By Henry McRandall
Once upon a time, Canadians had a social-democratic political party – the NDP or New Democratic Party – that has managed on occasion to win power in five of the country’s 10 provinces which, combined, hold more than two-thirds of Canada’s population. But they have never managed to win power at the federal level – and that was the rub.
Desperate to finally hold sway in Ottawa, the middle-class so-called “centrists” who were gradually taking over a party that had been proudly built over decades by poor and working-class Canadians were chomping at the bit to get their own snouts in the public trough and began more than 20 years ago to shift the party ever so slowly toward the right (they call it the “centre”) so that it would be more to the liking of their own class.
For years, the drift remained gradual and no thought was ever given to patching together a genuinely leftist platform that might finally give poor and working-class Canadians a real reason to vote – for the first time in decades.
Finally, after the untimely death of the heroic Le Bon Jack (Layton) in 2011, the “centrists” found their man in former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister Thomas Mulcair and they catapulted him into the federal NDP leadership. No longer would their party have to “pander” to the legitimate needs of the poor or the working class. The new agenda would be all about “the middle class”.
How much more evidence will have to pile up before REAL New Democrats come to realize that neither Thomas Mulcair nor their new “centrist” orientation are going to deliver them to the “promised land” of power?
And the evidence so far has been absolutely massive. Since becoming federal NDP leader less than two years ago, Thomas Mulcair’s “centrist” leadership has steadily sunk the New Democratic Party back into the also-ran level of public support: read more »
By Henry McRandall
By Henry McRandall
In the U.S., they call its “Veterans Day.” In Canada, they call it “Remembrance Day”. And in many countries around the world, today is the day everyone is supposed to stop and pay tribute to the vast number of men and women who have risked life and limb, supposedly “to protect OUR way of life.”
The public rationale for all these western invasions and occupations of massively impoverished and defenceless countries, however, has nothing at all to do with “protecting OUR way of life.” It is all about guaranteeing the Top1% and the criminal capitalist multinational corporations they control unrestricted access to cheap labour, cheap resources and a laissez-faire attitude toward worker health and safety and environmental safeguards.
Wars are never declared by the poor or the working class. It is always the Top1% and their puppet political prostitutes who declare wars against real or imagined enemies. But it is never the pampered sons and daughters of the immorally wealthy – whose gains are almost totally obtained through massive, unpunished criminality, such as their refusal to pay their workers a living wage and other crimes against humanity – who are forced to go and fight these immoral wars. No, it is the sons and daughters of the poor and the working class who risk life and limb in the service of their wealthy “betters” – either because they are desperate for access to the education that might someday enable them to get a decent job or because they are desperate for any kind of job right now just so that they can survive.
The events of 9-11 – which the U.S. hypocritically expects the rest of the world to remember every year until the end of time – were nothing compared to the DAILY death toll inflicted on the rest of the world – every day of the year – by the capriciousness of the U.S. State Department and the carte blanche multinational corporations enjoy, to commit massive felonious atrocities around the world with no fear of ever being brought to justice. Yes, 3,000 Amerikkkans – mostly wealthy and/or powerful Amerikkkans – were killed on 9-11. But every day of the year – 365 days a year – a child in the so-called Third World dies – every one and a half seconds – either from starvation or from untreated but treatable disease because of these twin culprits – a massively criminal multinational corporate capitalist cartel and a quiescent United States State Department. That’s more than 50,000 children – all under the age of five – being martyred EVERY day just to keep the profits of the billionaires and mega-millionaires forever growing larger. read more »
By Henry McRandall
As the United States and its NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) “allies” (read “proxies”, “aiders and abetters,” “fellow travelers”, or, in the case of Canada, “lapdogs”) attempt to lure the world into a misadventure that could have cataclysmic global consequences, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the entire Syrian population now find themselves in the crosshairs of Amerikkkan “exceptionalism” gone berserk, of Amerikkka’s insatiable lust for global hegemony gone insane, and of Amerikkkan hypocrisy gone shameless.
It is, however, just another absurd progression in a jingoistic, “wild west” Amerikkkan mainstream culture that has now chosen to divorce itself entirely from reality and from accountability.
