Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Update on the UK abortion counselling kerfuffle

Sense may yet prevail in the UK's current abortion stupidity.
The government has reversed its position on moves to strip charities and medics of their exclusive responsibility for counselling women seeking an abortion, saying it will now advise MPs to vote against proposals from a Conservative backbencher if they are put before the Commons next week.

But the situation is still dodgy, because like our idiot Liberal Party here, abortion there is not considered a human right but a 'conscience' issue.
If the amendment is selected next week, it will be a free vote for MPs, as is the tradition with the most controversial "matters of conscience". But coalition MPs will be steered to vote against it. It is understood that the prime minister, the health ministers and other senior members of the government will vote against. Labour has adopted a similar position.

But a combination of the unpredictable intake of new Tory MPs, split between social conservatives and modernisers, the number of Roman Catholic Labour MPs, and the high degree of nuance of the amendment make it extremely unclear which way the vote will go.

Again, with the 'nuance'. Is that journamamalism for 'voters are too stupid to understand and we're too lazy to explain'?

Pick your bus analogy

Bus, being thrown under. . . or Bus, wheels falling off of.

Hudork is having a rough couple days here.

Yesterday, the Liberal Party released this observation.
TORONTO, Aug. 30, 2011 /CNW/ - Following a month that saw Tim Hudak stumble on his sneaky plan to raise property taxes, fumble on his previous commitment to defund abortion and flip flop again on the HST, the PC campaign team has quietly dropped all of the scenes involving Hudak from their television advertising.

Gone from their advertising are pictures of Hudak meeting voters and posing with his family. Also cut from the ad is Tim Hudak's appearance at the end promoting his reckless campaign promises.

Leaving Hudak on the cutting room floor was not done to make the ad shorter or add new attacks. The PCs simply cut the scenes involving Hudak and slowed the rest of the commercial to fill the time.

The fact Tim Hudak would rather perform juvenile stunts than tackle the provinces most pressing issues, together with the fact his platform has a $14 billion hole and is built on poorly disguised Harris-type wedge issues is simply icing on the cake for most voters who are increasingly saying Tim Hudak just isn't worth the risk.

Also yesterday, this story came out.
The ouster of MPP Norm Sterling by the Progressive Conservative Party in Carleton-Mississippi Mills was disgraceful, said former Ontario premier Ernie Eves.

“I don't care who hears this," said Eves. "The treatment that Norm got from his own party was not very polite, was not fair, it was not loyal, it was not compassionate, it was not even and it was not honest,” he said during an appreciation dinner for Sterling at the Canadian Golf and Country Club on Aug. 25.

And today, given a chance to walk it back, Ernie strikes again.
On Wednesday, Eves repeated his critique, saying his tribute dinner remarks were “directed at those few individuals who decided that the Tea Party version of Ontario politics would be good in that particular riding.”

“And I don’t happen to agree with that, quite frankly,” he told a talk radio show in the provincial capital. “I don’t think it was fair and I don’t think it was loyal and I don’t think it was compassionate and I don’t think it’s honest.”

Also, today a poll showing Hudork's double-digit lead of not long ago is in free fall.

Yikes! That's gotta hurt!



Well said, Chris!

NatPo has a pair of columns today on abortion. (I hadn't noticed that it was a slow news day.) Babs does her usual hand-wringing that I won't bother linking to, but Chris Selley makes an interesting point about the value of the fetus versus that of the woman.
In June, Gallup asked Americans to identify themselves as pro-choice or pro-life, and then ran some scenarios by them. Among the pro-lifers, nearly 70% think abortion should be legal when a woman’s health or life is in danger — meaning, logically, that they value an adult life over one in utero. Even more interestingly, 35% of self-professed pro-lifers think abortion should be legal in the first trimester, 59% think it should be legal in cases of rape or incest, and about a quarter think it should be legal when the baby might be physically or mentally impaired. Abortion equals murder? Not for these “pro-lifers.”

A majority of fetus fetishists agree that so-called fetal rights are subordinate to women's rights.

He then draws the inescapable conclusion.
The law is far too blunt an instrument to impart any wisdom on this endlessly complex and emotional issue. When the vast majority of people believe abortion should be legal in some circumstances, the only legal demarcation between medical procedure and murder that makes any sense is the one we have now: Birth.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

What a dame!

#DameEzra, that is.

Shown below is Dame Edna Everage.





Theme of the Day: Beauty Salons



Do your days have themes? Mine do sometimes. OK, maybe not themes, maybe more like minor sub-plots. Or something. One day, I saw three fat people eating red licorice at various points on my perambulations. Weird.

Today's theme is Beauty Salons. (Seriously, that's what they're still called in the Yellow Pages in this year of grace [and beauty] 2011.)

This afternoon I was stopped on the street by a stylish and clearly frustrated young woman asking for directions. She had a smart phone in her hand that wasn't working for her. She asked me if I knew where a specific salon was. Nope. I didn't say, but tweeted later, that she'd no doubt fare better if she asked someone who looked like she had actually been inside such an establishment in the last decade.

Later, cruising the toobz, I found this at LifeShite.
A new approach to get information about the high abortion rate among black women in the U.S. to thousands of people was launched at a trade show for barbers and hair stylists in Atlanta over the weekend, reports Christina Martin of Bound4Life.

Over a thousand hairdressers told organizers of The Samson Project that they would talk about abortion in their shops.

According to the organizers of the “Samson Project” - named for the long-haired Nazirite of the Old Testament - over 1,000 people committed to watching their DVD, and talking about abortion’s tragic impact on the black community in their shops.

Genius, eh? What more captive audience than people with partly completed hair-dos who can't escape until the job's done?

I'm thinking there are about to be 1,000 hairdressers who lose some serious business.

Later a tweet from Antonia Zerbisias: 'Hair salon ad depicting battered woman sparks online furor', which sent me here. There's a photo of the ad there.
A two-year-old ad for an Edmonton hair salon uncovered by a New York advertising executive has unleashed a ferocious debate on abuse versus art.

The ad, one in a series of six, shows a stylish young woman in heels and big hair with a huge black eye sitting on a couch. A young man in a suit stands behind the couch holding a diamond necklace.

“Look good in all you do,” the tagline reads.

The salon's owner is Sarah Cameron, who tries to defend it.
“The ads were our interpretation of a particular ‘art form,’” she wrote. “Is it cutting edge advertising? Yes. Is it intended to be a satirical look at real life situations that ignites conversation and debate? Of course.

“Is it to everyone’s taste? Probably not.”

'Look good in all you do' includes:
Other photographs in the “Look Good In All You Do” series on Facebook depict a woman smoking a cigarette on a mattress in an alley; a stylish young woman dragging well-shod female legs from a white hearse; and an Amy Winehouse-lookalike.

Am I turning into a humourless old feminazi? Go look at the ad. The couch is ugly, the room is barren, the hair-do is weird, the model looks stunned. The shiner is MASSIVE.

The gal is NOT looking particularly good.

