Get Angry: The Year’s 10 Best Political Docs

Unfortunately Peacenik hasn't seen any of these documentaries, but Peacenik is going to try and see at least 3 of them in 2011. How is that for a New Year's Resolution.

From Eliot Spitzer to Daniel Ellsberg , documentary filmmakers didn’t lack engrossing subjects this year.


Thanks largely to personal technology and its discontents, we’re living through a renaissance of activist filmmaking—never before in the history of popular media have nonfiction films been so convenient to execute, so inexpensive to finance and so easy to distribute. Every year oodles and oodles of angry political essay-films come out now, in theaters and/or on DVD and streaming services, on every subject from war to Wall Street to industrial pollution, and no viewer can be blamed for feeling like a drowner in a sea of outrage. But you need see only 10—the best political docs of 2010.
• Inside Job (Sony) As thorough and well-researched and absolutely enraging an explication of the financial meltdown as we’re likely to get (since that seeming obligatory tsunami of thousand-page Grand Jury indictments will never be written), Charles Ferguson’s film is one of several Wall Street exposé docs this year. But it’s the one that needs to be seen, preferably with an Ativan.
Casino Jack and the United States of Money (Magnolia) Alex Gibney’s portrait of the felon-lobbyist is a lively, action-packed evidentiary affair, and if you didn’t quite understand what Abramoff did when his name hit the headlines in 2006, here’s where you’ll get it all straight. Which is what you should do, because the man’s outrageous career of graft, extortion, fraud, money laundering and possibly murder reveals the essential amorality of our federal circus so clearly that any withering hope you held that we lived in a democracy worthy of the word will be squashed.


I Believe In Father Christmas - by Greg Lake

The Who: Merry Christmas


America's New Mercenaries

Punditman says...Last night punditman watched "State of Play," the 2009 movie with Russell Crowe, Helen Mirren, Ben Affleck, and Rachel McAdams. Punditman highly recommends it. Among other issues, it deals with the subject of the outsourcing of war for profit through mercenary armies. Art imitating life.

by Tim Shorrock

As American commanders meet this week for the Afghanistan review, Obama is hiring military contractors at a rate that would make Bush blush. Tim Shorrock on the Blackwater heirs.

Top U.S. commanders are meeting this week to plan for the next phase of the Afghanistan war. In Iraq, meanwhile, gains are tentative and in danger of unraveling.

Both wars have been fought with the help of private military and intelligence contractors. But despite the troubles of Blackwater in particular – charges of corruption and killing of civilians—and continuing controversy over military outsourcing in general, private sector armies are as involved as ever.

Keep Reading


Veterans for Peace White House Civil Disobedience to End War

Peacenik informed punditman yesterday that this rally took place this past Thursday without so much as a murmur from the mainstream media. Punditman was not surprised that this important event with some leading American dissidents as well as many ex-soldiers was TOTALLY freaking ignored by the mainstream media; after all, it is hard to keep up on how much they purposely ignore, distort and propagandize. So here it is:


Getting to Assange through Manning

Fer crying in the sink. Is there any way that the Obama administration is different from the Bush administration? Peacenik thought the Obama Justice Department might prosecute some criminals. Instead the financial terrorists walk free, and guys like Manning are harassed like he was the American Taliban. And now Obama is trying to cook up some charges against Assange. It is time for the Doomsday File.

by Glenn Greenwald
In The New York Times this morning, Charlie Savage describes the latest thinking from the DOJ about how to criminally prosecute WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Federal investigators are "are looking for evidence of any collusion" between WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning -- "trying to find out whether Mr. Assange encouraged or even helped" the Army Private leak the documents -- and then "charge him as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them." To achieve this, it is particularly important to "persuade Private Manning to testify against Mr. Assange." I want to make two points about this.

First, the Obama administration faces what it perceives a serious dilemma: it is -- as Savage writes -- "under intense pressure to make an example of [Assange] as a deterrent to further mass leaking)," but nothing Assange or WikiLeaks has done actually violates the law.

Moreover, as these Columbia Journalism School professors explain in opposing prosecutions, it is impossible to invent theories to indict them without simultaneously criminalizing much of investigative journalism. Thus, claiming that WikiLeaks does not merely receive and publish classify information, but rather actively seeks it and helps the leakers, is the DOJ's attempt to distinguish it from "traditional" journalism...


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange granted bail

This will be a popular story in the blogosphere today. Peacenik is getting a sense that the slow dribbling out of the secret U.S. cables is lessening the impact of them. Each shocking cable is now greated with a shrug. What kind of cable would it take to get the media and the public excited. Instead this becomes a sex case, played up for the masses. Peacenik is beginning to suspect that even the Doomsday File will be greated with little more than, Ugh????

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is screened from the public as he  is led into London's High Court. - Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is  screened from the public as he is led into London's High Court. | Leon  Neal/AFP/Getty Images

A British judged decided Thursday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be freed on bail with conditions, rejecting the Crown's appeal to an earlier court's decision to grant bail to the public face of the secret-spilling website.

Mr. Assange is to return to court Jan. 11 for an extradition hearing. The judge said if he absconded, Mr. Assange would make supporters, including director Michael Moore, look "naive, foolish and deceitful."

Mr. Assange has been in prison since Dec. 7, following his surrender to British police over a Swedish sex-crimes warrant. He denies wrongdoing but is refusing to surrender to Sweden's request to extradite him for questioning.

Mr. Assange arrived in a prison van at the High Court in London, where judge Duncan Ouseley heard the appeal by British prosecutors acting on behalf of Sweden.

Read on...


Where is the protest music for 2010?

Peacenik never gets tired of "Feel Like I'm Fixin To Die" rag when Peacenik wants to hear some protest music. But this new band 'Agitator' may be worth a listen. What's your favorite protest music?

Music and protest have always gone hand in hand. But, as Britain's youth get militant, is anyone giving voice to their anger? John Harris meets the one man rising to the challenge

John Harris

The Agitator performing at UCL, London
Guitar free zone … the Agitator, the band Meins fronts, taking part in a sit-in at UCL, London. Photograph: Robbie Mailer-Howat

The last few months have proved one thing beyond doubt: that British teens and twentysomethings are far from apolitical. Some questions do, however, linger: as students go on the march and hostility to the cuts spreads, where are the musical voices channelling this new mood? If past generations of protestors were assisted by your Dylans, Strummers and Braggs, might they have any contemporary equivalents?

