Thursday, 31 December 2009
It's a long list of events and decisions, engineered by Stevie's bullies (the PMO, John Baird, Jason Kenney, Tom Flanagan) and his Attack Parrots™© in the House of Commons and in the Senate that have dragged Canada down to the level of Southern Hemisphere dictatorial regimes. Some incidents seem happenstance, though they're actually the product of the malevolent ideology Cons practice and encourage in their bureaucratic peons.
Not to overlook the hateful rhetoric that spews forth when the muzzle slips. Maurice Vellacott - for example.
Stevie Spiteful: the leader from planet Narcissus.
I've nicked CC's title for a post on the same subject.
Well, Harper is setting a lovely precedent for the next Liberal government. When the next Liberal PM decides to prorogue Parliament every time he wants to shut us up, I don't want to hear anyone complaining about it.
No more complaining about the Liberals stacking the Senate, either.
Can I quote you on that, Connie?
Oh. I just did.
And intend to keep it for fucking ever for use when, inevitably, the Reformatories set to SHRIEEEKING about Libtards's antics.
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Your Majesty, we entreat you. Fire your representative. Michaëlle Jean is allowing Canadian democracy to become a joke.
Can we petition the Queen?
Or, maybe Ms Jean will admit she's not up to the job of resisting bully boys and resign.
What would happen then?
A governor general may also resign, and two have died in office. In such a circumstance, or if the Governor General leaves the country for longer than one month, the Chief Justice of Canada (or, if that position is vacant or unavailable, the senior Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court) serves as Administrator of the Government and exercises all powers of the Governor General.
Hmm. I'd betcha Madame Justice McLachlin wouldn't get pushed around.
And she has experience as Administrator of the Government.
When Governor General Adrienne Clarkson was hospitalized for a cardiac pacemaker operation on July 8, 2005, Justice McLachlin served as the Administrator of the Government and performed the duties of the Governor General, including giving royal assent to the Civil Marriage Act, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in Canada. She relinquished that task when the Governor General returned to good health in late July.
And if the Queen did step in, wouldn't it be lovely to hear the shrieks of 'Butbutbut, Canada is a DEMOCRACY!' from the Reformatories?
I'm pissed. The leftie blogosphere is pissed. Even the Freaks are pissed.
Connie Fournier started the thread and said:
I don't care what anyone says, repeated prorogation of Parliament, as a political strategy, is an affront to democracy.
This guy is mad with power!
I snaffed that photo from a poster there named Narrow Back.
She told me the following: when police are called to the scene of an apparent death by hanging and the victim is a woman, they won't assume it was self-inflicted. The body will be removed with cord, rope, or materials seemingly used to cause death left intact so that the evidence can be examined by an expert. It appears that a high percentage of femicides by strangulation are covered up with evidence planted to suggest suicide. There are some knots that can't be tied by oneself. Post-mortem trauma is different, and a forensic scientist can identify the markers of physical injuries that distinguish a garroting inflicted by a second party.
Bad luck for Chris Little, then. His scheme to pin the "honour" killing of his estranged wife on someone else was doomed from the moment he started planning the double murders.
His defense lawyer John Rosen took an approach that required the demonstration that his client's estranged wife had "cheated" on him before they wed, during their marriage and after they separated. Rosen was hoping to show the jury that Little remained dispassionate about his partner's actions and to infer it was the "wronged" woman who had killed Julie Crocker.
The judge did not allow the prosecution to present character witnesses who would have countered Rosen's claims regarding Crocker and Menendez, nor evidence that would have revealed other aspect of Little's criminal behaviour, because the police obtained it in circumstances that violated Chris Little's Charter Rights.
There are of course like-minded men who claim that Little was unjustly accused and unfairly held accountable for crimes that Crocker provoked with her "immoral" behaviour. That was the line of defense Little's lawyer pursued, and the comments posted wherever accounts of the trial were published are from men who believe that Little is innocent and/or justified in his actions. Those men probably wish Canada still had judeo-christian laws that would justify their particular sociopathic feelings towards women.
... the jury didn't hear that Little apparently drugged and sexually assaulted Crocker while she was unconscious, something which was revealed in a court document obtained by The Star.
The jury also never saw the video of the attack, which police found hidden in a basement ceiling of the home where Crocker was murdered. Justice Michelle Fuerst ruled that York Regional Police violated Little's Charter rights in the search that unearthed the video and a pin-hole camera. Exactly when the apparent drugging and sexual assault occurred is not clear.
Tuesday, 29 December 2009
An Alaska judge has ordered the proceedings in Bristol Palin's child custody case to remain open, the Anchorage Daily News reports. [...]
Bristol's attorney Thomas Van Flein said in court filings that Bristol seeks full legal and physical custody in the "best interest of the child," while allowing Johnston visitation rights.
[...] the judge has ordered the proceedings to be open, as Johnston had requested, rather than closed, as Bristol's legal team sought.
"I know that public scrutiny will simplify this matter and act as a check against anyone's need to be overly vindictive, aggressive or malicious, not that Bristol would ever be that way, nor that I would," Johnston writes in his affidavit, according to the Daily News. "But her mother is powerful, politically ambitious and has a reputation for being extremely vindictive."
Let the shrieeeking from the Sarah Palin sycophants, acolytes and uncritical admirers begin.
Although Palin has expressed admiration for mama grizzlies' reaction when their cubs are threatened.
Here is the story of Mason Fullerton's death.