So, I'm thinking that if someone wants to try to co-opt beauty parlour employees into proselytizing captive customers, information on violence against women might be a more productive topic than bullshit about abortion equalling genocide and/or slavery.

Mostly, I'm reaffirmed in my desire to stay the fuck outta Beauty Salons.

Image source.

*Ethical* Snuff

Go read Alison at Creekside: Most Canadians totally cool with Canada-US security perimeter deal. Now.

If you sense that Canada is being *ethically* snuffed out, you're probably correct.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Hudork: 'Keep My Family Out of It Except for This Humongous Image of Her and Our Adorable Daughter'

Back in November, Tim Hudak warned others to lay off his wife, Deb Hutton.

So, are families fair game in politics?
Just last month [October 2010], the Liberals issued a release under the headline “Tories at the Trough,” which singled out four Conservatives, including Hutton, for “living the good life” at taxpayers’ expense.

“After landing at Hydro One to collect a $200,000 per year salary, the former Harris aide forced taxpayers to cover over $5,000 in restaurant bills,” said the Liberal release.

Professor Henry Jacek of McMaster University in Hamilton said Wednesday that Hutton may indeed be considered fair game by the Liberals because of her political background.

“I think this is a special case,” Jacek said.

“It’s not that they’re trying to be mean to a spouse because she’s a spouse. They’re going to try to use her as evidence that her husband has close ties to Mike Harris.”

Now, however, there's this.



I'd say that Hudork himself has just involved his family in the campaign.

So how about those ties to Mike Harris? There are many, but Torontoist puts it best: 'Hudak loved the Common Sense Revolution so much he married it'.

Deb Hutton was Harris's aide and one of the architects of his political platform, the notorious Common Sense Revolution, which in many ways Ontario is still reeling from.

But you won't find that out from her Wikipedia page. It has been deleted.

Hmm.

Deb Hutton, Deb Hutton, why does that name ring a bell?

Oh, yeah. Ipperwash.

From Nov. 21, 2005:
Deb Hutton, who had been an aide to Premier Mike Harris, testifies at the Ipperwash Inquiry. Hutton was a member of Harris's inner circle who had represented the premier at several meetings during the standoff. She says allegations that Harris favoured armed force to resolve the occupation at Ipperwash are false.

On the other hand:
Other testimony has further put the Harris government in a bad light. In particular, former Harris aide, Deb Hutton repeatedly testified in November, 2005, that she couldn't remember any specific conversations, leading one cross-examiner to pointedly remark that she had used phrases such as "I don't recall" or "I don't specifically recall" on 134 separate occasions. Also former Ontario Provincial Attorney General Charles Harnick testified that Harris used profanity while shouting, "I want the fucking Indians out of the park.". Later witnesses denied Harnick's evidence.

Well, heck, she's just a wife, albeit with an interesting political past.

Or is she?
What’s not as clear is how much say Hudak’s wife, former Harris chief of staff Deb Hutton, a stay-at-home mom these days, will have on the political affairs of the Tory party now that her husband’s king. If Hutton’s rep for being hands-on holds (not-so-lovingly referred to by her critics as the most hated person at Queen’s Park when she was there), then things can get ugly real fast under Hudak.

And there is that little matter of the deleted Wiki page.

I think we need to know a little more about Ms Hutton's involvement in Hudork's plans for Ontario, don't you? Especially as so many of us believe it's going to be the Common Sense ReRevolution.

h/t gritchik who speculates:
With a double digit lead having evaporated over the summer because a lot of people, particularly women, don’t care for Hudak all that much, it appears the Tory brain trust wants to reassure voters that Tim really is a nice guy. Really.


Sunday, 28 August 2011

Damned if you do. . .

. . . damned if you don't.

On the one hand, late-term abortions!11!!!!! SHRIEEEEK!!!

On the other, early abortions!!!1!!! SHRIEEEK!!!

From the UK:
“Abortion has become a factory-efficient process that denies women the right to independent, professional counselling,” argues Mrs Dorries. “Many women who are given the opportunity to talk through their situation in a calm environment cease to panic and begin to consider other options. It is every woman’s right to be given the choice of access to professional help at the time of a crisis pregnancy.

We remember Nadine Dorries, don't we? She who is somewhat truth-challenged?

So, it's the same old schtick. Organizations providing abortion services coerce women into having them for filthy lucre. Dorries is proposing an amendment that would 'allow' women to seek lying liars' independent counselling.

Except, of course, that that is totally unnecessary, not to mention patronizing.
BPAS [British Pregnancy Advisory Service] point out that theirs is a charity, makes no profit but simply believes it offers women the best service, and wishes women to use BPAS rather than go elsewhere.

It points out that 15 per cent – about one in seven – of women who come to them decide not to go ahead with a termination. Evidence, it says, that its counselling and advice-giving is patently independent. After all, women booking an appointment with an abortion clinic are doing so because – by definition – they have mistakenly got pregnant and now wish to abort.

Its chief executive, Ann Furedi, is angered by the attack launched by Mrs Dorries – Mrs Furedi has threatened libel action against Mrs Dorries over some of her comments – and by the support she appears to have from health ministers.

“Counselling and advice is integral to what we do,” says Mrs Furedi. “If we cannot provide advice, counselling and information then you cannot properly consent somebody for treatment. If we cannot provide women with information about the treatment they are about to have… that would be stupid.

“They [our staff] are not salesmen. They are doctors who want to make sure people are making the right decision for them. The last thing anybody who works for BPAS wants is somebody to regret the decision they have made. We have no vested interest in somebody ending a pregnancy.”

Abortion charities claim that encouraging women to seek out independent counsellors will simply force abortions to take place later in the pregnancy, making the medical procedure more difficult and more stressful for the woman. The amendment’s supporters say that with a proper, independent counselling service in place there would be no need for a delay.

I can't find out much about the probably astroturf organization behind the proposed amendment, Right to Know.

But a sharp-eyed science blogger found a tell.

But what caught my eye was a claim on the Right to Know website that “women who have an abortion are 30 per cent more likely to develop mental health problems”.

Ah, yes, the old 'abortion = insanity' claim that we sane people have to debunk over and fucking over again.

One would have thought this was clear enough:
Abortion trauma syndrome is a fabricated mental disorder conceived by anti-abortion activists to advance their cause and is not a scientifically based psychiatric disorder.

The UK science blogger links to two more mega-analyses. One by the Harvard Review of Pscyhiatry and another by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Keep up the lies, fetus fetishists. We'll keep providing the facty-sciencey stuff.

But lord we get bored.




UPDATE
The government has caved in to calls from anti-abortionists to overhaul existing protocols and strip charities of their responsibility to counsel women seeking to terminate a pregnancy.

The Department of Health confirmed that it would change the rules to ensure abortion counselling was offered "independently" of clinics that conduct terminations. Its announcement was made in advance of an attempt next week led by the Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries to amend the health and social care bill to force such a requirement.
And that astroturf group?
Dorries said she did not know how the Right to Know campaign was being funded, claiming that it represented "hundreds" of people and was run by a lobbyist. She would not reveal the lobbyist's name, or the other organisations the lobbyist represents but did say that she was receiving advice from Dr Peter Saunders, the head of the Christian Medical Fellowship.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

We Know It: Canada Is Progressive

This


puts the lie to this.
[Harper] said it was "a sign that Canadians of all regions and backgrounds have found a home in our Conservative party, that Conservative values are Canadian values and that the Conservative party is Canada's party."

