Thursday, 28 February 2013

Karma Is a Bitch

I gotta say I'm enjoying the hell out of Tom Flanagan's implosion today.

It's so good to see real-time karma in operation. And in this case two ugly vultures have come home to roost.

First, it was First Nations youth, possibly/probably aligned with Idle No More, who instigated it. Arnell Tail Feathers (I've seen two spelling of that) recorded and uploaded it. Levi Little Moustache (again, two spellings) did the research and asked the question.

Little Mustache, a youth on the Blood Tribe reserve southwest of Lethbridge, said everyone was shocked when Flanagan repeated his view.

“The whole crowd just kind of gasped,” Little Mustache said. “Everyone was just taken aback by that. And then the moderator just kind of shook his head.”

He said four people in the audience walked out. His friend, Arnell Tailfeathers, recorded Flanagan’s remarks and posted the video on YouTube.
Flanagan's views on First Nations are simply loathsome. He's been used as a more than willing apologist for colonialism in court cases and the media. In his role as Asshole-in-Residence at CBC, he's been very vocal in dissing the Idle No More movement.

So that's kind of sweet.

Next, the issue: child pornography, which should rightly be called crime-scene evidence.

Flanagan was national campaign manager for the Corrupt Party in 2004, a campaign that will be remembered for its general narstiness and in particular for the attempted smear of Paul Martin for his 'support' of child pornography.

What goes round, comes round, eh, Tom?

So, hoist on his own petard by a couple of savvy yet somehow 'less advanced' young First Nations men.

Yes. A good day.

Update by deBeauxOs: CBC backgrounder on Canadian case law with regard to child p0rn0graphy.  Also, Flanagan's tactic to smear Paul Martin and Jack Layton in the 2004 federal election.

Pity poor Tom Flanagan.

Had his verbal faux-pas occurred at any other conjuncture of the Harper dictatorship, a hastily-assembled crew of communications serfs would have nimbly cleaned up his mess.

But the CPC propaganda machine has been woefully stressed to the cracking point recently, and so Flanagan was unceremoniously jettisoned.

The first sign that his party had dumped him was a tweet from the PMO's Andrew MacDougall.

It was eventually followed by another tweet, this one quite terse, from Stephen Taylor stating that Flanagan had been dropped from the Manning Networking Conference's line-up of speakers at the annual media-savvy shin-dig.

This is not the first time the man described, by the forementioned Manning Institute as "a major intellectual figure in conservative circles", has opined with regard to the depiction of "child p0rn".

From Michael Harris' excellent piece at iPolitics:
In a bizarre exchange with a student caught on video, Flanagan said that he didn’t think people should go to jail for possessing child pornography.[...]

“A lot of people on my side of the spectrum, the conservative side of the spectrum, are on a kind of jihad against child pornography. I certainly have no sympathy for child molesters, but I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures.[...]

The student who confronted Flanagan also made reference to a quote attributed to Canada’s answer to Karl Rove when the Manitoba government was hurrying through tough new legislation on child pornography. At the time, Flanagan suggested the whole subject was debatable: “What’s wrong with pornography in the sense that it’s just pictures?”
As my co-blogger and virtual roomie fern hill pointed out, Flanagan's fall from the heights of Con cronyism happened as the result of sustained Idle No More vigilance, with respect to issues and concerns important to First Nations, Indigenous, Métis and Innu peoples.

The tweetstorm in response to Flanagan's insouciance has been informative. This article reinforces Harris' point about the criminality and the organized child exploitation required to produce this material.

Will the stench of the Flanagan scandal trail the MNC events next week?  For good measure, we should keep up the pressure and investigate what dodgy, hypocritical, fraudulent and possibly criminal elements the other Con speakers bring to the table.

Update: Apparently Flanagan has become a liability to the University of Calgary, too.

With so many scandals exposed, the CPC is vulnerable, and its propaganda machine's capacities stretched to the limit.  Otherwise, it would have found a way to sweep his comments under the carpet, likely by attacking the First Nations videographer who posted the damning YouTube interview, but instead they hung him out to dry.

Like vultures or hyenas, Harper's conservatives have turned on a pack member who exposed an individual weakness, for fear his action could make the whole group vulnerable to its *natural* enemies.

Bonjour la pôlisse! Got a permit for your *protest*?

Too, too funny.

Montreal Police are holding a press conference and a "manifestation" - a protest or a demonstration - today in front of the SPVM headquarters for their union members.

During Le printemps érable - literally, the Maple Spring - last year, at the height of the student protests against university tuition increases, the Charest government put pressure on municipalities to enforce their by-laws regulating demonstrations in public areas.

Two veterans of those 100 and more days of protests, tweeted about the cops' media event.  Very droll these two.

frogsarelovely in particular, who documented each protest with her smartphone camera and her tweets, was roughly handled by SPVM cops one night. She was held overnight on a trumped-up charge; a cop claimed that she had uttered threats. She is a pacifist, and her tweets reflect that.

So now the two of them are thinking that this protest needs to have a citizens' anti-riot squad to control such an unruly group, one that has a history of behaving violently. It's a union!  Of cops!  Where's their permit, to show that they're holding a LEGAL protest?

Justin Ling a journalist who covered the Carré Rouge protests in Montreal shared his observations and personal experience of police brutality, here.

[...]I found myself handcuffed, sitting on the sidewalk on a residential street in the Gay Village. Waving around my semi-official press credentials elicited only blank stares and occasional instructions to shut up from police officers. My get-out-of-jail-free card came in the form of a Tweet I managed to mash out before getting carted off to a detention facility. I, luckily, was released before being sent up the river.

There's little doubt that SPVM tactics during these protests have been reactionary. The dragnet put out there to catch vandals and criminals has netted over two thousand of arrests, including journalists, confused bystanders and peaceful protesters alike.

There's lots of anecdotal evidence that the officers have treated press freedom like a bit of a joke. Student journalist Pierre Chauvin's press pass actually got laughs from a few SPVM cops.

My situation -- which spawned a whirlwind of press -- had much to do with my method of escape, and the SPVM's quick thinking on Twitter.