For days now, the talking heads of the western body politic; of the insane, steroid-enhanced U.S. and NATO military leaders; and of the integrity-challenged corporate (and even public) mainstream media have been beating the drums of war with regard to Syria – based solely on a single – and yet-to-be-substantiated – allegation by the CIA-financed, al-Qaeda-led, and mostly-foreign-mercenary “rebels” that the Assad regime unleashed a chemical-weapon attack a few days ago that killed hundreds of civilians and very seriously hurt hundreds of others. There can be no questioning of the fact that these horrific deaths and injuries did occur and that chemical weapons were the probable cause. But there has been absolutely no evidence to date that the Assad regime was responsible for the attack. In fact, it was the U.S. and its NATO allies that demanded that the UN investigation restrict itself only to the issue of whether chemical weapons were used – and not address the issue of who was responsible for their use. That demand was accepted. Meanwhile, the Assad government has demanded that the UN also investigate not only the use of chemical weapons but also who used them at this particular site and also investigate three other sites where it says government forces were attacked by the “rebels” with chemical weapons. The UN has not responded to this demand. read more »
By Henry McRandall
More than 600 people have been killed and another 4,000 injured over the past 36 hours as Islamic Brotherhood supporters of appropriately deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and secularist supporters of the military-backed interim government square off over who will ultimately control the most populous country in the Arab world.
Meanwhile, yesterday, the Israeli government of right-wing warmonger Binyamin Netanyahu and the puppet chairman of the so-called “administration” of the West Bank portion of partitioned Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, agreed to schedule weekly meetings in their interminable pursuit – at least for public consumption – of some sort of phantom peace.
And, finally, daily suicide bombings – pitting Sunni and Shia Muslims against each other – continued unabated this week in “liberated” and “democratized” Iraq and various other North African and so-called “Middle Eastern” countries.
What is the connection amongst these various disasters? The connection is that they are all part of what seems to be a well-orchestrated campaign to fan the flames of moderate bloody friction into an all-out conflagration that could soon consume the entire oil-rich region and eventually entangle almost the entire world.
In the case of Egypt, Morsi came to power on June 20, 2012 by winning a runoff against Ahmed Shalik, the last prime minister of deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak, by barely 3 percent after a general election in which only Morsi and Shalik had viable campaign financing or organization. The final choice that Egyptian voters faced was a choice between two very disgusting options. In the final analysis, massive public repudiation of the new regime would have come within months. regardless of which of the two had won. Once in power, Morsi immediately began turning away from the moderation he had promised in domestic affairs and began tacitly and surreptitiously implementing a harsh Islamic code known as “sharia” that would have stripped women, children and the large non-Muslim minority of many of their rights. He also failed horribly to improve of the desperate economic conditions under which most Egyptians were living and failed abjectly to stem the stubbornly rising tide of unemployment. Within a year, Morsi and his Islamic-Brotherhood-controlled party had turned a majority of the population against them and popular uprisings began to spread across the country. Extremists among the hardline Islamist party, however, seized the opportunity to turn public opposition and resentment into newfound sympathy among moderate Egyptian Muslims and the one-sided protests rapidly devolved into civil war.
In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian “peace talks” finally imposed on the two sides after months of so-called “shuttle diplomacy” by now-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry – er, Mrs. Heinz -, the first bid by extremist Israeli warmonger Netanyahu was to offer three separate “olive branches” to the Palestinians: first, he announced the release of 100 Palestinian prisoners of war (seemingly all will be prisoners already scheduled for release over the course of the next month); then he authorized the construction of 1,200 new Jewish homes and expedited the construction of 2,000 more already authorized – right in the heart of territory most crucial to any eventual geographic unification of the two distinct Palestinian territories – or bantustans, or concentration camps – the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; and then he launched air strikes on Gaza. Great peace overtures! Moreover, any peace talks including Abbas but excluding democratically-elected Hamas cannot possibly have any moral or judicial legitimacy. Abbas’ elected term in office ended more than five years ago. He no longer enjoys the support of a majority of Palestinians even in the West Bank – which is the only portion of Palestine he even nominally “controls.” And the fact that Abbas is totally dependent on so-called U.S. “foreign aid” and Israeli collection and remittance of Palestinian customs duties for 50 percent of total West Bank revenues makes him nothing but a totally compliant puppet on the tightly controlled strings of the US-NATO-Israeli axis of evil.
And in the case of the suicide bombings that have become a part of everyday life for civil society in much of the Arab and Muslim worlds ever since the U.S. and its NATO “allies” began “liberating” and “democratizing” the so-called “Middle East” and North Africa more than 12 years ago, the flow of blood unleashed by the western “pillars of morality” has spread steadily to now taint the soil of a vast, growing and crucial region of the world.
