Wednesday 29 June 2011

Too Far, Baby

I lived in Florida -- one of the states progressives had great hopes for -- for a lot of this bullshit.

I was managing a donut shop. (Don't ask.) Arguments raged. Everything Rachel talks about: unisex bathrooms, homosectuals' rights, women in combat, destruction of the fambly. . .

My assistant manager was 20, looked 12. She had thick blond hair she wore in braids. She was living with another employee that most customers knew and liked. (They were engaged, so it was mostly OK.)

She also had the absolute best stupid deadpan I've ever seen on a non-professional actor. I used to send her out to deal with angry customers. They'd be raving about something, she'd listen, nod sympathetically, tell them how sorry she was, and they'd immediately calm down.

She looked like a really dumb Heidi. Who could argue with a really dumb Heidi?

One day, the bathroom issue was being debated.

She interrupted: 'I don't get it.' People stopped to listen. 'Larry and I share a bathroom. What's wrong with that?'

Silence. The rednecks looked at each other and realized what dipshits they were being.

She made it back into the kitchen before exploding into giggles.

I wonder what the arguments will be this time. . .

End of an Era

In the past, I've written about the the Oxford or 'serial' comma.

Well, it seems it has gone the way of the dodo.

I emailed an editor pal with the news who replied:
Yeah, I heard just earlier. I think they must have lost the naming rights. I expect it to be rebranded the HSBC comma or TD Waterhouse comma.

Jeez, but we editors are a cynical bunch, ain't we?

UPPERDATE: Reprieve! Rule change is just for PR dept. But still one wonders, WTF?

Operation Stop Sign

Get out your construction paper and scissors, Canada. The Beaver Revolution needs you.

Operation Stop (Harper) Sign is set for Thursday night, so all of Canada will wake up on Canada Day to thousands of reminders of Brigette DePape-inspired resistance.

Fun. Kinda anarchical in a nice, non-destructive Canadian way.

Do NOT damage the signs. And if you get caught, be nice.

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Advice to Cops: Choose Your Victim Carefully

This is what it takes to get a conviction for a couple of cop-thugs.

But look at the sentence.
Two police officers were handed a virtual house arrest sentence for beating up a disability pensioner who disrespected them.

In January, Justice Elliott Allen found Const. Edward Ing and Const. John Cruz guilty of assault causing bodily harm in the April 2009 attack on disabled pensioner Richard Moore at his Cabbagetown rooming-house.

Ing and Cruz are allowed to leave their homes to work. In addition to the 12-month conditional sentence, the officers were banned from possessing weapons for 10 years. However, that ban is expected to be lifted Tuesday afternoon, when lawyers begin an appeal.

The appeal will likely be heard within the year.

In finding the officers guilty as charged, Allen rejected the officers’ account that they were trying to protect Moore from stepping into traffic.

Moore suffered fractured ribs, dislocated shoulder, a broken finger, a gash to his scalp and scratches to his stomach, hip and shoulder when he was pursued to the door of his Gerrard St. E. home and beaten by the officers.

The officers then arrested Moore for being drunk in public, a charge that was later tossed out after medical tests showed he had no alcohol in his system.

Dig this boohoohoo.
[Defense lawyer] Butt said the transfer from outside duties has cost the officers an estimated $30,000 to $40,000 yearly in overtime and paid duty work.

Reported in the Sun. Oh look.
Moore, who is on a disability pension and was former Toronto Sun printer and ironworker, has had Hepatitis C since 1995 when he underwent nose surgery at Scarborough General Hospital.

So. Cops gotta beat the living shit out of a disabled guy, lie about it, and it gets covered because the victim is a former employee of the rag in order for there to be any repercussions?

Do I have that right?

You Knew This Was Coming

The US has rather mild warnings on its cigarette packs. That's about to change. They're going to get the graphic warnings we've had in Canada for years.

(Joke: 'I smoke. I used to have a brand. Now I just say, 'Anything but the teeth'.)

Never a gang to miss a stupid stunt PR opportunity, fetish fetishists want such graphic warnings on abortions.
“As much as I support the decision by the FDA to hold smokers accountable for the health risks they’re accepting, I can’t help but wonder where the warning labels on abortion are,” writes SFLA [Students for Life of America] Executive Director Kristan Hawkins in a June 23 blog post. “Abortion is the single worst scar on the social justice movement in America. No one is debating that smoking has terrible consequences, but the extermination of innocent children is a crime of much more concern, and one I refuse to stand for.”

They're a tad uncertain though, where a doo-hickey like this might be displayed.

