"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ladies & Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen

Flying Spagetti Monster bless the National Film Board of Canada.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dick Cheney - diplomat

I suppose Cheney would have advised Obama to grab the emperor by the lapels, tell him to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki and go tend his goldfish?

From The National ToastPost

Former vice-president Dick Cheney is attacking Barack Obama again, this time for the U.S. President’s bow to the Japanese Emperor.
Cheney told POLITICO.com, “There is no reason for an American president to bow to anyone. Our friends and allies don’t expect it, and our enemies see it as a sign of weakness.”

Would someone please take the stick out of Dick Cheney's ass and wallop him upside the head with it? Bowing to people when you meet and when you part is a sign of respect and courtesy in Japan, just like shaking hands in the West. It is such an ingrained habit here that I've seen people do it when they say hello and goodbye on the telelphone. Gee Dick, I wonder where all that anti-American sentiment around the world comes from? It couldn't possibly be from arrogant corporate plutocrats like you who fail to demonstrate any respect or common courtesy for other people, could it? Imagine the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth if a world leader refused to shake the offered hand of the U.S. president?
Treating others with courtesy, consideration and generousity -- even forgiveness or forebearence where appropriate -- is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength and confidence. Blowing your stack at every perceived slight, real or imagined, and behaving like a petulant meglomaniac is the classic trait of every two-bit tyrant and petty dictator in history. Hardly surprising the rest of the world heaved a sigh of relief when Dick Cheney and his band of chest-thumping hicks left the White House.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sell a few Michelangelos and feed Africa this year

I think most reasonable people, where ever they are on the political spectrum, would agree that hunger and poverty are objectively bad things and the fact that one in six people on this planet does not get enough to eat is pretty awful, especially when we in the wealthy developed world look at the plenty that surrounds us.

So when I saw this story about the UN food conference in Rome, it perturbed me. As usual, all the diplomats sitting at the banquet table agree that hunger in the poorer nations is a terrible thing and "somebody ought to do something about it" - at least, they all agree until coughing up some money to irrigate fields in Africa or start fish farms in South East Asia or build better dykes in Bangladesh is discussed and then suddenly everyone is full of excuses.

But then I read a little further and got really ticked off.

"Despite endorsing the strategy in the first hours of Monday's meeting, the 192 participating countries did not commit to the $44 billion a year for agricultural aid that the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says will be necessary in the coming decades.
Soon after the delegates approved the declaration, Pope Benedict took the floor to decry "opulence and waste" in a world where the "tragedy" of hunger has been steadily worsening. Benedict's speech marked the first time a pontiff attended such a gathering since Pope John Paul II took part in a 1996 food summit.
The pontiff, lending his moral authority as head of the world's 1 billion Catholics, also called for access to international markets for products coming from the poorest countries, which he said are often relegated to the sidelines."

The Pope, who insists that every sperm is sacred and his flock must keep having lots and lots of Catholic babies, who lives in a golden palace full of priceless art in his own nation-state in the middle of Rome with his own private army and bank (estimated to have at least $10 billion invested in foreign corporations), who presides over a global organization that brings in an estimated $50 to $100 million a year in donations alone, who made sure that the Church spent millions defending pedophiles in the U.S. and elsewhere and who wears simply fabulous hats, is decrying "opulence and waste."

Yeah, right.

Sure, the Catholic Church is one of the world's largest charitable organizations and Catholic charities do a lot of good work, but how many of "Peter's Pence" get spent on running a parallel religious school system where there is already a perfectly good public school system? How much of that money is going to the pay for the Monsignor's Cadillac? What is the ratio of bibles to bags of rice that are getting shipped to starving nations? How much is getting spent on making women feel bad about seeking an abortion or using birth control? How many lives, how many man-hours of labour, skull-sweat and angst have been dedicated to appeasing an invisible sky-daddy instead of helping humans in the here and now?

I'm not saying the Catholic Church (or any other church for that matter) doesn't do good works -- it does provide some vital services in some pretty grim places around the world. But for God's self-proclaimed spokesman on Earth to sit in the lap of luxury and start railing about "opulence and waste" is just a bit rich.

Columbus, go home

the General shows us someone who knows how to best handle the teabagger/minutemen xenophobic dingbats, with mockery.