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Montreal Simon: Can War Be Made to Look Too Beautiful?

It was the most stunning and beautiful tribute to those who died in the First World War I have ever seen.

A sea of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London, one for every British or Commonwealth soldier killed in that war.

But now the poppies are being uprooted.

The Christmas lights are going on.

And when Sainsbury's, a big supermarket chain, tried to mix war and Christmas, it was accused of making war look too BEAUTIFUL…Read more »

wmtc: e.u. advocate general ruling strongly supports claim of war resister andré shepherd

The fight for justice for US war resisters took a major step forward yesterday, with a ruling strongly in favour of war resister André Shepherd. In the legal case of U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd (37) the European Court of Justice Advocate General, Eleanor Sharpton, today published her final opinion. This official statement contains guiding deliberations for the interpretation of the so-called Qualification Directive of the European Union. Amongst other considerations, these rules state that those endangered by prosecution or punishment for refusal to perform military service involving an illegal war or commital of war crimes, should be protected (Read more…)

wmtc: 11.11: honour the dead by committing to peace

Robert Fisk, in The Independent: But as the years passed, old Bill Fisk became very ruminative about the Great War. He learned that Haig had lied, that he himself had fought for a world that betrayed him, that 20,000 British dead on the first day of the Somme – which he mercifully avoided because his first regiment, the Cheshires, sent him to Dublin and Cork to deal with another 1916 “problem” – was a trashing of human life. In hospital and recovering from cancer, I asked him once why the Great War was fought. “All I can tell you, (Read more…)

wmtc: kevin vickers, nathan cirillo, and canada’s response to recent acts of violence

I’ve been thinking a lot about Kevin Vickers. By now the world knows Vickers’ name: he is the sergeant-at-arms of the Parliament of Canada, and his quick thinking and courage undoubtedly saved lives. Vickers shot killed Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who had already killed one person and appeared intent on killing others.

Vickers is a hero. But my thoughts of him are filled not with adulation, but with sorrow. Imagine going to work one day, a day like any other, and by the time the day is done, you have taken a human life. You have killed a man at close range. (Read more…)

wmtc: "these acts were drive by hatred, but also designed to drive us to hate. they will not."

We woke up this morning in a country blessed by love, diversity and peace, and tomorrow we will do the same. These acts were driven by hatred, but also designed to drive us to hate. They will not.

Thomas Mulcair

I offer my sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of Nathan Cirillo, on the tragic and senseless loss of their loved one.

I offer condolences to the family and friends of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. He, too, is gone, and leaves both sorrow and bewilderment behind.

I offer my sympathies and condolences to all the survivors in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, (Read more…)

wmtc: a war resister connects the dots: canada, is this the war you want to fight?

A U.S. war resister in Canada writes in this NOW Magazine. Very soon you will begin to hear about Canadian planes sending “humanitarian aid” of food and medical supplies to those affected by the fighting. . . .

And now ISIL is touted as the new enemy from the darkness as if their emergence was not foreseeable. In reality, ISIL is just the latest incarnation of a very old xenophobic sect of Islam, the Wahhabi movement, finding new breath in the aftermath of yet another war. Our bombs have only made them stronger, just as they always have.

The Harper Conservatives are (Read more…)

wmtc: u.s. war resisters in canada are at serious risk. here’s how you can help.

The War Resisters Support Campaign is facing an unprecedented crisis. Since war resister Kimberly Rivera was forced out of the country in September 2012, there had been no movement on any war resister’s case.

Then, within one month, five war resisters received notices that decisions have been made in their cases. Two of these have been given removal dates (i.e. they have been told to leave the country by a certain date). We expect similar negative outcomes in the other cases – and we don’t know who else will receive a notice tomorrow or next week.

The Campaign (Read more…)

wmtc: thank you, thomas mulcair and the new democrats: thank you for saying no to war

Today I feel so much better about living in Canada. Once again, we have a political party that says no to war. A political party that says no to letting the US dictate Canadian foreign policy. I now feel much better about voting NDP in the next federal election… which can’t come soon enough!

It’s a shrewd political move on the part of Thomas Mulcair, polarizing the field with the Liberals and Conservatives on one side and the New Democrats on the other. I have no doubt it’s politically motivated, but why should I care about motives, when the end (Read more…)

wmtc: what i’m reading: how i live now, excellent (youth) novel by meg rosoff

Last year, I wrote about an excellent, unusual youth novel called There Is No Dog, by Meg Rosoff. I recently read the author’s 2004 debut novel, How I Live Now, and I’m here to lay down a flat-out rave review.

