Thursday, July 25, 2013

A debate, a lecture, an interview, and some ethnic cleansing: Chris Hedges vs. Black Bloc, Victor Sebestyen on the Collapse of Soviet Empire, Joshua Oppenheimer on ‘The Act of Killing’, and some Israeli Ethnic Cleansing

Chris Hedges Debates the Black Bloc

“In his article “The Cancer in Occupy” posted on Truthdig in February, Chris Hedges criticized Black Bloc activists, saying their use of violence in the streets would alienate the Occupy movement from mainstream Americans and legitimize the use of police violence in the eyes of the public. Black Bloc supporter Brian Traven debate[s] him in New York City.”

Revolution 1989: what exactly happened?

“How did the mighty Soviet empire collapse so quickly, so completely - and so peacefully? Victor Sebestyen is an author and journalist. This lecture marks the launch of his latest book, Revolution 1989: the fall of the Soviet Empire.”

"The Act of Killing": New Film Shows U.S.-Backed Indonesian Death Squad Leaders Re-enacting Massacres

“We spend the hour with Joshua Oppenheimer, the director of a groundbreaking new documentary called ‘The Act of Killing.’ The film is set in Indonesia, where, beginning in 1965, military and paramilitary forces slaughtered up to a million Indonesians after overthrowing the democratically elected government. That military was backed by the United States and led by General Suharto, who would rule Indonesia for decades. There has been no truth and reconciliation commission, nor have any of the murderers been brought to justice. As the film reveals, Indonesia is a country where the killers are to this day celebrated as heroes by many. Oppenheimer spent more than eight years interviewing the Indonesian death squad leaders, and in ‘The Act of Killing,’ he works with them to re-enact the real-life killings in the style of American movies in which the men love to watch — this includes classic Hollywood gangster movies and lavish musical numbers. A key figure he follows is Anwar Congo, who killed hundreds, if not a thousand people with his own hands and is now revered as a founding father of an active right-wing paramilitary organization. We also ask Oppenheimer to discusses the film’s impact in Indonesia, where he screened it for survivors and journalists who have launched new investigations into the massacres. The film is co-directed by Christine Cynn and an Indonesian co-director who remains anonymous for fear of retribution, as does much of the Indonesian film crew. Its executive producers are Werner Herzog and Errol Morris. ‘The Act of Killing’ opens today in New York City, and comes to Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., on July 26, then to theaters nationwide.”

Up to 70,000 Bedouins Could Be Impacted or Displaced by Israel

“The Israeli government is moving forward with plans to demolish 40 Palestinian Bedouin villages, displacing up to 70,000 of their residents. Known as the Prower plan, it was approved in June and will relocate the Bedouins to six townships already suffering from serious problems of unemployment, poverty, and drugs, freeing up the land for occupation by the Jewish National Fund.”

Additional coverage: Israeli parliament approved the deportation of 40,000 Bedouin from their land.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Torrent now available for Series IVa, and an Update: Language of Mathematics and Math in Real Life (#152)

Please note, since The Pirate Bay was taken down it’s become harder to provide constant direct links to the torrents. The torrents are still available, I usually have two computer seeding them, so please look for the torrents on other file sharing sites such as KickassTorrents.

Hopefully in time we will be able to create a society where we can share content freely without government or corporate interference, until then, happy seeding.

Table of Contents: Language of Mathematics, Math in Real Life

Direct links to torrents on The Pirate Bay:
  • Series I: Videos #1 to #35 for The Language of Mathematics, produced in 2007.
  • Series II: Videos #36 to #58 for The Language of Mathematics, produced in 2008.
  • Series IIIa: Videos #61 to #92 for The Language of Mathematics, produced in 2009.
  • Series IIIb: Videos #93 to #142 for The Language of Mathematics, produced in 2010-2011.
  • Series IVa: Videos #143 to #151 for The Language of Mathematics plus some videos for Math in Real Life, produced in 2011-2013.


At the request of my readers, in 2009 I began to provide torrents for the math videos. The torrents are available through The Pirate Bay and other file sharing networks.

Downloads are series specific and the files organized based on their video number and/or year, i.e, the order in which the videos were produced. See the table of contents for The Language of Mathematics and Math in Real Life to put things into context.