Take a look at the map above this story. If you start at the zero hour position at the top – in Turkey – and work your finger along in a rough clockwise pattern until you return to the top and the twelve o’clock position, your finger will have wound its way through 15 separate countries – Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan (which includes the new independent country of South Sudan), Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon – that have been splattered with blood over the past decade and more, thanks primarily to U.S. foreign policy and Amerikkka’s insatiable lust for global hegemony. Every one of those countries has endured unbearable violence and suffering in the name of “pax amerikkkana.” Not even included on that map are Afghanistan and Pakistan who have also paid a horrific price for the imposition of U.S. will on this vital region of the world. read more »
I couldn’t help but laugh this afternoon when the Cleveland, Ohio, judge sentencing Ariel Castro to 1,000-years-to-life in prison – for kidnapping, beating, brutally raping, terrorizing and kicking his three young female victims to the point of miscarriage after he had impregnated them, and holding them hostage for 10 years in premises unfit for human habitation and under conditions of extreme cruelty and depravity – concluded his remarks with the ludicrous observation that the one good thing that came out of this horrific tragedy is that Castro’s victims “now have their freedom – which is the greatest part of being an American.”
To make such an insane observation in the light of all that has transpired in Amerikkka over the past 32 years – and especially since so-called “9-11″ – that judge must either be living in a cocoon in some isolated, gated community far from the maddening crowd or simply took too many hits of acid (LSD) before handing down sentencing. read more »
By Henry McRandall
Orlando, Florida criminal defense lawyer and CNN analyst Mark Nejame hit the nail on the head when he identified one of the factors in yesterday’s gross miscarriage of justice that saw white wannabe cop George Zimmerman walk free in the shooting death of black minor Trayvon Martin. The Amerikkkan “justice system,” Nejame observed, “Is about process, not outcome.”
The very notion that any “justice system” should not be about “outcome” is ludicrous even on its face. The goal of any “justice system” should be – and must be – about achieving just redress, not about some airy-fairy “process” in which the ultimate “outcome” is far too often rigged in advance.
The U.S. and its northern lapdog – Canada – like to pat themselves on the back for the facade of “due process” that has evolved – or, rather, devolved – in North America over the years. The players in the “due process” scam are meticulous about dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” in the mountains of documents they produce in support of an “outcome” that is routinely pre-determined. But what they are delivering rarely has any real semblance to “justice”.
Consider the flubbed prosecution of George Zimmerman: From the very outset, the deck was stacked – by several factors – against a conviction.
The so-called “stand your ground” laws in Florida and many other states are simply a revival of the racial lynchings that were supposed to have been ended by federal civil rights laws of the past half century and by federal intervention in state-level systems of injustice, particularly in the Deep South. But for all the vapid rhetoric of the GOP Teabaggers and Democratic Blue Dogs about the right of self-defence, the “stand your ground” laws are – to call a spade a spade -, in many cases, a licence for cowardly white men to kill unarmed black men – or boys – who cross their paths and inspire that moment of irrational paranoia and panic that instantly prompts the trembling white men to think “black thug! danger!”
Presumably, the almost-totally-white jury that found Zimmerman “not guilty” was motivated by the psychological construct and ruse of “reasonable doubt.” One cannot help but wonder if the mostly-white, middle-class women on this jury would have had the same level of “reasonable doubt” if Trayvon Martin had been white and George Zimmerman had been black. read more »
By Henry McRandall
While Canadians are not scheduled to elect another federal government until late 2015, the very real possibility exists that the criminally corrupt majority Conservative government of hardnosed right-wing Prime Minister Stephen Harper could collapse in the coming days, weeks or months.
The last time a majority Canadian federal government collapsed was 50 years ago when another (Progressive) Conservative prime minster, John G. Diefenbaker, squandered a massive majority in Canada’s elected lower house of Parliament, the so-called House of Commons, and saw his party crushed in a forced election in April, 1963.
Historians have not been kind to Diefenbaker, largely dismissing him as a flaky, do-nothing crank. And, indeed, Dief the Chief lived out his remaining political years in ignominy and disgrace. Yet, for all his and his government’s failings, it was his initial courageous stand on a crucial moral issue that led to his destruction and downfall. Diefenbaker had dared to defy Canada’s political masters in Washington by championing the cause of keeping Canada free of nuclear missiles. In response to his courageous early posturing, Diefenbaker was skewered by then United States president John F. Kennedy and by Canada’s mainstream media. The pro-nuclear cacophony was so deafening that few – even within the (Progressive) Conservative party, caucus or even cabinet – dared to rally behind the beleaguered prime minister. Diefenbaker was also light years ahead of his time when he aggressively promoted the idea of massively developing Canada’s Arctic north.