There are insightful and appreciative tributes coming from all corners.

Check out Montreal Simon and Alison at Creekside.

Here's my fave photo*, also from Alison's, titled 'And After They Ran Out of Room on the Wall'.



Canada is progressive and compassionate and inclusive. I, and millions of others, know it in our hearts. Organs sadly lacking in the minority of Canadians in charge.

At. The. Moment.


*photo is bigger at Alison's

Friday, 26 August 2011

"Just a total reflex."


That is the justification provided by Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser when he recognized that he did indeed put his hands around his colleague Justice Ann Walsh Bradley's neck during a confrontation that took place in the office of Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.From the investigation into his action, here.

Women who encounter enraged, out-of-control irrational and violent men like Prosser (essentially, most if not all women) should master a defense move: a brutal kick to the 'nads - to borrow an expression from Canadian Cynic.

Just as a *total reflex* of course.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

On Those 'Missing Girls'

Joe Biden has stepped in it. Again. (What a dork that guy is.)
Under fire from angry Republicans, US Vice President Joe Biden's office has said that he firmly opposes "repugnant" Chinese population control practices like "forced abortion and sterilization."

"The Obama administration strongly opposes all aspects of China's coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization," Biden spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff told AFP by email.

"The vice president believes such practices are repugnant," she said after Republican White House candidates blasted Biden for recent comments he made about Beijing's "one-child" population control policy during a visit to China.

Biden told an audience at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, Sunday that "your policy has been one which I fully understand -- I'm not second-guessing -- of one child per family."

(Go to the link to read the hyperventilations of the ReThugs.)

Fetus fetishists were already stoked about one of their perennial faves because a couple of months ago a book by Mara Hvistendahl called 'Unnatural Selection' was published. Which got further ramped up by the release of census stats from India.
In the world's largest democracy a massive crisis of missing girls is unfolding, according to India's 2011 census. The latest census shows that the gap between the number of girls per 1,000 boys up to the age of six has widened to 914, a decrease from 927 a decade ago, at the 2001 census.

With the SHRIEEEEKfest came, of course, the mandatory 'Where are the feminists?!!?' jab lament. Because, you see, we feminists should be outraged because half of all abortions are done on 'pre-born women' (that's their phrase), and with sex-selective abortion, 'pre-born women' are actively targeted. Their (idiotic) question is: 'If you claim to be about women's rights, what about pre-born women's rights?'

Sigh. So I thought about writing about it. We at DJ! have taken on the subject at least twice. Once when wingnuts in BC proposed that if the gender of a fetus is known through an ultrasound, the results should not be revealed. (You know, to put an end to that rampant Canadian practice of sex-selective abortion.) And once when Ujjal Dosanjh stepped in it from the reverse direction as Biden. First, he was against sex-selective abortion, then he hadda walk it back by adding: 'But I am totally absolutely pro-choice'.

DJ! argued and argues that this is not a problem in Canada. The communities that prefer boys to girls are small, and besides, they'll get their comeuppance when their sons can't find partners of the 'right' sort and maybe bring home sweeties of the 'wrong' sort. Or 'wrong' gender. Or both. *evilgrin*

But, yes. Sex-selective abortion has created a ginormous problem in the benighted countries where it is practised.

I was going to argue this time that back in the 1960s overpopulation was the big bugaboo. We hadn't yet realized that that was too simplistic. It's not sheer overpopulation, we now know, it's overconsumption plus growing population that's going to kill the planet.

But that's when China and India began to try to grapple with their poverty problems by trying to slow population growth. China, because it could, instituted the infamous One Child Policy. India, being a democracy, couldn't be quite so draconian and tried kinder, more innovative policies.

Besides, both countries were fucking sick of being poor.

And I was going to argue that the best way to lower population growth is to promote women's rights and in particular to educate women.
Ultimately, though, this shouldn't be seen as a medical dilemma, but as a social one. The way to prevent sex-selective abortion isn't to legislate against it or attack the women who seek it – it's to create cultural changes that transform the place of women. By offering girls education, training and opportunities for employment, femicidal traditions can be uprooted, and a world that values women and fully recognises their right to exist created instead. To get there, though, we must first accept that women have the right to make decisions about their own bodies, on their own terms. Because if no one gives them autonomy in their own skin, why should they believe that their potential daughters deserve it either?

Aside: I really liked one of the comments there by hillbillyzombie:
Q: In what language is religion an anagram of misogyny?
A: All of them.

What Joe Biden stepped in is the relatively new contention that the developed West promoted the practice in China and India.
Much of the literature on sex selection has suggested that cultural patterns explain the phenomenon. But Hvistendahl lays the blame squarely on western governments and businesses that have exported technology and pro-abortion practices without considering the consequences. Amniocentesis and ultrasound scans have had largely positive applications in the west, where they have been used to detect foetal abnormalities. But exported to Asia and eastern Europe they have been intricately linked to an explosion of sex selection and a mushrooming of female abortions.

Hvistendahl claims western governments actively promoted abortion and sex selection in the developing world, encouraging the liberalisation of abortion laws and subsidising sales of ultrasounds as a form of population control.

"It took millions of dollars in funding from US organisations for sex determination and abortion to catch on in the developing world," she writes."

Roll out that whole 'feminist secularist Culture of Death' meme thingy!!!!!!

But again, it's a bit more subtle than your average fetus fetishist can cope with.

While it's true that the West did promote contraception and abortion, the purpose was ^NOT women's rights but population control. If they'd promoted women's rights with the same enthusiasm and money way back then, perhaps the problem of devalued and now missing women wouldn't have happened.
No one combating sex selection in China or India now argues that the appropriate reaction to decades of violating women's rights is to swing in the other direction and violate them further. Just as a woman should not be forced to abort a wanted pregnancy, she should not be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

Yet more subtlety. Yes, it's a cultural thing, but more than that it's a 'rising expectations' thing.
In the mid-1970s, amniocentesis, which reveals the sex of a baby in utero, became available in developing countries. Originally meant to test for fetal abnormalities, by the 1980s it was known as the "sex test" in India and other places where parents put a premium on sons. When amnio was replaced by the cheaper and less invasive ultrasound, it meant that most couples who wanted a baby boy could know ahead of time if they were going to have one and, if they were not, do something about it. "Better 500 rupees now than 5,000 later," reads one ad put out by an Indian clinic, a reference to the price of a sex test versus the cost of a dowry.

But oddly enough, Ms. Hvistendahl notes, it is usually a country's rich, not its poor, who lead the way in choosing against girls. "Sex selection typically starts with the urban, well-educated stratum of society," she writes. "Elites are the first to gain access to a new technology, whether MRI scanners, smart phones—or ultrasound machines." The behavior of elites then filters down until it becomes part of the broader culture. Even more unexpectedly, the decision to abort baby girls is usually made by women—either by the mother or, sometimes, the mother-in-law.