We learn from C. C. - About that whole "fascist" label ... how his bullies handled the spoof government website, after a prank press release highlighted the do-nothing, say-nothing strategy on climate change adopted by the ReformaTories.
Does it come as a surprise to anyone that this Conservative government has taken to emulating the authoritarianism of its new Chinese overlords so smoothly? What's next?
Monday, 28 December 2009
Faith in Choice: A Perspective Panel
Penn State is undergoing curriculum reform to incorporate abortion education. We are located in rural Pennsylvania, and operate in a very conservative environment where anti-choice sentiment is pervasive and sometimes hostile. To disprove the misconception that Americans of faith are unanimously opposed to reproductive freedom, we wanted medical students to hear an underrepresented voice in the ongoing abortion debate.
I contacted many local congregations for speakers. We were fortunate to find wonderful panelists from Episcopalian, Jewish, and Unitarian Universalist backgrounds that were both impassioned and informed on the issue of reproductive choice. We advertised with printed posters around campus and had digital posters emailed to the first- and second-year medical students. We also sent email invitations to members of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith-based student organizations, the Women's Health Interest Group, and the chaplains of our medical center.
The Rabbi gave an analysis of abortion in ancient Hebrew scripture, and the application of scripture in modern day Judaism. The Reverend shared her personal experience with a complicated pregnancy, and the emotional process of considering abortion. The Father discussed his personal experience with interfaith reproductive health initiatives, and the social/political components of this issue.
What an admirable initiative. I'll do some research to see how Canadian medical students for choice are raising awareness with their peers and colleagues.
One of the most vile accusations that islamophobes like Kathy Shaidle and Mark Steyn level at secular and religious muslims and communities is that they do not work with authorities to prevent terrorist acts.
Yet Dr Umaru Mutallab, father of the alleged terrorist who set off an explosive device in a plane about to land in Detroit on Xmas day, did bring notice to the US authorities that his son might be a security risk.
As usual, the mooz-lim haters are silent on this point, since it contradicts the party line.
Sunday, 27 December 2009
If You're Just Tuning In ...
The Dish has been live-blogging the latest phase of the Green Revolution through the night, since 11 pm EST last night. We recommend scrolling down to the bottom and reading up to get a flavor of how today unfolded in real time. The images and videos are among the most graphic to date, so be warned. Dish policy is to provide as much information on reality as we can. Readers should also know that these videos are by their very nature impossible to confirm beyond a very rough due diligence. So again: caution. But this is an historic moment, the culmination of the biggest story of the year, even though you wouldn't know it from the Sunday talk shows.
Amazing -- and yes, graphic -- vids, photos, and reports.
Over at Canadian Cynic, psa blogged a response - Adventures In Thinkering! (Redux) - to comments about an earlier blogpost.
In the combox, CWTF asked someone, anyone to dissect the above pic.
DJ! is always, ready and willing to rise to any challenge that might provide an opportunity to smack down Stevie Spiteful. A larger format is available here for those who wish to scrutinize the details, here. The original, here.
1) The stride. Mom and kids are walking naturally. Stevie has a stiff-leg gait, like a low-rent goose-step.
Yet another whining screed where SHE spins HER usual glurge and obfuscation:
"I know that some animal rights types *do* feel some affinity for the unborn; feminists however, feel none. They simply do not care if the baby dies, and will never admit the slightest amount of pity for him. Because they know their movement rests on dehumanizing the unborn, guaranteeing the illusory autonomy they so ravenously crave. I have noticed that feminists rarely challenge me on this point."Most of the fatuous claims that SHE makes could be challenged, but what would be the point? SHE believes every piece of prevarication, platitude, cliché, truthiness, ideology, dogma, and glurge that SHE posts.
A while back, SHE claimed men were repelled by feminists. That was surprising news for the majority of men who love and admire their feminist mothers, sisters, daughters, spouses, friends, neighbours and colleagues.
Observe what happens when I tweak her text and substitute a few words.
"I know that some fundamentalist religious types *do* feel some affinity for Fetal Support Units; zealots however, feel none. They simply do not care if the *woman* dies, and will never admit the slightest amount of pity for her. Because they know their ideology rests on dehumanizing the female, guaranteeing them the illusory domination they so ravenously crave. I have noticed that zealots rarely challenge me on this point."Project much, Blob Blogging Wingnut?
Saturday, 26 December 2009
One should be grateful that Pope Maledict's stalker only seemingly wanted to cuddle him and that she eschewed the tactic Berlusconi's rabid fan used to get his attention. Following the "logic" of that stealth approach - smacking a cheap statuette of Milan's gothic cathedral the Duomo into the Italian PM's face - one can only imagine how Ratzy's daemon lover, possibly armed with an effigy of la Cicciolina, might have wielded it.
Ah, Italy! The passion! The politics!
Armstrong wrote in her Xmas opinion piece for the LATimes:
As you can imagine, Armstrong's ecumenical perspective does not sit well with theocrats and islamophobic christofascists. This review is typical of her detractors. I was curious about her Charter for Compassion and so checked it out.
Unconcerned about historical accuracy, therefore, Matthew and Luke tell entirely different stories. Placed at the beginning of their Gospels, the infancy narratives act as a preface, giving the reader a foretaste of how each evangelist understood Jesus' mission. [...]
The Gospels paint a picture that is very different from the cozy stable scene on the Christmas cards. They speak of deprivation and displacement. The Messiah himself is an outsider. There is no room in the inn, so Mary has to give birth in the 1st-century equivalent of an urban alleyway. As victims of Herod's tyranny, the Holy Family become refugees; other innocents are slaughtered. [...]