Early last month, I wrote a piece for the Guardian bemoaning the lack of musical protest, and appealing for clues about anyone who might fill the gap. Messages from possible candidates duly began arriving. Many were of a certain age, and had seemingly cut their teeth in the far-off days when every leftfield musician had to have a song about Margaret Thatcher – but one email stuck out. It drew my attention to a young band calling themselves the Agitator, fronted by 24-year-old Derek Meins.

Read on....

Vindication for G20 Protesters

The protesters may be vindicated but Peacenik is still waiting to see some justice. Have any police officers been charged with anything more than removing their name tags. Who gave the order to charge and assault the peaceful protesters in Queen's Park, the designated protest area? Who gave the order to not intervene when some protesters started smashing windows? When is there going to be a full public inquiry? And who will insure the safety of protesters the next time a legitimate protest comes up? A mindset has been created in the police of the country that it is ok to assault protesters. How is that mindset going to be changed? And can someone explain to Peacenik why card carrying unionized police forces side so gleefully with their fascist corporate masters....who would like nothing more than to de-unionize the police, cancel their pensions, and cut their wages. It doesn't make sense. The protesters were on the side of the police.

by Linda McQuaig
In the aftermath of the G20 fiasco here last summer, one thing Torontonians agreed on was that such summits should be held in isolated venues — on military bases, on ocean-going vessels, on melting glaciers — anywhere but where lots of people reside.

But beyond being upset with the expense and disorder that weekend, many Torontonians (and city council) sided with the police, assuming that the arrest of 1,105 people must have somehow been justified, given the rampage of a small group through the downtown core.

What is now unmistakably clear — with the release of a searing report by Ontario Ombudsman André Marin and startling new video evidence of police beatings obtained by the Star’s Rosie DiManno — is that the vast powers of the state were unjustifiably used against thousands of innocent protesters, as well as against others doing nothing more subversive than riding a bike or picking up groceries.

Read on...


Michael Moore offers his servers to host Wikileaks docs, posts $20,000 bail

It is hard to say who is winning the info wars. Julian Assange remains in jail, but the diplomatic cables keep dribbling out. Wikileaks now has more than one million three hundred thousand friends on Facebook. But the majority of the U.S. public thinks Assange has harmed the U.S. public interest. The U.S. leaders and their propaganda arms must be chuckling. Wikileaks helps the U.S. public. But as usual the U.S. public are so freaking dumb they oppose it. Too many boxing day sales to think about. No time to worry about freedom of speech. Or justice. Peacenik is glad Michael Moore is trying to do something.
michael moore%20d Michael Moore offers his servers to host Wikileaks docs, posts $20,000 bail

If Amazon.com won't host leaked diplomatic cables posted by the website WikiLeaks, Michael Moore will.
The liberal filmmaker and author announced in a web posting Tuesday that he had donated $20,000 to the cause of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks' embattled chief who is being held in the United Kingdom on sexual offense charges and is seeking to be released on bail.
"I support Julian, whom I see as a pioneer of free speech, transparent government and the digital revolution in journalism. His commitment to exposing the follies of government and business offers the greater society a chance to protect itself from these follies," Moore wrote in a web posting Tuesday.


Punditman Podcast: Sarah Flailing and Wikilkeaks

Assange Attorney: Secret Grand Jury Meeting in Virginia on WikiLeaks

The U.S. must be very frustrated that they cannot simply rendition Assange to Egypt or somewhere, where he can be tortured and possibly disappeared. That is their usual modus operandi. Yes the rule of law can be messy. So the U.S. will try for some secret grand jury charges, that might get Julian into their hands. And of course Sweden is slobbering to comply, if they can first get their hands on Julian with some trumped up sex charge. But this extradtion from the UK could take a while. It may have to follow the rule of law. The world is watching. Peacenik thinks it is time for Julian Assange to unlock the Doomsday File.

London -- A secret grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, is meeting to consider criminal charges in the WikiLeaks case, an attorney for the site's founder, Julian Assange, told the Al-Jazeera network in an interview.
[WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange surrendered to British  authorities last week. He is set to appear in court Tuesday.]WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange surrendered to British authorities last week. He is set to appear in court Tuesday.
"We have heard from Swedish authorities there has been a secretly empaneled grand jury in Alexandria ... they are currently investigating this," Mark Stephens told Al-Jazeera's Sir David Frost on Sunday, referring to WikiLeaks. The site, which facilitates the disclosure of secret information, has been slowly releasing a trove of more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables since November 28.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week he had authorized "significant" actions related to a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks' publication of the cables, but has declined to elaborate.
Read on...


"Soon come, soon come the day this tinderbox is gonna blow in your face"

punditman says...

Scanning the news lately, punditman is beginning to wonder if things aren't starting to come apart at the seams. It's not quite 1968,[1]  but you never know where things are going to end up, especially in Europe. Government austerity packages being implemented across the board in Europe should be viewed for what they are: class warfare aimed at making the middle and lower classes pay for the unpunished corruption and incompetence of an unregulated financial class.

Thanks to the meltdown of 2008, and the criminal greed of Wall Street and their cohorts and minions abroad, citizens of the world have been left with a sputtering "recovery" whose salient features include massive unemployment, deep cuts to pensions, and social servicesall overseen by the same political class who oversaw the disaster in the first place. Apparently they have no proper ideas of how to fix things. Time for a change.

Moving on to free speech and government transparency, the so-called hallmarks of democracy; those freedoms we are told that our soldiers are fighting and dying to uphold in Afghanistan, it's now official: the emperors truly have no clothes. Thanks to Wikileaks, and the dumping of just a fraction of 250,000 diplomatic cables and the earlier spilling of  hundreds of thousands of files from the Iraq and Afghan Wars, the world is being exposed to a good sampling of some of official duplicity, hypocrisy and state crimes behind American diplomacy and warcraft. To list just a smidgen: the unaffordable, depressing Iraq and Afghan wars with their massive collateral killings and the actual thoughts of cynical state apologists and propagandists who often know a war is hopeless but pretend otherwise; gossipy diplomatic spats between so-called mature nations; and, of course, the attempt to kill the messenger Julian Assange (figuratively in some quarters, literally in others) and those who do business with Wikileaks. Assange, for his part, recently wrote the following:
People have said I am anti-war: for the record, I am not. Sometimes nations need to go to war, and there are just wars. But there is nothing more wrong than a government lying to its people about those wars, then asking these same citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line for those lies. If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it.
Do governments have a legitimate concern to protect sensitive diplomatic information and lives, when it comes to matters of diplomacy and security? As a general principle, most would say of course they do. But what we have seen from Wikileaks ranges from bland and embarassing to revealing and disturbing, rather than endangering. Indeed Assange recently pointed out the following:
US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates admitted in a letter to the US congress that no sensitive intelligence sources or methods had been compromised by the Afghan war logs disclosure. The Pentagon stated there was no evidence the WikiLeaks reports had led to anyone being harmed in Afghanistan. NATO in Kabul told CNN it couldn't find a single person who needed protecting...
Punditman says going after Assange rather looks and feels like it is part of the more generalized trend to intimidate citizens and squash free speech by going after the messenger, rather than genuine concern for safety and security. Punditman reserves judgement regarding the allegations of sex crimes against Assange.