But here's a thought: the police shouldn't be arresting journalists.

[...]Mainstream media outlets have been challenged to shell out the overtime to get online reporters into the streets each night, and independent journalists have been pushed to churn something out other than the traditional cut-and-dried head-news that have dominated much of the strike coverage.

[...]I have spent most of the protest working for OpenFile Montreal. Along with a crack team of other young journalists, we've published nightly coverage that has been consistent, insightful, and -- if I may say -- pretty damn good.

OpenFile has proved itself a strong challenger to the Montreal Gazette on the protest coverage, and has, I think, surpassed other anglophone mainstays like CTV. Hard-nosed journalism that hurls itself to the frontlines, finally, appears to be getting some recognition.

Enter CUTV.

The little campus-station-that-could has far surpassed expectations, becoming one of the staples of coverage for anyone following the strike.

Yet its in-your-face coverage (maybe bordering on overly aggressive,) coupled with a hard pro-protester editorial line have made them persona non grata amongst the police force.

I've seen the CUTV camera crews out every night, throwing themselves into this strike like few others have. Whether or not that's always a good thing is still a matter of some debate. Has CUTV moved away from covering the story, and towards becoming the story?

Still, CUTV's on-the-ground footage has, amid some snickering, been picked up by local, national and international news. It has captured images of police kettling, bonfires that plagued the Latin Quarter and instances that probably constitute undue use of force by the SPVM.

One wonders if CUTV was on the invitation list for the police union's press event AND demo/protest.

Fortunately or perhaps unfortunately, matraque... ah, matricule 728 aka Stéfanie Trudeau won't be able to attend the protest.  She is currently attending court-ordered psychiatric treatment.  In any event, the judge also issued a restraining order which forbids her access to police premises and contact with her colleagues, allegedly because she alluded to Christopher Dorner during one of her epic rages, this one in the offices of the SPVM police employees' union.

Too bad. Some judiciously applied pepper might nicely balance the dose of heavy salt on those Montreal streets after the snow storm...

Added: Justin Ling is known these days for his co-authorship of this piece of investigative journalism

Update: The Montreal Gazette reports on the Police Union's *manifestation* today.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Today in Harpocrit Land

It's Pink Shirt Day today.

I booted up the Twitter machine, checked the hashtag for Warawa's Wank and nearly blew camomile tea out my nose.

I wasn't the only one struck by this hypocritical drivel.

Well, we all know the answer to Claudine's question, don't we?
Votes from a handful of Conservative backbenchers weren’t enough to push through an NDP proposal to strike an all-party committee to study and craft a national anti-bullying strategy.

The motion from NDP backbencher Dany Morin was defeated Wednesday night in the Commons by a vote of 149 to 134. About half a dozen Conservative backbenchers voted in favour of the motion, but the support was not enough to have it passed.
I looked and found the five Cons who voted for it: Smith, Allen, Brown, Tilson, and Bezan.

Mark Warawa, champion of bullied fetuses, not among them.

I know. You're shocked.

UPDATE: Courtesy of Radical Centrist, here is the division. Note Warawa among the NAYS, not conveeeniently absent.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Condemn, Then Defund

In this tweet, the agenda behind Warawa's Wank, aka Motion 408, a private member's bill to keep the abortion issue on the bubble, is revealed.

Condemn, then defund.

The Australian legislator sounds about as dim as our own Fetus Lobby®.
THE Democratic Labor Party senator John Madigan will introduce on Wednesday a private members' bill seeking to remove Medicare funding for abortions ''procured on the basis of gender selection''.

Senator Madigan, who could hold a balance of power vote in the Senate after the September election, said he would ''seek support from other politicians who are on the record as being pro-life''.

He said he had ''seen data that abortion on the basis of gender selection is happening overseas and that means it is likely to be happening here'' although he conceded it was ''difficult to get Australian data'' on the issue.
Doesn't know if it is happening, but it's 'likely'. So let's be prepared and defund it now.

How, exactly, abortions could be defunded for one reason and not for others is of course not spelled out.

That revealing tweet is from Jack Fonseca, who describes himself as 'Pro-life activist, Project Manager at Campaign Life Coalition, political observer'.

And yes, it is Campaign Life Coalition behind the Defund Abortion Rally, now scheduled for maximum Catholic school kid participation on Tuesday, March 19.

Count on it. If the meaningless motion passes, bleating about 'Canadians want us to ACT on this' will commence.

Harper fosters culture of secrecy and impunity in his government.

Here's a round-up of recent news items regarding the ongoing micromanagement of the Harper government by its tinpot tyrant.

Aaron Wherry has been monitoring what he has aptly named "The quiet cuts".

Some excerpts from his excellent ongoing overview:
CBC reported last week that the government will close eight Veterans Affairs offices.[...]The Canadian Forces recruiting centre in Windsor has closed. And Canada Post is considering service cuts.

Meanwhile, there are new concerns being raised about the end of the Police Officer Recruitment Fund—see previously, The Demise of the Police Officer Recruitment Fund. Vic Toews defends the fund as a “one-time investment.”

In Vancouver, the Kitsilano Coast Guard station was quietly closed last week, apparently to the surprise of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. Global News wonders if the closure has something to do with selling the land the station is located on.

The Conservative government’s spending restraint is focusing on front-line services while back-office spending continues to rise, says a new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office.

That’s exactly the opposite of promises made by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who said last year that the majority of Ottawa’s $5.2-billion austerity program would target administrative and support costs without impacting service to the public.

Nearly a hundred employees at the National Research Council have received affected notices.

“There’s a much larger game afoot but it’s being rolled out in a really stealthy way,” said Kennedy Stewart, the NDP critic for science and technology. “When we look back in a couple of years we’ll see that it really is part of a larger plan and it will probably have an impact on our international standing.”