They don't want girls, yes. But more than that they want to live like us in the West. Simply put: girls cost money, boys make money. (And just as importantly, operating an ultrasound clinic is a nice little earner too.)

Yes, the developed West deserves some blame for the missing girls. But it is the capitalist West and its values that provided the technology and the profit for its operators that deserves the much bigger blame.

Feminism is not to blame for this. If feminists had been in charge of the Club of Rome, I daresay the outcome would have been quite different.

Commenter Ngoho at the MoJo link sums it up nicely.
It's possible that, since men steered culture into valuing their sex above females, perhaps a generation of lonely men will change that culture into one which values women.

Payback is a bitch, isn't she?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Colonel's Bling

Again, glued to Twitter and livefeeds on Libya.

Had to share this.




ADDED: Gaddafi's Hat haz Twitter account.

Meanwhile, back in the US ...

religious rightwing nutjobs make these demands:

To Obama & all the immoral, ungodly heathen progressive Demoncrats.

To the Party That Says Stay Out of Our Womb*

We say stay out of our pants.
Stay out of our homes.
Stay out of our cars.
Stay out of our refrigerators.
Stay out of our medicine cabinets.
Stay out of our TV's and radio's.
Stay out of our Church's.
Stay out of our kids schools.
Stay out of our Military.
Stay out of our doctor's office.
Stay out of our bank account.

It appears this group's name is "God Bless America 1776" and all the spelling and grammatical errors are their own. This blog pops up when those terms are googled.

Is it Boston? One interesting observation: the crowd control cops wear helmets tagged with what appears to be their badge numbers, in the photos posted here.

*womb, not the evul uterus word. I'm surprised it didn't say "our baby-making lady part".

Monday, 22 August 2011

Making Sense of Libya (and making fun of wannabe despots)

I spent yesterday glued to sweetie's computer, watching developments in Libya on Twitter and livestreams.

In particular, it was amusing to watch pendants pull screeching 180s on their positions. From 'It's a US-European colonial war' to "Thank gord for NATO'. From 'It's a civil, tribal war' to 'It's a popular uprising by an oppressed people'. From 'It'll be a long bloody struggle' to 'The revolutionaries are meeting no resistance'.

Anyway, there was and still is a ton of bullshit being spoken, written, and tweeted about it, most of it splendidly kicked to the curb by Juan Cole in Top Ten Myths about the Libya War, a blogpost from today.
The Libyan Revolution has largely succeeded, and this is a moment of celebration, not only for Libyans but for a youth generation in the Arab world that has pursued a political opening across the region. The secret of the uprising’s final days of success lay in a popular revolt in the working-class districts of the capital, which did most of the hard work of throwing off the rule of secret police and military cliques. It succeeded so well that when revolutionary brigades entered the city from the west, many encountered little or no resistance, and they walked right into the center of the capital. Muammar Qaddafi was in hiding as I went to press, and three of his sons were in custody. Saif al-Islam Qaddafi had apparently been the de facto ruler of the country in recent years, so his capture signaled a checkmate. (Checkmate is a corruption of the Persian “shah maat,” the “king is confounded,” since chess came west from India via Iran). Checkmate.

Then there's this one from him yesterday.
As dawn broke Sunday in Libya, revolutionaries were telling Aljazeera Arabic that much of the capital was being taken over by supporters of the February 17 Youth revolt. Some areas, such as the suburb of Tajoura to the east and districts in the eastrn part of the city such as Suq al-Juma, Arada, the Mitiga airport, Ben Ashour, Fashloum, and Dahra, were in whole or in part under the control of the revolutionaries.

Those who were expecting a long, hard slog of fighters from the Western Mountain region and from Misrata toward the capital over-estimated dictator Muammar Qaddafi’s popularity in his own capital, and did not reckon with the severe shortages of ammunition and fuel afflicting his demoralized security forces, whether the regular army or mercenaries. Nor did they take into account the steady NATO attrition of his armor and other heavy weapons.

This development, with the capital creating its own nationalist mythos of revolutionary participation, is the very best thing that could have happened.

If you read only one (or two things) about yesterday's extraordinary events, read one of these.

After all, Cole has been speaking sense on the 'Middle East' for so long that George W. Bush tried to get the CIA to discredit him. (And of course you can follow him on Twitter.)

I'm still decompressing, but I admit I'm absurdly elated at the thought of all the world's despots and wannabe despots crapping their pants.

Oh jeez, look. There's an opening for a cheap shot at our own wannabe despot.

Hey, whaddaya expect? DJ! lives for the cheap shots.

Adieu, Jack.

« Si le rire sacrilège et blasphématoire que les bigots de toutes les chapelles taxent de vulgarité et de mauvais goût, si ce rire-là peut parfois désacraliser la bêtise, exorciser les chagrins véritables et fustiger les angoisses mortelles, alors oui on peut rire de tout, on doit rire de tout : de la guerre, de la misère et de la mort!
Au reste, est-ce qu'elle se gêne la mort, elle, pour se rire de nous ? Est-ce qu'elle ne pratique pas l'humour noir, elle, la mort ? Regardons s'agiter ces malheureux dans les usines, regardons gigoter ces hommes puissants, boursoufflés de leur importance qui vivent à 100 à l'heure. Alors ils se battent, ils courent, ils caracolent derrière leur vie, et tout d'un coup, cela s'arrête, sans plus de raisons que ça n'avait commencé...
Alors le militant de base, le pompeux PDG, la princesse d'opérette, l'enfant qui joue à la marelle dans les caniveaux de Beyrouth, toi aussi à qui je pense et qui a cru en Dieu jusqu'au bout de ton cancer... Tous nous sommes fauchés un jour par le croche-pied rigolard de la mort imbécile, et les droits de l'homme s'effacent devant les droits de l'asticot. »
Pierre Desproges, dans Le Tribunal des flagrants délires réquisitoire contre Jean-Marie Le Pen (28 septembre 1982)

"If the sacrilegious and blasphemous laughter that bigots of all religious dogma claim to be vulgar and in bad taste, if that laughter might desecrate stupidity, exorcise genuine grief and castigate mortal anguish, then yes: one can, one should laugh at everything: war, misery and death!

After all, does Death hesitate to laugh at us? Is Death not a practitioner of black humour? Look at those unfortunate people stirring in the factories, look at men of power swollen with their importance who scramble to live at full throttle. So they fight, they run, they prance behind their lives, and all of a sudden, it stops, with no more reason than it had started ...

So it is for the activist, the pompous CEO, the princess of operetta, the child playing hopscotch in the gutters of Beirut, and you too who believed in God until the end of your cancer ... All are mowed down eventually by death's imbecility, and the rights of men give way to the rights of the maggot."

Someone on Radio-Canada observed that Jack Layton was a ferocious negociator. Who knows what deals people make when they learn that insidious, merciless cancer is raging within them? When my sister fought ovarian cancer, she confided in me that she *asked* for two years. And she lived, in the time left, to the fullest.

