Monday, May 31, 2010

Justifying Murder on the High Seas

Once again the ugly specter of Israel's collective punishment of Palestinians in the Gaza strip has been brought to the forefront of the world's attention and, this time, it wasn't just the actions of activists (who have largely been ignored) that has drawn the laser-like focus and condemnations of nations far and wide. This time, it was the IDF's commandeering of a humanitarian aid flotilla ship in international waters - causing the deaths of 9 activists (that we know of so far) and the wounding of dozens of others - justified as "self-defence" by the Israeli government that has quite rightly been met with scorn by the UN security council (although the wording of the specific condemnation has yet to be agreed on. Typical.)

As Amnesty International noted this past January, "Israel's [Illegal] Gaza Blockade Continues to Suffocate Daily Life". There is no legal or moral justification for this blockade to continue.

Israeli government propagandists and apologists are out in full force spreading their version of the ship boarding - even going so far as to claim that the activists tried to "lynch" their soldiers. Before this display of disproportionate violence, Israeli foreign minister Lieberman made the ludicrous assertion that "there is no humanitarian crisis in Strip" and called the flotilla "an attempt at violent propaganda against Israel". Ships peacefully headed for Gaza with humanitarian aid are "violent propaganda"? Extreme Zionist hard-liners like Lieberman will stop at nothing to excuse the Israeli government's continued crimes against humanity.

The Palestinians can't count on the Canadian or US governments to do anything but support Israel's ongoing inhumanity, as they've done for decades. And while there are reports that Turkey's government has stated it will send navy ships along with the next Gaza aid convoy - a move that could potentially set off a larger conflict - the toothless UN which has issued decades of resolutions condemning Israel's actions cannot be expected to do anything but let this opportunity for real action pass once again. Collectively, and because the US has veto power on the security council, they prefer the status quo to any challenge to Israel's power-mongering.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian people continue to suffer.

Netanyahu, who cut short his visit to Canada to return to Israel to deal with what's happened, has asserted that the only path to "peace" is to 1) have the Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist and 2) agree to the demilitarization of Palestine. The second condition is unthinkable considering Israel's propensity for using military force at the slightest provocation (or what it perceives to be provocative.) As it has just shown, if it feels threatened by ships in international waters and feels justified launching a thuggish pre-emptive attack as it did this weekend, how can the Palestinian people ever feel secure living in a demilitarized zone? That would be madness.

Those aboard the ships are currently detained in Israel and have not been allowed to speak freely, giving the Israeli government ample time to try to win over public opinion. As far as I'm concerned, they've failed. They can claim alleged ties to "terrorist groups" or "Iran" or say that the activists had no right to defend themselves against IDF soldiers armed with guns (one Israeli mouthpiece actually said the soldiers were at first armed with "paint ball guns") but there's no escaping the fact that they forced themselves onto ships in international waters and there's no justification for that. None.

What, exactly, has to happen before there are actual consequences for these crimes? How many more people have to die?


Free Gaza
Robert Fisk: Western leaders are too cowardly to help save lives
UN Security Council members urge Israel to lift Gaza siege
Several Israeli Arab protesters arrested in mass rallies over Gaza flotilla deaths
US activist loses eye after being shot in face with tear gas canister

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Confused about the Guergis/Jaffer Affair?

Here's the bottom line: Nobody is taking responsibility for anything (which pretty much sums up everything you need to know about government as well).

And if you're really into making your head explode, you can watch Snowdy's testimony here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Memo to Helena Guergis

Memo to Helena Guergis: If you want to be believed, try telling the truth. Don't rely on crocodile tears about how Stephen Harper isn't your BFF anymore; what a good Christian you supposedly are; tales about how you were working so hard that you had absolutely no idea what was going on in the rest of your life; how you "never" tried illegal drugs - oh, except for that time when you did; faux tantrum explanations like how you actually think airports are "hellholes" - not PEI (even though that's what you apologized for); lies (and there are documents to prove they are lies, Helena) about how your husband never used your office or your e-mail address for his business affairs; stories about how nobody told you why you were turfed except that you admit it had something to do with drugs and the TO Star story (allegations you denied after saying you didn't know what the allegations even were).