[...]94 National Research Council employees across the country received notification letters that their services “may no longer be required,” according to a statement released that day by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada. Those employees include scientists, researchers and business development officers who work in the life sciences, engineering, and business management divisions. They are located in Halifax, Moncton, Fredericton, London, Regina, Winnipeg and Ottawa, the union’s statement said.
So front line service workers and staff in critical positions, professionals who ensure the departments' mandates are implemented, have have been removed.  Is this an insidious way for Harper to profoundly subvert the civil service in order to put in place non-union employees that are mere cogs in the machinery of his government's servitude to corporate interests?  This identifies how he will accomplish his goal:
Economist David Macdonald decided to find out how many consultants, contractors and temporary workers the federal government was hiring and how much Canadians were paying for them.

It took him about a year. What he discovered was a burgeoning “shadow public service.” Last year it cost taxpayers $1.2 billion. That was 79 per cent higher than when Prime Minister Stephen Harper took power in 2006.

Despite a spending freeze in the federal bureaucracy, it is still growing by leaps and bounds.

“Without prompt corrective action, outsourcing costs will continue to soar,” said Macdonald, a research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

He sifted through 300,000 government contracts and pored over the five years’ worth of public accounts to find out what was happening, pinpoint the big spenders and track the trends. The deeper he looked, the more troubling the pattern became.

Not only had the cost of contract workers ballooned, the nature of their work had changed. No longer were they brought in for short-term projects or hired to provide expertise the government did not have. They did exactly the same work as public servants. They sat alongside them, had government email addresses and handled confidential government information.

That last bit... "handled confidential government information"... such as this?

In an email, Privacy Commissioner spokeswoman Anne-Marie Hayden confirmed that the office is looking into the possible involvement of a Department of Justice Canada employee. “Our office is contacting those who have already filed an official complaint against HRSDC in relation to the USB key incident to seek their consent to an amendment of their complaint to include both HRSDC and Justice Canada as respondents.”

“Administrative investigations are underway to determine all the facts surrounding this matter. The Department of Justice is part of the investigations,” wrote a Department of Justice Canada spokesperson in an email. She declined to comment on specific details, writing that, “It would be inappropriate to comment further while the investigations are ongoing.”

Ted Charney, senior partner at Falconer Charney LLP, one of the law firms involved in the class action lawsuit on behalf of CPP applicants whose information was lost, finds it disconcerting that CPP information may have been shared with the Department of Justice Canada.

“I don’t know how somebody’s confidential health information to apply for a CPP disability pension ends up in front of employees with the Department of Justice,” he said. “I don’t know if somebody when they applied for a CPP disability pension ever realized that the government intends to show that information to other departments, including the DOJ.”

Charney said that nearly all of the 5,000 people affected by the first data breach have registered with the class action lawsuit. “To the extent that the class members are additionally harmed because of the Department of Justice investigation, it could expand the nature of the claim. It certainly expands the nature of our inquiry into what’s been going on federally in terms of protecting information and how it’s exchanged between various departments.”

It certainly seems Harper, an ambitious, greedy man playing chess with Canadians' collective and individual well-being whilst being a loyal and indebted servant to corporate rule, is carrying out his stated objective of making this country over, so that no decent citizen will recognize what it's become.

More quotes from PMSHithead, the man who engineered a majority government with 39% of the vote, likely through election fraud and vote suppression, here.

Also, read the fierce response from the Public Service Alliance of Canada, here.

Added: As fern hill pointed out on Twitter, 900-foot Jesus at her blog Of Gods and Monsters, has also been diligently tracking CON fraudulence, for example this.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Recreational Abortion

A new one to me.

From Iowa, recreational abortion.
Sen. Jack Hatch, a Des Moines Democrat, said he doesn't expect the legislation to advance. But he said GOP lawmakers will likely again try to block the use of state Medicaid funds for a small number of abortions performed in cases of incest, rape or when the life of the mother is at risk.

“These are not recreational abortions, they are medically needed,” said Hatch said, who said he thought that any such effort would ultimately fail.
Hatch is prochoice. Clearly, the discourse on abortion is totally fucked up in Iowa when even prochoice people use the phrase.

I went looking for other instances of 'recreational abortion' and found some.

The Onion (of course) from 2004.

Recreational-Abortion Enthusiasts Applaud Repeal Of Partial-Birth Ban

WASHINGTON, DC—Hundreds of abortion enthusiasts gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court Monday to voice their support for recent rulings repealing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. "We just adore abortions, and now they're more convenient than ever," abortion lover Nayla Forster said. "Some women found it a real pain to squeeze the procedure in before the third trimester." Forster said that she personally tries to get out and have an abortion at least every four months or so.
Something called Issuepedia (who knew?) calls it a 'troll phrase'.

Then among a variety of fetus fetishist sites, I found this explanation: 'Recreational sexual intercourse leads to recreational abortion.'

Funny, innit, that 'creation' is part of both procreation and recreation?

We need a new movement: the anti-creation movement.

Fully Funded, Any Time, Any Reason

Well, this isn't working very well.

Virulent anti-choice Jeff Watson, MP for Essex, Ontario, had an notion for a poll at his website.

Recently, as parliament debated M-312 to establish a committee to re-examine Canada's 400 year-old law defining a human being, the founder and Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada called fully taxpayer-funded abortion, at any time, for any reason - including for sex-selection or as birth control - a basic woman's right.

Which best describes your position:

3464 total votes

I support fully taxpayer-funded abortion, at any time in the pregnancy, for any reason at all: 76%

I support some legal restrictions on access to abortion, for example restricting full access to abortion to the first trimester of pregnancy: 9%

I support abortion for any reason but it shouldn't be taxpayer-funded: 1%

I support creative policy options and supports that help women with unexpected pregnancies keep the baby: 2%

I support a complete ban on abortion: 10%

When our pal Alison at Creekside alerted us to this about 12 hours ago, there were just over 2716 votes, but the proportions were essentially the same: one point less then for some restrictions and one point more for total ban.

Let's repeat that, shall we?

Over three-quarters of Canadians support fully taxpayer-funded abortion, at any time in the pregnancy, for any reason at all.

UPDATE: The poll is still open and the fetus fetishists must be freeping. Total ban is up a point and totally lawless is down a point. Votey-vote-vote.

FURTHER UPDATE: Aha. PZ Myers linked to the poll. Alison says: 'It's PZ Myers vs the foeterz! My money's on PZ.' Mine too.