Please note that videos from Series I, II, and IIIa are tagged with, and those for Series IIIb and Series IVa are tagged with

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Why the U.S. Government has such a hard-on for Edward Snowden

It’s not the act of revealing secrets that has gotten Edward Snowden in trouble, after all, members of the Bush Administration did exactly that in the Plame affair as did members of the Obama Administration by leaking the drone memo. Leaking classified documents doesn’t always lead to prosecution, on the contrary, sometimes it leads to advancement of personal agendas:
“Does the rule of law demand that leaks of highly classified information be prosecuted? If so, John Brennan and many other current and former national-security officials had better be given orange jumpsuits. They weren't even leaking to alert Americans to behavior that they found immoral. Often times, the U.S. national security establishment leaks to exploit a political advantage.”
The reason that the United States government is so adamant about getting their hands on Snowden is because, as Chris Hedges pointed out in “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” while discussing popular uprisings when referencing Victor Sebestyen’s book “Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire” in which he was chronicling the events leading up to the collapse of East Germany, the dissolution of the Stasi, and the fall of the Berlin Wall:
"This was the turning point, when the people knew that the regime lacked the will or the strength to maintain power."
The U.S. government cannot allow Snowden to live happily ever after. If they do, then a precedent will be set and it will be their undoing.

As Snowden pointed out in his July 1st statement, the U.S. government is after him for doing an unauthorized release of classified documents because:
“In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.”

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Here is What’s Going On in Canada, Part 1: Two Telltale Speeches by Stephen Harper

I. Introduction: How Far We Have Fallen

For those watching from afar, Canada must seem an enigma. For decades we have been hailed as peace keepers, but have lately been busy flexing our muscles at every opportunity we get (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). We are known for our pristine environment, but have been accelerating the development of the dirtiest project in the world (pics). Knowing full well the devastating consequences of America’s War on Drugs, the very same day that Washington State and Colorado legalized the recreational use of Cannabis we introduced “tough new mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana.” We are the third largest water rich resource country in the world, but have recently suspended numerous water monitoring and preservation projects:
“DFO’s [Department of Fisheries and Oceans] Habitat Management Program – which monitored the effects of harmful industrial, agricultural and land-development activities on wild fish – is gone. DFO’s teams of experts on ocean contaminants in marine mammals, on marine oil pollution, and on oil spill countermeasures have all been disbanded. Gone too is the Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research – the only agency with the ability to adequately assess offshore projects. Nine out of 11 DFO marine science libraries will be shut. And the Experimental Lakes Area is closed.

“At Environment Canada, the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) in Nunavut, involved in monitoring the Arctic ozone hole discovered in 2011, has been closed. Similarly, the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, Canada’s main research foundation on climate change, has been axed. The Canadian Centre for Inland Waters – the most important science monitoring agency for the imperilled Great Lakes – has lost key staff members.”
And that’s what’s seen from afar. From the Canadian perspective, for many, we’re living a nightmare. We’re watching the dismantling of our country and everything we hold dear, and we can’t do anything about it, at least not until the next federal elections in 2015. That’s when we’ll get a chance to remove Stephen Harper and his Conservatives from power. It’s almost a certainty that they will not be able to hold on to a majority government, not with 70% of those polled wanting them out. My guess is though, by the time Harper pushes through his full agenda, in the next elections the Conservatives won’t even get enough votes to be recognized as the Official Opposition, let alone be able to squeeze through a minority government. Unfortunately, no matter what happens in the next elections, the simple fact is that the damage is done.

