Punditman alive and well

Punditman says...

Rumours of Punditman's demise are highly overstated. Punditman has simply been busy with matters other than blogging. That's what happens on this planet. Busy humans keep getting busier, or so it seems. Let me count the ways humans get busy: trying to eke out an existence is a big one. Others get busy being warmongers, or corporate polluters, or dedicated followers of fashion, or making money, or being wage slaves, or making predictions, or making last call, or just being a busy bee-nosy nelly-youtube-twitter-facebooker. You Twit-Face.

What happens is no one is left to save the planet from the busy human bees! Because we humans North Americans have become too busily self absorbed to even save ourselves from destroying our own social fabric. Too busy to even write more than 140 characters.

So knock yerself out if you have anything remotely intelligent to say about Japan's nuclear crisis, Libya, how the Leafs are going to miss the playoffs for the 6th straight year despite an impressive home stretch or why Punditman should continue to exist.

Didn't think so. Slackers. Surfers. Googlers - the lot of you. Very few who have ever landed on these hallowed pages have ever had much to say in the comments - on a blog punditman and peacenik have slaved over for years. Years!

Sour grapes aside, punditman is taking a hiatus. It could be permanent. Peacenik is just burned out, period. Peacenik also quit, or was fired (not sure which).

Punditman is now on Twitter under the wayplanet identity. It's the busy thing to do. All the cool kids with no attention spans are on Twitter, so p-man has taken it for a test drive. Not sure if the big Tweet is anything other than texting on steroids. It could just be another narcisistic waste of time.

Meanwhile, peacenik insisted on a buy out package consisting of a beer and a bag of pucks. We settled for a puck and a bag of beer.

Punditman says...

さようなら Sayounara!

Punditman Blog
R.I.P ???



Canadian aid agencies, under the banner of the HUMANITARIAN COALITION, are urging Canadians to support the relief efforts in Japan after a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake, the largest in the nation’s recorded history, and tsunami has devastated the region. Recent reports suggest that thousands are among the dead after the quake and a resulting tsunami, which reached a height of up to 10 metres in some areas.

The HUMANITARIAN COALITION is working together with our partners in Japan and will provide funds to help where the Japanese government indicates that help is most needed While the Japanese government is extremely well prepared for such situations, we are stepping up to help and urge Canadians to do the same.

To donate to THE HUMANITARIAN COALITION, Canadians can log onto www.together.ca or send donations to THE HUMANITARIAN COALITION, P.O. Box 7023, Ottawa, ON, K1L 5A0.


Are Violent Video Games Preparing Kids For The Apocalypse? (Funny!)

punditman says...

This is hilarious, but sad at the same time. I believe Ronald Reagan once said something to the effect that he liked arcade video games because they prepared young boys to become fighter pilots. It's been downhill ever since. Yep, we've come a long way since Pac-Man.

Punditman would like to see a video game in which the object is to create a better future rather than just blow stuff up. Is that too much to ask of these manufacturers? Punditman has always maintained there's brainwashin' in those darn games. A little sarcasm brings the point home:


Keiser Report: Taste of Freedom

punditman says...Punditman is not surprised to learn that Tony Blair went camping with Gadhafi or that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi let the despicable dictator and Lockerbie bomb plotter pitch his tent in the heart of Rome or that Libya has invested in Italian companies including Fiat SpA and UniCredit SpA and the Juventus soccer team. Or any other number of crimes committed in West in the name of cheap oil.

Punditman is also not surprised when he overhears redneck ignoramus's down at the coffee shop calling for an attack on Libya. These people don't know jack about what and who has enabled this despot. They just think the US is the world cop who needs to act in the name of "freedom" now and then and go blow up Arabs whenever they want. And they cheer every time. That's because these people read the Toronto Sun. The Sun is not a great Canadian newspaper. It stinks.

You can learn about all the corruption and cronyism behind today's headlines, including the Libyan crisis by listening to this Keiser report. If you are a redneck ignoramus, you may learn something:


Worshipping a deceased Celebrity Prez

punditman says...What's with all this Ronald Reagan post mortem worship? It's been going on for years but I guess a commemorative 100th birthday gives the media another excuse for celebrity worship, even for the deceased. For those who recall his presidency without rose coloured glasses, he certainly didn't enjoy the omnipotent popularity that he's now afforded.  Of course there were and always are those who are naively insulated from the powers that be. The 1980s song by Timbuk 3, The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades, apparently had many at the time believing it was an upbeat ditty instead of a sarcastic anti-nuke song.

It's amazing where hindsight and willful blindness will take you. He didn't screw up as badly as Bush II so he gets God-like status? His crimes were more hidden than others so everyone should ignore them? Punditman wrote about Reagan's actual legacy and how it has seeped into Canadian culture here.

In this piece, Gerry Caplan similarly sums up the Gipper's accomplishments and the price paid for those on the receiving end. Do all Americans really think Ronald Reagan was a demigod? Do they? Do Canadians? Punditman ponders.