For Luke, the pregnant Mary becomes a prophetess, proclaiming a new order in which the lowly will be exalted and the mighty pulled down from their thrones. [...] For the faithful and nonbelievers, for Christmas celebrators and skeptics, this is how to answer the question of what the season means: Religion has often been used to endorse an iniquitous status quo. But the Christmas story is a salutary reminder that faith has also encouraged radical visions for a more compassionate world.
We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.The power of this document lies of course, with those who are able to put its principles into practice. Easier said than done, when facing down shrieeekkking religious zealots, all spewing hatred in the name of their deity.
Friday, 25 December 2009
Perhaps the awkward fact that the mom asked about a $30. reward for turning in a shoplifter and that she doesn't belong to any visible minority groups rightwingers enjoy trashing, just about dampened any good spin somebody might get from flogging this "news" item.
An Ohio woman who asked that police be called after she caught her 6-year-old daughter shoplifting a package of stickers said Wednesday that she was just trying to teach the girl a lesson early in life.
Diane Lyons said she doesn't believe she overreacted when she discovered the girl, Shiane, had taken the $3.11 package of stickers used to make temporary tattoos. Lyons' 10-year-old daughter told her about the theft.
Chief Ronald Yeager of the Carrollton Police Department in eastern Ohio arrived at the Discount Drug Mart Dec. 15 and took the girl to the police station in his cruiser [...]
Update: On the topic of different parenting styles, Andrew Sullivan reminds us of what has been said about $arah in that regard, by Levi Johnston. Wonder if he'll have to wait for Bristol to get away from her mother's control before he gets a chance to see his son again?
Exactly what did Harper do in Copenhagen? Didn't in fact Stevie Passive refuse to participate actively in the discussions and negotiations, and thus tacitly supported China's strategy at the climate change conference?
A war of words has erupted between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the premier of Quebec, with Jean Charest tearing a strip off Ottawa's environmental performance.
In 25 years in politics, Charest says, he's never seen a federal government rely so heavily on the White House before taking a position on an issue, with Ottawa now saying it will model its climate policy on Washington's.
China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful "deal" so western leaders would walk away carrying the blame. [...] China's strategy was simple: block the open negotiations for two weeks, and then ensure that the closed-door deal made it look as if the west had failed the world's poor once again. And sure enough, the aid agencies, civil society movements and environmental groups all took the bait.
[Mark Lynas] saw Obama fighting desperately to salvage a deal, and the Chinese delegate saying "no", over and over again. [...] the Sudanese delegate Lumumba Di-Aping, who denounced the Copenhagen accord as "a suicide pact, an incineration pact, in order to maintain the economic dominance of a few countries". Sudan behaves at the talks as a puppet of China; one of a number of countries that relieves the Chinese delegation of having to fight its battles in open sessions. It was a perfect stitch-up. China gutted the deal behind the scenes, and then left its proxies to savage it in public.
Here's what actually went on late last Friday night, as heads of state from two dozen countries met behind closed doors. Obama was at the table for several hours, sitting between Gordon Brown and the Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi. The Danish prime minister chaired, and on his right sat Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the UN. Probably only about 50 or 60 people, including the heads of state, were in the room. [...]
The Chinese premier, Wen Jinbao, did not deign to attend the meetings personally, instead sending a second-tier official in the country's foreign ministry to sit opposite Obama himself. The diplomatic snub was obvious and brutal, as was the practical implication: several times during the session, the world's most powerful heads of state were forced to wait around as the Chinese delegate went off to make telephone calls to his "superiors".
To those who would blame Obama and rich countries in general, know this: it was China's representative who insisted that industrialised country targets, previously agreed as an 80% cut by 2050, be taken out of the deal. "Why can't we even mention our own targets?" demanded a furious Angela Merkel. Australia's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, was annoyed enough to bang his microphone. Brazil's representative too pointed out the illogicality of China's position. Why should rich countries not announce even this unilateral cut? The Chinese delegate said no, and [...] Merkel threw up her hands in despair and conceded the point.
Now we know why – because China bet, correctly, that Obama would get the blame for the Copenhagen accord's lack of ambition. China, backed at times by India, then proceeded to take out all the numbers that mattered. A 2020 peaking year in global emissions, essential to restrain temperatures to 2C, was removed and replaced by woolly language suggesting that emissions should peak "as soon as possible". The long-term target, of global 50% cuts by 2050, was also excised.
So, back to Stevie Spiteful's shameful performance in Copenhagen. Remember where Stevie traveled before he went to Denmark?
A capitalist country that's perfected a secular model of authoritarian government? A country that holds $800 billion of the U.S. debt? A country Stevie once disdained but now embraces.
Could it be that Stevie and his Harpocrites are kowtowing to their new economic overlords? And, contrary to the overt declaration from the Harper Government, Canada has now become one of China's puppets, with regard to climate change?
L'union fait la force. Together we stand, divided we fall.
Alliance-busting is one of many Rovian tactics that the ReformaTories have developed to undermine their opponents and to pre-empt legitimate criticism of Stevie Spiteful and his bullies' way of doing business.
The Con's biggest and most recent target is KAIROS, a compassionate alliance of Canadian religious organizations who work together to bring peace to parts of the world ravaged by conflicts, through a number of humanitarian projects.
In November, KAIROS was told in a desultory way by Minister Oda that its CIDA funding had been cut.
Then two other ReformaTory attack parrots, Toews and Kenney piled on the justifications to justify their government's savage coup bas.