And here's the proof of the freeping.

UPDATE at 7:00 p.m.: Now 5148 votes. Fully funded, any time, any reason down to 58%. Total ban up to 29%. Proof that fetus fetishists are better freepers. Sane people get bored.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Liar? Idiot? In either case, unfit

Twitter is having a ball with the Puffster's admission that he 'misunderstood' the rules for primary residence.

It’s “extremely complicated.”

It’s “antiquated.”

It’s “very, very fuzzy.”

In the cold grip of an Ottawa winter, the “it” topic is the suddenly hot definition of residency for senators.

Sen. Mike Duffy, in a mea culpa performance, declared Friday that he misunderstood what is meant by primary residence when he filled out Senate expense forms, and may have wrongly claimed about $42,000 in living expenses as a result. He’ll pay back the money, but Duffy insisted he owns a residence — a cottage — in PEI and so is qualified to sit in the Senate.
Here's the form.

Of course, tweeps are joking that maybe the Puffster should have had Senator Jacques Demers read it to him.

Image via Paul MacNeill.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Must watch interview.

For the record, DJ! apologizes to Michael Sona.

It appears the guy was in the throes of electoral fervour when he dispatched by CON war room bullies to play the role of a minor thug during the 2011 federal election.  For his troubles, he was thrown under the bus.

Watch his candid interview here.

PMSHithead's government, elected by means that appear to me and many others who are working to collect the evidence of CPC wide-spread electoral fraud, cannot fall quickly enough.

I hope the members of the CPC oligarchy who engineered this assault on democracy and the electoral process suffer the disgrace and punishment they richly deserve.

Especially the contemptible CON above, who bragged he'd change Canada so we wouldn't recognize it anymore. I hope he spends time in jail.

Update: "Sun News is kind of an alternate method of getting press releases and other stories out from the party, right? I mean everyone knows that, right? It's just a standard comm's tactic." There's the money quote from Sona's interview (transcribed by Alison), with regard to the cozy link between StunTV and the CPC, further developed by Big City Lib's blogpost here.

Religious Freedummmmmmdumdumdum!!!!

Crawling out from under several biotic invasions jumping up and down on me since November, I am finally starting to believe I will survive this winter, except I've likely jinxed it now by 'saying' that 'aloud'.

Times like this remind one the stress of even temporary disease wears you down in a way that makes you slither away from added emotional aggravation.  By the time you crawl home the only energy you have is for necessities of domesticity before passing out.

Still, I am an adult and I'm privileged to have a home, plus employment that pays the bills and has HR policies against bigoted stupidity. (and sick days)

The point is, on a "Thank Guinness it's Friday" afternoon drive home today, I had the joy and wonder of seeing one of those temporary signs on the public boulevard/city property at the side of the residential road.  Community groups put them up all the time announcing meetings, sports recruitment etc.

"That's new," I thought idly, "wasn't there yesterday..." And then I parsed the content.  Advertising MP Michelle Rempel's name (my MP...don't start me) at the top, the sign demanded to vote no on Bill C279 and to contact your MP, signed

So.....I had a mild mental reaction of a record player needle screeching across vinyl. (yeah, it dates me, but so it goes). I had the luxury of being a passenger as I blasphemed heartily.

I expect many readers of DJ! are aware of the private member bill C279 . It seeks to instill human rights protection language that will stop federally controlled areas from discriminating on gender basis, in theory sheltering transgender folks as a class.  It has also been emotionally and breathlessly tagged (insert ominous echo effect) "The Bathrrrrrrroom Bill".  Why? Becuz FEAR!!!!, that's why.

Opponents of Bill C279 desperately paint it to mean helpless, HELPLESS women and children will be cornered in public lavatories, cowering beneath the leering gaze of muahahahaing rapist male villains who will use this unfettered, legal access to throw on a dress and enter the previously hallowed ground to commit vile and criminal acts upon them.  You know, like WorldWar 1 propaganda poster Huns.

As usual, the facts have little to do with the whingeing.  As usual, the defenders of "The Family" are social conservative religionists looking to cry moral degeneracy victim and exploit the Harper Government's new "Office of Religious Freeeeedommmmm".  Canada Family Action is a Catholic lobbying agency that also spends its time whingeing about nasty abortionzzes.  Quelle surprise, I know.

Here's the thing that got me. CFA's latest news pieces at their website concentrated on two things in their latest three announcements.  Scary transgender people being considered human...and depression, touting their allied site for helping with depression.

Depression among LGBTqueer youth has been cited as being up to 8 times greater in occurence than 'baseline' youth.  Ya think groups like CFA take any responsibility for contributing to the depression of kids who aren't 'normative' Christians? Ohellno.

Here's the kicker to my story.  Canada FamFuckingily Action stuck their lovely moveable billboard up on the corner across from James Fowler high school, beside a small strip mall where the school teens go to hang and eat.

Christian values and freedommmmmmm in action.

I need another beer.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Challenge for ORF: Protect Tibetan Buddhism

DAMMIT JANET! has a project for the new Office of Religious Pandering Freedom.

Speak up about assaults on Tibetans from guerrilla Xian missionaries.

Tibet is the K2 of the evangelical Christian world – missionaries see it as a formidable yet crucial undertaking, a last spiritual frontier. Of the 400 foreigners living in Xining, most are missionaries, estimates Chris [pseudonym for missionary interviewed].

Proselytising has been illegal in China since 1949, when Mao Zedong declared western missionaries "spiritual aggressors" and deported them en masse, so today's evangelists work undercover as students, teachers, doctors, and business owners. Moreover, Tibetans are tough customers in the market for souls – Buddhism is central to their cultural identity, making them notoriously difficult to convert.
While Tibetans might be a tough sell, Chinese authorities are not so much.
More than 10 people interviewed for this article said that Chinese authorities in Tibetan areas were selectively tolerant of missionaries for reasons that range from pragmatic to borderline sinister. One is that they are a boon to local economies – they open lucrative businesses and teach at local schools for next to nothing, supplementing their meagre salaries with donations from home. Authorities may also consider missionaries politically trustworthy, reluctant to undermine their spiritual missions by openly criticising regional policies.

