently vexing questions concerning the so-called “radicalization” of lonely, gullible youngsters that we’re told is becoming increasingly prevalent in this “new age of terror.” Here the coverage rapidly evolved from the provocative but unanswerable initial query as to why “a son of privilege and education” would become a terrorist into a nullifying discussion about the merits of racial profiling.

Phew! I’d remind you that this blizzard of terra-related stuff was all crammed into slightly more time than it takes to smoke a cigarette. Is it any wonder that people these days can’t really make sense of current events or sensibly put the news in any sort of meaningful context when so much superficial information, feckless opinion and elliptical speculation is packaged in such a useless, uninsightful, and ultimately agitating format?


Every now and again I feel the need to advocate for the cause of marijuana de-criminalization (if not outright legalization) if for no other reason than because the arguments bolstering the demonstrably failed, multi-billion dollar “War on Drugs” are so maddeningly hypocritical, irrational, and completely unsupported by pesky facts or evidence of any kind.

Would it be too much to ask that, as Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance suggests, we too might once again have a serious discussion in this country about the issue? There was some hope of that not too long ago back in the dark days of Liberal budget surpluses and near full employment, but quite possibly not now if the posturing of the Harper government’s latest slick anti-drug campaign is any indication of things to come…

From a political perspective, if the Liberals are looking for ways to distinguish themselves from the present regime — presuming they are still actually trying to do that — coming down unequivocally on the side of “liberalization” of our drug policies might well provide them with an issue that would not only help put some significant daylight between the LPC and the hypocritical social “nannyism” of the so-called Conservatives, but may even attract the support of the all-important, but most usually disaffected independents.

Terra! Terra! Terra!

Sorry to inflict more Fox & Friends on you, but this really is beyond the pale. On this morning’s program, Wayne Simmons, a so-called “Terror Analyst” (i.e., former CIA operative, now raving wingnut and occasional columnist for the far right-wing magazine Human Events), responded to Brian Kilmeade’s query whether the increase in “major terror incidents” over the last year is because America has new president as follows:

Yeah, listen this is, ugh, and you’ve heard me say this many times before — nothing has changed, in fact it’s only getting worse since the coronation of the boy king fifteen months ago. It is, again, not an accident that every third world despot, every third world despot; from Venezuela through Cuba to North Korea, virtually anyone in the Middle East who decides they want to take a shot at the United States and our allies, is doing just that. These guys now that are starting to come out the woodwork are EMBOLDENED. They recognize, as do the third-world nations, the dictators, there will be NO repercussions from the Obama administration.

Good grief, what a lunatic.

To get the full flavour of Simmons’ madness, might I recommend the following article from Human Events titled “Cheerleader in Chief” where he decries virtually everything about the Obama administration “from the phony ‘stimulus’ package to socialist health care” and foreign policy that is “ignorant of important principles and completely at odds with the fact that America is a superpower.”

With regards to the “Global War on Terra” Simmons admiringly quotes the following passage from Winston Churchill’s 1899 book The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan:

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

Perhaps Simmons should have read a little further in that same book where he would have encountered this passage also written by the young Churchill:

…there are many people in England, and perhaps elsewhere, who seem to be unable to contemplate military operations for clear political objects, unless they can cajole themselves into the belief that their enemy are utterly and hopelessly vile. To this end the Dervishes, from the Mahdi and the Khalifa downwards, have been loaded with every variety of abuse and charged with all conceivable crimes. This may be very comforting to philanthropic persons at home; but when an army in the field becomes imbued with the idea that that the enemy are vermin who cumber the earth, instances of barbarity may easily be the outcome. This unmeasured condemnation is moreover as unjust as it is dangerous and unnecessary… We are told that the British and Egyptian armies entered Omdurman to free the people from the Khalifa’s yoke. Never were rescuers more unwelcome.

Substitute America for England and other parties in today’s conflict as appropriate and it seems clear that little has changed after more than a hundred years of territorial meddling and reckless adventurism by the Anglo-American Imperium in this troubled region of the world.

On Fox “News” and other right-wing talking shops however, it’s all so very simple: just “toughen up on terror” or as Simmons puts it: “locate, identify and kill” everyone suspected of being a terrorist — and if that results in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims and the displacement of millions more… well, so be it.

Better Know a “Liberal” Nitwit

Seeing as the allegedly Liberal, feminist blogger “Pareta” doesn’t allow comments or permit trackbacks on her shitty little website, it seems pretty darn ripe calling Liberal MP Keith Martin a “spineless white man who hates gun control” and oddly quipping that “Tanning beds are to skin as Keith Martin is to the Liberal Party.” Exactly WTF does that mean?

The nitwit in question (appropriately self described as being “young, dumb, and full of glum”) might also benefit from educating herself a little about the riding of Esquimalt–Juan de Fuca (where I happen to live these days) before dismissively and quite incorrectly labeling it as “rural” — not that there’s anything wrong with that; but in fact, it’s a diverse mix of urban, suburban and rural communities.

Finally, it’s a highly dubious distinction indeed when one also gets sarcastically called out by Kate McMillan (of all people) and the pitchfork wielding mob at SDA as an example of “The Tolerant Left”

Update: A predictably infantile response from the gutless, anonymous, comment-free “Pareta”… For the record, I wasn’t so much “offended” by her lazy and snide post so much as ashamed to be politically associated in any way with someone so catastrophically ignorant.

Fearmongering & Friends

Speaking this morning on Fox News, barking mad “conservative” radio talk-show host Mike Gallagher proposed that “every known Muslim” in the world (approximately 1.8 billion people) be subjected to an intensified level scrutiny prior to boarding an aircraft using a degrading procedure similar to that employed by the Israeli airline El Al when dealing with Palestinian travellers/suspected terrorists.

This immediately followed a snarky interrogation of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano on the same program in which she was blamed for the failure of the flight risk assessment system established under the Bush administration because she hadn’t completely re-engineered it since taking office, before being sideswiped by Brian Kilmeade with an irrelevant line of questioning about the repatriation of certain Gitmo detainees to Yemen.