The speech of Jason Kenney in Jerusalem December 16, tagging peace and development group KAIROS as anti-Semitic and bragging about de-funding it, was so grotesque that it must have left many in the established Jewish community feeling slightly ill. Can they really be comfortable with the accusation that an organization composed of Canada’s major Christian churches are Jew-haters?
Are they willing to let KAIROS lose its projects in the suffering nations of the global south because, though it believes in Israel’s right to peace and security, it also thinks Palestinians have rights too? [...]
After 35 years of CIDA funding, KAIROS will lose $7 million project money ending its support for the peace process in Sudan, for victims of violence in Indonesia and the rights of women in warring Colombia.
Kenney now claims his remarks were misunderstood. I think that he “mis-spoke” by expressing these views publicly, in a venue where his comments were recorded. But it wasn’t accidental. There’s a pattern there, and a tightly scripted, repressive trajecTory being charted by the rightwing socon theocrats in the PMO.
There are many progressive bloggers who have been researching, writing about this grievous assault on KAIROS and making strong points about the Con nature of such pernicious and loathsome political tactics: Scott Tribe, bigcitylib and Dennis Gruending, to name a few. We have to keep blogging about this, and to stand in solidarity with peace-loving organizations today, December 25th and every day of the year.
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
More here, here and here.
Bennett, a medical doctor, wrote to Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq this week, asking the government not to "shy away from legislation that protects us just because the topic of sex toys make us uncomfortable. [...] "In Canada, we are not yet doing enough to protect women against very high concentrations of materials linked to reproductive and other health issues."
Vibrators and other plastic sex toys contain chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, which make plastics soft and flexible. Canada has banned BPA in baby bottles, and in June, Health Canada proposed a ban on phthalates in all children's toys.
Bennett's initiative is likely doomed to failure as the only dildoes and dickheads palatable to ReformaTories are the ones in Stevie Spiteful's cabinet.
These are the Palingates listed in the sidebar:
Alaska Independence Party
Now, there's one more -- Abortiongate.
It's a long, convoluted story, from several sources, with many updates and additions by commenters. Lots of comments, so far nearly 800. I was going to try to summarize it here, but I found a comment by ivyfree, which does an excellent job.
Basically it starts with an odd story in Going Rogue about $arah's second pregnancy, right after the first child, Track, later a troubled young man, was born. The pregnancy ended in a 'miscarriage'. But $arah tells us that the bill for the D&C specified the procedure as 'abortion'. $arah says the clinic must have realized its mistake, because 'abortion' was whited-out and 'miscarriage' typed over it.
Some backtracking: in high school, $arah was smitten by a popular boy named, Curtis Menard, Jr, who did not return her interest. They remained friends and he was named godfather of Track. Also, at the time of her second pregnancy, Curtis lived next door to the Palins.
The post at palingates speculates about the second pregnancy and questions Track's paternity. There are many side-by-side photos of Track, Curtis, and Todd at the link, which are, to say the least, very interesting.
I think you're probably up to speed, so I'll let ivyfree take over:
Re: Track. I've always thought it was odd that we hear so little of Track. I thought he was probably very angry with his parents, because who wouldn't support his mother's run for office? Heck, Phyllis Schlafly's son is gay, and he says he'd never do anything to embarrass his mother. (Which? Good for him. I dislike her politics, but she's not doing anything illegal.)
But a kid growing up with two dads... and it sounds like his "godfather" was very involved, going to his games and all... is bound to grow up confused. And I thought, well, if he was caught vandalizing school buses and had a history, and was given the choice of the service or jail, that's a reason for him to be angry at his parents. I imagined Sarah screaming at him that she'd called in favors to give him this choice, and he was going into the marines whether he wanted to or not. He could easily be pissed at her and not communicating much. That's how I explained it to myself.
Did he even issue a statement supporting his mother? I don't recall reading about it, but I don't claim that I've ready everything. I am in awe of some of the regulars here and the knowledge they have.
So look at it this way: Somebody gets pregnant and there are two possible dads. She marries the one that is willing to marry her... not the guy who has a history of liking really smart girls and is educated himself. She suggests his name as godfather, and that's a nice cover for his interest in the kid that, he thinks, just might be his. There's kind of a resemblance that he hopes people don't notice much. Most people aren't that suspicious anyway. He doesn't like the way she's raising the kid, so he goes to her office rather than discussing it en famille. Because she's a real dramatic sort and he's hoping that dealing with it in a professional place might encourage her to keep it quiet. Didn't work, so she mentions it, because people around couldn't help but overhear something. Her husband hears around town about his wife and the friend and the kid, and she explains it by bitching to her husband about the other guy butting in where it's not his business. In the ensuing fight- because the husband isn't a total moron, and has had suspicions- the kid overhears some things that raise questions. The kid, confused, starts acting out. This leads to the vandalism incident and eventual military service. In the fighting over his "voluntary" enlistment, he accuses his mom of misleading him about his father, and in the ensuing familial explosion, the truth comes out.
Kid goes off to boot camp, and the marines- surprise! treat him like an adult, and he starts creating an adult life. He discovers that not everybody has the home life he had. He decides that he's going to lead as separate a life as possible. (Note: this closely parallels the actions of my goddesson who joined the Navy. He now lives three states away from his family of origin, and gets on with them much better for the distance.)
I think learning that the guy you thought was your father, isn't, would cause a lot of trauma in a young man. And it would certainly cast a new light on his mother. No doubt I'm old-fashioned, but I think most men want to respect their mothers.