It comes as no surprise that we are being lied to or misled, but the extent of manipulation, intrigue, and "things not being as they appear" is startling. They would have us all played for fools. But a pox on all their houses, because it matters not what country we cite, be it "free" or unfree. Saudi Arabia asked the US to attack Iran; Sweden is a secret NATO member and US intelligence sharing is kept from their Parliament; Britain's so-called Iraq War inquiry was fixed to protect US interests. Fifteen thousand more Iraqis have been killed than was publicly acknowledged. The list goes on and on.

As for US foreign policy, with its murderous drone strikes, torture chambers, secret prisons, and GIs who shoot innocent civilians from helicopters like fish in a barrel, we can now add to these the fact that the US "asked its diplomats to steal personal human material and information from UN officials and human rights groups, including DNA, fingerprints, iris scans, credit card numbers, internet passwords and ID photos, in violation of international treaties." The descending superpower's paranoia astounds. Decades of supposed multilateralism and this is what we get?

Modern statecraft laid bare. Time for a change.

And what of Canada? Well, as revealed by the Wikileaks diplomatic cables, back in 2009, Jim Judd, the former director of the CSIS, met with senior advisor to US Secretary of State Secretary Condoleezza Rice, Eliot Cohen and discussed security matters. He said that Canadians had an "Alice in Wonderland" worldview and Canadian judges, "have tied CSIS in knots, making it ever more difficult to detect and prevent terror attacks in Canada and abroad." Judd doesn't seem to have much time for civil rights. Nor did the Toronto police force or the Ontario government during the G20 back in June.

Actually, the civil liberties file is in deep trouble across the Western world, with routine violations of basic human rights, police brutality, and taser deaths occurring on a regular basis. With repression on the rise, there's bound to be some payback from those with nothing left to lose.

As punditman says, things may take a turn off the rails hither and yon. At the core of all this is a profound distrust of the will of the people on the part of elites.

Precient lyrics come to punditman's mind as we see the massive injustices that dominate our age:

"One day you're going to rise from your habitual feast, 
To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast, 
They call the revolution."[2]

Hear, hear, Bruce Cockburn. Now there's a great Canadian. Or this portentous passage from the American singer-song writer Natalie Merchant:

"Soon come, soon come the day, this tinderbox 
Is gonna blow in your face, 
I don't have the gift of the prophecy, 
Telling everybody how it's gonna be, 
But you go passing wrong for right and right for wrong, 
People only stand for that for just so long."[3]

Indeed. Indications are that people will only stand for this for "just so long." For students in London facing a tripling in tuition fees (see video below), the pot has officially boiled over. Where it all goes from here is anybody's guess. Time for a change.

1. At around 3:04 of the video, Professor Chris Knight of the University of East London is introduced. He says it's just like 1968, noting that back then it started with the students. Time will tell.
2. Bruce Cockburn. "Call it Democracy." World of Wonders. True North Records, 1986.
3. Natalie Merchant. "This House is on Fire." Motherland. Elektra, 2001.


John Lennon - Power To The People

punditman says...

Thirty years ago this evening, John Lennon was murdered when he and Yoko returned to their apartment. At the time, punditman did not learn of this awful news until early the next day when he looked at the morning paper, which read: "John Lennon shot dead in New York City." Punditman went to his job that morning, loading trucks in the Sears warehouse. Like many of his fellow workers, (some of whom were undoubtedly working class heroes), punditman was very upset. Punditman is still upset.

Would John Lennon still be upset in our war-ravaged world? Would he have continued to rebel against war and injustice? Punditman likes to think so. All power to the people. Rest in peace, John. Punditman is still upset.

Ombudsman charges G20 secret law was ‘illegal’

The Premier of Ontario has just admitted having failed on the secret law enacted during G20. So who committed more crimes during the G20? The citizens of Toronto? The Black Block? Or the Police? Every one of those detainings all over the city, in which police demanded identification of  people were illegal. All the self justification. All the justifying. Every defense of police action. 'Twas all bullshit. The people of Toronto were subjected to a police state during G20. And our elected officials, the media, and the police, all thought it was just hunky dory. Peacenik wants to see a public inquiry. Peacenik wants to see charges laid against offending police. Peacenik wants to see compensation paid to those who were mistreated. Peacenik wants to see some justice. Don't you?

Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin releases his special G20 report into  the province's so-called "fence law" at Queen's Park, Dec. 7,  2010.
Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin releases his special G20 report into the province's so-called "fence law" at Queen's Park, Dec. 7, 2010.
Robert Benzie and Rob Ferguson
It was “illegal” and “likely unconstitutional” for Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government to pass a secret regulation that police used to detain people near Toronto’s G20 summit of world leaders last summer, says Ombudsman Andre Marin.

In a scorching 125-page report entitled Caught in the Act, Marin said the measure “should never have been enacted” and “was almost certainly beyond the authority of the government to enact.”

“Responsible protesters and civil rights groups who took the trouble to educate themselves about their rights had no way of knowing they were walking into a trap – they were literally caught in the Act; the Public Works Protection Act and its pernicious regulatory offspring,” he told reporters.

Hackers strike back at perceived enemies of WikiLeaks

Sounds like World Info War I is heating up. Has there ever been such an effort by international police agencies to pursue an apparently obscure sex crime. And the mainstream media continues to march lock step with governments and their intelligence agencies. I guess all the mainstream pundits would be happy to have the CIA and the White House press office vet their work. Wait a second. They already do. Peacenik continues to eagerly await the key to the Doomsday File. Free Julian Assange now.