From Joan Baez:
"You don't get to choose how you're going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you're going to live. Now."

Sunday, 21 August 2011

De-placing the product.

Product placement has a long and venal venerable history.

There is also an opposite movement, one in which a corporation, an organization or a political party attempts to distance itself from an individual or from an event because of concerns that such association will damage their *brand* or image.

Boycotting products is a strategy used by a number of groups across the ideological spectrum to exploit this vulnerability.

This appears to be an unusual step, given the clash of *values* in conflict.
A clothing company is offering money to Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and his fellow “Jersey Shore” cast members — so they’ll stop wearing the brand on the show.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. says in a news release posted Tuesday that it’s concerned that having Sorrentino seen in its clothing could cause “significant damage” to the company’s image.

Abercrombie says a connection to The Situation goes against the “aspirational nature” of its brand and may be “distressing” to customers. The Ohio-based retailer says it has offered a “substantial payment” to Sorrentino and producers of the MTV show so he’ll wear something else.
"Aspirational nature"? Mmm. Perhaps "aspiration" is what a Republican wanna-be political operative is expressing, by deploying this unusual - though not surprising - tactic.

Politicians have long used popular songs and the artists who produced them to enhance their image - until they get a nasty cease-and-desist letter from their lawyers.

Perhaps it's time for ordinary and decent Canadian citizens to sue the Conservatives for attaching their party logo to Canada. It is distressing to the majority of Canadians that our country is held in contempt and derision in the US, in Europe, in Africa and now in South America because of actions taken by Stevie Spiteful, Cashmere Tony, Jason Kenney and other Con jobs.

Or we can follow Michaela Keyserlingk's example and use the Contempt Party logo in the context of all their shameful, corrupt and authoritarian actions.


Saturday, 20 August 2011

Evidence that some cops are indeed pigs.

A woman who was bound and sexually assaulted by her then-neighbour, Col. Russell Williams says the police left her tied up for five hours after responding to her 911 call.

Laurie Massicotte says Ontario Provincial Police officers told her they had to leave her in the harness, fashioned by Williams, until an OPP photographer arrived to take pictures of her in the restraint. [...] "Five hours, no medical attention. I was in total shock. I didn't know what the heck was going on." The OPP, she said, treated her like a criminal in the early hours of the investigation.

One officer told her neighbour, Massicotte said, that police suspected she was trying to "copycat" what happened to another sexual assault victim in Tweed, Ont., 12 days earlier.
From here.

Remember, the police did not release to the public any information or warnings with regard to the break-ins and sexual assaults to which women in that area had been subjected.

So how could she "copycat" those crimes? Instead of treating Massicotte like the victim of a crime, the cops assumed she was a perpetrator or complicit.

How many times does police malfeasance need to be proven before the criminal justice system expels these incompetent, sexist, brutal cops?

RWNJ see more signs of the Rapture

Honestly, is it any surprise that extreme religious zealots, climate change denialists and rightwing nutjobs flock together to shrieeek batshit craziness?

In fact they often behave like the insects of *Bugnado*, swarming in clouds of synchronized frenzy.





None of these folks have been to Gimli Manitoba, North Bay Ontario or the Tisza River in Hungary during shadfly breeding season, it would seem.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Maledict's Spanish Tour

Meanwhile, the Poop is spreading joy in Spain. ^NOT
Violence flared last night as a demonstration against the Pope's arrival in Madrid turned ugly.

Anti-Pope protesters marched on the Spanish capital's central Sol plaza to voice their concerns about the 50 million euro price tag of the four-day trip.

But what was being billed as a peaceful protest changed when marchers began taunting the thousands of pilgrims who were congregating in the area.

Yeah, spending 50 million euros on a visit by a corrupt enabler of child abuse when 40 percent of people under 25 are unemployed is a grand idea.

And it's not like there isn't other trouble in the world.

Best protest sign (from Twitter).




Spin, Timmie, Spin

Let the attack ads begin!

Specifically, attacking unions, 'union bosses' who get 'fat raises' and 'lavish benefits' all paid for by us poor tax-payers who get nothing -- like education, health, safety etc -- in return. McGuinty is 'beholden' to those unions.

Then there this totally lame and really annoying effort from Hudak's astroturf group, fronted by a Dominionist nutbar.

This is what he says about his communications *cough* company:
Brazen Communication is all about offering clients a bold way to express their complex ideas, services and mission

If that vid is any indication of quality, I think Tristan should stick to god-bothering.

Speaking of complex ideas, Lloyd Brown-John writes in the Windsor Star about 'catchphrase politics'.
Election campaigns often demand of electorates a level of credulity that tends to border on wishful thinking.

For example, a promise by Ontario's Conservative Leader Tim Hudak to reduce regulation by 30 per cent.

. . .
Reducing regulation by 30 per cent raises a multitude of questions, one of which is simply, how did Hudak and his policy team arrive at 30 per cent? Precisely, 30 per cent of what?

Indeed. Good questions.

30% of water safety regulations?

30% of abortion regulations?

30% of food inspection regulations?

30% of building regulations?

30% of mining regulations?

Sure, a lot of people would suffer from poisoned food and water, unsafe healthcare, collapsing buildings, and dangerous workplaces, but at least around 30% of them would be evil fat-cat union members.

Hmm. 30 per cent again. Maybe Hudak just wants to eliminate 30 per cent of Ontarians.

Bonus! Today's Con stunt event is literally all spin.



Shame



So. How did a guy who won his House of Commons seat by a measly 28 votes in 2006 wallop his competition by nearly 11,000 votes two years later?

Simple corruption.
The NDP is accusing federal Conservative cabinet minister Tony Clement of using a controversial, $50-million G8 legacy fund to buy re-election, prompting a heated denial from the government.

Municipal documents obtained by the New Democrats show Clement met with local mayors and councillors in the midst of the 2008 election campaign. They discussed how to identify projects that could be eligible for the legacy funding.

Twelve days after that meeting, a local news outlet reported that Clement had posted video endorsements from "local townspeople, mayors and council members" on his campaign website.

Somebody needs to investigate. In particular, this bit:
The auditor general has also criticized the government for shutting bureaucrats out of the process and for maintaining no paper trail to explain how or why the projects were selected.

However, hundreds of pages of municipal documents obtained by the NDP through provincial freedom of information legislation, show that federal bureaucrats did in fact participate in local meetings about the legacy fund -- including the one held during the 2008 campaign.

The documents also show that municipal officials were told to direct all questions and send funding applications to Clement's constituency office, not the government.

Shame on the people of Muskoka who sold their vote for a bunch of crappers. But the bureaucrats who sold their integrity should be fired and prosecuted.

As for Tony Slush, I'll keep my opinions on his just punishment to myself.

For now.

Image source. The blogger said presciently back in April this year:
Sweet for Tony Clement and the Conservative Party. They’ll probably get re-elected in Clement’s riding given all the tax money which has been spent there.


ADDED: Alison does the math.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

C*A*N*C*E*R brought to you by the Contempt Party


This excellent graphic was produced by pale at A Creative Revolution.