As to where such a graphic warning label would be placed, Hawkins suggests abortion facilities, abortion-causing drugs.

And, of course, it raises the burning question of 'what does abortion when not pregnant do?'

Because, as fetish fetishists never tire of saying: Women are too fucking stoopid to understand what they're doing.

As JJ once famously said at her place (too lazy to look for link): 'Who knew? I thought I was going in for a Brazilian wax.'

Repressive, Suppressive or Oppressive: Contempt Party rules.

The base speaks! About Stevie Spiteful and his *leadership*

By way of illustration this is an exchange I saved, in response to a tweet from @trustytory, twoweeks after the federal election. IMHO it's a useful demonstration of how adherents to the Contempt Party ideology are in thrall to Stevie Spiteful's authoritarian wiles.

@deBeauxOs1 :
@trustytory @Martin_Rayner Cons support Stevie's Big Plan to change Canada but NDP's appeal to progressives is *ridiculous*? #cpc #Contempt

@trustytory :
@deBeauxOs1 @Martin_Rayner That word "progressive" means absolutely nothing anymore. It is even silly to use it.

@deBeauxOs1 :
@trustytory @Martin_Rayner Really? Gosh, I didn't know that. Con & Tory is still relevant though, as in shorter #Con job and #ReformaTory.

@trustytory :
@deBeauxOs1 @Martin_Rayner Mulroney also had western members. You're going to have to find something new.

@deBeauxOs1 :
@trustytory Now you're just blabbing. Western members? Doesn't mean anything anymore, it's even silly to say that. #Contempt

@trustytory :
@deBeauxOs1 @Martin_Rayner Whatever. Keep spinning the "ReformaTory" nonsense like it actually means something.

@trustytory :
@deBeauxOs1 @Martin_Rayner By the way, the "contempt" nonsense was swept away with the Tory majority. How did that work out for you?

@deBeauxOs1 :
@trustytory @Martin_Rayner #Contempt swept away? Wow! Just like magic! Con leader SHithead going to flush all his dirty tricks out of sight?

@trustytory :
@deBeauxOs1 @Martin_Rayner It was a load of bunk invented by a partisan committee to trigger an election - and it failed.

@deBeauxOs1 :
@trustytory if you believe that, you'll swallow anything and bend over willingly. Hope you enjoy the reaming you'll be getting #ConJob

@trustytory :
@deBeauxOs1 It's better than the 13 years under Liberal contempt for Canada. I'll bend over anytime for Conservatives.

Who Watches the Watchmen?*

Apparently, we do.

This ayem from my Twitter feed, three stories about police corruption/incompetence.

First up: Toronto cop avoids punishment for frisky taser use, using a Reverse Twinkie Defense.

Next, a story about the lying liars who constitute the Peel Regional Police.

And third, an older story from June 20 about the totally dysfunctional RCMP.
The RCMP is cutting back on investigations into mobsters, drug gangs and white-collar criminals, while putting off core duties so routinely that it is taking the force years to update simple records in its crime databases.

A stark contrast between the law-and-order agenda of the Conservative government and the dysfunctional day-to-day realities of Canada’s national police force was laid bare in a review released Thursday by Canada’s Auditor-General.

These in addition to my post yesterday about Toronto's Bill (The Liar) Blair and many others.

What's a blogger to do?

Well, of course we don't have the resources to initiate such investigations, but we can amplify the work of media outlets. And bloggers and non-bloggers can encourage such reporting by commenting on the stories, both at the news sites and at blogs by exemplary -- and dare we say 'dogged'? -- cop-watchers like Dr. Dawg.

And we should support and promote sites like Torontonamo, G20Justice, and G20 Inquiry that continue to document the abuses.

ADDED: From Anonymous in comments, another group to support CopWatch.

* Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Monday 27 June 2011

Classy Cops vs Toronto's Lying Thugs

Big surprise! The Flop and Flail doesn't think Chief Bill Blair should resign over the gigantic cock-up -- with associated lies, coverup, and bullshit -- that was the G20 in Toronto.

Back in February and March, Madison, Wisconsin, was the site of huge, angry protests. Here's a statement from the police department on February 19 (bold mine).
On behalf of all the law enforcement agencies that helped keep the peace on the Capitol Square Saturday, a very sincere thank you to all of those who showed up to exercise their First Amendment rights. You conducted yourselves with great decorum and civility, and if the eyes of the nation were upon Wisconsin, then you have shown how democracy can flourish even amongst those who passionately disagree. As of 5:00 p.m., no major incidents had been reported. There have been no arrests. However, discourse and discussion was - at times - loud and heated. That was to be expected. As previously indicated, the goal of law enforcement has been to provide a safe environment for democracy to take place. That goal has been realized for yet another day.