Raphael G. Satter

WikiLeaks supporters struck back Wednesday at perceived enemies of founder Julian Assange, attacking the websites of Swedish prosecutors, the Swedish lawyer whose clients have accused Mr. Assange of sexual crimes and the Swiss authority that froze Assange's bank account.

MasterCard, which pulled the plug on its relationship with WikiLeaks on Tuesday, also seemed to be having severe technological problems.

The online vengeance campaign appeared to be taking the form of denial of service attacks in which computers across the Internet are harnessed — sometimes surreptitiously — to jam target sites with mountains of requests for data, knocking them out of commission.

The online attacks are part of a wave of online support for WikiLeaks that is sweeping the Internet. Twitter was choked with messages of solidarity Wednesday, while the site's Facebook page hit 1 million fans.

Read on...


Campaigners Rally to Defense as Attempts to Muzzle Site Mount “I Am Wikileaks”

Peacenik thinks it is time for Wikileaks to launch its Doomsday File, which has been available for download since August. It is heavily encrypted. If anything happens to Julian Assange the key to the encryption will be released. This is really getting weird.

by Jerome Taylor

Renewed cyber attacks on Wikileaks servers in Sweden closed down sections of the whistle-blowing website today as the information war over the State Department cables escalated dramatically.

The attacks came as the Swiss post office announced it had frozen a Wikileaks bank account containing 31,000 euros, leaving the website with limited ability to raise money.

The ongoing attempts to halt the release of US government communiqués has created a backlash amongst grassroots online campaigners who have rallied under the Wikileaks banner to keep the website online.

Using the moniker "I Am Wikileaks", supporters are using social network sites to publicize new outlets for the State Department cables when old ones get closed down or taken offline. They have also now created more than 570 mirror versions of the Wikileaks website and have called for a boycott of Paypal, Amazon and EveryDNS, three US-based websites that recently severed ties to Wikileaks.

Read on...

A second look at G20 police assault

Peacenik said there was no police forensic analysis of the video showing the assault of Adam Nobody. Chief Blair just keeps digging himself a deeper hole. When will the officers who assaulted Adam Nobody be arrested? When will Chief Blair resign? When will the rule of law return to Toronto, and when will it return to civilized society?

Image By Rosie DiManno

I see you, Mr. Policeman.
I see your mustachioed face, the visor so helpfully lifted up.
I see your arm — in short-sleeve uniform shirt — pumping back and forth, brutally beating.
I see the baton in that hand.
And do you, Police Chief Bill Blair, recognize this cop? Was he one of yours, pounding on Adam Nobody that awful day, June 26, 2010, when peaceful G20 protesters were assaulted by some law enforcement thugs at Queen’s Park?
If so, what do you intend to do about it now, sir?
The Toronto Star has come into possession of a new piece of videotape shot by a bystander that afternoon. It is 12 minutes and 20 seconds long — 23 seconds of which capture a vicious cop pile-on, officers pounding on Nobody, a stage designer who changed his name two years ago from Adam Trombetta for the pun value.
Read on...

Don't shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths

It is World InFo War I. The world against Wikileaks, and Wikileaks supporters. Apparently the Wikileaks servers were being attacked at the rate of 10 gigabytes of information per second in an effort to shut it down. Here is a just released op-ed piece from Julian Assange who was arrested several hours ago. Peacenik wonders what the anti-Wikileaks crowd are afraid of. Peacenik hopes Peacenik will find out.

Julian Assange

WIKILEAKS deserves protection, not threats and attacks.

IN 1958 a young Rupert Murdoch, then owner and editor of Adelaide's The News, wrote: "In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win."

His observation perhaps reflected his father Keith Murdoch's expose that Australian troops were being needlessly sacrificed by incompetent British commanders on the shores of Gallipoli. The British tried to shut him up but Keith Murdoch would not be silenced and his efforts led to the termination of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign.

Nearly a century later, WikiLeaks is also fearlessly publishing facts that need to be made public.

I grew up in a Queensland country town where people spoke their minds bluntly. They distrusted big government as something that could be corrupted if not watched carefully. The dark days of corruption in the Queensland government before the Fitzgerald inquiry are testimony to what happens when the politicians gag the media from reporting the truth.

Read on...


Cyber Attack Forces Wikileaks to Change Web Address

'Free speech has a number:'

Watching companies cave to U.S. pressure and to the banks pressure is making Peacenik sick. Corporations, mainstream media, politicians, etc. are all in it together. Has there ever been such a blatant display of how fearful they are, of the truth? In this case, the truth will come out. Nutbars like Joe Lieberman will want to shut down the Internet. Julian Assange is not a one man operations. The truth will come out.

Whistle-blowing website Wikileaks has been forced to change its web address after the company providing its domain name cut off service.

EveryDNS.net said it had terminated services because Wikileaks.org had come under massive cyber attacks. But Wikileaks has already reappeared using a Swiss web address.

Wikileaks has also used micro-blogging site Twitter to urge its fans to redistribute its "raw" net address so it can be viewed at any time.

This numerical internet protocol (IP) address remains live and accessible even when web domains - the normal "www" addresses used to access most sites - are unavailable.

Experts say it is likely that Wikileaks has done deals with lots of web hosting companies, although many are likely to back away from dealing with the controversial site in the light of recent web attacks.

There is also a published list of mirror sites, which Wikileaks hopes will provide constant access to the site.

Read on...

Big Five tapped Fed for funds during financial crisis

Peacenik seems to recall lots of talk about how strong Canada's banking system is. How it is different from the U.S. banking system (which is bankrupt). Lots of talk about how Canada won't suffer the same housing meltdown that is occurring in the U.S. Peacenik didn't believe it then and Peacenik doesn't believe it now. The black hole of debt that is sucking European countries into its vortex right now is getting bigger and bigger. And of course the media accepts glib explanations from the banks. Peacenik wonders why it is not a matter of public record that a publicly traded company is borrowing big sums of money from the U.S. fed. What about all that superior Canadian bank regulation? Peacenik doesn't believe the banks and Peacenik doesn't believe the politicians. Something stinks.

Bay Street - Bay Street

Canada’s major banks were among numerous financial institutions across the globe which accessed funding from the U.S. Federal Reserve as part of its efforts to stave off economic collapse.

Among the thousands of transactions revealed by the Fed on Wednesday were a number involving Canadian banks, which took advantage of one program to borrow roughly $111-billion (U.S.) through their operations in the U.S.