In solidarity with Michaela Keyserlingk. This is her website.


ADDED by fh: Alison is on it.

What to do with a Girl like Maria Magdalene*

Mother Jones magazine has delved into the lucrative American Christian-run 'corrective' organizations turning life into Hell on Earth for American youths, with emphasis on rendering girls into Stepford zombies, but not ignoring the rending psychological and physical damage done to boys as well.

Incompletely obedient youth touted as criminality to their parents becomes an excuse parlayed into unregulated imprisonment, punishment and torturous indoctrination into a certain interpretation of authority made sancrosanct by a veneer of religion.

I've often wondered how many broken inner children, grown and with children of their own to break, are the invisible mainstays of organizations wanting to move regional theocratic control into imperial state authority over everyone. For every survivor who continues to dissent, how many are silent and obedient, needing to identify with the abuser or fall apart more completely than they are if consciously having to face the idea this wasn't done to save their spirits, but to callously exploit them as resources?

Fewer than historically indoctrinated by state-run theocracies. That's the sad thing. Compared to pre-separation of state and church, this is improvement. The despots running these hellholes have to hide it now, however thinly in some locales. They have to demand anti-regulation. They have to close down and move. They have to make excuses and dismiss survivors and the damage done. They long for the return of theocratic glory days where all of that *work* lying about it won't be needed. Because they know what's really at stake here. Their comfort and bank accounts, the rest be damned. Literally.

I expect this is where someone makes the "No True Christian" jazz hands argument to make it all go away.

*Where the Hills aren't Alive, so much as they Have Eyes.

Slowly, I Turn

Just because I can.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

PSA: USians in Canada! Uncle Sam Wants Your Dough! - UPDATED

I wish I'd paid more attention to this back in June. I heard about it tonight on CBC radio and freaked.
A tax crackdown by the United States has sent more than one million Americans and green-card holders living in Canada scrambling to figure out how to comply.

The move is part of a push by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make sure U.S. taxpayers are paying what they owe on foreign accounts. Unlike most countries, the U.S. requires its citizens to file annual tax returns based on their worldwide income, regardless of where they live.

I've filed taxes in the US only during the couple of years I lived there. I was under the very common mistaken impression that Canada and the US had some kinda reciprocal deal, shuffling tax dough back and forth.

Well, they may well do, but I've missed filing more than 30 years.

Then, next problemo, new crackdown. The US considers my savings 'offshore accounts' on the order of Bernie Madoff's Cayman Islands holdings (if he has any).
Starting in 2013, the IRS will require financial institutions outside the United States to disclose all accounts held by current and former U.S. citizens and green-card holders. They will likely have to file years of U.S. tax returns and detailed annual account disclosure.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Friday that Canada is not a tax haven and that the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act will place an onerous burden on Canadian financial institutions.

“Unfortunately, U.S. tax law does little to distinguish between U.S. citizens living on sandy beaches in Caribbean tax havens and those living in a relatively high-tax country like Canada,” said Warren Dueck, a certified public accountant and chartered accountant with W.L. Dueck & Co. in Richmond, B.C.

The IRS has issued a limited amnesty for U.S. citizens, residents and green-card holders to report their foreign bank accounts. Under the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative, which ends on Aug. 31, penalties are reduced to a range of zero to 25 per cent of the balance of all non-U.S. financial accounts and assets in 2010.

So. I've gotta figure out what to do and do it in the next two weeks or face losing one-quarter of my life savings.

I guess I'll be eating cat food a little earlier than I expected.

For the masochists among you, here's the IRS Tax Guide for US Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.

UPDATE: I consulted with an expert in USian tax madness. Things are not so dire. First, because I'm a nice Canadian -- not a Bay Street fraudster or drug lord -- the penalty would be only 5% if I get in under the amnesty. Plus accountant fees. Situations will vary, so people should consult their own tax expert to decide what to do. Consult cost $100 and was well worth it.

Women Don't Trust Hudak



Not surprisingly, women don't trust Hudak.
Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak faces an uphill battle to win the trust of female voters in the upcoming election campaign.

In a new poll by Nanos Research, just under one in four voters describe Mr. Hudak as the most trustworthy leader. Among women, the numbers are even lower, with just one in five choosing him.

Well, there is still that outstanding matter of defunding abortion.

A commenter at the Globe -- if not writing with tongue planted in cheek -- seems to have heard the dog-whistle.
Jesus-Is-Lord

I agree completely with Mr. Hudak's position on abortion. It is not for the woman to decide, a woman with child is not emotionally capable of making such an important decision. If the government must prohibit abortions then so be it! Mr. Hudak is completely correct in his assessment of the role that the Ontario government must play in stopping the butchery of unborn children. Every child is a wonderful gift from God and that child has equal rights with the mother! The Holy Bible teaches us that abortion under any circumstances is murder! Murder!

"Truly children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward" (Psalm 127:3)

Our Lord gives women the gift of childbirth and no one can take that away. Mr. Hudak is only being a good Christian by protecting women from abortion.

I will vote Conservative to save the unborn!

Yes, indeedy. Look at the company he keeps. Read Niles on Christian Dominionists.


Image source.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Not a rocket scientist, this guy ...

just simply a common variety domestic terrorist.
Quebec police are investigating after a small-town mayor reportedly dumped a gigantic boulder onto the lawn of his ex-wife.

The mayor of St-Theodore-d'Acton, east of Montreal, told a local newspaper he left her a rock of about 20 tons as a birthday present. [...]

Police tell The Canadian Press that their suspect has refused to remove the boulder.
From here, thanks to Julie Lalonde's tweet.

It's quite the elaborate joke, innit? The message: I could have *accidentally* squashed you like a bug while you were sleeping.

Violence against women and children is domestic terrorism. "Honour killings" are the product of patriarchal beliefs, not only religious doctrine.

Restoring *morality* to Britain - PM's double standard.

David Cameron has promised to “restore a sense of morality” to Britain [...] announcing stronger police powers to ensure that offenders are caught and made to pay for their crimes.
From here.

Ooooh. Let's have some fun with the perorations emanating from that self-righteous, pompous dickhead, shall we? It's just a matter of changing the focus from alleged criminals (awaiting charges) to a different alleged criminal, still at large in spite of mountains of evidence and one dead - how convenient, that! - whistleblower and witness.

Addressing MPs recalled from their summer break, the Prime Minister cast News Corp's repeated illegal phone hacking incidents as a “deep moral failure”, and laid much of the blame at the door of *captains of industry* whose staff took part in illicit activies.

Managers and employees alike must be made to take greater responsibility for their actions, Mr Cameron said. “This is a time for the country to pull together,” he said. “We will restore a sense of stronger sense of morality and responsibility – in every town, in every street and in every estate.”

Rejecting claims that greed fuelled the law-breaking, Mr Cameron said the root causes of this criminality were cultural, not economic. “This is not about greed, this is about culture.” He also said that illegal phone hacking must be seen as nothing less than ordinary crime. “Employees were told to engage in these criminal activities and to corrupt police officials; it wasn't about freedom of the press, it was about unchecked thuggery,” he said.

