Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ignatieff Not Mephistopheles; Antisemitism Not OK

Two dispatches and some personal revelations from your humble correspondent this week:

1. A conversation with His Iggishness:

It would be so much easier to just be done with it and report that, really, Ignatieff is Mephistopheles, that during the hour we sat alone in conversation, in a restaurant booth in a dark corner of the cavernous tropical atrium of the Rainbow Country Inn in Chilliwack, he caused a candle on the table to burst into flames merely by staring at it intently with his famously blue eyes.

But that would be an obvious lie. So a less obvious one, then.

Ignatieff may very well appear to be a charming left-wing intellectual in an impeccably tailored blue-linen suit with a white shirt and pink silk tie. But he’s really just a right-wing thug who wants the laws changed to allow the police to force confessions out of people by pulling their fingernails out.

That’s the problem with Ignatieff. It’s just so damn easy to lie about him. And people do.

We touched on torture (he's against it), Americans (he's mostly in favour), imperialism (not a big fan), slave labour in China (against), second thoughts on Iraq (but not the thoughts you might expect), and his commitment to the defence of Afghanistan's slowly-recovering democracy (firm as ever).

He dealt with a lot of things that I didn’t have the space to report, but I've transcribed the entire conversation, and have a good mind to post the whole thing here at a later date.

2. Another conversation with a Liberal, not a big-time star, but a black sheep, Thomas Hubert. Nevermind what the National Post says. He's not an antisemite. The tragedy is much worse than that:

. . .It’s the utter ordinariness of the words Hubert wrote. All Hubert was doing was trafficking in the language of common rhetorical currency about Israel.

One is properly expected to turn out one’s cupboards for any trace evidences of sexism, Islamophobia, racism, or homophobia. But the differences between “anti-Zionism” and anti-Semitism, which were never especially clear to start with, just get painted over nowadays in the expectation that nobody will notice.

The really sad thing is, it’s working.

If you don’t believe me, pick up a copy of Canadian Dimension magazine sometime. It’s a venerable periodical, happily endorsed by NDP leader Jack Layton and by such luminaries as Maude Barlow and Linda McQuaig.

Soon enough, you’ll probably find yourself reading something by James Petras, a frequent CD contributor and a member of the magazine’s collective. His uniquely “progressive” analysis is that a shadowy group of Jewish bankers pretty much runs American foreign policy. They even tricked America into invading Iraq. They’re behind just about every crappy thing that happens in the world, apparently.

Take the recent “Mohammed cartoon” eruptions that resulted in worldwide riots, the burning of embassies, and at least 139 deaths. According to Petras, it was all orchestrated by Mossad - the Israeli secret service. They had a Ukrainian Jew working under an assumed name at the Danish newspaper where the rumpus began, just waiting for his order to set the plot in motion.

That’s how bad it’s got: you say something nice about Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, cite Noam Chomsky a couple of times, make a joke or two about George Bush, toss in words like resistance and hegemony, and you can have everyone singing “Throw The Jew Down The Well” before anyone even notices what’s happening.

3. Latest news from the compound:

I've been quiet lately. I haven't even responded to the "book tagging" I've had from heroes-of-the-people Toronto Bob and Commandante Will.

But it's like this.

After nearly 14 years, the Glavin-Guigueno cell is vacating the premises on Mayne Island alluded to on this very weblog, in the "About Me" bit on the side, viz., "Not true what they say about me living in a heavily armed compound with a 50-metre statue of Kim Jong-il on remote island off Canada's west coast." Only some of that was not true. But for the foreseeable future none of it will be.

All these years being happily up on our hill surrounded by barbed wire and human skulls on stakes, with all our upside-down Chevy pickups and everything, and now we're moving to Victoria. Cadboro Bay, specifically. No more target practice on the rifle range out back. No more road-kill deer. For the time being, anyhow.

It's mainly because the boys deserve better book-learnin.

So I've been really busy, and everything's in boxes, and here's us yokels looking perfectly unglum about it all the other day during one last sit-down together in the Sierra Madre:

But here's the really, really galling bit. The ferry hadn't even pulled away from the dock when all the islanders gathered together in a mob, and this is what happened:

Ungrateful bastards.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Scenes From The Savage Life On Our Home Island

This is my fierce wife, Yvette Guigueno, getting warpaint on (our daughter Zoe's the one that's doing the painting):

This is Zoe and her sweetie Graham (both of that great band Readable Ink), contemplating one another's peculiarities:

Here's our boy Conall, coming up for air:

It is our hope that one day, he'll be weaned of the company of seals and properly habituated to human society.