As I said at the time:
If that statement were a brick, I'd throw it through Toronto Chief Bill Blair's window.

What a classy, professional police service the people of Madison have.

Why do Torontonians have to put up with a bunch of liars and thugs?

Blair must resign.

Image source

Sunday 26 June 2011

Religion Sux, Part II

Further to my post about religion's stupidifying influence on society, it should surprise no one that atheists are both discriminated against and more intelligent and ethical than superstitionists.
Long after blacks and Jews have made great strides, and even as homosexuals gain respect, acceptance and new rights, there is still a group that lots of Americans just don’t like much: atheists. Those who don’t believe in God are widely considered to be immoral, wicked and angry. They can’t join the Boy Scouts. Atheist soldiers are rated potentially deficient when they do not score as sufficiently “spiritual” in military psychological evaluations. Surveys find that most Americans refuse or are reluctant to marry or vote for nontheists; in other words, nonbelievers are one minority still commonly denied in practical terms the right to assume office despite the constitutional ban on religious tests.

Rarely denounced by the mainstream, this stunning anti-atheist discrimination is egged on by Christian conservatives who stridently — and uncivilly — declare that the lack of godly faith is detrimental to society, rendering nonbelievers intrinsically suspect and second-class citizens.

Is this knee-jerk dislike of atheists warranted? Not even close.

A growing body of social science research reveals that atheists, and non-religious people in general, are far from the unsavory beings many assume them to be. On basic questions of morality and human decency — issues such as governmental use of torture, the death penalty, punitive hitting of children, racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, environmental degradation or human rights — the irreligious tend to be more ethical than their religious peers, particularly compared with those who describe themselves as very religious.

Consider that at the societal level, murder rates are far lower in secularized nations such as Japan or Sweden than they are in the much more religious United States, which also has a much greater portion of its population in prison. Even within this country, those states with the highest levels of church attendance, such as Louisiana and Mississippi, have significantly higher murder rates than far less religious states such as Vermont and Oregon.

As individuals, atheists tend to score high on measures of intelligence, especially verbal ability and scientific literacy. They tend to raise their children to solve problems rationally, to make up their own minds when it comes to existential questions and to obey the golden rule. They are more likely to practice safe sex than the strongly religious are, and are less likely to be nationalistic or ethnocentric. They value freedom of thought.

In an online Q&A following that article, one of the authors responded to a question on religiosity and society:
I have conducted an extensive comparison of socioeconomic conditions in 1st world countries( that shows that among other items Americans are overworked. The overall results show that the more irreligious and progressive prosperous democracies are, the better are the societal economics conditions. Folks in secular democracies live longer, don't kill each other nearly as often, have lower abortion, STD, teen preg[nancy] rates, mental illness and so on. In part this is because good societal conditions suppress religiosity, which means it is not possible for a highly religious country to be socioeconomically successful.

'Good societal conditions suppress religiosity.'

Well, with Harper, Ford, and soon Tim 'Chain Gang' Hudak in charge of fucking up our societal conditions, I guess we can look forward to a boom in SkyDaddyism.

ADDED: Remember this poll from 2007? Merkins would (marginally) prefer a gay president over an atheist one. Yes, atheists are viewed that dimly.

Image source

Saturday 25 June 2011

Bein, coudonc!

It's never too late to celebrate la Saint-Jean-Baptiste.

One of my favourite iconoclasts channels the chutzpah of every québecois busker you've encountered and incarnates the much maligned and unloved - except by francophones hors Québec, perhaps - Mario St-Germain de Grandpré.

More of Miller's sly satire. Here's his take on organized religion and in particular, Christianity.

Religion Makes You Stupid and Violent

We sane people knew that, but we sane people like to have those facty-sciency thingies at hand.
We are led to believe, for example, that faith and religion are socially beneficial, that it lowers the violence of rape, murder and suicide and that it tempers juvenile misconduct. However, according to research published in the U.S. academic journal Religion and Society and as reported by The Times U.K., the opposite may be true.

Eighteen of the most prosperous democracies in the world were studied. In those countries at least 60 percent of the population accepts evolution as fact and only 10 to 30 percent believe in God. It is nearly reverse in the U.S., where a base of 60 percent do not accept evolution and anywhere from 50 to 80 percent believe in God.