Obliged to disclose the information under a new financial-reform law, the Fed provided an unprecedented look Wednesday inside a host of programs it used starting in 2007 to shore up a tottering U.S. banking system. The records show in stark terms how the Fed acted as a lender of last resort to a variety of players in the U.S. and beyond, extending low-cost loans and other sources of funding in a desperate effort to get financial markets functioning again.

Read on...


University Of Calgary Professor And Senior Advisor To Canadian PM Calls For Julian Assange Assassination On National TV

The casual call for the murder or assassination of Julian Assange shows how far society has collapsed. How corrupt it is. Why does the mainstream media give these psychopaths airtime? Christ, the interviewers were yukking it up like it was a big joke, like they had a scoop. And this guy is an adviser to Harper. Will Harper disavow him? Will he be forced to come on tv and say he misspoke himself? Probably not. Peacenik is worried about the welfare of Julian Assange. Peacenik hopes he is somewhere safe.

It is not a good week for Wikileaks. Following yesterday's Interpol arrest warrant, also yesterday, Tom Flanagan, a senior advisor and strategist to the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, called for the assassination of Wikileaks director Julian Assange. On CBS News. On Live TV. As the video notes, "it is believed to be the first ever televised "fatwa" since the edict by the Iranian leadership of the late Ayatollah Khomeini against British writer Salman Rushdie in February 1989." It's a good thing western society, where due process used to mean something, is so much more evolved than that of Iran. Additionally, although news anchor Solomon afforded Flanagan the opportunity to retract his statement, Flanagan balked at doing so and instead reiterated that U.S. President should put out a "contract" on Assange or use "a drone" and that he would not be unhappy if Assange "disappeared." Flanagan who is a trusted member of PM Harper's inner circle of Tory strategists joins Sarah Palin in calling for the death of the Wikileaks director as retribution for the website's release of confidential diplomatic and intelligence "chatter" this week. How long before any senior political advisor has the freedom to issue fatwas on national TV on anyone who dares to utter or publish something that they consider offensive?

Documents Show NYT and Washington Post Shilling for US Government on Iran Missile "Threat"

punditman says...One can still be distrustful and indignant towards the Iranian regime and its buffoon-leader while also recognizing that a) there has been a campaign of US-led hysteria and distortions of known facts surrounding their nuclear program, including the supposed complicity of North Korea; and b) these tall tales are aided by the big media. 
Here is a clear example of how the mainstream media distorted a key Wikileaks document. They hope we wouldn't notice. Fortunately, Gareth Porter did.

Wikileaks Exposes Complicity of the Press


A diplomatic cable from last February released by Wikileaks provides a detailed account of  how Russian specialists on the Iranian ballistic missile program refuted the U.S. suggestion that Iran has missiles that could target European capitals or intends to develop such a capability.

In fact, the Russians challenged the very existence of the mystery missile the U.S. claims Iran acquired from North Korea. 

But readers of the two leading U.S. newspapers never learned those key facts about the document. 

The New York Times and Washington Post reported only that the United States believed Iran had acquired such missiles - supposedly called the BM-25 - from North Korea. Neither newspaper reported the detailed Russian refutation of the U.S. view on the issue or the lack of hard evidence for the BM-25 from the U.S. side. 

The Times, which had obtained the diplomatic cables not from Wikileaks but from The Guardian, according to a Washington Post story Monday, did not publish the text of the cable.

Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal "Profound Hatred for Democracy on the Part of Our Political Leadership"

Yep, the mainstream media by and large is coming out against Wikileaks. Interpol is trying to arrest Assange on sex charges. Bill O'Reilly thinks Assange should be executed. The White House is discombobulated. But. Will there be any consequences? Probably not. George Bush confessed to approving torture and the mainstream media yawned. What does it take to get someone, other than a whistleblower, arrested in the US? Peacenik continues to hope for some leaked bombshell that justice cannot ignore. But that hope is fading.

In a national broadcast exclusive interview, we speak with world-renowned political dissident and linguist Noam Chomsky about the release of more than 250,000 secret U.S. State Department cables by WikiLeaks. In 1971, Chomsky helped government whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg release the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret internal U.S. account of the Vietnam War. Commenting on the revelations that several Arab leaders are urging the United States to attack Iran, Chomsky says, "latest polls show] Arab opinion holds that the major threat in the region is Israel, that's 80 percent; the second threat is the United States, that's 77 percent. Iran is listed as a threat by 10 percent," Chomsky says. "This may not be reported in the newspapers, but it's certainly familiar to the Israeli and U.S. governments and the ambassadors. What this reveals is the profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership." [Rush transcript below]

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Media Shouldn't Protect Power from Embarrassment: Why WikiLeaks Had to Release the US Embassy Cables

This article provides all the rationale that is needed for the Wikileaks leaks. Peacenik is still hoping for something embarrassing for Harper to come out. But Peacenik knows Harper has never been and will never be embarrassed about anything. Least of all war crimes and war mongering.

It is for governments -- not journalists -- to guard public secrets, and there is no national jeopardy in WikiLeaks' revelations.

Is it justified? Should a newspaper disclose virtually all a nation's secret diplomatic communication, illegally downloaded by one of its citizens? The reporting in the Guardian of the first of a selection of 250,000 US state department cables marks a recasting of modern diplomacy. Clearly, there is no longer such a thing as a safe electronic archive, whatever computing's snake-oil salesmen claim. No organisation can treat digitised communication as confidential. An electronic secret is a contradiction in terms.

Anything said or done in the name of a democracy is, prima facie, of public interest. When that democracy purports to be "world policeman" – an assumption that runs ghostlike through these cables – that interest is global. Nonetheless, the Guardian had to consider two things in abetting disclosure, irrespective of what is anyway published by WikiLeaks. It could not be party to putting the lives of individuals or sources at risk, nor reveal material that might compromise ongoing military operations or the location of special forces.

WikiLeaks US embassy cables: live updates

Peacenik is scanning some of the Wikileaks documents. So far, apparently no significant mention of Canada. What is predictable and disappointing is the reaction of the U.S. mainstream media. They are saying the leaks are irresponsible, dangerous, outrageous, etc., etc. So much for transparency. The link below is to the British Guardian newspaper which is doing a good job providing access to the leaks. And just to illustrate how hopeless the U.S. has become read this pathetic quote from John Kerry: "This is not an academic exercise about freedom of information and it is not akin to the release of the Pentagon Papers, which involved an analysis aimed at saving American lives and exposing government deception. Instead, these sensitive cables contain candid assessments and analysis of ongoing matters and they should remain confidential to protect the ability of the government to conduct lawful business with the private candor that's vital to effective diplomacy." Wanker.