Weinfeld: Will The Real Left Please Stand Up?

For many decades, and more noticeably in the aftermath of 9/11 and the launching of the "war on terror," there has been a vacuum on the political spectrum. It has been harder for the so-called democratic or non-communist left, (or American Democrats in the Kennedy, Humphrey and Johnson tradition) to find an intellectual and political home.

People who sought to combine a progressive domestic agenda -- strong support for the liberal welfare state, free trade unions, gender and racial equality, free speech, fair trade -- with a robust, proactive and pro-democratic foreign agenda, had nowhere to turn. One or the other would have to be sacrificed.

That's Morton Weinfeld, in today's Ottawa Citizen, setting out a Canadian perspective on the Euston Manifesto.

The manifesto will not persuade doctrinaire ideologues of the Canadian left; its aim is a core of moderate progressives, traditional liberals and red Tories. Several Canadians have signed the manifesto, and have begun communicating with each other to see if there might be support in Canada for an effort to create a Canadian chapter.

Nicely done, Morton.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Viz: A Transformative Hermaneutics of the F Word

Thanks to the ever-alert Jeremy and Ophelia, we find that Ben Goldacre, in today's Guardian, is having a bit of fun at the expense of Dave Holmes of the University of Ottawa's School of Nursing and University of Toronto post-doc fellow Stuart J. Murray, who have discovered a new use for the word "fascist."

This comes fast upon the heels of a tortured circumlocution by a
Yank bedwetter who insists that militaristic movements given to mass rallies and the glorification of death and war - and which also happen to be anti-modern, anti-liberal, anti-intellectual, homophobic, anti-feminist, and obsessed with a hatred of Jews to the point of broadcasting afternoon television dramas featuring Jews kidnapping Christian children to drain their blood to make special sacrificial matzos, and even go around goose-stepping and making Hitler salutes - should not be called "fascist." At least not if such movements occur in the Muslim world. "Thus, when neo-con pundits, politicians and even the President employ the term `Islamo-Fascist' they are being anti-Semitic."

Back in the more serious realm of the control mechanisms employed by Canadian nurses, Holmes and Murray argue that it is perfectly acceptable to use the term "fascist," however, to describe medical research so rigorous as to actually require "evidence." Or at least I think that's their point.

It is fair to assert that the critical intellectuals are at ‘war’ with those who have no regards other than for an evidence-based logic. The war metaphor speaks to the ‘critical and theoretical revolt’ that is needed to disrupt and resist the fascist order of scientific knowledge development.

We Canucks should be thankful to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Gender and Health, and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, for helping to fund this wonderful analysis.

Goldacre elaborates on the
idiocy here. Turns out the villain of Holmes-Murray piece, Andy Cochrane, is a hero of the anti-fascist struggle in Spain all those years ago.

Meanwhile, my pal Charles Montgomery has done a fine job, in a lengthy Globe and Mail investigation, exposing an even more dangerous idiocy - one that deliberately undermines the public understanding of climate change science. You can read it

Thursday, August 17, 2006

9/11: Turns Out It Wasn't The Freemasons After All

Barry Zwicker is a media critic long beloved by certain sections of the Canadian left. He's routinely billed as Canada's answer to Michael Moore. If you want the whole story about what really happened on September 11, 2001, Zwicker can follow the thread for you all the way back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The upshot: Guy Fawkes was a patsy.

It wasn’t a surprise attack by Islamist fanatics at all. It was really a cunning fabrication, a deception, a fiction, and a plot, all orchestrated by the White House.

The same White House plot, says Zwicker, was involved in the March 11, 2004 bomb blasts on commuter trains in Madrid that resulted in the murder of 192 people. The murder of 52 people in the July 7, 2005, suicide-bomb attacks in London was part of the same conspiracy. This month’s British foiling of a terror plot to blow up several passenger airliners on 10 transatlantic flights out of London is part of it, too.

It’s all “a gigantic terror fraud,” Zwicker told me during a long conversation the other day. It’s all about establishing a climate of fear to justify the curtailment of civil liberties and the expenditure of billions of dollars on weapons and on war.

And to what end?

“It is a war against Islam,” Zwicker told me. “It is a war against millions of people who happen to share the same faith.”