In two short years of obtaining a majority government, Stephen Harper has reshaped Canada to his own image and those of his business interests. He promised that we wouldn’t recognize Canada when he got through with it, and he meant it. Some of the policies that have been implemented will take decades to unfold and will cost Canadians dearly:
“From the environment, to health care, to foreign policy, this is a different Canada than it was May 2, 2011, and many of the Harper initiatives may not be easily undone by future governments, or even future leaders of a Conservative government.”
How we reached this point is complicated, however, the following statement is a good summation:
“A Canada once thought of as democratic, free, and peaceful, is ever-advancing toward a fully privatized outpost of global corporate tyranny: Canada Inc., a subsidiary of the American Empire & Co.”
What follows are two telltale speeches given by Stephen Harper. The first is the ‘plagiarized’ speech that he gave in 2003 regarding the Iraq war. The second is “the text from a speech made by Stephen Harper, then vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, to a June 1997 Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing U.S. think tank, and taken from the council's website.” Below are some highlights from the first few opening paragraphs of this speech as well as his closing statement. Every Canadian should read the full text, especially those who support Harper and his Conservatives:
“First, facts about Canada. Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. Canadians make no connection between the fact that they are a Northern European welfare state and the fact that we have very low economic growth, a standard of living substantially lower than yours…

“In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance…

“I'll end there and take any of your questions. But let me conclude by saying, good luck in your own battles. Let me just remind you of something that's been talked about here. As long as there are exams, there will always be prayer in schools.”
The best way to understand Stephen Harper’s agenda is to really listen to him. What follows are some of his beliefs, statements, and thoughts. They should send shivers down the spine of even his most hardened supporters.

II. Harper’s ‘Plagiarized’ Iraq War Speech

PM Harper Plagiarizes PM Howard

III. Harper’s 1997 Speech to Council for National Policy

Full text of Stephen Harper's 1997 Speech to the Council for National Policy:
Ladies and gentlemen, let me begin by giving you a big welcome to Canada. Let's start up with a compliment. You're here from the second greatest nation on earth. But seriously, your country, and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world.

Now, having given you a compliment, let me also give you an insult. I was asked to speak about Canadian politics. It may not be true, but it's legendary that if you're like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians.

But in any case, my speech will make that assumption. I'll talk fairly basic stuff. If it seems pedestrian to some of you who do know a lot about Canada, I apologize.

I'm going to look at three things. First of all, just some basic facts about Canada that are relevant to my talk, facts about the country and its political system, its civics. Second, I want to take a look at the party system that's developed in Canada from a conventional left/right, or liberal/conservative perspective. The third thing I'm going to do is look at the political system again, because it can't be looked at in this country simply from the conventional perspective.

First, facts about Canada. Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. Canadians make no connection between the fact that they are a Northern European welfare state and the fact that we have very low economic growth, a standard of living substantially lower than yours, a massive brain drain of young professionals to your country, and double the unemployment rate of the United States.

In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance.

That is beginning to change. There have been some significant changes in our fiscal policies and our social welfare policies in the last three or four years. But nevertheless, they're still very generous compared to your country.

Let me just make a comment on language, which is so important in this country. I want to disabuse you of misimpressions you may have. If you've read any of the official propagandas, you've come over the border and entered a bilingual country. In this particular city, Montreal, you may well get that impression. But this city is extremely atypical of this country.

While it is a French-speaking city -- largely -- it has an enormous English-speaking minority and a large number of what are called ethnics: they who are largely immigrant communities, but who politically and culturally tend to identify with the English community.

This is unusual, because the rest of the province of Quebec is, by and large, almost entirely French-speaking. The English minority present here in Montreal is quite exceptional.

Furthermore, the fact that this province is largely French-speaking, except for Montreal, is quite exceptional with regard to the rest of the country. Outside of Quebec, the total population of francophones, depending on how you measure it, is only three to five per cent of the population. The rest of Canada is English speaking.

Even more important, the French-speaking people outside of Quebec live almost exclusively in the adjacent areas, in northern New Brunswick and in Eastern Ontario.

The rest of Canada is almost entirely English speaking. Where I come from, Western Canada, the population of francophones ranges around one to two per cent in some cases. So it's basically an English-speaking country, just as English-speaking as, I would guess, the northern part of the United States.

But the important point is that Canada is not a bilingual country. It is a country with two languages. And there is a big difference.

As you may know, historically and especially presently, there's been a lot of political tension between these two major language groups, and between Quebec and the rest of Canada.

Let me take a moment for a humorous story. Now, I tell this with some trepidation, knowing that this is a largely Christian organization.

The National Citizens Coalition, by the way, is not. We're on the sort of libertarian side of the conservative spectrum. So I tell this joke with a little bit of trepidation. But nevertheless, this joke works with Canadian audiences of any kind, anywhere in Canada, both official languages, any kind of audience.