I can see this causing a rift in the family, and it would explain why you don't see many pictures of Track and his mom together.
This would also explain the fighting between the couple mentioned by the ex-son-in-law-to-be, as well as the sleeping apart issues. You'd never know who your partner had been with, so would you risk having sex with them and getting exposed to something contagious? To say nothing about the fact that it's widely considered preferable to have married sex with somebody you actually like?
Which brings us to the abortiongate thing. Somebody gets pregnant... again. She's not sure who the father is, but the timing leads her to believe that it may not be her husband's. Her husband's away a lot, and he's kind of oblivious to the kind of cyclic observations that many husbands notice in their wives, when they live with them constantly. The same other guy is still interested in having sex, but he doesn't want to go through another pregnancy. He decides to confess to his wife and dares her to blackmail him. She knows her husband would be furious and might leave her, which means she would be alone, with another man's baby and another man's fetus inside of her, and minimal job skills, and parents who would NOT be happy with her. She decides on an abortion.
So she tells her husband that the baby's died and she needs a D & C. She arranges for this with the only doctor around who performs abortions and makes sure the doctor knows that her husband thinks the baby's dead. Abortion providers would have to be discreet, and she has the D & E. Some time later, she receives a bill for... an abortion. (Our hospital, when it was a general public hospital and not a Catholic one, called them "Requested abortions") She panics. She grabs the wite-out and carefully paints over it, and types in the word "miscarriage" because she doesn't realize that doctors bill for procedures, not diagnoses, and that "miscarriage" isn't a diagnosis anyway. Now she has something to tell her husband when he sees the bill, and she's officially devastated by the cruel "mistake" made by the billing office. Her marriage is saved! What a relief- she doesn't have to support herself!
And the second guy goes off for two years of orthodontic school, which his wife, who is committed to their marriage and forgiven him, suggested as a means to get him away from the Other Woman, and of course insists that he not see her alone (which also plays into the discussing the kid at the Mayor's office thing). However, he's committed to the first kid and tries to pay attention to him, and even makes a point of going to his school games. He wants to be involved as much as he tactfully can.
I'd welcome people poking holes in my theory.
As more and more
And, yeah, OK, I seem to have caught a case of PO too. But when one thinks of the influence this wingnut has on even wingnuttier wingnuts, it's damned scary to contemplate what she's capable of. I think the PO'd bloggers are doing a great service in helping to expose exactly what kind of person she is.
No wonder she hates the bloggers.
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Gryphen reports on trying to report on $arah's* book signing event in home-town Wasilla.
There were a few calls of "Sarah, Sarah" before the line started to wind its way up the stairs to have their audience with Queen Ester of the North. I thought "We better hurry if we are going to find a good place to set up our camera."
My first hint that something may be wrong down in Who-ville was when I was asked for my ID, not once, but twice. Then as Dennis and I were about to sign in, and the lady behind the desk took our picture with a little digital camera! WTF? I have never had anybody do that before at any other event that I attended as a media representative. I wondered why there was such tight security, unaware that my question was only seconds from being answered.
Almost as soon as I had my picture taken I felt a hand on my shoulder.
I turned around and came face to face with a local police officer who quickly apologized and then informed me that I was on the "banned list".
"I am on the WHAT list?" I asked.
"The banned list sir, I am going to have to escort you off of the property. This is a private event."
Those super-scary bloggers! Banned!
BONUS: Check out Mudflat's tribute to the Ex-Governor, 12 Days of Christmas.
*I swiped that typography for $arah's name from the comments at The Immoral Minority. It seems to be very popular.
h/t Andrew Sullivan
Which US politician said "You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on”? Hint: He was a Republican.
Michele Bachmann has become well known for her anti-government tea-bagger antics, protesting health care reform and every other government “handout” as socialism. What her followers probably don’t know is that Rep. Bachmann is, to use that anti-government slur, something of a welfare queen. That’s right, the anti-government insurrectionist has taken more than a quarter-million dollars in government handouts thanks to corrupt farming subsidies she has been collecting for at least a decade. [..] Bachmann’s family farm received $251,973 in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2006. The farm had been managed by Bachmann’s recently deceased father-in-law and took in roughly $20,000 in 2006 and $28,000 in 2005, with the bulk of the subsidies going to dairy and corn. Both dairy and corn are heavily subsidized — or “socialized”—businesses in America (in 2005 alone, Washington spent $4.8 billion propping up corn prices) and are subject to strict government price controls. [...]If American farms such as hers were forced to compete in the global free market, they would collapse.
WICHITA — A Sedgwick County district judge ruled this morning that Scott Roeder's murder trial will begin next month in Wichita and limited the use of the so-called "necessity defense."
But Judge Warren Wilbert said he would "leave the door open" for Roeder's defense to present other evidence and arguments that he killed Wichita abortion provider George Tiller in belief that he was saving the lives of unborn fetuses.
That leaves open the possibility that Roeder's public defenders could ask jurors to consider crimes less than first-degree premeditated murder. Kansas law, for example, defines voluntary manslaughter as the "unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force."
. . .
Wilbert said that he will not, however, allow Roeder to use what has been called a "necessity defense," where the defendant claims that he or she broke the law to prevent a greater harm. Roeder has said he killed Tiller to save the lives of fetuses who were being aborted.
But Wilbert said the necessity defense is not recognized under Kansas law, and appeals court have ruled it unacceptable in cases of trespassing on abortion clinics. If courts have ruled it not a viable defense in misdemeanor cases, it wouldn't apply to murder, Wilbert ruled.