Most of How I Live Now is told from the point of view of a teenaged narrator, in a present-tense first-person stream of thought, with long, rambling sentences and minimal punctuation. I often have problems with quirky or immature narrators as the voice feels forced and inauthentic to me. I found some famous and popular novels unreadable because (Read more…)

wmtc: do canadians support a war against isis? not so much.

When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, Canadians protested in huge numbers, adding their voices to the unprecedented global outcry against the “pre-emptive” war. It was that massive public support – almost statistical unanimity – that allowed Jean Chretien to keep Canadian Forces out of the war. Even Stephen Harper, who as Opposition Leader was as gung-ho as any Connecticut Cowboy, has since admitted that the war was “absolutely an error“. What’s more, even most USians now agree that other countries, such as Canada, were right to not support the invasion.

Now, we’re told, it’s different. ISIS, (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Screaming Voices

It was one of the weirdest most surrealistic days in the long and dark history of Harperland.A day when all the voices in Stephen Harper's head seemed to be screaming at the same time.WAR !!!! PEACE !!!! EARLY ELECTION !!!!And in the House of Commons madness ruled.Read more »

wmtc: will canada become a country continually at war? or, stephen harper gets his wish in iraq

I had been living in Canada but a few short months when Stephen Harper, as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, formed his first minority government. At the time, this blog hosted an active and lively ongoing discussion about Canadian culture and politics, and my personal acculturation. I did not like Harper or his Conservatives, but I balked at what I saw as hyperbole from certain progressive people: Harper will turn Canada into the United States. I felt the two countries were different enough to make that particular magic trick impossible.

Now, almost ten years later, at least a (Read more…)

wmtc: it’s september and u.s. war resisters in canada are at risk for deportation

Two years ago, almost to the day, US war resister Kimberly Rivera and her family were forced out of Canada by the Harper Government. Kim – peace activist, artist, mother, dreamer – crossed the border and was immediately taken away in handcuffs. She served more than a year in prison, separated from her husband and children. Her crime: refusing to kill innocent civilians in Iraq, and refusing to risk being killed and leaving her own children without a mother. When news of her removal from Canada was announced in Canada’s House of Commons, the Conservative MPs applauded.

Now it is (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: What Excuse Will Stephen Harper Use to Trigger An Early Election?

He is not supposed to call an election until October 19, 2015 according to his own fixed-date election law.But everybody knows that Stephen Harper won't hesitate to hold one if and when it suits him.The question is what excuse will he use to trigger an election?And could it be a clash with the federal public service unions? Read more »

wmtc: thank you, charley richardson! your legacy lives on

On Labour Day, I happened to see this on Twitter:

I am on my union’s labour-management committee, the group that meets monthly with management to discuss members’ concerns and try to resolve issues. I was intrigued and followed the link that Rank and File had posted.

To my surprise, the original “how to” advice was written by the late Charley Richardson, who passed away in 2013. I knew of Charley, mostly by his outsize reputation, from another part of his life: along with his wife Nancy Lessin, he co-founded Military Families Speak Out.

MFSO is now defunct, but the organization (Read more…)

wmtc: things i heard at the library: an occasional series: #15! one that makes me very happy!

The conversation was simple enough.

Teenage girl: “Where is the nonfiction?”

Me: “Nonfiction is upstairs, but it’s organized according to subject. There should be some nonfiction books on the Bingo display.”

Teen: “I think they’re all gone.”

Me: “OK, we’ll find you something. What would you like to read about?”

Teen: “So far I’ve read one nonfiction book. It was about a man who left the war in Iraq. It was called The Deserter’s Tale. I loved it.”

!!!!!!!!!!!

Why did this make me so unreasonably happy?

1. War resisters! Teens reading about moral choices! Teens (Read more…)

wmtc: israel slaughters palestinians, pays for online propaganda, and north americans gobble up the bait

I’ve been trying to write about Israel’s latest slaughter of Palestinian people ever since the hideous spectacle began, without results. I post little bits of horror and disgust on Facebook, but can’t sustain anything worth posting here. Because… what is there to say?

A mighty military power unleashes deadly force against a civilian population. Some people within that population have dared to use violence to resist their own oppression. Therefore the entire population must be terrorized, hundreds murdered, thousands maimed, lives destroyed.