Reaction and updates following the release of more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables from WikiLeaks. Tomorrow, revelations about North Korea and the UK.

6.15pm: It is, without a doubt, the biggest leak of secret diplomatic missives in the history of international relations – a total of 251,287 cables from more than 250 US embassies and consulates around the world, many of them frank, a number of them shocking and all of them previously secret.
Over the coming days the Guardian will publish extracts from the cables, obtained by the whistleblowing website Wikileaks, along with its international partners, the New York Times, Le Monde, El País and Der Spiegel.

Even today there's a lot to read through so here's a brief precis of the initial revelations:

The US is engaged in a spying campaign against the leadership of the United Nations. A directive issued under Hillary Clinton's name last year ordered American diplomats to seek details about both UN communication systems and personal details for top officials.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has "frequently" urged the US to launch an attack against Iran in order to scupper Tehran's nuclear ambition.

The US has relentlessly pressured other countries, including close allies such as Italy and France, to distance themselves from Iran and assist American efforts to isolate Tehran
There's plenty more to come, including "claims of inappropriate behaviour" by a British royal and allegations of links between Russia's government and organised crime.


U.S. warns Ottawa about fallout from pending WikiLeaks release

The Wikileaks has already shown the wars were promoted with lies. Wikileaks has already confirmed indiscriminate killing. War Crimes. Torture. And nothing shook Harper's solidarity with the Obama/Bush warmongers. But maybe, just maybe, the new Wikileaks will have some juicy quotes from high ranking U.S. military and political leaders. Maybe they think Harper is a twitt. Or an asshole. Maybe they say mean things about Harper behind his back. Maybe they don't respect Canada's contribution. Heck if Harper's feelings get hurt it might change his whole mindset. Too bad Canada has to hang it hopes for withdrawal on such a slender thread. They already probably call him an asshole to his face. Peacenik says bring the troops home now.

OTTAWA— The Canadian Press
The U.S. government has notified Ottawa that the WikiLeaks website is preparing to release sensitive U.S. diplomatic files that could damage American relations with allies around the world.

U.S. officials say the documents may contain accounts of compromising conversations with political dissidents and friendly politicians as well as activities that could result in the expulsion of U.S. diplomats from foreign postings.

U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson phoned Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon to inform him of the matter, a foreign affairs spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Melissa Lantsman said the Canadian embassy in Washington is “currently engaging” with the U.S. State Department on this matter.

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Warmonger: Bush in His Own Words

Peacenik says that what is scary about Ray McGovern's article is that it demonstrates just how much institutional momentum there is in the U.S. for war. The administration, the military, the media, all wanted war with Iran. And today no doubt the same people, who still infest the body politic in the U.S., will be pushing for war with Korea. Will the neo cons get their wars? Peacenik hopes not but isn't confident. Peacenik will be shelf loading......again.....this week.

US Intelligence Thwarted Attack on Iran

by Ray McGovern
Why should George W. Bush have been "angry" to learn in late 2007 of the "high-confidence" unanimous judgment of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies that Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon four years earlier? Seems to me he might have said "Hot Dog!" rather than curse under his breath. 
Nowhere in his memoir, Decision Points, is Bush's bizarre relationship with truth so manifest as when he describes his dismay at learning that the intelligence community had redeemed itself for its lies about Iraq by preparing an honest National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. As the Bush-book makes abundantly clear, that NIE rammed an iron rod through the wheels of the juggernaut rolling toward war.
Nowhere is Bush's abiding conviction clearer, now as then, that his role as "decider" include the option to create his own reality.
The Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) has missed that part of the book. And hundreds of Dallas "sheriffs," assembled to ensure decorum at the Bush library groundbreaking last week, kept us hoi polloi well out of presidential earshot.


Afghanistan: The new Hundred Years War?

punditman says...

What the heck, this is starting to turn into another Hundred Years' War. The Afghan War going beyond 2015? Why, of course it will! How about another 40 years? No problem!

You have to admire the candid honesty of the UK's General Sir David Richards.

But Punditman has heard all this before: politicians and generals going on about how you can't defeat an idea militarily, that you also need to "nation-build." Even Stevie Harper intuited such brilliance awhile back.

But punditman detects a vast disconnect between word and action amongst those who on the one hand recognize the futility of an occupying force trying to achieve military victory against an insurgency but nevertheless keep trying to do just that. Or something like it. It's the old winning people's hearts and minds argument while you cut off their limbs.

We keep hearing how we are just about to "turn the corner," maybe this year, or next year, or 2014. But these clowns need to stop channeling the ghost of LBJ because there really is no light at the end of this tunnel any more than there was in the Mekong Delta, circa 1968. At least not as long as long as they keep creating new enemies with each air strike, while simultaneously mumbling about including moderate Taliban and Pashtuns in some sort of Afghan power sharing arrangement. Imagine how perplexing this must seem to many an Afghan villager:
"Yeah, these NATO guys are smart. They blew away those drug lords and bandits who kept harrasing my niece and stealing from my uncle's orchard. But then their air strike killed my entire clan including my wife! Fuck 'em, I am starting my own militia. Local Taliban said they'd train me up and promised me a new wife too."
Not to sound glib, but this can't be far from the reality. Ninety percent of the people NATO is fighting are part of a tribal, localized insurgency. Only 10% are hardcore fundamentalist jihadis who profess loyalty to the Taliban. In fact those Taliban who harboured al Qaeda before 9-11 are involved in a very small share of attacks against Western forces, mostly in southern Afghanistan.

The point is that the only hope for a lessening of violence amongst the many social and tribal groupings that comprise the Afghan enigma is through negotiation, integration and accomodation. Obama and NATO have clearly chosen a military "surge" instead. And now Western forces are planning on sticking around indefinitely in a "non-combat" role to train people how to use guns in a country that has been awash in guns for generations. Brilliant.

Punditman says the only way out of this morass for the West is troop withdrawal. And the only way out of it for Afghanis is through negotiation because the only people that can solve Afghanistan are Afghanis. We may not like what they come up with. But we don't have much choice and the truth is, many realists inside government agree; they readily admit there is no exit strategy in place and probably no plausible one that can be invented.