Earlier in the day, Wilbert ruled that the defense would not be allowed peremptory jury strikes based on a juror's beliefs about abortion.
More information on the 'necessity defence':
The necessity defense has been used with sporadic and very limited success in the area of civil disobedience since the 1970s. The most common circumstances involve public protests against Abortion, Nuclear Power, and Nuclear Weapons. Virtually all abortion protesters who have tried to avail themselves of the defense have lost. The courts have reasoned that because the right to an abortion is constitutionally protected, it cannot simultaneously be a legally recognized harm justifying illegal action.
Indeed, it was used unsuccessfully by Shelley Shannon who was convicted of attempted murder for the crime of shooting Dr Tiller in both arms in 1993.
We'll be following the
Sunday, 20 December 2009
Since the Con s--t hit the fan, more information has trickled out.
First it appears that Kenney either mispoke or deliberately lied when he conflated KAIROS with Kairos.
And it appears that Toews, MP for Provencher/Bible Belt, has revealed in his homespun way, the ReformaTory template for decades to come. Funny how "accountability" has become an urgent and primordial concern with regards to policing organizations that do not share the same fundamentalist religious ideology that the ReformaTories are trying to impose on Canada.
C.C. illustrates what those who shape policy in the PMO believe, here. Montreal Simon directs us to this Toronto Star article. The implications for Canadian secular institutions, and those who do not cleave to the christian theocratic agenda are ominous.
Some choice quotes from Darrel Reid:
Let me repeat that quote from Reid:
"Only God can make Canada a truly Christian country... We are called to speak biblical truth to seek justice – and that obviously has implications for our political life."
"Welfare provides incentives for single moms to have another child and to avoid marriage."
"I think every Christian is under an obligation to change laws to reflect biblical
"I think every Christian is under an obligation to change laws to reflect biblical values."
What's next for Canada then? Biblical Christian sharia laws engineered by Reid and Paul Wilson?
Saturday, 19 December 2009
A number of Republican senators attacked an agreement reached between Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Senate Democratic leaders Saturday, saying it would lead to the eventual reversal of more than 30 years of federal law banning abortion funding. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oka.) said it is “absolutely fictitious” that there is an anti-abortion provision in the Senate Democrats’ reworked healthcare reform bill. “The negotiations, whoever did them, threw unborn babies under the bus,” Coburn said.From here.
It appears that the
On one side, The Fetus©™ fetishists - Repubs and Dems alike - who are taking their marching orders from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops lobby.
On the other, those who appear to be more concerned about the survival of babies born, the availability of medical care to pregnant women, and their families. The recent World Economic Forum analyzed a number of gender indicators in order to measure for example, differences access to healthcare differences between the sexes. Antonia Zerbesias demonstrates why this is important.
For the record, Canada ranks No. 25 on all these measures, while the US is No. 31. Tops in the world is Iceland, followed by the usual line-up of northern European countries, Finland, Norway, Sweden. As for the bottom of the list, let's just say you don't want to be a woman in Yemen.
But let's cut straight to the maternal mortality chase, which those ''pro-lifers'' focus on. Not only do "weak healthcare systems not prioritize women's health,'' there is evidence that the number of skilled healthcare workers available to support women through pregnancy, delivery and post-natal care had everything to do with women's survival. The women who die, die of "severe bleeding, infection, hypertension'' and then ''complications from unsafe abortion.'' About 20 per cent of maternal deaths are related to diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS -- and then there's women's inability to get decent nourishment.
So let's be clear on who exactly who gets thrown under the bus if healthcare is not reformed in the US. Yup, yup, you betcha! Women and children - considered by those rabidly opposed to abortions as mere "Gestational Support Units" and "Not-Fetuses".
More teabaggers', assorted rightwing religious zealots' and stupid attention-mongers' indecent repurposing and/or spoliage of respected aphorisms, check out Boris' post at The Galloping Beaver.
His link will take you to TBogg's blogpost about Viscount Monckton, the ersatz leader of the Climate Change Denialists, telling the sad tale of his run-in with the forces of order, outside the conference centre where the UN global gathering unfolded.
Monckton, who looks like a un-handsome aged Mr Bean, bleats on and on about the unceremonious handling he gets from the Copenhagen riot police. Remember, in this context, he is a demonstrator, a protester in fact because the organizers have revoked the accreditation of most of the observers from non-governmental groups.
A choice quote from the Viscount:
"To assault an accredited representative of a conference your nation is hosting, and to do it while your own police cameramen are filming from above, and to do it without any provocation except my polite, non-threatening request that I should not be manhandled ..."You get the picture; Monckton, oozing entitlement from every body orifice, is outraged, nay, OUTRAGED!!! at this travesty of democracy.
There's more to be read about Viscount Climate Change Denialist but it's noteworthy to mention that in 1999, he launched a highly profitable product called the Eternity Puzzle. The solution was provided before the deadline and Monckton claimed that he had to sell his modest mansion to pay for the prize. That turned out to be a lie, intended to promote sales of the puzzle.
The post's title is taken from Start The Revolution Without Me (or possible History of the World: Part I). Reading about Monckton's pseudo-tribulations reminds of the former's hilarious imbroglio, based upon the classic movie chestnut of aristocratic and peasant babies switched at birth.
One aspect of human nature that the film satirically explores is that human beings have the tendency to fight change to the point of being stupid and short-sighted, despite the seriousness of the situation. The Corsican Brothers and King Louie VI give the audience great examples of this.