It's about a constitutional lawyer who dies and goes to heaven. There, he meets God and gets his questions answered about life. One of his questions is, "God, will this problem between Quebec and the rest of Canada ever be resolved?'' And God thinks very deeply about this, as God is wont to do. God replies, "Yes, but not in my lifetime.''

I'm glad to see you weren't offended by that. I've had the odd religious person who's been offended. I always tell them, "Don't be offended. The joke can't be taken seriously theologically. It is, after all, about a lawyer who goes to heaven.''

In any case. My apologies to Eugene Meyer of the Federalist Society.

Second, the civics, Canada's civics.

On the surface, you can make a comparison between our political system and yours. We have an executive, we have two legislative houses, and we have a Supreme Court.

However, our executive is the Queen, who doesn't live here. Her representative is the Governor General, who is an appointed buddy of the Prime Minister.

Of our two legislative houses, the Senate, our upper house, is appointed, also by the Prime Minister, where he puts buddies, fundraisers and the like. So the Senate also is not very important in our political system.

And we have a Supreme Court, like yours, which, since we put a charter of rights in our constitution in 1982, is becoming increasingly arbitrary and important. It is also appointed by the Prime Minister. Unlike your Supreme Court, we have no ratification process.

So if you sort of remove three of the four elements, what you see is a system of checks and balances which quickly becomes a system that's described as unpaid checks and political imbalances.

What we have is the House of Commons. The House of Commons, the bastion of the Prime Minister's power, the body that selects the Prime Minister, is an elected body. I really emphasize this to you as an American group: It's not like your House of Representatives. Don't make that comparison.

What the House of Commons is really like is the United States electoral college. Imagine if the electoral college which selects your president once every four years were to continue sitting in Washington for the next four years. And imagine its having the same vote on every issue. That is how our political system operates.

In our election last Monday, the Liberal party won a majority of seats. The four opposition parties divided up the rest, with some very, very rough parity.

But the important thing to know is that this is how it will be until the Prime Minister calls the next election. The same majority vote on every issue. So if you ask me, "What's the vote going to be on gun control?'' or on the budget, we know already.

If any member of these political parties votes differently from his party on a particular issue, well, that will be national headline news. It's really hard to believe. If any one member votes differently, it will be national headline news. I voted differently at least once from my party, and it was national headline news. It's a very different system.

Our party system consists today of five parties. There was a remark made yesterday at your youth conference about the fact that parties come and go in Canada every year. This is rather deceptive. I've written considerably on this subject.

We had a two-party system from the founding of our country, in 1867. That two-party system began to break up in the period from 1911 to 1935. Ever since then, five political elements have come and gone. We've always had at least three parties. But even when parties come back, they're not really new. They're just an older party re-appearing under a different name and different circumstances.

Let me take a conventional look at these five parties. I'll describe them in terms that fit your own party system, the left/right kind of terms.

Let's take the New Democratic Party, the NDP, which won 21 seats. The NDP could be described as basically a party of liberal Democrats, but it's actually worse than that, I have to say. And forgive me jesting again, but the NDP is kind of proof that the Devil lives and interferes in the affairs of men.

This party believes not just in large government and in massive redistributive programs, it's explicitly socialist. On social value issues, it believes the opposite on just about everything that anybody in this room believes. I think that's a pretty safe bet on all social-value kinds of questions.

Some people point out that there is a small element of clergy in the NDP. Yes, this is true. But these are clergy who, while very committed to the church, believe that it made a historic error in adopting Christian theology.

The NDP is also explicitly a branch of the Canadian Labour Congress, which is by far our largest labour group, and explicitly radical.

There are some moderate and conservative labour organizations. They don't belong to that particular organization.

The second party, the Liberal party, is by far the largest party. It won the election. It's also the only party that's competitive in all parts of the country. The Liberal party is our dominant party today, and has been for 100 years. It's governed almost all of the last hundred years, probably about 75 per cent of the time.