That's from my column today, which was cut a bit. The column I filed was exactly 911 words. A mere coincidence, you think?

In the same edition of the same newspaper you can read a tortured apologia for Hezbollah, amply illustrating the squalor of certain left-wing neighbourhoods that I described here and elaborated upon here and here. For my sins, my editors give Rafeh Hulays even more space than my offending column occupied, in order to respond to what I wrote.

As it turns out, the fact that Hassan Nasrallah is a foul antisemite has escaped Hulays' notice all this time. The evidence is "not characteristic of the man, and I am in the process of determining its veracity," Hulays pledges. Good for you, Rafeh. Get right on it. You can start here, or here or here.

Mainly, Hulays uses the opportunity to vent yet more bile upon Israel. Big surprise.

Also, in the same edition, the Muslim Canadian Congress, no longer burdened by the intellectual weight and moral clarity of Tarek Fatah, is afforded space to demand an apology from Michael Ignatieff for a statement that everybody knew was taken out of context pretty well the minute it first appeared. I would have thought the Congress might actually have thanked Ignatieff for having been first out of the block in articulating what ended up being the basis of the deal that ended Israel's bombing of Lebanon. But no.

In letters today, Michel Facon instructs me in my errors, explaining that to be a "fascist" you have to be a Christian "family values" type. Gordon Murray and Les Priest drop their quarters in the Outraged-By-Zionism letter generator and get what you would expect (Murray doesn't mention it but he's with the ISM, "the peace group that embraces violence"). And Robin Matthews suggests the punishment for my doctrinal errors should be exile to the Middle East.

Okay, Robin. I pick Jaffa.

Louise Zizka thinks I'm a mensch anyway. Thanks, Louise. And Howard M. Karby properly observes that we don’t have to and should not view the political left as having become a single monolithic group of people who hate Israel no matter what she does, and was pleased that my column served as a reminder that one can be progressive without joining the camp of the Israel haters. That's for noticing, Howie.

Simon, a comrade, weighs in. He gets it, perfectly:

I won’t claim to be surprised by the stubborn persistence with which StopWar’s leadership insist on referring to themselves as “peace activists” and “the antiwar movement” in response to Terry Glavin’s timely and much-appreciated piece on their organization [Letters, August 10-17].

Apparently guided by a perverse misreading of anti-imperialist ideals, these cynical leaders of a bankrupt pseudo-left have functionally allied themselves with some of the most noxious and regressive ultraconservative, fascist, and theocratic elements to be found anywhere. This is their right as citizens of an open democracy.

What is not acceptable, however, is their continued abuse of the peace movement’s good name to mask a completely partisan, anti-Israel, Hezbollah-sympathizing agenda that condemns the violence of one party while remaining overwhelmingly silent (at best) on the Islamic terrorism, save the most impotent of bland, pro forma small print.

Good on ye, Simon.

Long live Israel. Long live Palestine.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Breaking The Stranglehold, One Demo At A Time

I get letters. I laugh.

Thanks, Lesli Boldt and Harold Bothrop, for appreciating "StopWar’s peace is about opposing Israel."

But I see Derrick O'Keefe and Mable Elmore are stamping their feet, sparing themselves the difficulty of actually addressing a single thing I wrote or disputing a single observation I made. By the way, here's Derrick interviewing Mable a while back, an event that resulted in her becoming briefly famous for her complaints about Vancouver's plague of Zionist busdrivers. What a riot.

Do take their advice and visit the Stopwar website yourself. You will see Derrick's press release condemning the Christian cleric Pat Robertson's suggestion that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez should be killed, but you won't see any press release condemning Muslim cleric Hassan Nasrallah's suggestion that the world's Jews should be killed.

I see George Kosinski and Juergen Dankwort claim that Hezbollah's fellow travelers are just a few bad apples that show up at demos. Try again. I was specifically addressing the very leadership of Canada's so-called peace movement, the ones on the organizing committees, and the ones with the megaphones. Not the fringe stragglers.

Three days after my column appeared, the Canadian Peace Alliance proved my point yet again by pooling its efforts and sharing its Toronto protest podium with the Richmond, Ontario imam Zafar Bangash of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, which calls itself "an intellectual centre of the global Islamic movement." At that protest, Bangash drew loud cheers when he detailed `news' of how Hezbollah had eliminated numerous Israeli tanks and troops.

