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Europe, Canada and US

Canadians assess aftermath of Harper holocaust

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Canada’s prime minister for the past nine years, Stephen Harper, led a charmed life until the October 19 federal election. Canada’s first-past-the-post elector system, where three parties—two left-liberal and one conservative—have split the vote election after election, allowed him to hold power with a third of the popular vote.

The traditional source of political power in Canada is the Liberal Party, but they lost power after a string of scandals and weak leadership a decade ago, and Harper, having captured the traditionally moderate “Progressive Conservatives” and inserted his radical rightwing followers, used the electoral split to pursue a divisive, unjust agenda.

For pro-Israeli, pro-war, anti-environment, anti-science, anti-culture types, he was perfect. But for people concerned about human rights, the environment, promoting the arts and maintaining Canada’s reputation as a nation that promotes world peace, and is a haven for scientific development, he has been the worst prime minister in history. 

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Is there an ideology of Bushism?

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Until recently, Bushism referred only to George W Bush's infamous malaproprisms, such as "they misunderestimated me", "make the pie higher". As Americans gear up for the 2016 presidential elections, it is coming to mean something completely different. Two dynasties are competing for the presidency. Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush will most likely face off, the former the spouse of the popular Bill Clinton (1992—1980), the latter, the younger brother of the now reviled George Bush junior (2001—2008), herein Bush II—both sons of George HW Bush senior (vice president 1980-1987, president 1988—1991).

Elites, dynasties, families, and even tribes have always been governing society. Conspiracy theorists refer to such elements as “the deep state,” a coalition of (some believe) occult forces exercising real power regardless of who is nominally in charge. Does the US have its own “deep state” too? Yes, but only a few families can be called both deep staters and political leaders. Logically, Bushism would mean a family dynasty from the deep state, in harmony with the elites, able to convince the voters that they are providing the best political leadership, given the economic system in place.

This clan rule has been the norm in pre-capitalism, and continues to some extent in the third world; for example, in Syria under the rule of the Assads and it seems to be shaping up for the Karimovs in Uzbekistan. But it has not been the rule in the West. America had a father-son president in the 19th century (John and John Quincy Adam) and a grandfather-grandson (William and Benjamin Harrison). The Roosevelts, too, produced two presidents, uncle and nephew Theodore and Franklin. The Kennedys had their own dynastic ambitions but were stopped after just one president, John F., because both he and his most likely successor Robert were assassinated. But there was no sense of a dynasty in any of these instances. None of them were deep staters.

The Bush clan is by far the most important such dynasty. In addition to two presidents and a likely third, they also include congressmen, senators and governors. Just how coherent their politics are is moot. But the Bush family has been intimately connected with power for a century now, and thus are supported by the deep state to be president, who is (or should be for the powers that be) mostly a figurehead, following the policies necessary to maintain the US as world hegemon.

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Iran's legacy: 'Ayatollah Khomeini is alive'

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The commemoration of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on the 26th anniversary of his passing took place at the Islamic Center of York Region on May 31. Among the speakers was Moulana Zaki Baqri, Zafar Bangash and myself. Despite hate-filled demonstrators with placards and megaphones, threatening attendees, 400 people came. Sadly, many others turned back, intimidated by the angry demonstrators.

The protesters, over 100 Iranian Canadians, Jewish Zionists and even elected politicians, were denouncing Ayatollah Khomeini as an unjust dictator, though the topic of the conference was “Khomeini's fight against injustice”. Richmond Hill MPP, Iranian Canadian Reza Moridi, called the commemoration “a shame”, though he didn't consider his joining the Jewish Defense League and B'Nai Brith in the uncultured screaming and threats of violence a shame as a Muslim and an Iranian.

 

Zafar Bangash told one journalist that if the demonstrators were against injustice, why were they demonstrating against the struggle against injustice? His only conclusion was that they supported injustice. This is starkly demonstrated by their support for Israel, and the policies of injustice in Palestine perpetrated by the Israelis and supported by the Zionist demonstrators.

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Greece: Breaking out of the Euro prison

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Slaying the Euro monitaur is not easy. Greeks have been suffering for years now, having learned the hard way that prosperity with shiny euros in their hands was not miraculously just waiting around the corner. What was waiting was a hoard of German bankers, eager to buy up Greek islands for winter vacations, sleazy banks eager to syphon Greek earnings into offshore accounts, and more schemes by high financiers.

The poor are mere pawns in this game, and even when they elect a radical anti-Euro government, their politicians are strong-armed into acceding to bailout plans, in hopes that the anger will abate and the 'euro march will proceed apace.

This continues, with the current Greek party in power SYRIZA (from the roots).

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Harper's Robin Hood fantasy

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Fans of both musicals and Stephen Harper will find pleasure in Ed Mirvish's “The Heart Of Robin Hood” where the doughty defender of the poor goes after the nasty imperialist interlopers of the legitimate king.

Much as I mourn the unnecessary deaths of Canadian soldiers Richelieu and Doiron last week, I am angered not by Iraqis, who are doing whatever they do to drive the unwelcome guests out of their country. It is Harper, seeing a political fillip in the making that is the cause of their deaths.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

Europe, Canada & USA

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html