Friday, July 27, 2012

A Note To Vic

     Photograph by: Reuters , Postmedia News via the Vancouver Sun

To the Hon Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews
Somewhere in the back woods of Alberta

Hey Vic.  Hope you are having a nice summer vacation.  You must be quite busy with the dock or something, so this Omar Khadr thing is going to have to wait.  Anyway, the Americans have him all locked up safe and sound until you get around to it.  Maybe after Labour Day.  Or Thanksgiving.  You are the Minister for Public Fucking Safety, after all.  Its your decision.

So this Khadr guy's lawyers claim Canada had a deal to take him and put him in a Canadian prison.  But it wasn't real for keeps deal.  It was more like a suggestion.  A proposal.  A trial balloon.  Not in any way a commitment.  The Americans don't really want him to leave, they just have to say that. They love him.  He's the only jihadi in Guantanamo who's ever up for a party.  The rest just lay around whining.

Besides, the guy is a fucking terrorist!  The Minister of Public Fucking Safety doesn't let terrorists into Canada.  The Minister if Public Fucking Safety keeps terrorists OUT of Canada.  He's not really a Canadian anyway.  His parents were fake Canadians.  That makes him a fake Canadian too.  So he was a child soldier.  So he was tortured.  So the evidence against him is full of holes.  So fucking what?  He must be guilty of something.  The Americans say so.  You don't end up in Guantanamo for skipping Sunday School.

So, its your decision.  But you have to be careful.  You can't risk Khadr escaping from a Canadian prison, or getting sprung by some idiot judge.   In 10 minutes, he'll be massacring American Combat Medics all over the Eaton's Center.  We all know he's got hand grenades.  Harper would ream your ass so hard you'd have shit come out your nose.

No Vic.  Stick to your guns and keep at that dock, or whatever.  There's no hurry.  Its not like Khadr is going anywhere.  To tell the truth, we don't want him back anyway.  So many problems.  So many complications.  Can't anything ever be simple?  But you know, there's all that information you need to study before making a decision.  Years and years of transcripts to go over!  Trials, and interrogations, and intelligence and background and lots of other stuff too!  It could take a long time.  A very long time.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Crisis of Capitalism

 The Wages of Sin, Apparently

Among the scandals that have surfaced since the US sub-prime market came apart in 2008, the currently unraveling LIBOR (London Inter-Bank Offer Rate) fixing conspiracy is the granddaddy of them all.  The interest rates for inter-bank lending in London might seem remote, but LIBOR influences every credit instrument a consumer can buy.  Mortgages, car loans, credit card rates, home equity loans, almost everything with an interest rate is based partly on LIBOR.  So if banks were fixing LIBOR, you are paying for it.

The Economist, not exactly a bunch of Marxists, said that the scandal exposes “the rotten heart of finance”.  They posit that the resulting lawsuits could amount to hundreds of billions of dollars in penalties for the banks involved.  Some of the remaining too big to fail banks may fail as a result, leading to more bailouts.  And the list of banks being investigated is breathtaking; Barclays (who co-operated and got hammered in the press), Royal Bank of Scotland, Citi, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, UBS and Deutche Bank.  That’s just for starters.  Even the Bank of Fucking England, and possibly the US Fed were involved.  Investigations are going on in the US, UK, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, and the EU.

LIBOR is supposed to be the shining example of what an efficient market can do.  Fixing the rate should result in market imbalances that attract arbitrage which re-balances the market.  Clearly, this did not happen.  Probably because too many people were in on the game, probably because the imbalances were being concealed as well.  Rather than being the proof of market efficiency (the key advantage of a capitalist system), the scandal proves that there can be no efficient markets without regulation and policing.  Pure Capitalism doesn’t work, just like pure Marxism didn’t work.  Both, it seems, devolved into utterly corrupt, unaccountable gangs of thieves that enriched themselves at everyone else’s expense.