And lastly, the government may welcome them as a powerful counterforce to Tibetan Buddhism, with its electrifying political overtones.

"China isn't trying to destroy religion by any means, but they're trying to destroy certain parts of Tibetan religion," said [Robbie Barnett, a leading Tibet expert at Columbia University]. "They're not the same project by any means, but they certainly have some congruency."
Makes sense. China is deploying religious homeopathy against Tibetan Buddhism.

Why is Tibet such a big deal to Xians?
Most missionaries in Tibet belong to nondenominational organisations which believe that Jesus Christ will return to the earth only when people from every social, cultural and linguistic group have been exposed to his teachings. These groups view mass conversion as a high form of ecclesiastical service, and as such, their tactics can be covert and transactional. Some lure young Tibetans with the promise of English lessons or professional training and coax them into conversion after making sure of their loyalty. Various Tibetans in Xining expressed disgust with this tactic. One likened it to bribery.
And Tibet has been the holy grail for quite a while, using similar 'covert transactions'.
The first missionary to make any significant headway in Tibet was a Portuguese Jesuit named António de Andrade who, in 1624, infiltrated the region disguised as a Hindu pilgrim.
Faced by both China's selective tolerance and Tibetans' disgust, the zealots get creative.
Missionaries have adopted a range of tactics to combat these obstacles, but none have proven consistently successful. In the 1990s, many would distribute religious leaflets in predominantly Buddhist areas. Evangelical blogs describe the process: often by cover of night, "tract-bombing" teams on tourist visas would stuff the leaflets into letterboxes and nail them to monastery walls. These missions tended to invite more hostility than curiosity. Missionaries were often arrested by high-strung officials or chased away by monks.
Here's an excerpt from the tract-bombing blog.
I dropped in at this one Hui (muslim) restaurant to get something to eat.  I asked for noodles (which is a staple among the muslims) expecting to get the usual bowl of broth filled with noodles and spices.  Instead I received a plate of weird looking thick noodles topped with sponges.  Yes, sponges.  They looked like sponges and tasted like sponges (unfortunately I do know what sponges taste like).  The only difference was that they did not chew like sponges.  I have no idea what it was but it wasn’t that great.  After forcing down most of it so that I would not offend the cook I asked for a bag to bring the rest with me and left.  It is an interesting experience going out to eat in a land where you don’t know what they are saying or how to order what you want.  Try it sometime.  Broadens your perspectives greatly.
This is the sort of sophisticate sent to convert the heathens. (And why, pray tell, does this guy know what sponges taste like?)

Here's the challenge. Will the Office of Religious Freedom protest the use of lying, sneaking Xian evangelicals by China in its campaign to eradicate Tibetan Buddhism?

Surely Tibetans' freedom of religion matters too?

Image source. (Get used to seeing it, dear readers.)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Office of Religious Freedom

deBeauxOs added a link to this splendid new creation by Stephen Lautens to a recent post, but it really needs to seen in all its glory. (It continues to perplex me how link-averse many people are.)

More wonderful Demotivational Conservative Posters here.

Lying Costs! Send Money!

Regular readers of DJ! know that we are not keen on much to do with the Vatican Taliban here, with one exception, Raymond Gravel.

Seems he was a tad ticked at being called 'pro-abortion' by LifeShite, so he sued.

Today we learn that the case is going to trial.
A libel and defamation lawsuit against, filed by Canadian priest Father Raymond Gravel who describes himself as “pro-choice,” will go to trial.

Fr. Gravel claims that LifeSiteNews' depiction of him in the agency's news articles as “pro-abortion” is libelous, because he says he is “pro-choice” but does not support abortion per se.

In response to the advancement of the case, LifeSiteNews editor John-Henry Westen called the move “a grave danger to freedom of the press, freedom of speech and freedom of religion, not only in Canada, but in North America.”
Freedom is in grave danger! Send money!
Fr. Gravel claims that LifeSiteNews' reporting about him ruined his reputation as a politician and priest. He seeks damages of 500,000 Canadian dollars, or about $492,000, as well as costs.

On Jan. 11 a Quebec judge ruled that the lawsuit can advance to trial, dismissing the claims of LifeSiteNews that Fr. Gravel is merely intending to gag them.

The damages sought by Fr. Gravel are identical to a full year's budget for the site, according to its editors. It has already spent some $170,000 on the suit.


And its USian cousin better start raising some big bucks to defend against a potential? probable? suit by Dr LeRoy Carhart over this bit of libel.

ADDED: More details on the Gravel case. Also a wrinkle: defamation law is somewhat different in Quebec.

Lightning and Vultures

The Vulture Culture that feasts on the suffering of abortions gone wrong will be sooo disappointed. The cause of death of the woman trumpeted as 'killed' by Dr Carhart is natural causes.
A 29-year-old woman died of natural causes after visiting an abortion clinic in Montgomery County and suffering a rare complication related to childbirth, according to an initial finding by the Maryland medical examiner’s office.

The complication, which occurred when amniotic fluid was pushed into the woman’s bloodstream, can occur during or after abortions, natural deliveries or Caesarean sections.

An expert, who obviously could not comment on this specific case, said:
Amniotic fluid embolisms are rare, and the medical profession doesn’t have a good handle on how they affect a patient’s body, Eisinger said. “It’s kind of the obstetric equivalent of getting hit by lightning,” he said. “It is usually unexpected, sudden and often fatal.”

And since the risk of death from abortion in the developed world is about 0.6 per 100,000 procedures, it may well be less common than death by lightning strike.

Worldwide, it is a very different story, with an estimated 70,000 women a year dying from unsafe, usually illegal abortions.

Funny, we never hear a peep about those from the fetus fetishists. They do get reported regularly. One doesn't have to look very hard. Here's one from today in Ghana.
An attempt by a 17-year-old Junior High School (JHS) student at Atwedie in the Asante-Akim South District, to abort a four-month pregnancy went tragic as it led to her untimely death.
. . .
An autopsy showed that she died from an illegal abortion.

