All Canadians go through life with a terrible, terrible shame. We meet people from other countries and grudgingly admit our nationality. They say 'Isn't Conrad Black also a Canadian?' Tragically, we've had to allow that he is. But no longer! Conrad Black is renouncing his Canadian citizenship so he can become a British Lord (his arch enemy Jean Chretien, with the able assistance of the Ontario Court of Appeal, has determined he can't be both a Canadian citizen and a British Lord). If that wasn't grand enough, Black is also promising not to comment on Canadian affairs from now on! Our national nightmare is over. Don't believe everything you read.
The war in and around Macedonia, which disappeared for a while, has started up again. The bizarre thing about it is that the United States appears to be supporting both the Macedonians and the Albanian rebels. This is a strategy which must be intended to lead to long term uncertainty and disruption in both Macedonia and the whole region. What long-term goal of the United States is served by this? I find the conspiracy-theory guesses to be unsatisfactory as everyone lacks information on the hidden U. S. goals in the area. Does the odd U. S. policy have to do with the drug smuggling trade? With oil? With other natural resources? With general control over the Balkans? Or is it just keeping all the balls in the air with a view to keeping all options open?
This is a fair summary of the current movement towards corporate totalitarianism through the use of 'free trade' agreements. Adam Smith would not recognize the trade structures of our time as he always assumed that capital would not move from its national origin. If trade were truly to be made free: 1) labour would be able to move as freely as capital, and 2) trade agreements would not contain new extreme protections for intellectual property. As labour cannot move but capital can, 'free trade' agreements create an advantage for capital over labour (which we can easily see in the increasing disparities in wealth distribution). The extreme protection for intellectual property puts the lie to the idea that these agreements are actually about real free trade.
This is an interesting article connecting the social and political problems of addiction to globalism and ultra-capitalism. Our social conditions lead us to be addicted to many things, but for various reasons only some of our addictions are labelled 'problems'. It is extremely unlikely that there would ever be large economic changes to reduce the problematic addictions as: 1) these addictions don't tend to affect the elites, and 2) the elites make a lot of money catering to these addictions. Turbo-capitalism causes the addiction and then, through the miracle of the free market system, makes money selling the addictive substances. (It is instructive of how far Marx has fallen out of popularity in academic thought that he is hardly mentioned at all in the article and there is no reference to the concept of 'commodity fetishism'.)
The fact that International Monetary Fund involvement in the economies of struggling nations almost always leads to disasterous consequences for the poor of those nations is not a coincidence. It's all part of a predictable four-part plan of neo-colonialism. Whatever the noble intent of the founders of the IMF, the thing has been twisted into a force of unadulterated evil.
George Bush has come out of the gate more rabidly conservative than anyone could have expected or feared. The compassion in 'compassionate conservatism' has flown off some where, and he's acting like Ronald Reagan to the power of Margaret Thatcher. Given that he wasn't even elected, some thought his lack of mandate would temper his politics and lead to an attempt at compromise. The logic of democracy is that those elected bear some sort of obligation to the electorate, even to those members of the electorate who voted for other candidates. If you weren't elected, but were put into power by the machinations of an oligarchy, presumably the same logic applies. Bush owes his status as President to this oligarchy and perceives his obligations as owing completely to the oligarchy, and not in any way to the electorate.
Jaggi Singh, suddenly famous Canadian anarchist and jailed FTAA protester, has been released on bail. One of the conditions of his bail is that he is prohibited from possessing a megaphone (you really can't make this stuff up). Since his arrest involved alleged possession of a catapult used to throw stuffed toys it is odd that the judge didn't prohibit him from owning any teddy bears.
This is a good interview with the prime minister of Macedonia, Ljubco Georgievski. Isn't it amazing how all hell was supposed to break loose in Macedonia, and a few weeks later we hear not a word about it?
Weekend at Cheney's The current imbroglio with the late Strom Thurmon reminds me of that staple of comedy where the plot turns on the necessity of hiding a death, with the laughs coming with the attempts to pass the corpse off as a live body. The Republicans desperately need Thurmon's vote in the Senate to continue to strip more assets from the U. S. A., and appear to use a combination of ventriloquism and robotics to keep up the illusion of Strom vitality after they frog-march his corpse into the Senate each day.