The results show that in general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, rape, robbery, juvenile mortality, STD infections, teen pregnancy and abortion. As example, America’s murder rate is five to ten times higher and its rate of sexually transmitted diseases nearly 300 times higher than in secular societies; and our rates of divorce, substance abuse, social and economic inequality are off the charts. It concluded that because of the strong correlation between faith and antisocial behavior, there is reason to suppose that religious belief actually does more harm than good. . . .

But from the social scientist’s perspective there is a greater likelihood that religion leads to antisocial behavior because blind faith creates a loss of intellectual curiosity and an inability to reason.

Some direct quotes from the Times article:
“The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.”
. . .

“The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted.”


Image source

Friday 24 June 2011

I *heart* NY!

Equal marriage passes in New York.

Race and Abortion in Amerika

I have a USian friend who keeps telling me I will never understand US politics or society until I understand how deeply deeply racist the place is.

I think she's right, because I continue to be gobsmacked.

Last year, I blogged on the fetus fetishists' descent into race politics.

They're at it again, focusing on African Americans and Latinos, as having disproportional abortion rates because they are targeted by the abortion 'industry' because the abortion industry is engaged in enthusiastic genocide. (I'm getting sick of the quotes. Take 'em as read.)

These operations usually have an organization or individual belonging to the targeted group as front men. So, natch, they couldn't possibly be racist, could they?

So, how 'bout this new one, fans of equality?

ALCU says:
No matter how you feel about abortion, we should all be able to agree that a black woman who has had an abortion should not be singled out and degraded like this as a means of advancing an ideological agenda. From forced sterilizations to the experiments at Tuskegee, there is a long and disgraceful history in this country of regulating and exploiting black women's and men's bodies and basic dignity. By suggesting that black women and families cannot be trusted, and their decisions about childbearing must be regulated and controlled for their own good, these billboards are a part of the same pattern of denigration and oppression.

Nah. Not racist, atall atall.

Wait. It gets worse. What follows makes NO sense. (Though I'd be grateful if someone hit me with a clue-bat.)

I've been meaning to write about a spate of anti-abortion films, and I may yet, but news of this one is smacking me in the gob again.

It's called 'Gates of Hell' and here's the plot synopsis with a trailer there too.
Three years in the making, "Gates of Hell" is a documentary from the year 2016 that chronicles the crimes of a band of domestic terrorists known as the Zulu 9. Finnish filmmaker Ani Juva travels to the United States to better understand the mysterious black power assassins, the unexpected eugenics conspiracy theory that drove them to commit extreme acts of violence and how America's political landscape was transformed overnight. Blending real history and real public figures with a fictitious (yet plausible) future, it is safe to say that you have never seen a film like "Gates of Hell".

Hell, indeed. I can barely imagine a film like that.

OK. Work with me.

In revenge for the abortion genocide perpetrated on African Americans, a gang of black power assassins targets abortion providers, resulting in extreme acts of violence. Dutifully and graphically portrayed, no doubt.

And this transforms the political landscape 'overnight' and Bingo! Presto! Abortion is ended.

Where to start?

First, has there ever been an African-American anti-abortion terrorist? The ones I know about have all been dweeby, pathetic, white male losers.

Projection, anyone? 'The blacks made me do it'? 'I did it for the black babies'?

Next, the actual dweeby pathetic white male loser assassins are NEVER called assassins by fetus fetishists. They're misguided loners. NOT, NO HOW, NEVER associated with ANY anti-choice group. They are smartly backed away from by the FFs.

But fictional African Americans who do the same thing are assassins. Not just assassins, but black power assassins. They commit crimes. They are domestic terrorists.

Butbutbut, they're good guys. They 'transform' USian society by killing abortion providers, some of whom must be non-African-American.

So. A race war in defense of the pre-born is a Good Thing.

I'm totally lost. There must be dog-whistles here. But they are obviously not aimed at me. Or sane people in general.

ADDED: You GOTTA read commenter Niles's deconstructions in the comments!

Thursday 23 June 2011

It's a TRAP

From -- where else? -- Kansas, or, New Brunswick South.
Back in April, the state legislature passed a law directing the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to author new facility standards for abortion clinics, which the staunchly anti-abortion GOP governor, Sam Brownback*, signed into law on May 16. The law also requires the health department to issue new licenses each year, and it grants additional authority to health department inspectors to conduct unannounced inspections, and to fine or shut down clinics.

The department wasted no time in drafting the new rules, issuing the final version on June 17 and informing clinics that they would have to comply with the rules by July 1, as the Associated Press reported Wednesday. Peter Brownlie, president of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, told the AP that inspectors were expected at their clinic in Overland Park, Kansas, on Wednesday. There are only three clinics left in the state: Planned Parenthood's, a clinic in Overland Park, and the Aid for Women clinic in Kansas City.