Ironically, Diefenbaker’s defeat as prime minister came at the hands of Liberal leader Lester B. Pearson who insisted Canada should honour its NATO “obligations” and allow nuclear missiles to be planted on Canadian soil. This was the same Lester B. Pearson who, as a diplomat and civil servant, had pioneered the cause of United Nations peacekeeping and been rewarded for those noble efforts with a Nobel Peace Prize just six years earlier.
Another irony is that while his (Progressive) Conservative predecessor of 50 years ago was turfed out of office largely as a consequence of having briefly stood tall on a matter of principle, the potentially-imminent disintegration of Stephen Harper’s majority Conservative government would, on the contrary, be the consequence of Harper’s – and his Conservative government’s – total lack of ethics or principles. read more »
By Henry McRandall
What does it say about the “leadership” of United States President Barack “Oreo” Obama that yesterday he was unable to get even his own Democratic senators to vote for a Bill aimed simply at preventing violent convicted felons and the severely mentally ill from obtaining assault rifles, etc. – a Bill that enjoys the support of 90% of Americans? And what does it say about the state of U.S. “democracy” that a single corporate lobby – the NRA (National Rifle Association) – was able to cow the U.S. Congress into defeating a Bill supported by 90% of Americans?
If the NRA has Washington by the balls, so do many other sinister lobbies that couldn’t care less about the public interest or the public’s welfare – such as the oil & gas lobby; the mining lobby; Monsanto & Dow Chemical; Wall Street; AIPAC (the America-Israeli Political Action Committee); right-wing so-called “Christian” front groups; the criminally corrupt mega-billionaire Koch(sucker) brothers; etc.
It used to be that the Top1% – the billionaires and the mega-millionaires – needed a robust, well-disciplined and thoroughly-brainwashed middle class to serve as a buffer between them and the many millions of poor and working-class Americans they were screwing over. Today, that middle class may no longer be robust, but it is, by and large, still well-disciplined and thoroughly-brainwashed. But the Top1% no longer needs them at all. The sordid overhauling that the political system and the economic system have undergone over the past 32+ years have made the middle class just as expendable to their masters in the socioeconomic elite as the poor and the working class have long been. Now, all the Top1% needs are the 2ndTop1% (the overpaid “managers” and other overpaid flunkies who serve as administrators and, if necessary, ready scapegoats for the criminal impunity of the ultimate masters) and the whole gaggle of puppet political prostitutes they’ve already bought and paid for.
The so-called Founding Fathers never intended for Amerikkka to be a democracy. What they wanted was a republic that would always and only be governed by rich, white males. (Read the un-amended Constitution.) It took almost 200 years, generations of unrelenting struggle and massive government-inflicted bloodshed against other Americans who wanted democracy – workers, women, the poor, African-Americans, Hispanics and many others – before Amerikkka finally became a “near-democracy” circa 1968. And no sooner did Amerikkka finally become a “near-democracy” than the felonious billionaires and mega-millionaires began putting their puppet political prostitutes; their mainstream media; and, most recently, their corrupt, right-wing U.S. Supreme Court whores to work dismantling that infant “near-democracy”. They were positively aghast at the notion that anybody but them should ever have any real say in the running of the country. And they were certainly not prepared to tolerate it for very long. read more »
By Henry McRandall
Canada’s federal NDP (its nominally social-democratic New Democratic Party, which is currently the Official Opposition in the House of Commons) today began a three-day policy convention in Montreal whose outcome could be either an extremely hopeful development or an enormous disaster for millions of poor and working-class Canadians.
Current NDP leader Thomas Mulcair (a former provincial Liberal cabinet minister in Quebec) – who inherited the leadership almost by default after the sudden and tragic death of heroic former leader Jack Layton shortly after the 2011 general election – is trying to shift the party toward the right (he calls it the “centre”) in the vain hope that by abandoning policies and principles in favor of naked opportunism, he can become the next prime minister of Canada.
As part of this effort, Mulcair wants delegates to approve overhauling the party’s official preamble, changing it from “a socialist party” to something like “a progressive party working within a free-market economy.” Adopting this change and other “centrist” proposals Mulcair is championing would be an unforgiveable betrayal of the tens of thousands of poor and working-class Canadians who built the party and would leave all Canadians with no party willing to put the legitimate and urgent needs of the Other99% ahead of the illegitimate and insatiable greed of the criminally corrupt Top1%.