Gene Wilder and Donald Sutherland do a terrific job portraying the very different sets of twins, as both sets go through different adventures, fully showcasing their comedic talent and chemistry with each other. [...] Claude and Charles have an easier time pretending to be noblemen, and sort of roll with the punches, adapting their plan as they go, while Philippe and Pierre can't pretend or adapt at all, and wind up in the insane asylum for a while, a dirty and uncomfortable place for these noblemen.
"Sire, sire! The people are revolting! Yes, and they stink too!"
I just found a fabulous site, PolitiFact, the fact-checking arm of the St Petersburg Times, one of the few bright lights of my sentence to the hellhole that is central Florida. PolitiFact was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2009 for its fact-checking initiative during the 2008 presidential campaign.
It has just announced the 'Lie of the Year'.
Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.
The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn't made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.
And it was a runaway winner, too.
PolitiFact readers overwhelmingly supported the decision. Nearly 5,000 voted in a national poll to name the biggest lie, and 61 percent chose "death panels" from a field of eight finalists.
And check out its Pants-on-Fire section.
So, it being 'end-of-the-year' list time, let's have some nominations for the 'Canadian Lie of the Year'.
2009 was a very good year for Canadian lies so this may be tough. Me, I gotta think on it some more.
Fire away in the comments.
ADDED: Courtesy of Dr Pale.
This week I attended an evening of Xmas and secular holiday music held in a local church. The choir gave the money raised from ticket sales to local charities: a food bank and a shelter for homeless men.
One of the carols they sang was The First Noel; the lyrics repeat several times, and end with this statement:
"... Born is the King of Israel."So I wondered: Would the CPCCA - the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism which claims to the arbiter of everything anti-semitic find these words objectionable?
And if that carol were banned from public performance, would the fundamentalist christian zealots and/or rancid haters who screech there's a War On Christmas accuse Jews of persecuting them? Just asking.
It's all so confusing. Won't someone remember the true meaning of Xmas?
Friday, 18 December 2009
Amid a barrage of criticism, organizers of a fundraiser featuring former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin have decided the event will no longer benefit public health care.
Instead, funds from the April 15 gala will go to the Charity of Hope, an organization that helps children.
"The attention became a health-care debate when the attention should've been on ... an event that benefits the community," said Dennis Concordia, one of the co-chairs of the event.
Paying, reportedly, $200,000 to a Merkin dimbulb who had recently dissed the Canadian healthcare system to speak at a fundraiser for the Canadian healthcare system created controversy? Who coulda seen that coming?
Apparently not Mr. Concordia.
"I don't think we could have predicted the backlash, not necessarily here in Hamilton but across North America," Concordia said.
Speaking of dimbulbs.
So what is this Charity of Hope?
The concept for The Charity of Hope, according to a message on its website from its president Sam Mercanti, started among friends at the local YMCA. They hope to grow the charity each year.
But if Sawah is going to speak at its annual fundraiser, it appears that an actual Canadian activist on behalf of children, Craig Kielburger, will be bumped.
Presumably the young and accomplished Mr. Kielburger wouldn't charge anything like $200,000 and would likely donate whatever the fee is to the charity he founded while just a kid, Free the Children.
So, has the switch of charities quieted the controversy? Um, no.
Here's a screenshot of the current poll at the Spectator:
Jason Kenney let the other penny drop, when he accused KAIROS of supporting the enemies of Israel.
"We have de-funded organizations, most recently, like KAIROS who are taking a leadership role in the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign" against Israel, he told the Global Forum for combatting anti-Semitism.
Amazing. We speculated here that Stevie Spiteful and his Harpocrites had slashed KAIROS' funding in order to placate their fundamentalist religious base of Con supporters. That theory may still hold water, but it would seem that Kenney used an opportunity to repurpose that Con tactic and exploit it to gain points with a different, yet also powerful lobby group. One with deep pockets too. One that sunk Paul Martin's ship of state in the 2006 election when it withdrew its support and gave it to the CPC.
KAIROS responded to this crude attack:
Executive director Mary Corkery said Kenney's statement was based on incorrect information about her group's positions and raises serious questions about the Politicization of the aid process by the Conservative government. "If any group that criticizes an action by the government of Israel is called anti-Semitic by the government of Canada, that's very serious." ...
KAIROS was stunned by Kenney's remarks because International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda told the public and Parliament the group lost its funding because of shifting priorities at the Canadian International Development Agency.
Corkery denied that KAIROS favours a boycott of Israel or advocated divesting funds from Israeli corporations. "We have taken positions that critique actions of the Israeli government, as have people in many organizations," Corkery said. "We have raised issues that we think cause suffering among people. But we have never spoken out against the state of Israel or tried to harm Israel."
For an excellent overview on the falsifying, groveling and pandering tactics of Stevie's bullies, read Dr Dawg's informal series of blogposts here about CPCCA - the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism.
Update: Bingo! In his blogpost, bigcitylib provides the missing link to the christofascists: "docter" Charles McVety.
Although it seems that Vic Toews isn't using Kenney's speaking points regarding Kairos, here he lays out the classic rightwing goon, union-busting tactic the Cons are rolling out - divide and conquer.
[...] several of KAIROS’ member organizations continue to receive separate funding from CIDA [...]Many Canadians respect KAIROS' international development work over the decades. Hopefully this, as well as the Harper government maneuver to shift responsibility to the troops (regarding Afghan prisoners of war) could be the tipping point.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Here, for example:
Bravo, pastor Roger Ray of Springfield, Missouri.