Punditman is suspicious of even the realists in government. The fact is, a permanent "low-level conflict" fought with modern technology fits in nicely with a permanent war economy which benefits the high tech defense sector. It is very profitable to fight jihadism with drones and highly equipped, occupying armies. And as long as the West retains volunteer armies and Western casualties don't get too out of hand, elites have much to gain. Of course it is not so low level for those on the receiving end of the bombs and bulletsbut that never stopped them.

Do the idealists and ideologues who continue to prosecute this depressing war understand Afghan history? Or history in general?  It is naive to think they do not. Maybe that is precisely the point. Punditman says that is a scary thought.


Liberals accuse NDP of ‘hypocrisy’ on Afghanistan

Peacenik emailed Ignatieff and asked him to not support the extension of Canada's role in Afghanistan. Ignatieff didn't respond. Peacenik has voted for the Liberals strategically in the past. Peacenik will not be voting for the Liberals ever again. The Globe's view is that "leaving Afghanistan entirely after years of brave service would be foolish." Peacenik's view is that staying in Afghanistan is insane. But Harper, Ignatieff, Nato, and the U.S. cannot admit a mistake. Has Canada beat the USSR's record for occupying Afghanistan yet? A record of futility and stupidity. Bring the troops home now.

1. Divide and conquer. Without the Conservatives to attack, Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals are gunning for Jack Layton and the NDP, accusing them of adopting a position on Afghanistan that is “simply not credible.”

The Liberals support the Harper government’s decision to keep Canadian troops in Afghanistan after the scheduled July pull-out; the New Democrats do not – playing right into the Tory strategy of splitting the opposition.

The criticism of the NDP is contained in a series of talking points issued by the Grits to their supporters Tuesday.

“Jack Layton has called for a ‘massive civilian deployment’ to provide stability in Afghanistan, but you can’t achieve this in the midst of conflict without providing Afghans with the tools to protect their security and their democracy,” the memo says. “Liberals firmly support ending the combat mission in Afghanistan as scheduled in July 2011 and we support the new post-combat training presence as outlined by the government today.”

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The Beatles - Revolution (Live)

punditman says...To mark the fact that the Beatles are now on Itunes:


Punditman Musical Interlude

punditman says: The Bastard Fairies make social commentary fun!

The 10 Best Political Cult Horror Films Ever

Peacenik tends to avoid gory horror films but Peacenik is surprised that Peacenik has only seen Night of the Living Dead in this list. What have you seen?

Social commentary shows up in the unlikeliest places. Here, our list for the most awesome films that double as political allegory.

November 12, 2010

In a new book about John Carpenter's Orwellian masterpiece, They Live, author Jonathan Lethem does some well-deserved justice to the film -- if it’s not the best-ever social commentary out there, it’s at least one of the most fun to watch. But They Live is far from the only movie to shed light on society’s woes. Directors have a long tradition of using horror as an allegory for what we most fear. Here are 10 awesome films that analogize, encapsulate -- and, in some instances, predicted -- true-life political nightmares.

1. Night of the Living Dead (1968). A classic among classics, George Romero’s debut feature not only influenced every quality cult/B-movie to come, he developed a template for political commentary in horror films that both he and his disciples follow to this day. Released in 1968, its slow pacing set the tone for the paranoia that gripped the nation the following year and never left, and the utter humanness of the voracious zombies was a reminder of humankind’s capacity for horrific acts.

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Courageous Myanmar Pro-Democracy Leader Is Freed From Prison

punditman says...Some good news. Burmese pro-democracy activist and Nobel Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 15 years out of the past two decades under house arrest as a political prisoner. In the face of brutal injustice, she has maintained hope and has come to symbolise the struggle of Burma’s people against dictatorship. She was released from her current third period of detention on Saturday. The military junta in Burma still holds 2,200 political prisoners.

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Outrage Mounts over Bush’s Waterboarding ‘Confession’

punditman says...

So now we have Bush confessing to a war crime. Of  course he doesn't believe it is a war crime because the lawyer told him so. Bush doesn't think he did anything "wrong" in his 8 years of incompetent rule. Just a few honest mistakes.

After a three-year investigation, President Barack Obama’s mantra – "look forward and not backwards" – appears to have trumped the rule of law as a special prosecutor declined to pursue criminal charges against the Central Intelligence Agency operatives involved in the destruction of video recordings of interrogations of "war on terror" suspects.

The human rights community and many legal scholars from both ends of the political spectrum are up in arms about the decision. And they were further angered by the remarks made by former president George W. Bush during recent television and radio interviews promoting his new memoir, Decision Points.

For example, Bush admitted to Matt Lauer of NBC’s "Today" program that he authorized the use of waterboarding on two CIA prisoners. He said further that the technique was legal and that he would make the same decision again.
Lauer then asked him, "Why is waterboarding legal, in your opinion?>

Bush responded: "Because the lawyer said it was legal. He said it did not fall within the anti-torture act. I’m not a lawyer. But you gotta trust the judgment of the people around you, and I do."

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PM plans ‘inside the wire' Afghan role while U.S. presses for riskier one

Its bad enough that Obama has sided with Wall Street against mainstreet. He's backed down on almost every policy initiative that got him elected. Now he is twisting the arm of a very pliable Stevie Harper to continue Canada's combat role in Afghanistan. Obama is a George Bush acolyte. He is a warmongerer. As is Harper. Peacenik wants to puke. Bring the troops home now.

The United States is asking Canada to take on a more robust – and risky – role after the planned 2011 pullout of combat troops from Afghanistan, including risking enemy fire outside of bases to mentor Afghan security forces in the field.
The push comes as Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to announce next week the government's new plan for Afghanistan – a plan that will likely keep Canada “inside the wire.”

But the United States wants more. The Americans are seeking greater Canadian participation – a role “outside the wire” – and are hoping for such an announcement before next week's NATO summit in Lisbon.

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On Poppies and Politics

Punditman says...

Punditman is hesitant to even write this, knowing the strong emotions that surround Remembrance Day. In fact, if the symbol of the poppy had arisen out of the horrors of World War Two and the fight against fascism, punditman would not have written this piece. But the poppy's legacy surfaced out of the horrors of World War One (which punditman will return to shortly). It has been used henceforth in remembrance throughout the Western world.

So I write this with all due respect to those who may take offence; however, there is a certain irrationality in the air that should be addressed.