What Canada needs – now more than ever – is not another “centrist” political party just as beholden to the savage corporate capitalist agenda as the extreme right-wing Conservatives of RWNJ Stephen Harper but a genuinely socialist political party that would be willing to challenge the unelected Establishment and drastically overhaul the status quo. And what the NDP needs – now more than ever – is to be that political force.
Although the NDP has never been able to win a federal or provincial election in Canada on a purely socialist platform, it has certainly not been because Canadians are unwilling to embrace genuinely socialist solutions to the country’s challenges. Polls conducted over many recent years on particular issues rather than on party preferences have generally shown strong public support for either leftist or leftish policies and principles. Why haven’t the demonstrably leftish inclinations of Canadians on a wide range of issues translated into NDP victories based on leftist platforms? For several reasons:
Firstly, the NDP has rarely been able to match the campaign spending of the Establishment parties – the Conservatives and Liberals – who receive massive funding from the Top2% and the banks and corporations they control -, funding which could never possibly be matched just by labour unions, and because those two parties that have most often governed Canada, its nine provinces and the province/nation of Quebec have always been willing to give government (taxpayer) money and plum political appointments to the Top1% and their banks and corporations in return for their financial support.
Secondly, the NDP has almost never received a significant amount of support from the corporate mainstream media cartel and never sought to establish an alternative mass-media edifice to combat the elitist, pro-Establishment, pro-status quo preferences of the mainstream media.
And thirdly, the NDP has never made a credible effort to educate Canadians about socialism or to aggressively promote a genuinely socialist alternative to the sordid corporate capitalist agenda.
A genuinely socialist agenda wouldn’t appeal to everyone. And not every element of that agenda would appeal to everyone inclined to be supportive of most items in that agenda. But most of the elements of such an agenda would appeal to – and be beneficial to – the vast majority of Canadians. What might some of those elements and policies be? read more »
By Henry McRandall
Whatever happened to the time-honored cliche about “an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay” – especially in North America? It seems that while workers in the U.S. and Canada are working harder than ever and while worker productivity in both countries has soared over the past 30 years, very few employers are still willing to provide “an honest day’s pay” to their struggling rank-and-file employees.
Workers are the people who, in reality, create all wealth – through the blood, sweat and tears that that they “invest” in the creation of that wealth. But it is the other “investors” – the Top1% – the billionaires and mega-millionaires – the gangster banksters and the corrupt captains of criminal capitalist corporations who are stealing almost all of the wealth that is being created.
Right-wing nut jobs would, of course, object – arguing that financial “investors” are “risk-takers” and that they “deserve” to make a profit in return for the “risks” they take. The RWNJs would also argue that these financial “investors” are “job creators” and that they “deserve” to be rewarded for “creating jobs.”
Before addressing these and some of the other myths, deceptions and outright lies that corporate capitalists have promoted about themselves, let’s consider the State Of The Workplace today – the place where labor “investors” (workers) and financial “investors” (the ownership class) meet to exchange inputs and divvy up rewards.
Business profits in both the U.S. and Canada are now at all-time record highs – and have climbed steadily throughout the six years since unregulated banks and corporations crashed the global economy in 2008 as a result of their massive mortgage and derivatives frauds and a variety of other felonies – for which no one has ever been prosecuted or even charged. Executive compensation – including routine annual “bonuses” in the millions of dollars per executive per year – have soared dramatically since 1981, to the point where a CEO earning thousands of times as much as his – or her – average employee, is no longer a rarity. Taxes for corporations and the wealthy have almost totally disappeared since 1981 when that lunatic Ronald Reagan cursed America and the world with the introduction of Reaganomics – supply-side economics – trickle-down economics – voodoo economics. The corporations and the Top1% have amassed such enormous, undeserved windfalls over the past three decades that they now typically have so much cash they literally don’t know what to do with it.
On the other side of the ledger, 2.5 million Canadians and 25 million Americans are now either totally unemployed or so woefully underemployed that they can barely survive. Despite the massive increase in worker productivity and the massive amount of new wealth they have created over the past 30 years, they have received no benefit whatsoever from their increased productivity or from the massive new wealth they have created. Every penny of benefit has gone exclusively to the Top1%. Millions of North Americans are working full-time but being paid nowhere near a living wage. Company pension plans are disappearing rapidly, as are all other employee benefits. Families that once could survive on a single income can now barely scrape by on two incomes. read more »