Turning to the deeper causes of these events, Mr Cameron said that abusive exploitation of workers and poor corporate management had played significant role. “In too many cases, the owners of these corporations don’t care what their managers do, as long as profits grow and their competitors are destroyed," he said.

“The potential consequences of neglect and immorality on this scale have been clear for too long, without enough action being taken.” Conservative MPs are demanding tough punishments for offenders, and Mr Cameron insisted that severe penalties will be imposed.

“These people were all volunteers. They didn’t have to do what they did. They will suffer the consequences,” he said. Addressing offenders directly, he said: “We will track you down, we will find you, we will charge you, we will punish you. You will pay for what you have done.”

Yes! More robust policing! Oh. Wait.

In the interim however, how about cutting off Rupert Murdoch's News Corp generous subsidies aka *Corporate Welfare*, which he enjoys thanks to an intricate scheme of deferred tax payments, off-shore holdings and exploitation of elaborate legal loopholes generously available to corporations but not to ordinary citizens?

In the spirit of Cameron's words, when he backed a call Friday to withdraw welfare benefits from rioters ...

People who flout the letter of the law and abuse their own readers should no longer be allowed to benefit from *Corporate Welfare* - reflecting the tough line [Cameron] has taken over weeks of revelations that News Corp managers and employers broke laws. "Obviously, that will mean they'll have to finance themselves in the private sector - and that will be tougher for them, but they should have thought of that before they started breaking laws," he said.

"If you are a corporation receiving benefits, you're getting a break from the taxes ordinary people have to pay and with that should come some responsibility," Cameron told BBC television.

"For too long we've taken a too-soft attitude towards corporations that loot and pillage in the name of commerce. If you do that you should lose your right to the sort of advantages that the public has been subsidizing."




What do Christian Dominionists Want? The "Key Largo"* Philosophy

To meander up on Beijing York's earlier rhetorical question....

I expect this has been pointed out already, but I was googling around to see who the other fellow in the highlighted article was. I came across this local news informative piece on the principals of PFBO

In the Chatham piece, Mr. Emmanuel is positioned not as a pearl-clutching Christian, but as a material boy. He and his fellow concerned Ontarianian, Robert McAllister, flog non-union contractors' services to companies. Note their mercantile positions.

In other words, more than being Christian, (although the article has them eerily echoing the same 'concerns' as CLAC-Christian Labour Association of Canada )(For 'concerns' about CLAC see here and here) they're Cheap Labour Conservatives, pining for the fjords of plentiful, undemanding workers over which they shall have dominion alright. That said, I defer to that extremely useful piece by conceptual guerilla, "How to Defeat the Right in Three Minutes".

I'm also tossing in a Salon** article about the layers of the Tea Party support and this piece by a former insider of the Christian Reconstructionist movement. Canada, like the Northern US states, has seen its share of Secessionist migration in post-Civil War generations. It contains the population of less than many American states. Millions of undisclosed dollars were just pumped into Wisconsin's recall races where union busting is being show trialed.

I had a catfriend. We were lifetime buds, but he wasn't stupid. For a time, he discovered if he wanted to keep lounging in a spot I deemed he had to move from, he could wail as I lifted him so it sounded like I was breaking every bone in his body and driving the splinters into his vital organs. I fell for it a couple of times and I'd let go like he was on fire. He gave it away by curling contentedly up again. When I ignored his tormented agonies thereafter and he couldn't convince anyone around us either, he gave it up as a bad job.

As soon as there is high profile media investigation into the practical gains for power and control made by concerned Dominionists/Reconstructionists, I hear caterwauling tantrums about victimized a/ Christianity and b/conservatives. All too often the investigation is dropped. Handy that. Who would ever use religion as a cover for despotic, selfish activities?


*Key Largo

Frank McCloud: He knows what he wants. Don't you, Rocco?
Johnny Rocco: Sure.
James Temple: What's that?
Frank McCloud: Tell him, Rocco.
Johnny Rocco: Well, I want uh ...
Frank McCloud: He wants more, don't you, Rocco?
Johnny Rocco: Yeah. That's it. More. That's right! I want more!
James Temple: Will you ever get enough?
Frank McCloud: Will you, Rocco?
Johnny Rocco: Well, I never have. No, I guess I won't. You, do you know what you want?
Frank McCloud: Yes, I had hopes once, but I gave them up.
Johnny Rocco: Hopes for what?
Frank McCloud: A world in which there's no place for Johnny Rocco.

**h/t pandagon

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Scrub-a-dub-dub that oily spot away!

Bwaha-ha-ha! Read Alison at Creekside: Steve & Dimitri do some ethical oiling of a government website.

Further amusement: Alison smacks down an Anonymous Tar Sands sycophant in the comments.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

PKP's nefarious motive finally revealed.

Never underestimate the byzantine machinations of a Media Overlord, even a lesser one in the firmament of Media Maggots Magnates.


Though Pierre-Karl Péladeau may suck on the corporate welfare teat, he has devised a way to demonstrate to the world how MASSIVELY stupid, trashy and malevolent Ezra Levant and other assorted right-wing midiot™ nutjobs from Rest of Canada really are and how easy it was to corral them and put them on display.

He is after all his father's son, a man who supported the views of Adrien Arcand.

By the company they keep. . .



To counter the efforts of the anti-conservative, pro-labour group Working Families, a new astroturf grassroots organization has been formed, according to the Toronto Star.

So, who are they?
Tristan Emmanuel, campaign manager on the 2009 leadership bid of PC MPP Randy Hillier (Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington) and now People For A Better Ontario’s development manager, said the group is “small-c conservative” and has nothing to do with Hudak’s campaign.

“Absolutely not — that would be tantamount to blatant hypocrisy. That’s one of the concerns that we have with Working Families. We made a concerted effort to make sure that there is absolutely no linkage between the two of us on any level,” said Emmanuel, a long-time activist of conservative causes.

Hmmm. No connections, eh?

Warren Kinsella has list of Emmanuel's , er, accomplishments, which I don't think he'd mind my republishing here.
Toronto Sun, March 31, 2009 - MPP Randy Hillier officially joined the race for leader of the Ontario PC Party yesterday with a pledge to abolish the Ontario Human Rights Commission and outlaw mandatory union membership…Hillier’s spokesman is Tristan Emmanuel, a political and religious activist who has organized protests against same-sex marriage.

Toronto Star, May 15, 2009 - The federal Conservatives are crying foul against their provincial cousins in Ontario for alleged misuse of the national party’s membership list…The missive was sent to Andrew Boddington, Tristan Emmanuel, Mark Spiro and Paul Sutherland, senior campaign officials with candidates and MPPs Christine Elliott (Whitby-Oshawa), Randy Hillier (Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington), Tim Hudak (Niagara West-Glanbrook) and Frank Klees (Newmarket-Aurora), respectively.

Wikipedia – Emmanuel was a candidate for the socially conservative Family Coalition Party in the Lincoln electoral division in the 1995 Ontario provincial election. He was quoted as saying, “It’s time to have a principled party that understands there’s a higher power than the government, a power we believe is God.”