Will the finding in the recent case shut the fetus fetishists up about this poor woman?

Nope. They just pivot, now filing a 'formal complaint' about Dr Carhart with the medical board.

So the violation of this woman and her family's privacy and the exploitation of their grief continues.

If only Circe* were around to set things aright...

In July of last year, after the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry presentations had been concluded and before Oppal's final report was released, I wrote a DJ! post about the controversy surrounding Coquitlam RCMP officer Cpl. Jim Brown.

In light of ongoing criticism of the RCMP, of charges of sexual harassment against female officers and of reported incidents of systemic and individual violence against indigenous women, I wondered what had happened to him. 

Brown's right to privacy, an entitlement to satisfy his transgressive sexual appetites and the privilege to separate personal pursuits from his professional duties were nimbly defended by a faux-menist blogger who declared private acts didn't "necessarily" impinge upon the public world, as though the dedicated practice of hard-core activities that featured the brutal degradation and humilation of women by a cop enmeshed in Pickton's network, belonged to a completely separate reality. 

By implying that an accountant's or a plumber's BDSM diversions wouldn't affect their work, ethical issues and red flags about the officer's conduct were smoothly dismissed by this blogger.  Interestingly enough, his response to a female cop's abusive deportment was not equally indulgent. 

A quick search reveals this, from last October.  Public reaction to Cpl Brown's activities triggered an organized campaign of damage containment by the RCMP.
In an affidavit filed in court describing himself as “not a mere informant” but “an agent” directed by the force, Grant Wakefield says he provided the RCMP with that material and accused Cpl. Brown of engaging in sex while on duty and being involved in bondage- and domination-themed websites.

The RCMP found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, but concluded “allegations of professional misconduct appear to be supported.”

The RCMP said Cpl. Brown has been suspended since July.

On Aug. 18, the Mounties raided Wakefield’s home and seized his computers.

Along with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and media outlets, the New Westminster man is asking the court to unseal the information police used to obtain the controversial warrant to invade his apartment.

One wonders what might connect the RCMP's innumerable undisclosed "failures" during the Task Force investigation into missing DTES sex trade workers, Cpl Brown's proclivities and Commissioner Bob Paulson's fast and furious response to the Human Rights Watch report last week.

Also, it appears Cpl. Jim Brown is suing Wakefield and lawyer Cameron Ward, who acted as counsel to several of the families of missing and murdered women during the Missing Women's Commission of Inquiry for damages.  His claim is the very demonstration of tactics an accused bully will use to shift focus away from the harm he may have perpetrated, to his own alleged suffering as a victim.
The claim accuses Wakefield, along with Jane and John Doe, of improperly obtaining photos of Brown in bondage, domination and sado-masochistic scenes from a fetishist website, and sharing the images with the police and media.

It further states the three were behind a "false and defamatory" online campaign that was "deliberately calculated by the defendants to expose (Brown) to contempt, ridicule and hatred, and to cause other persons to shun or avoid (Brown), and to lower (Brown's) reputation in the eyes of right-thinking members of the community, all of which has in fact occurred."

The court document states the officer, who remains suspended from his job, has suffered "substantial and persisting" injury to his personal and professional reputation as a result of Wakefield's alleged actions. His pride and self-confidence have also been damaged, the claim states. Ward, meanwhile, is accused of writing and publishing defamatory blog posts that questioned Brown's role in the investigation of serial killer Robert William Pickton.

According to the claim, Brown played a minor role in the Coquitlam RCMP investigation that later led to Pickton's arrest and conviction on six counts of murder.

The claim states Ward's conduct "is sufficiently egregious to warrant an award of punitive damages."
Oddly, he's not included the RCMP in his suit though it seems his colleagues instigated the events that led to the revelation of his off-duty amusements.

Meanwhile, Marnie Frey's family's request to secure her remains for burial - she was one of the DTES women killed during the Pickton farm carnage - was handled in a desultory and improper manner.

*The title is inspired by Circe's mythical sorcery which transformed men into swine.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

'Acids of Modernity' at a Christian Finishing School

Where to begin mocking the announcement -- finally -- of the actual establishment of the Office of Religious Freedom and the naming of its head, Andrew Bennet, to be styled apparently, 'Ambassador'?

I took my cue from Canadian Cynic and looked into the 'Christian college' of which Bennett is currently Dean.

It is Augustine College in Ottawa.

First thing to know -- it's tiny. It graduates at most 16 students a year, many years far fewer.

Next, it is a one-year program, well, really eight months, two semesters.

It certainly is Christian and evangelical. (Bold in original.)
The faculty, staff, and board of Augustine College desire above all to live out a faithful and disciplined Christian life, both as individuals and as a community.

Although we have come together from a diversity of church backgrounds and although the College has no denominational affiliation, we do share a profound desire for thorough-going faithfulness to the Lordship of Christ, submitting to the authority of Scripture and the foundational teachings of the Church.

We are called to unity in love of Christ (John 17) and seek to live by the first things of faith and, in the root sense, to exercise an evangelical duty to the world in which we have been placed.
Bennett exercising his 'evangelical duty' as an 'Ambassador' of Canada will go over well, I'm sure.