Need I go on?

Oh - one more thing: only a fool believes that their spouse would never do anything to hurt them. Happens every day. Wake up and smell reality.

And you don't get to use your tiny mouse child voice (hint: that annoying Meredith character on Grey's Anatomy is not a role model for strong women) to try to win sympathy - not when we know just how vicious you can be when you really want to. You're not fooling anybody who's ever paid any attention to your career.

But, let me add this (and this part is important): you keep fighting it out with Harper and his cronies in the press, in your riding, in the courts - wherever you feel like it - because politojunkies like me have stocked up on popcorn and will keep on munching as long as the Cirque de Helena and Rahim is in town.

Next act: PI Derek Snowdy testifying in committee on Wednesday. I may have to pile on extra butter for that one.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Baird Accuses Liberal MP of Lobbying

Bully Boy John Baird launched a scathing attack against Liberal MP Derek Lee today - going as far as accusing Lee of lobbying on behalf of (scary-sounding) "foreign organizations". From what I can gather, Baird was blustering about Lee's bio on the Sun & Partners site - a firm he joined in 2007.

Mr. Lee's valuable contributions to our clients include acting for foreign and offshore organizations in obtaining operating licenses, securing regulatory and governmental approvals for mergers and acquisitions, reviewing policies and conduct of Canadian Security Intelligence Services, advising government bodies on international issues regarding cross border tax collection, antidumping issues, and lobbying government on policy issues as well as facilitating inter-governmental relationships.
You'll remember Derek Lee as being the opposition MP who had the audacity to call for a point of privilege in parliament over the Afghan detainee document issue - a ruling he won.

These Cons will do everything they can to smear anybody who threatens their supremacy.

We'll see how this plays out...


The web site text has changed since this story broke. Lee says it was inaccurate wording, done without his knowledge, and that he is going to meet with the ethics commissioner to discuss this.

This week in Conservatives behaving badly...

- The Cons have stripped Helena Guergis of the chance to run in her riding without, she claims in a letter to the party, providing any reason for the decision. She is also scheduled to testify, along with her husband Rahim Jaffer, at the government operations committee on June 9th. The Cons have been crowing about how the Liberal party has apparently subverted "democracy" by whipping the upcoming vote on the long gun registry (because they've never whipped a vote, now have they?) and then they turn around and refuse to allow the people of Guergis' riding to decide whether she should represent them? Hypocrites.

- Calgary Northeast Con MP Devinder Shory has been named in a suit by BMO alleging "massive mortgage fraud". Will the Cons kick him out of their caucus too? Stay tuned. (Update: the answer to that is no. Shory gets to stay on.)

- "Shut the fuck up" - advice given by Con senator Nancy Ruth to womens' groups. It's not that the Cons actually hate women. It's just that they abhor anything resembling equality for women - especially poor women. They rebooted the culture war over abortion and now they claim that they don't want to talk about it. During the last two weeks, the Cons have cut funding to 24 womens' groups. They should change their party slogan to "Barefoot and pregnant - that's how we like our women". It isn't just a "culture of deceit" being propagated by the Cons - it's a "culture of conceit".

- So, what do the Cons do when they've been caught with their pants down running circles around their own "accountability" law? They blame Liberals, of course - the same Liberals who introduced a motion which passed unanimously in the house on Wednesday to fix the Cons' mistakes. They're like kids who get caught with their hands in the cookie jar and then blame their sister. And that's exactly the image to keep in mind when you watch John "Bully" Baird trying to bluster his party's faults away daily during question period by moving the goalposts whenever an opposition MP points out the Cons' hypocrisy. One would think that anyone who had any actual integrity would refuse to be the token party bouncer but Baird obviously subscribes to the "STFU" policy of his daddy, Stephen Harper.

- "Steeping His Ass Off" Gate.