Wake Me, Shake Me

Jim Kunstler is giving Saudi Arabia three weeks before it blows. Then $10 a gallon diesel fuel will end civilization as it is presently known. Peacenik says plant your garden now. And tune up your bicycle. Time for communities to get their acts together because working together is the only way to survive as we go forward into the...ah...future.

A quickening of events pulses through lands where for so long time stood still, and the oil - what's left of it - lies locked for the moment beneath hot sands - woe upon all ye soccer moms! - while Colonel Gadhafi ponders the Mussolini option - that is, to be hoisted up a lamp-post on a high-C piano wire until his head bursts like a rotten pomegranate. Then the good folk of Libya can fight amongst themselves for the swag, loot, and ka-chingling oil revenues he left behind. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton scowls on the sidelines knowing how bad it would look if US marines actually hit the shores of Tripoli (and perhaps how fruitless it might turn out to be). And Italian grandmothers across the Mediterranean wonder why there's no gas to fire up the orecchiette con cime di rapa.
The fluxes of springtime run cruelly across the sands of Araby, clear into Persia where the ayatollahs' vizeers toy with uranium centrifuges and thirty million young people wonder how long they will allow bearded ignoramuses to tell them how to pull their pants on in the morning. Along about now, I wouldn't feel secure standing next to somebody lighting a cigarette in that part of the world.
Pretty soon we're going to find out just how fragile things are in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, there at the heart of things oily. Last week, King Abdullah wobbled out of his intensive care unit to spread a little surplus cash around the surging population, but let's remember that their share of the oil "welfare" has been going down steadily in recent years - a simple matter of numbers really. Putting aside even the common folk, a thousand princes from dozens of different tribes pace restively in the background awaiting the struggle that must follow King Abdullah's overdue transmigration to the farther shore. All along the western coast of the Persian Gulf and down toward the Horn of Africa, dark forces stir. Fuses sputter in Kingdoms from Bahrain to the Yemen.

Read on...

10 Ways Scott Walker Is Selling Out His Constituents to Corporations

Peacenik read this list of stuff the GOP is doing in Wisconsin and Peacenik realized that there is no common ground. All 10 of these GOP actions are insane. You cannot convince Peacenik otherwise. And Peacenik is certain that you cannot convince Scott Walker that his actions are crazy. Clean drinking water is too much of a burden on who? So in the misguided belief that only in taking actions like the 10 listed here, can the economy be cured and employment return, the GOP is taking society back to a time that is forgotten. Back to the dark ages. What would you do if you lived in Wisconsin. In Ontario, what would you do if the government passed a law that created the likelihood that the Walkerton tragedy would replay itself? Peacenik is not even sure that the regulation of drinking water in Ontario is adequate after Walkerton. What do you do when the government turns its back on the people and acts like there is no common good? Watch Wisconsin. The future is there.

Walker’s assault on public employees is only one part of a larger political program that aims to give corporations free reign in the state.

As the standoff between the Main Street Movement and Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) continues for the twelfth day, much of the media coverage — and anger — from both sides has focused on Walker’s efforts to strip Wisconsin public workers of their right to collective bargaining. But Walker’s assault on public employees is only one part of a larger political program that aims to give corporations free reign in the state while dismantling the healthcare programs, environmental regulations, and good government laws that protect Wisconsin’s middle and working class. These lesser known proposals in the 144-page bill reveal how radical Walker’s plan actually is:

1. ELIMINATING MEDICAID: The Budget Repair Bill includes a little-known provision that would put complete control of the state’s Medicaid program, known as BadgerCare, in the hands of the state’s ultra-conservative Health and Human Services Secretary Dennis Smith. Smith would have the authority to “to override state Medicaid laws as [he] sees fit and institute sweeping changes” including reducing benefits and limiting eligibility. Ironically, during the 1990s it was Republicans, especially former Gov. and Bush HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, who helped develop BadgerCare into one of the country’s most innovative and generous Medicaid programs. A decade later, a new generation of radical Republicans is hoping to destroy one of Wisconsin’s “success stories.”

Read on...


Chomsky: Only a Massive Uprising Will Change Our Politics

Are there enough progressives to stage a mass uprising in the U.S.A? Wisconsin seems to be the test. And in Wisconsin a majority of the citizens apparently elected a Republican/Tea Party dominated legislature. The eviseration of the labour movement in Wisconsin, and in your state or province might just be done democratically. That one percent of the U.S. that controls over 99 percent of the wealth, seems to have convinced the 99 percent that that is a normal and just state of affairs. Is this the last gasp of the labour movement in the U.S. (and soon in Canada), or is it the beginning of a re-birth. Peacenik is not feeling good about what is going down in Wisconsin. Editorials about Tea Party over-reach are not going to get it done. This is the pitch fork moment. But wait, who is on Dancing with The Stars. And did J-Lo really cry on American Idol this week. Is Charlie Sheen finished? Will Lindsay go to jail?

Chomsky: "What has to be done is what's happening in Madison, or Tahrir Square. If there's mass popular opposition, any political leader is going to have to respond.