Another great military power and a second-tier military wannabe* rush to the defense of the military power, (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: CJPME Urges Canada to Stop Dithering and Let Syrian Refugees In

The Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) urges Canada to resettle at least 5,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2014.

The post CJPME Urges Canada to Stop Dithering and Let Syrian Refugees In appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

The Canadian Progressive: F-35 Fighter Jet Too Dangerous For Canadian Air Force, Says Report

by: Obert Madondo | June 9, 2014

A new report released Monday is urging the Harper Government to shelve its plans to purchase F-35 fighter jets to replace Canada’s aging CF-18 fleet.

The report, entitled “One Dead Pilot: Single-Engine F-35s a Bad Choice,” was released by the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The report was written by University of British Columbia political science professor Michael Byers, who recently won the $50,000 Donner Prize for his book International Law and the Arctic.

Reuters recently reported that the Conservatives would soon be purchasing 65 F-35 fighters.

(Read more…)

wmtc: what i’m reading: the book thief, an anti-war novel

I’m sure many of you have read The Book Thief, Markus Zusak’s youth novel about a German girl and her (non-biological) family during World War II. If you haven’t yet read it, I recommend it.

I had little interest in reading this book. I picked it up for professional reasons: it has been one of the most popular youth novels since its publication in 2005, and I intended to skim it, to get the gist. This book didn’t care what I had in mind. The opening was so intriguing that I kept reading, and before long I was completely (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Great Warrior Leader Delusion

It's scary enough that the wonky nerd Stephen Harper should see himself as a Great Warrior Leader, a strategic genius on a par with Napoleon. Or that he is both an avid student of Stalin AND an ardent believer in The Rapture.Who is presently trying to trigger a superpower confrontation in Ukraine, by among other things comparing Putin to Hitler.And apparently hypnotizing Prince Charles into believing the same thing.

Just to win votes in Canada.But what makes all of this even more deeply disturbing, is that the Orwellian monster Stephen Harper is actually trying to rewrite this country's history. Read more »

. . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Great Warrior Leader Delusion

wmtc: military propaganda at sports events reaches new extremes: continuous recruitment ads at baseball games

I’ve recently returned from a lovely trip to Boston, filled with so many of my favourite things: friends, family, books, and baseball.

I love Fenway Park, and I’m always happy to be there. On this trip, we saw three great games, two of them wins, so I was thrilled. The games were marred by only one thing: nearly constant propaganda for the US military. This is not an exaggeration.

Throughout Fenway Park, as in many sports venues, there are monitors showing a TV feed of the action on the field. Right now, between innings, the Fenway Park monitors show (Read more…)

wmtc: march 19, 2003: don’t call it a failure. it was a huge success for so many.

Eleven years ago today, the US invaded Iraq.

This unprovoked invasion of another country that had not threatened the United States was justified by the pretense of finding weapons of mass destruction (which the US knew did not exist), and as payback for 9/11 (which the US knew Iraq had no part in), and by of ridding the world of Saddam Hussein (who was trained and financed by the US). Many such rationales were advanced, including a a Christian crusade against Muslims.

None of the stated rationales for the invasion mentioned the massive profiteering that would reap trillions in profits (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Ukraine Crisis: The Harper Conservatives Are NOT Canada

by: Obert Madondo

Last week’s “Canadian delegation” to Ukraine wasn’t a Canadian delegation. It was an all-Conservative outfit. The opposition was completely shut out.

The shut out reminds me of how Third World tyrants do politics. How they exploit global crises to score cheap domestic political points. The shut out makes a mockery of our multi-party liberal democracy. And the idea of by-partisanship that comes with it.

But shut-out is mostly part of the Conservatives’ campaign to retain power in 2015. It’s part of the effort to woo the ethnic vote, something the Conservatives would have to do on a (Read more…)

wmtc: support-the-troops hypocrisy continues; angry veterans call for fantino’s resignation

I am posting this article mainly so the commenter called “conservatives are lying scum” can repost his or her comments here. (You can currently read them on this old post: harper’s support for veterans: wear a poppy. do nothing else.) Veterans who were in Ottawa to lobby against the closing of their regional offices left a brief, emotional meeting Tuesday with Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino visibly frustrated and saying they were disrespected.

The federal government has already closed one office in Prince George, B.C., and plans to close eight more on Jan. 31.

In a news (Read more…)