Next thing to know is that its views are a bit, well, retrograde.
Augustine College is a Liberal Arts college. It teaches the subjects that were the foundation of education for centuries, before education succumbed to the acids of modernity.
'Acids of modernity'* was one of the things that Evan Solomon latched onto in speaking to Jason Kenney on Power and Politics

At about the 9:15 mark, Solomon asks about the phrase. Watch Kenney bluster and squirm. Solomon also asks about non-believers and about situations where 'religious freedom' might conflict with other human rights, such as those of women and LGBT. Kenney faffs. (He is a very good faffer, isn't he?) But there is a teensy problem here. In a screed on the college website that should be hailed in the annals of the 'blog' of 'unnecessary' quotation marks, there's this.
We believe that faith is rational: reason shows man that he must have faith.
I'll let CC take that. Ok, then. Non-believers are irrational and believers of other nonsense are wrong. So who the hell goes there to study? It's a bit pricey for an eight-month bunfest program. Students pay $1500 down plus $3500 due on the first day of each of two semesters, total $8500. Residence is extra, but the site assures worried parents that it is NOT 'co-ed'. The college 'welcomes' everybody -- as long as they are Christian.
Many of our students have been home-schooled. Many come from public schools. Still others come to us after earning other degrees, desiring to fill in what several years of study elsewhere did not give them.
It's when we get to the Student Life part that things start getting really sad. This section talks up communal dinners, hymn sings, four tickets to the Ottawa Symphony, dinners with profs, and skating on the Rideau Canal.  All very wholesome. How 'bout this for a knee-slapping good time?
RESTLESS HEARTS CAFÉ Typically held around February 14, this pot pourri of entertainment includes readings, music, recitations, and lampoonery (sometimes harpoonery) presented by the students, faculty, and staff of the College.
'Harpoonery'? And there's helpful advice.
HIKING AND SPELUNKING The Gatineau Hills also have interesting caves and the Lusk Caves have been a destination for hikes. In fall the caves sport great views and sections of semi-submersed paths which are great fun to navigate (don’t forget a change of clothes, especially socks).
So what do student do upon graduation? There's a list of 13 mostly Christian (as far as I can tell) colleges in Canada and the US that will allow transfer of credits. Pay $8500 for some transferrable-only-to-Christian-colleges credits? Wow. Finally, if you have a penchant for sad-sacks, watch some students talk about their experience here. My conclusion: This new Ambassador is currently chief baby-sitter to a bunch of home-schooled kids in what amounts to a Christian finishing school. Is this really the best person the CONs could find?
There were reports that two people who had been approached to head up the new agency had turned down the post.
We here at DJ! look forward to watching the embarrassments activities of this latest Pandering to the CON Base effort. * 'Acids of modernity' is a phrase from a Walter Lippmann essay from 1929. By the way, he is the coiner of both 'Cold War' and 'Manufacture of Consent', though he is mainly known for his works on public opinion and advertising. Update from deBeauxOs: Stephen Lautens designed a special poster for the *Office* and his tweet regarding its funding. ADDED  by fh: Alison has more. UPDATE: Some question Bennett's academic credentials. No. Really?

Why Do We Even Bother Blogging? Part 2

When Pope Maledict resigned, of course we had something to say.

Natch, lots of other people, especially on Twitter, had contributions to make.

In our opinion, this one won the Intertoobz.

Its brilliance in turn inspired others, including Alison at Creekside, who applied her mad skillz to produce this further work of genius. (Note Ratzy's 'delicate' condition.)

The Hive Mind® is truly terrifying, innit?

Why Do We Even Bother to Blog? Part 1

In a recent rant on the CONTempt Party government's compulsive spending of our money on pure propaganda, we gave a shout-out to Stephen Lautens for graphic help in the form of another of his wicked Demotivational Conservative Posters.

He graciously complied.

There. Says it all.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose ...

That means the more things change, the more it's the same old, same old.

In March last year, I wrote a response to George Zimmerman shooting and killing a black kid, claiming that it was self-defense and using the Stand-Your-Ground law in Florida as justification.

It was entitled Aileen Wuornos is My Homie

I wondered what would happen if women in the US started MASSIVELY using Zimmerman's pretext.  It's obvious that law is supported by the NRA lobby; they often exploit concerns about women's safety as a rationalization for demanding gun-owners rights be sacred, and blahblahblah Second Amendment.

Well, wouldn't you know it but some dickheads in the NRA and/or the RAPEublican Party decided to spin an awkwardly expressed opposition to gun-toting college students, then piled on the politician who uttered the words as if the first-term Democrat was worse than Todd Akin.

They created the #LiberalTips2AvoidRape meme for their twitter campaign; it unleashed thousands of RWNJ typically humour-challenged, tone-deaf tweets.

I looked at some of them, vaguely remembered my Stand-Your-Ground post and zipped this one off:

This of course, reminded me of a particular scene in the movie _Thelma and Louise_ which isn't available on YouTube, where Louise confronts the man who sexually assaulted Thelma.  She demands that he stop hurting her friend; he becomes quite aggressive and threatening.  She shoots him, and that's when Thelma and Louise become fugitives from justice.

So I sarcastically tweeted this:

If you remember men's reaction to that scene, most felt that Louise's action was over-the-top and unwarranted.

Anyhow, I'll check my twitter account in the morning to see if anyone has responded to my counter-spin.

Update: fernhill reminded me that the implicit Rules of Patriarchy demanded that Thelma and Louise die for their transgressions.  So, "Stand-Your-Ground" is okay if you're a gun-toting white man but not if you're a woman defending yourself against a violent spouse, a potential rapist or a stalker.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Missing or murdered indigenous women and girls

[...]Michèle Audette, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) states that, “it is incredible that the RCMP is publicly doubting the number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls that has been documented in the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s Database! The high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls that has been documented was based on accurate secondary source information that in many instances came directly from police reports that had further been corroborated by NWAC researchers with various police agencies.

NWAC collected and developed the Database of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women and girls between 2005 and 2010 through the Sisters In Spirit initiative, which was based on cases that were in the public domain. “Anyone can collect this information, it is there, but what is unique is that NWAC went beyond this general collection and spoke directly with many families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls and was able to augment the data to better determine what the needs and gaps are in terms of service delivery, programming, and policy services. I invite you to educate yourself, your family, friends and community, and visit the NWAC website and see the research for yourself,” said NWAC President Audette.
From here.

Last week Human Rights Watch released its report on the "Highway of Tears".
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in northern British Columbia has failed to protect indigenous women and girls from violence, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Women and girls Human Rights Watch interviewed also described abusive treatment by police officers, including excessive use of force, and physical and sexual assault.