It's not what you would call conservative Democrat; I think that's a disappearing kind of breed. But it's certainly moderate Democrat, a type of Clinton-pragmatic Democrat. It's moved in the last few years very much to the right on fiscal and economic concerns, but still believes in government intrusion in the economy where possible, and does, in its majority, believe in fairly liberal social values.

In the last Parliament, it enacted comprehensive gun control, well beyond, I think, anything you have. Now we'll have a national firearms registration system, including all shotguns and rifles. Many other kinds of weapons have been banned. It believes in gay rights, although it's fairly cautious. It's put sexual orientation in the Human Rights Act and will let the courts do the rest.

There is an important caveat to its liberal social values. For historic reasons that I won't get into, the Liberal party gets the votes of most Catholics in the country, including many practising Catholics. It does have a significant Catholic, social-conservative element which occasionally disagrees with these kinds of policy directions. Although I caution you that even this Catholic social conservative element in the Liberal party is often quite liberal on economic issues.

Then there is the Progressive Conservative party, the PC party, which won only 20 seats. Now, the term Progressive Conservative will immediately raise suspicions in all of your minds. It should. It's obviously kind of an oxymoron. But actually, its origin is not progressive in the modern sense. The origin of the term "progressive'' in the name stems from the Progressive Movement in the 1920s, which was similar to that in your own country.

But the Progressive Conservative is very definitely liberal Republican. These are people who are moderately conservative on economic matters, and in the past have been moderately liberal, even sometimes quite liberal on social policy matters.

In fact, before the Reform Party really became a force in the late '80s, early '90s, the leadership of the Conservative party was running the largest deficits in Canadian history. They were in favour of gay rights officially, officially for abortion on demand. Officially -- what else can I say about them? Officially for the entrenchment of our universal, collectivized, health-care system and multicultural policies in the constitution of the country.

At the leadership level anyway, this was a pretty liberal group. This explains one of the reasons why the Reform party has become such a power.

The Reform party is much closer to what you would call conservative Republican, which I'll get to in a minute.

The Bloc Quebecois, which I won't spend much time on, is a strictly Quebec party, strictly among the French-speaking people of Quebec. It is an ethnic separatist party that seeks to make Quebec an independent, sovereign nation.

By and large, the Bloc Quebecois is centre-left in its approach. However, it is primarily an ethnic coalition. It's always had diverse elements. It does have an element that is more on the right of the political spectrum, but that's definitely a minority element.

Let me say a little bit about the Reform party because I want you to be very clear on what the Reform party is and is not.

The Reform party, although described by many of its members, and most of the media, as conservative, and conservative in the American sense, actually describes itself as populist. And that's the term its leader, Preston Manning, uses.

This term is not without significance. The Reform party does stand for direct democracy, which of course many American conservatives do, but also it sees itself as coming from a long tradition of populist parties of Western Canada, not all of which have been conservative.

It also is populist in the very real sense, if I can make American analogies to it -- populist in the sense that the term is sometimes used with Ross Perot.

The Reform party is very much a leader-driven party. It's much more a real party than Mr. Perot's party -- by the way, it existed before Mr. Perot's party. But it's very much leader-driven, very much organized as a personal political vehicle. Although it has much more of a real organization than Mr. Perot does.

But the Reform party only exists federally. It doesn't exist at the provincial level here in Canada. It really exists only because Mr. Manning is pursuing the position of prime minister. It doesn't have a broader political mandate than that yet. Most of its members feel it should, and, in their minds, actually it does.

It also has some Buchananist tendencies. I know there are probably many admirers of Mr. Buchanan here, but I mean that in the sense that there are some anti-market elements in the Reform Party. So far, they haven't been that important, because Mr. Manning is, himself, a fairly orthodox economic conservative.

The predecessor of the Reform party, the Social Credit party, was very much like this. Believing in funny money and control of banking, and a whole bunch of fairly non-conservative economic things.

So there are some non-conservative tendencies in the Reform party, but, that said, the party is clearly the most economically conservative party in the country. It's the closest thing we have to a neo-conservative party in that sense.

It's also the most conservative socially, but it's not a theocon party, to use the term. The Reform party does favour the use of referendums and free votes in Parliament on moral issues and social issues.