Wikipedia - Emmanuel ran against prominent federal politician Sheila Copps in a 1996 by-election as a candidate of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada. He argued that Canada’s Young Offenders Act should be abolished and corporal punishment reintroduced to schools, and was quoted as saying, “If an eleven-year-old murders someone, I think his life should be taken.”

Wikipedia - In April 2003, he organized a “Canadians for Bush” rally in Queenston Heights, Ontario, to support the American invasion of Iraq. The rally was attended by several prominent federal and provincial politicians, including Stockwell Day and provincial cabinet ministers Jim Flaherty and Tim Hudak.

Wikipedia – [The release quoted] excerpts from several of Emmanuel’s writings, asserting that he had described gay men as “sexual deviants” and Islam as “as far from peace, as hell is from heaven” in separate articles written in 2002.

Wikipedia – Emmanuel campaigned against the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Canada in 2005, organizing several rallies across the country, including one outside Parliament Hill in Ottawa and another at Queen’s Park outside the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

Wikipedia – In a 2005 interview with the Hamilton Spectator, Emmanuel described homosexuality as “a choice,” said that he regarded it as “the wrong choice, a bad choice,” and further argued that “the state shouldn’t sanction wrong choices.”


In short, he's a faaaar rightwing Christianist nutter.
Tristan Alexander Emmanuel is a Canadian political and religious activist. He is the founder and former president of the Equipping Christians for the Public-square Centre (ECP Centre), and is perhaps most notable for his opposition to same-sex marriage. He is now the president of Freedom Press Canada Inc., a niche publishing company that he founded in 2003.

Let's dig a little, shall we?

First, Freedom Press Canada. Small house obviously, but oh look who's on its list of authors: Gerry Nicholls, he of Ivory Tory fame.

The now defunct Equipping Christians for the Public Square Centre has tossed its torch to:
NoApologies.ca website to be managed by Tim Bloedow and ChristianGovernance

Legal Advocacy and Defence efforts to continue with other organizations, including at Christian Legal Fellowship

Education and awareness directed through the Association for Reformed Political Action

More connections! It was at ARPA's website that DJ! found the information on Tim Hudak's 2009 abortion stance. (He would defund abortion, he said.)

And it was the head of ARPA who wrote about that flap in The Star, basically saying that anyone interested in Hudak's position on abortion is immature, graceless, and engaged in sensationalist 'gotcha' politics.

Altogether a nice gang of dinosaurs who'd drag Ontario back to the 19th century.

And this is the company that Tim Hudak keeps.

DJ! thought Ontario voters should know this.

ADDED: gritchik has more. And WEIRDER. Emmanuel is not just a RWNJ Christianist, but an egomaniac to boot.

ADDED: Check them out yourself. People for a Better Ontario.

ADDED: It seems there's some doubt about whether Tristan Emmanuel is his real name. Hmmm.




Thursday, 11 August 2011

Priorities/priorities: Mandosian ramblings on electoral politics

Like my co-bloggers, I happen to believe that electoral politics still matters---if only to stave off evil rather than promote good. Consider Hudak.

One of the bigger complaints of the leftish end of those who still interest themselves in electoral politics is that far too large a swath of the public votes for people who really, truly don't have their best interests in mind. Why do so many working class Americans vote so faithfully for people who openly want them to eat pet food* in their old age, if they are so lucky as to be able to afford it? Why do they continue to do so when it is becoming increasingly obvious that the proportion of human pet-food-eaters is going up even now? (Why do Mississauga immigrant communities vote for the people who want to oppose/reduce immigration for family reunification?)

There are two possible explanations:


  1. The classic lefty "false consciousness"/propaganda sort of explanation: people are fed lies by corporate media that cause them to identify with the elite and support causes that they believe are in their rational interest but actually are not.
  2. The alternative by elimination: many people are consciously voting against their own "rational" interest, because they don't conceive of their interests in the same way. "Sticking it" to their neighbours takes priority over some discounted future in which they may be eating out of Fluffy's bowl.


It's probably a bit of both, but needless to say, I nowadays lean towards #2 as being more of a factor than column #1. Lefties spend a lot of (justified) electrons condemning mainstream economics for attempting to deploy ideas based on a ridiculous economic homunculus model to actual policy. But for all that, they seem to believe just as well in an a priori dichotomy between "rational" and "irrational" interests. But there's nothing "irrational" about starving yourself to starve your neighbour. In fact, if you're convinced your neighbour will die first...

Unlocking the reasons for why voters vote is something that the right has spent a lot of time and effort on, and the left hardly at all, even taking into account the disparity of resources between the ends of the political spectrum. It may or may not be too late for electoral politics to fix the world to any degree; I don't know. But I don't think it was really tried.

*I'm aware that it's not necessarily cheaper...but it is a standard trope so *shrug*.

#toiletbunker events confirmed.

Here's a rough translation of an item published in Le Devoir.

Diplomatic incident in Brasilia?
Lisa-Marie Gervais Canada August 11, 2011
Although denied by the Canadian Embassy, ​​information circulating about the diplomatic incident caused on Monday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his visit to Brazil, are not mere rumours. A journalist respected in political circles, the Brazilian columnist Eliane Cantanhede Brazilian, who revealed the alleged blunders of Mr. Harper sticks to the story. "I confirmed the information from my sources on site," she told Le Devoir, in a telephone interview from Brasília.

The facts are described in an article co-authored with her colleague Natuza Nery in Folha de São Paulo, the most influential newspaper in the country; Stephen Harper appears to be a rude person shamelessly violating protocol. "That's inelegant of him. People found it arrogant and crude," said Ms. Cantanhede.

The reported incidents have occurred in two stages. First, the Prime Minister would have insisted to speak to Canadian journalists at the presidential palace (Planalto), against tradition that has Heads of State visitors usually addressing the press from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Itamaraty). "Giving Interviews in the Planalto Palace, it is never done. All who come to visit, even Obama, speak to reporters from the Itamaraty, "said the journalist.

Official toast, before or after?

As the Brazilian authorities have refused him this privilege, Mr. Harper, upset, would have insisted to reverse part of the protocol, which is the official toast. The latter can be given before or after the meal, but the President of Brazil, Dilma Roussef, had wished to take place later. Canadian Prime Minister "demanded" it be done before and then he "locked himself in the private bathroom of foreign minister, Antonio Patriota," the article said.

"Taken off course, Brazilian diplomats did not know if they were to follow the expressed wishes of the President or give in to the capricious demands of the Canadian visitor," it said. Harper's whims eventually prevailed.

Have these events been misunderstood? Eliane Cantanhede, who was not there, says her sources are reliable. Someone present confided in her colleague Natuza Nery, who was nearby. "She told me about it and I then confirmed the information with advisors and diplomats present," she maintains.


Illustration from Montreal Simon.


ADDED by fh: Read some comments from Brazilians here. His behaviour did ^NOT go over well. To say the least.

ADDED by fh: Alison is on it.