But nevermind what I say about Bangash ("a leading member of the Toronto Coalition to Stop The War") and his bedmates. Here's how the ICIT itself explains what it's about:

Developing, defining, articulating and promoting the intellectual basis of the global Islamic movement, particularly in the crucial areas of political thought and the social sciences. A major part of this work must be to break the stranglehold which western ideas and thinking have on the minds of Muslims. And of course: Providing intellectual and media support to the Islamic movements fighting the enemies of Islam all over the world, or struggling for Islamic revolutions and the establishment of Islamic states in other Muslim countries of the world.

What's going on here is precisely what these people were warning about when they said: "Islamism is not the new revolutionary movement against global forces of oppression, as a section of the left in this country erroneously perceives."

It is also what these people were warning about when they said: "After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism . . . a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man’s domination of woman, the Islamists’ domination of all the others."

Mark Cripps, of Hamilton's anti-racism committee, is getting just a bit tired of all this.

So am I.

Friday, August 04, 2006

That's It. I'm Off To The Holy Land. Go Crusaders!

No, not Ireland, ye thick. Newfoundland. And I meant these crusaders. Specifically here, actually. To be among my fellow rogues and murderers.

I'm going by way of Fort Mac, Alberta, where one in five's a Newfoundlander, they say. Or almost anyway.

We'll rant and we'll roar like true Newfoundlanders, We'll rant and we'll roar on deck and below.
Until we see bottom inside the two sunkers, when straight through the Channel to Toslow we'll go.

I's the b'y. Everybody now.

In the meantime, keep an eye out here.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Back In The Day, We Were Against Fascism & War

StopWar is perfectly entitled to argue that pro-war, fascist Jew-killers should be allowed to raise money, propagandize, and otherwise operate freely in Canada. Argue away, you might say to StopWar. Just not in my name.

But that won’t quite do if you’re a member of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, or the Hospital Employees Union, or the Vancouver Green party, or the New Democratic Party, or the United Church of Canada. If you belong to any one of about 160 organizations that StopWar lists as endorsing members, or if you simply happen to live in Vancouver or Burnaby, then StopWar is speaking in your name.

And don’t you dare try to speak for yourself about these things. You will be told you don’t know what you’re talking about, or that you’ve “bought into” something called the neoconservative agenda, or, worse still, that you’re a Zionist.

So, in July 2006, while Israel was fighting for her very life, and Lebanon and Palestine were being ground to bits, and Iraq was descending deeper into a hell of throat-slitting and suicide bombing, Canada’s “antiwar” left had openly opted for war.

And the words on the placards left no doubt about which side it was on: “We Are All Hezbollah”.

In case anyone's curious, the groups StopWar wanted left at large in Canada were 1) Those peace-loving people who only a year before had claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed three Israeli civilians, and 2) The Mahatma Ghandi enthusiasts most famous for hijacking the cruise ship Achille Lauro and singling out a Jew in a wheelchair for the peace-loving treatment of being tossed overboard to his death.

That's what it's come to, I'm afraid. Back in Toronto, the Canadian Peace Alliance actually opposes a UN peacekeeping force being sent in to sort things out: "Israel and the US are set on complete destruction of any democratic opposition that is against the rule of the US puppets. The call for a NATO or UN force is merely an attempt to bring international legitimacy to those goals."

Well, not in my name, thank you very much.

Not in Pat Martin's name, either: "As a trade unionist and an NDP MP, I do not want to be associated in any way with the Ontario CUPE resolution on Israel, not do I want anyone to think that the labour movement, the NDP, or the Left generally, is anti-Israel."

These guys would want precisely that, but there's a problem: "Israeli agents represented by the Canadian Zionists succeeded in nominating some NDP candidates and in co-opting others, as part of a plan orchestrated by Israel and its supporters."

Those good auld Israeli agents. They're just everywhere.

It's all leaving the NDP wobbling around up there on a tightrope.

At least this guy gets it.

Meanwhile, the NDP lost Tarek Fatah earlier this month, and now he's been driven from his post with the Muslim Canadian Congress by the same sort of the people who open their arms to white supremacists.

But maybe that's not fair. It is getting hard to tell the fascists from the pacifists in all this, after all.

Just don't be giving me a hard time about how this isn't what Canadians of the left are really about. I know that already.

Stand up and be counted yourself.

UPDATE: Britain's National Union of Students stands up to be counted and condemns George Galloway for his praise of a "racist, antisemitic fascist."

Let's be having you then.