Daily Archives: December 29, 2009

Dead Musicians: 2009 Edition

A sound collage from the New York Times featuring a sampling of the musicians who died this year.

13 Comments

Filed under Musical Interludes

Incarcerex®

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.

18 Comments

Filed under Crime & Punishment, Drug Policy, War on Drugs

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.

42 Comments

Filed under Media Bias, Wingnuts