The party is led by Preston Manning, who is a committed, evangelical Christian. And the party in recent years has made some reference to family values and to family priorities. It has some policies that are definitely social-conservative, but it's not explicitly so.

Many members are not, the party officially is not, and, frankly, the party has had a great deal of trouble when it's tried to tackle those issues.

Last year, when we had the Liberal government putting the protection of sexual orientation in our Human Rights Act, the Reform Party was opposed to that, but made a terrible mess of the debate. In fact, discredited itself on that issue, not just with the conventional liberal media, but even with many social conservatives by the manner in which it mishandled that.

So the social conservative element exists. Mr. Manning is a Christian, as are most of the party's senior people. But it's not officially part of the party. The party hasn't quite come to terms with how that fits into it.

That's the conventional analysis of the party system.

Let me turn to the non-conventional analysis, because frankly, it's impossible, with just left/right terminology to explain why we would have five parties, or why we would have four parties on the conventional spectrum. Why not just two?

The reason is regional division, which you'll see if you carefully look at a map. Let me draw the United States comparison, a comparison with your history.

The party system that is developing here in Canada is a party system that replicates the antebellum period, the pre-Civil War period of the United States.

That's not to say -- and I would never be quoted as saying -- we're headed to a civil war. But we do have a major secession crisis, obviously of a very different nature than the secession crisis you had in the 1860s. But the dynamics, the political and partisan dynamics of this, are remarkably similar.

The Bloc Quebecois is equivalent to your Southern secessionists, Southern Democrats, states rights activists. The Bloc Quebecois, its 44 seats, come entirely from the province of Quebec. But even more strikingly, they come from ridings, or election districts, almost entirely populated by the descendants of the original European French settlers.

The Liberal party has 26 seats in Quebec. Most of these come from areas where there are heavy concentrations of English, aboriginal or ethnic votes. So the Bloc Quebecois is very much an ethnic party, but it's also a secession party.

In the referendum two years ago, the secessionists won 49 per cent of the vote, 49.5 per cent. So this is a very real crisis. We're looking at another referendum before the turn of the century.

The Progressive Conservative party is very much comparable to the Whigs of the 1850s and 1860s. What is happening to them is very similar to the Whigs. A moderate conservative party, increasingly under stress because of the secession movement, on the one hand, and the reaction to that movement from harder line English Canadians on the other hand.

You may recall that the Whigs, in their dying days, went through a series of metamorphoses. They ended up as what was called the Unionist movement that won some of the border states in your 1860 election.

If you look at the surviving PC support, it's very much concentrated in Atlantic Canada, in the provinces to the east of Quebec. These are very much equivalent to the United States border states. They're weak economically. They have very grim prospects if Quebec separates. These people want a solution at almost any cost. And some of the solutions they propose would be exactly that.

They also have a small percentage of seats in Quebec. These are French-speaking areas that are also more moderate and very concerned about what would happen in a secession crisis.

The Liberal party is very much your northern Democrat, or mainstream Democratic party, a party that is less concessionary to the secessionists than the PCs, but still somewhat concessionary. And they still occupy the mainstream of public opinion in Ontario, which is the big and powerful province, politically and economically, alongside Quebec.

The Reform party is very much a modern manifestation of the Republican movement in Western Canada; the U.S. Republicans started in the western United States. The Reform Party is very resistant to the agenda and the demands of the secessionists, and on a very deep philosophical level.

The goal of the secessionists is to transform our country into two nations, either into two explicitly sovereign countries, or in the case of weaker separatists, into some kind of federation of two equal partners.

The Reform party opposes this on all kinds of grounds, but most important, Reformers are highly resistant philosophically to the idea that we will have an open, modern, multi-ethnic society on one side of the line, and the other society will run on some set of ethnic-special-status principles. This is completely unacceptable, particularly to philosophical conservatives in the Reform party.

The Reform party's strength comes almost entirely from the West. It's become the dominant political force in Western Canada. And it is getting a substantial vote in Ontario. Twenty per cent of the vote in the last two elections. But it has not yet broken through in terms of the number of seats won in Ontario.