Punditman feels that since Canada became involved in Afghanistan, poppy wearing begins earlier and is more widespread than in past eras. No surprise there, punditman supposes; these days, war is never far from people's minds. Does punditman detect a subtle but increased social pressure to wear a poppy? Perhaps. Are the two issues connected? Does wearing a poppy presuppose support for the Afghan mission? Punditman thinks he is not alone with such questions. But wearing a poppy should be a personal and reflective act, not an ideological reflex that feels socially enforced.

The poppy owes its heritage to Guelph's John McCrae, a Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel, who wrote the poem "In Flander's Fields" on May 3, 1915, after witnessing the death of his friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmer the previous day. It was published on December 8, 1915 by Punch magazine in Britain:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The poem, which we all learned as school children, has not escaped critique. Wikipedia cites Paul Fussell, cultural and literary historian, and professor emeritus of English literature at the University of Pennsylvania:
Critic Paul Fussell, in The Great War and Modern Memory, pointed out the sharp distinctions between the pastoral, sacrificial tone of the poem's first nine lines and the "recruiting-poster rhetoric" of the poem's third stanza; Fussell said the poem, appearing in 1915, would serve to denigrate any negotiated peace which would end the war, and called these lines "a propaganda argument," saying "words like vicious and stupid would not seem to go too far."
Those strong words come from a decorated American World War Two veteran; but who is better equipped to opine on the power of propaganda?

Irrationality comes into play when the poppy is used not simply to honour veterans and all of war's victims and to recognize their sacrifice and sufferings but to also attack the voices of dissent. Irrationality’s ignorant face is displayed in the attitudes of those who have been attacking writer Peter Smollett for writing a piece entitled, War resisters also deserve a memorial in yesterday’s Toronto Star. Some of the reactions to this well researched article are disturbing.

Remember, Smollet is talking about World War One only here, a conflict that began 96 years ago when Canadian forces were still under British command. But for the militarist faction of today's right wing, the political subtext of Remembrance Day is that all Canada's wars are by default noble endeavours that protect our freedom and security; and all soldiers from all wars are heroes, while all pacifists are cowards. They will hear nothing of dissent or from those who happen to believe that most wars are unnecessary and unjust.

In writing about World War One, Peter Smollet's great sin was to outline the generalized slaughter and senselessness of what was essentially a struggle between imperial powers divvying up the spoils of their colonies. He explains how they used the working classes as cannon fodder and how generals and politicians advanced their careers off the blood of the poor. How can anyone who knows their history seriously disagree with this assessment? Many veterans of that conflict arrived at the same conclusion.

The so-called "war to end all wars" was a major factor in the rise of Bolshevism and revolution in Russia; and the Armistice and Treaty of Versailles contributed to fascism taking root in Germany and the rise of Hitler. This was the lovely little war that the would be over by Christmas!

Resistance to the First World War's bloodbath was widespread throughout belligerent countries and Smollet does a good job outlining the various anti-war movements of the time, including Canadians who made great sacrifices, including losing their lives, in the name of peace. For his efforts, Smollet gets a ton of brickbats tossed at him from wingnut corner.

Punditman believes in remembering the war dead and all of war’s casualties—but on all sides, including all the civilians who have perished or have been maimed in war. It seems this is what the remembering part of Remembrance Day should be about.

There was a time not so long ago when the sentiment for peace was as strong as for war, when people were not afraid to speak up and when wearing a poppy could just as easily mean "never again" as "support out troops."

Honouring conscientious objectors and others who bravely stood in opposition to the slaughter of World War One is not about to happen any time soon. The current zeitgiest leaves no room for nuance, only group think. Important symbols are easily used to keep the herd in line. Those who lambast Smollet's opinion piece say it is a disgrace to publish it during Remembrance Week because they believe World War One was all about protecting our freedoms. But if they truly understood freedom, they should have no problem with the Star publishing a different viewpoint.

So wear a poppy if it feels right. But don't be afraid to say what you think—of any war.

Punditman is wearing a poppy.

Note in the margin:
The lines, "To you from failing hands we throw / The torch; be yours to hold it high" are also written on the wall of the Montreal Canadiens dressing room. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment ownership take note: stirring, inspiring words apparently help teams win Stanley Cups. Or at least make them playoff bound!


Netanyahu Pounds War Drums

Peacenik think these people are insane. Totally insane. But Peacenik also thought all the idiots banging the drums for war with Iraq were insane as well. All Netanyahu needs is a couple of front page stories in the New York Times about toy planes that could deliver a non-existent bomb to New York, and maybe some talk about killing them there so you don't have to kill them here, and there will be war mania. In the meantime, could someone refresh everyone's memory about the consequences of war with Iran. It would be an express trip back to the 15th Century for the world.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a session of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem

WASHINGTON - Less than a week after Republicans made major gains in the U.S. midterm elections, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has called on President Barack Obama to "create a credible threat of military action" against Iran.
Initial official reaction was negative, with Defence Secretary Robert Gates insisting that Obama's preferred strategy of enhanced multilateral sanctions and negotiations, which may resume after a year's hiatus later this month, was working better than expected.
"I disagree that only a credible military threat can get Iran to take the actions that it needs, to end its nuclear weapons programme," Gates said when asked about Netanyahu's remarks during a visit in Australia.
"We are prepared to do what is necessary, but at this point, we continue to believe that the political, economic approach that we are taking is, in fact, having an impact in Iran.

This is the Security State Steve Built

Yep, this is the society Stevie Harper wants for Canada. And for some weird reason lots of Don Cherry type neanderthals seem to want it too. Peacenik thinks people should stop spending all their time watching Dancing with the Stars, and start thinking about what is happening. Mr. Ignatieff. What do you have to say? Mr Ignatieff?

Why the Tories keep whipping up fear of terrorists, criminals and peaceful protestors.


Police apprehend G20 protestor Natalie Gray in Toronto. Photo: Natalie Gray.

For those considering issue triage -- picking five or six issues to focus on -- in the fight to rid the country of the current government, one area that is critical to the outcome is exposing the Harper government's construction of the national security state.

I am referring here to the commitment of the Harper government to implementing policies that increase the importance of a war-fighting military in Canadian society, its preoccupation with tough-on-crime legislation, its blank cheque to security operations like the one "protecting" the G20 summit, and its continued efforts to convince Canadians that they face the constant risk of terrorist attack.

The flip side of the coin: criminalizing dissent and trashing civil liberties so that opposition to this agenda can be kept to a minimum.

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