NOAM CHOMSKY: We were talking about unions before. Union busting is criminal activity by the government, because they’re saying, "You can go ahead and do it; we’re not going to apply the laws," effectively. And the COINTELPRO, which you mentioned, is actually the worst systematic and extended violation of basic civil rights by the federal government. It maybe compares with Wilson’s Red Scare. But COINTELPRO went on from the late ’50 right through all of the ’60s; it finally ended, at least theoretically ended, when the courts terminated it in the early ’70s. And it was serious.

It started, as is everything, going after the Communist Party, then the Puerto Rican Independence Party. Then it extended—the women’s movement, the New Left, but particularly black nationalists. And it ended up—didn’t end up, but one of the events was a straight Gestapo-style assassination of two black organizers, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, literally. The FBI set up the assassination. The Chicago police actually carried it out, broke into the apartment at 4:00 in the morning and murdered them. Fake information that came from the FBI about arms stores and so on. There was almost nothing about it. In fact, the information about this, remarkably, was released at about the same time as Watergate. I mean, as compared with this, Watergate was a tea party. There was nothing, you know?

Read on...


WikiLeaks’ Assange can be extradited to Sweden: judge

Supporters of the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange hold placards as they wait for his arrival for his extradition hearing Feb. 24.

Has Sweden offered any assurances that Julian Assange will not be extradited to the U.S.A? Sweden has already shown itself to be a big secret supporter of U.S. foreign policy. And now for the first time someone has been extradited for sex charges in the European Union. Peacenik doesn't trust Sweden in this matter, nor Britain, nor the U.S.A. Peacenik hopes Julian Assange will have his own security. Meanwhile has anyone noticed a lack of news from Wikileaks. The efforts to marginalize and intimidate and bankrupt Wikileaks seem to be having an effect. Peacenik says release the Doomsday File now. Lets see the Bank of America documents. And free Julian Assange.

Supporters of the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange hold placards as they wait for his arrival for his extradition hearing Feb. 24.
LONDON — Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden in a sex crimes inquiry, a British judge ruled Thursday, rejecting claims by the WikiLeaks founder that he would not face a fair trial there. Assange's lawyer said he would appeal.
Judge Howard Riddle said the allegations of rape and sexual molestation by two women against Assange meet the definition of extraditable offenses and said the Swedish warrant had been properly issued and was valid.
Assange, 39, a key figure in the release of tens of thousands of secret U.S. government and military documents, has been out on bail during the extradition fight. He has seven days to appeal the ruling in British courts.
After hearing three days of testimony this month, Riddle concluded “there is simply no reason to believe there has been a mistake” about the European Arrest Warrant issued by Swedish authorities.

Read on...


This is my farm: From the city to the country and back again

Peacenik has been so busy trying to follow and make sense out of all the revolutions and protests in the world that Peacenik hasn't written much about urban farming and sustainability lately. But with bank runs in Korea, riots in Wisconsin and Tripoli, food shortages all over the world, and Peacenik's "empty storeshelves" google alert filling Peacenik's inbox, it may be time to start thinking about food. And how to get it during a state of anarchy, or when the supply chain collapses due to oil shortages, crop shortages (winter storm destroyed usual tomato crop), or total economic collapse. This article is a celebration of Urban Homesteading Day, which was on Monday. Peacnenik has said many times that Peacenik feels fortunate to have a small garden on Peacenik's balcony, and window sills. And Peacneik feels fortunate to live near a large Amish community in Ontario. Peacenik fears Peacenik is going to need both in the near future.

by Sharon Astyk

Note: You've got to give the Dervaes' some credit - their asshattery has inspired a wholel lot of focus on urban sustainable agriculture, homesteading and making a good life in the city! Today is "Urban Homesteading Day" and in its honor, here are some meditations on the relationships we need between city homesteaders and farmers, country homesteaders and farmers and everyone in between.

Urbanization is the biggest trend in history. For the first time, more human beings live in cities than in the country. More than 50,000 farmers worldwide leave their land or are driven off of it every single day, most of them moving to cities, often to slum dwellings on the outskirts of growing megacities.

In each family that makes this journey, there will be a recognizable pattern that emerges from that shift in culture.. The first generation who moves from the farm to the city remains agricultural in mindset and practice. They will never fully assimilate into urban life, but will be the grandparents who embarass their children by picking edible plants from the side of the road and giving nutritious soups instead of vitamins.

Their children will want to fit into the urban life. They will disdain and reject the skills of their parents, in many cases, or at best view what their parents know as irrelevant. This second generation recognizes that what the first generation knew is now gone, and wants it as far out of the way as possible. The second generation will be taught how to pick and use those plants, but they will see such knowledge as old fashioned, embarassing or even "dirty."

Then comes the third generation removed from the land. They may have eaten grandmother's soup, or seen her pick the greens, but they will also have absorbed their parent's rejection of these things - at least at first. And only when they are grown will the grandchildren begin to see the value of what their grandparents knew, and to try and recreate it a little. If they are fortunate, they will have noticed their lack before the first generation is gone. If not, they will try and recreate what is lost as best they can, knowing that it is never the same as the first. They will start searching for the echoes of their agrarian past everywhere, and begin trying to remake the world from echoes, growing fainter every year.

Read on...