This is a very real political spectrum, lining up from the Bloc to reform. You may notice I didn't mention the New Democratic Party. The NDP obviously can't be compared to anything pre-Civil War. But the NDP is not an important player on this issue. Its views are somewhere between the liberals and conservatives. Its main concern, of course, is simply the left-wing agenda to basically disintegrate our society in all kinds of spectrums. So it really doesn't fit in.

But I don't use this comparison of the pre-Civil War lightly. Preston Manning, the leader of the Reform party has spent a lot of time reading about pre-Civil War politics. He compares the Reform party himself to the Republican party of that period. He is very well-read on Abraham Lincoln and a keen follower and admirer of Lincoln.

I know Mr. Manning very well. I would say that next to his own father, who is a prominent Western Canadian politician, Abraham Lincoln has probably had more effect on Mr. Manning's political philosophy than any individual politician.

Obviously, the issue here is not slavery, but the appeasement of ethnic nationalism. For years, we've had this Quebec separatist movement. For years, we elected Quebec prime ministers to deal with that, Quebec prime ministers who were committed federalists who would lead us out of the wilderness. For years, we have given concessions of various kinds of the province of Quebec, political and economic, to make them happier.

This has not worked. The sovereignty movement has continued to rise in prominence. And its demands have continued to increase. It began to hit the wall when what are called the soft separatists and the conventional political establishment got together to put in the constitution something called "a distinct society clause.'' Nobody really knows what it would mean, but it would give the Supreme Court, where Quebec would have a tremendous role in appointment, the power to interpret Quebec's special needs and powers, undefined elsewhere.

This has led to a firewall of resistance across the country. It fuelled the growth of the Reform party. I should even say that the early concessionary people, like Pierre Trudeau, have come out against this. So there's even now an element of the Quebec federalists themselves who will no longer accept this.

So you see the syndrome we're in. The separatists continue to make demands. They're a powerful force. They continue to have the bulk of the Canadian political establishment on their side. The two traditional parties, the Liberals and PCs, are both led by Quebecers who favour concessionary strategies. The Reform party is a bastion of resistance to this tendency.

To give you an idea of how divided the country is, not just in Quebec but how divided the country is outside Quebec on this, we had a phenomenon five years ago. This is a real phenomenon; I don't know how much you heard about it.

The establishment came down with a constitutional package which they put to a national referendum. The package included distinct society status for Quebec and some other changes, including some that would just horrify you, putting universal Medicare in our constitution, and feminist rights, and a whole bunch of other things.

What was significant about this was that this constitutional proposal was supported by the entire Canadian political establishment. By all of the major media. By the three largest traditional parties, the PC, Liberal party and NDP. At the time, the Bloc and Reform were very small.

It was supported by big business, very vocally by all of the major CEOs of the country. The leading labour unions all supported it. Complete consensus. And most academics.

And it was defeated. It literally lost the national referendum against a rag-tag opposition consisting of a few dissident conservatives and a few dissident socialists.

This gives you some idea of the split that's taking place in the country.

Canada is, however, a troubled country politically, not socially. This is a country that we like to say works in practice but not in theory.

You can walk around this country without running across very many of these political controversies.

I'll end there and take any of your questions. But let me conclude by saying, good luck in your own battles. Let me just remind you of something that's been talked about here. As long as there are exams, there will always be prayer in schools.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

So let me get this straight, we fast track renditions but hunt down whistleblowers on presidential planes!

The CIA was granted permission to use rendition (to the USA of indicted terrorists) in a presidential directive signed by US President Bill Clinton in 1995, following a procedure established by US President George H. W. Bush in January 1993”. This program kicked into high-gear under Bush junior after 911 and continues to this day under the Obama administration.
According to a US Congress report [2008], up to 14,000 people may have been victims of rendition and secret detention since 2001. Some reports estimate there have been twice as many. The US admits to have captured more than 80,000 prisoners in its ‘war on terror’.”
The map below shows the countries involved in fast tracking rendition flights, helping to transport U.S. captives to secret prisons – black sites - across the globe, condemning innocent men, women, and children to confinement, torture, and death. To the best of my knowledge, not a single rendition flight was ever grounded or searched.

click to enlarge - source

And yet, European countries - specifically France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy - had the audacity to deny passage of Evo Morales’ Bolivian presidential plane “over suspicions that whistleblower Edward Snowden was potentially aboard.” To put this into perspective, this would be equivalent to denying passage to Air Force One while it was transporting Obama because another country thought that one of their citizens might be on board. Absurd, and yet, western mainstream media is treating this as if it was just a simple mistake, an “embarrassment” of sorts.