Matters of social ethics, especially when tainted by religion, often finds matters of substance being sacrificed in the name of symbolism. This is nowhere more true than in the matter of abortion which is back on the public stage once again through health care reform. No one is actually "pro-abortion" though most people in the Western world believe that every woman should have the right to make decisions about her own reproductive life.
[...] if we restrict insurance coverage of abortion services then which abortions are being stopped? Obviously, the only women who lose choice are the poor who cannot pay for an abortion. Stupak returns us to the days before Roe v. Wade when the daughters of the rich and the middle class were forced to take a three-day trip to Europe when they wanted to terminate a pregnancy.
Catholic bishops join arms with conservative politicians and force upon the public legislation which, and don't kid yourself about it, it only means, "We impose a burden upon poor women which we would not dream of imposing on the middle and upper class." Otherwise, why wouldn't they be discussing making it illegal to get an abortion at all, arresting women of means in the airport when they returned from France or Spain after exercising their "choice?" Because, if they impose these standards on their own members you would find a lot of politicians, Catholic bishops and evangelical preachers working the drive-through windows at local fast food restaurants. They can be high and mighty forcing the poor to be ethical for them but they would never accept such regulation of their own family or constituency. This is the hypocrisy of choosing symbolic action over substance.
And then there is Boris at The Galloping Beaver, armed with an aim and a heart so true and fierce. To the ReformaTories he says: ...
the Geneva Conventions do not exist so we're nice the the enemy. They are not about the goddamned enemy. They are not 'soft' or 'weak' vestiges of some liberal ideal. They're not about the enemy. They exist to protect us. They are not about the enemy. They give legitimacy to our claims of unfair treatment when our soldiers are captured, and legitimacy to our cause when say we are better than those we fight. They protect us because they ensure that we live by our own standards. Contrary to the sadistic views of some, this is not some of unmanly deficiency on our part; this is holding ourselves to the standard our own free and peaceful society demands. ...
You cheered torture; you praised throwing out the rules when swarthy people became the national enemy . You elected politicians who felt the same, and you failed to take a stand when you saw us failing ourselves by ignoring th rules that serve to protect the members of the armed forces you claim to worship so bloody much. You said fuck-you to the fight for the very set of encoded righteousness and decency that thousands of cenotaphs and memorials across the country inscribed with "Lest we forget" are built to recall.
You forgot alright. You forgot the ONE lesson of two world wars, tens of millions of innocent dead, the standard behind the establishment of traditions of rights and democracy, and the core of most of the world's religions. If you cannot recall this lesson, get the fuck off our planet because you have no place in the world we're trying to build. We have no use for your moral cowardice here.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
The Attack Parrot™© tactic was officially branded in December 2008, when Stevie Spiteful's Harpocrats tried to discredit the nascent Progressive Coalition. An e-mail flew out from the PMO with specific talking points, very detailed scripts for Tory partisans to use on radio phone-in shows, a template for letters to newspaper editors and a couple of "Just The Facts" cheat sheets.
Dr Dawg neatly summarized that episode in Canadian political history:
Our PM and his media allies, trading on the average Canadian's abysmal ignorance of our political system, talked of coups and separatists and (horrors) back-room deals and cabals. A flowering exercise in political democracy was made to look so scary that Canadians got worried. A PM that they never elected was about to be toppled by three other parties, one of them separatist. (Never mind that the fear-monger in question made his own deal with the devil in 2004, and his then-party the Canadian Alliance tried the same thing back in 2000.)We noted the regurgitation of speaking points from the PMO - it was a constant yammering loop of fallacies and prevarications, including the shameless accusation that the Progressive Coalition was attempting to illegally seize power in Parliament and "overturn the election". Remember, the Opposition parties held the majority of elected seats. They still do.
So - the return of the Attack Parrots™©. Daniel Petit of course. And the biggest, loudest, open-screeching-maw, repeat-repeat-repeat-repeat Attack Parrot™© of them all - John Baird.
They're proliferating, it seems.
Meanwhile, back in our poor abused oceans, the lowly and once plentiful menhaden may be facing ignominious extinction.
So what? Well, it turns out the menhaden may be the only living creature that most ressembles the schmoo, in its uncanny capacity to minister to a range of human needs. And it also cleans the water in the oceans!
Won't someone think of the little fishies?
This morning I heard a most revolting, though predictable, interview on Radio-Canada. Daniel Petit, MP for Charlebourg-Haute-Saint-Charles was asked why his Conservative colleagues did not attend the scheduled meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Afghanistan. His rote answer - in reply to every question - was that they would not allow the Canadian troops to be dirtied by the opposition's accusation that they are war criminals. Over and over again. The interviewer tried to get a truthful response in spite of Petit's broken record technique. "Why do your MPs disrespect Parliament and the electorate who expect them to do their job?"
Second verse, same as the first from Petit: "We will not allow our brave soldiers to be dirtied by such accusations." Petit stonewalled his way through the exchange, clutching the party line and waving it like a flag bespoiled by fatuous spin doctors in the Con ranks.
One tactic I doubt Stevie Spiteful and his Harpocrites would ever use is the hunger strike. Look at that rotund assembly of sleek double-chinned wonders. One week without food and they're grilling Senator Porky Pig on a spit.
Update: Daniel Petit is the political equivalent of a sock-puppet; at all times you're aware that somebody off-stage is pulling the strings, especially the one that triggers the scripted blather-loop.
There's so much more of course, to the dog-and-pony show. C.C. nails it in his post: Brave, brave, brave Sir Stephen. As does Balbulican, here.