The 89-page report, “Those Who Take Us Away: Abusive Policing and Failures in Protection of Indigenous Women and Girls in Northern British Columbia, Canada,” documents both ongoing police failures to protect indigenous women and girls in the north from violence and violent behavior by police officers against women and girls. Police failures and abuses add to longstanding tensions between the [...] RCMP and indigenous communities in the region, Human Rights Watch said. The Canadian government should establish a national commission of inquiry into the murders and disappearances of indigenous women and girls, including the impact of police mistreatment on their vulnerability to violence in communities along Highway 16, which has come to be called northern British Columbia’s “Highway of Tears.”

“The threat of domestic and random violence on one side, and mistreatment by RCMP officers on the other, leaves indigenous women in a constant state of insecurity,” said Meghan Rhoad, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Where can they turn for help when the police are known to be unresponsive and, in some cases, abusive.”

Human Rights Watch conducted research along Highway 97 and along the 724-kilometer stretch of Highway 16 that has become infamous for the dozens of women and girls who have been reported missing or were found dead in its vicinity since the late 1960s. In July and August 2012, Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed 50 indigenous women and girls, and conducted an additional 37 interviews with families of murdered and missing women, indigenous leaders, community service providers, and others across 10 communities.

Indigenous women and girls told Human Rights Watch that the RCMP has failed to protect them. They also described instances of abusive policing, including excessive use of force against girls, strip searches of women by male officers, and physical and sexual abuse. One woman said that in July, four police officers took her to a remote location, raped her, and threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

Women who call the police for help have been blamed for the abuse, shamed over alcohol or substance use, and have found themselves at risk of arrest for actions taken in self-defense, women and community service providers told Human Rights Watch.

“I will never forget that day,” said “Lena G.,” whose 15-year-old daughter’s arm was broken by a police officer after the mother called the police for help during an argument between her daughter and her daughter’s abusive boyfriend. “It’s the worst thing I ever did. I wish I didn’t call.”

Photo: 'Families of Sisters in Spirit'

This instance of systemic negligence, incompetence and, allegedly violence, by the RCMP with regard to missing or murdered indigenous women is not limited to BC.  It appears that the force in Manitoba has similar problems.
"While the stories in the Human Rights Watch report are based in British Columbia, they are eerily similar to the stories we hear from victims, families and friends affected by the missing and murdered indigenous issue in our territories," Nepinak said in a statement released Friday by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.[...]

A spokeswoman for Nepinak said the reference was about police dismissing reports about missing women.

"Most of the complaints we hear about against police is that they do not take missing reports seriously and even dismiss them," Sheila North Wilson said.

She cited a generally a poor attitude toward aboriginal people and aboriginal women. "Not all officers, of course, but (there are) some who make it hard for some of our people to trust police," she said.[...]

In Manitoba, approximately 80 cases of missing and aboriginal women date back decades. They are the long-term focus of a joint RCMP-Winnipeg police investigation set up a few years ago.
It happens in Ontario, too.  Thunder Bay for example has become the recent focus of activism for the purpose of making public, and mapping many flagrant cases of local police officers' complicity in an ongoing campaign of sexual terrorism directed at Indigenous women. Operation Thunderbird, it's called.

There is, in my humble opinion, a form of misogynist terrorism directed against all women, but it is specifically racist in the way that it targets women of  First Nations, Metis and Inuit ancestry in Canada. Elements of our Parliament's Committee on Public Safety and National Security definition apply: a “terrorist activity” is an act or omission undertaken “in whole or in part for a political, religious, or ideological purpose, objective or cause” that is intended to intimidate the public or compel a person, government or organization to do or refrain from doing any act, if the act or omission intentionally causes a specified serious harm. Specified harms include causing death or serious bodily harm, endangering life, causing a serious risk to health or safety...

As the HRW report underlines, indigenous women in BC are the target of sexual terrorism that appears to be aided and abetted with impunity by members of the RCMP.

Fundamentalist, gynophobic christian ideology fuelled the violence directed at aboriginal children sequestered in residential schools, as it continues to contaminate the murderous impulses of men bent upon doing harm to women.  I wrote about a little-known report regarding Robert Pickton's justification for his femicidal campaign.

I believe there are many other predators like Pickton across Canada, working alone or with the help of accomplices, some of whom might be cops.

I want to know where Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander are, and what happened to them. Their mothers, their families miss them.

This woman is my choice to head a National Inquiry into Missing or Murdered Indigenous Women and girls.  When she spoke at the Downtown Eastside Missing Women Inquiry, many RCMP and Vancouver Police staff attended with their pricy lawyers.

In an internal email sent by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson last week addressed the Human Rights Watch report on police mistreatment of indigenous women and girls in northern British Columbia, he said: “...don't worry about it, I've got your back.” 

It's likely this information was leaked to HRW.  Imagine the reaction of officers who are not complicit with RCMP systemic misogyny and racism.  This was a clear message from the Commissioner to those officers who acted as alleged by the HRW report that they would not be held accountable.  It was an implicit threat, silencing those who don't condone nor engage in such actions, a declaration that Paulson would protect the guilty - but not the whistle-blowers from retribution.

The RCMP went into attack mode when the HRW report was released and tried to discredit it or obtain the names of those who had provided information.

This is their default operating mode when the force is criticized; this is the plan to discredit female officers who have charged the RCMP work environment is toxic to women.

Imagine if the force used its considerable resources to actually investigate and stop crime, instead of allowing the thugs inside its ranks to run roughshod like unchecked mini-warlords. 

The last word goes to Chris Andersen and his hard-hitting post about what needs to happen.
Ultimately what is needed here is a national public inquiry on missing and murdered Aboriginal women. The RCMP could play a powerful role in such an inquiry, since they sit on the front lines of these events. A public inquiry would not only allow a sober exploration of the structural inequities that has produced this national tragedy, but it could, as many inquiries do, represent a powerful moment of reconciliation and trust-building between Aboriginal nations, communities and families, on the one hand, and policy agencies, various levels of government and the public, on the other. However, this would require a level of introspection and acknowledgement of responsibility that seems permanently beyond the reach of the RCMP, as most policing agencies. And in remaining so, the RCMP continues to reveal its own heart of darkness: not only its inability to protect Aboriginal women from colonialism’s darkest moments, but its inability to admit its own responsibility in producing the events themselves.
The photo above is from here.