Bolivians Indignant at European Treatment of President Morales

Further coverage: U.S. Allies Violate Int. Law Pursuing Snowden

As Malcolm X warned us in his Audubon Ballroom speech in Harlem in 13 December 1964:
“The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make a criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press…. If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
click to enlarge - source

To help put the above events into the into the appropriate light, specifically on how they relate to how wikileaks and Julian Assange, and whistleblowers like Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Andrews Drake, William Binney, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are being treated and portrayed by the U.S. government and the majority of western mainstream media, below you will find a special Democracy Now segment from a 2007 event on “How the Pentagon Papers Came to be Published By the Beacon Press” as told by Daniel Ellsberg, Mike Gravel, and Robert West. The panel highlights the depths to which criminals will go to to hide their crimes and stifle dissent (emphasis added).
“Forty-one years ago, Beacon Press lost a Supreme Court case brought against it by the U.S. government for publishing the first full edition of the Pentagon Papers. It is now well known how The New York Times first published excerpts of the top-secret documents in June 1971, but less well known is how the Beacon Press, a small nonprofit publisher affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association, came to publish the complete 7,000 pages that exposed the true history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Their publication led the Beacon press into a spiral of two-and-a-half years of harassment, intimidation, near bankruptcy and the possibility of criminal prosecution. This is a story that has rarely been told in its entirety….

“The relevance of our experience, those 35 years ago, to secrecy and deception in government today is patently obvious. For example, three of the issues and principles that were involved in our court actions were misuse of power of the Justice Department, invasion of privacy, and misuse of secrecy by the government. All of those clearly apply to what is happening today.

“In his 1972 dissenting opinion in the Gravel case, Supreme Court Justice Douglas said, ‘The story of the Pentagon Papers is a chronicle of the suppression of vital decisions to protect the reputations and political hides of men who work an amazingly successful scheme of deception on the American people.’ And he went on to say in that decision that he had no choice but to hold that it was the government that is lawless, not the press.

“In 1971, Senator Gravel wrote, ‘The Pentagon Papers show that we have created a new culture, protected from the influence of American life by the shield of secrecy.’

How the Pentagon Papers Came to be Published By the Beacon Press Told by Daniel Ellsberg & Others

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Five Stages of Destruction as it Relates to America’s War on Drugs: “The House I Live In”

At approximately 1:27:00 into the following amazing documentary, The House I Live In, reflecting on the work of Raul Hilberg , Richard Lawrence Miller provides a summary of the step-by-step process of destruction as it relates to America’s War on Drugs (relevant video segment follows the full documentary):
1. Identification – a group of people is identified as the cause of the problems in that society. People begin to perceive their fellow citizens as bad or evil. Their lives become worthless.

2. Ostracism - we learn how to hate these people, how to take their jobs away, how to make it harder for them to survive. People lose their place to live and are often forced into ghettos where they are physically isolated, separated from the rest of society.

3. Confiscation - people lose their rights, they lose civil liberties. The laws change so that it becomes easier for people to be searched and for their property to be confiscated, and once you start taking people’s property away, it makes it easier to start taking people away.

4. Concentration - the State begins to concentrate undesirables into facilities such as prisons and camps. People lose their rights. People can’t vote any more. They can’t have children any more. Often their labor is exploited in a systematic form.

5. Annihilation - this might be indirect, by withholding medical care, by withholding food, or by preventing further births. Or it may be direct, where death is inflicted, where people are deliberately killed.

The House I Live In

Note: I’m not sure how long this video will stay up on youtube so watching it sooner rather than later might be a good idea.

Excerpt: The Chain of Destruction (Holocaust in Slow Motion)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow: "In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me,... No, the Obama administration is afraid of you."

via wikileaks

Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow

Monday July 1, 21:40 UTC

One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.

On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.

For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.

Edward Joseph Snowden

Monday 1st July 2013