The new requirements require facilities to add extra bathrooms, drastically expand waiting and recovery areas, and even add larger janitor's closets, as one clinic employee told me—changes that clinics will have a heck of a time pulling off by the deadline. Under the new rule, clinics must also aquire state certification to admit patients, a process that takes 90 to 120 days, the staffer explained. Which makes it impossible for clinics to comply. And clinics that don't comply with the rules will face fines or possible closure.

Such legislation is dubbed 'Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers,' or TRAP. Ain't that perfect?

Time for this again.

Well, at least a few jobs might be created in renovating these clinics. . .

*Y'all remember Sam 'Rapists Have Rights Too' Brownback, doncha? Back in 2007, then Senator and presidential hopeful said:
“Rape is terrible. Rape is awful. Is it made any better by killing an innocent child? Does it solve the problem for the woman that’s been raped?” Brownback said, according to an AP report.

Harper's Canada: Asbestos Ist Eine Gute!

Go immediately to Creekside: Canada single-handedly blocks asbestos from Rotterdam hazards list and read Alison's post.

Stevie Spiteful is re-making Canada in line with Contempt Party ideology; a science-denying, greedy and hateful oligarchy.

My Toronto Includes Civil Liberties and Pride

Despite our dickweed mayor, Toronto is fabulous.

Last year, because of our (anti-ReformaTory) fabulousness, Stephen Harper and his police-state trainees crapped all over us.

So, unless you have an urgent date with a cottage this weekend, it's time to turn your butts out again for G20 Redux: Fundamental Freedoms Festival.
Time: Saturday, June 25 · 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: Queen's Park, Toronto

To get you in the mood, here's a summary of indignities, costs, inquiries, and questions still outstanding.

And a reminder of how outrageously our civil liberties were stomped.
Of the some 1,100 protesters and bystanders who were arrested over the summit weekend, only 24 have been found guilty of anything at all. And, according to the province’s latest update on G20 prosecutions, just 56 cases are still outstanding.

BONUS: From a great piece by Ivor Tossell on Rob Fucking Ford and Pride: 'Toronto comes with Pride'.

Making women gay ...err, happy.

"Post coitum anima tristes est" ... ? Not according to recent research.

You may have heard about the controversy surrounding Dr Lazar Greenfield. His one-liner about semen supposedly cost him the loss of his president-elect position at the American College of Surgeons.
In the February issue [of Surgery News], he penned some thoughts on Valentine's Day [...] ("But Valentine's Day is about love, and if you remember a romantic gut feeling when you met your significant other, it might have a physiological basis.") Greenfield proceeded to then discuss the mating habits of fruit flies ("It has long been known that Drosophila raised on starch media are more likely to mate with other starch-raised flies"), the mating habits of the rotifer ("Biologists say that it's more advantageous for a rotifer to remain asexual and pass 100 percent of its genetic information to the next generation."). In each case, Dr. Greenfield made sure to reference to the scientific literature. Then he turned his attention to humans.

Dr. Greenfield noted the therapeutic effects of semen, citing research from the Archives of Sexual Behavior which found that female college students practicing unprotected sex were less likely to suffer from depression than those whose partners used condoms (as well as those who remained abstinent).

Presumably it was the closing line that caused the controversy: "So there's a deeper bond between men and women than St. Valentine would have suspected, and now we know there's a better gift for that day than chocolates."
Better than chocolate? No f***ing way!
There is growing evidence that human semen has the potential to produce profound effects on women. We have replicated the effects showing female college students having sex without condoms are less depressed as measured by objective scores on the Beck Depression Inventory. We've also examined the data as a function of whether the students were using hormonal contraceptives, whether they were in committed relationships, and how long these relationships have lasted. The anti-depressant properties of semen exposure do not vary as function of any of these conditions. It is not a question of whether females are sexually active, since students having sex with condoms show the same level of depression as those who are not having sex at all. We have also received numerous semen testimonials from other women who attest to the anti-depressant effects of semen exposure [...]

Only 5 percent of the ejaculate is sperm. What's left is seminal plasma, which is a rich concoction of chemicals, including many that have the potential to produce mood-altering effects derived from hormones, neurotransmitters, and endorphins. There are even female sex hormones in male semen. Within a hour or two after insemination, you can detect heightened levels of many of these seminal chemicals in a woman's bloodstream.
Yadda yadda yadda. Notice something inherently heterosexist about this research? If that seminal plasma is such a tasty dish of yummy mood-lifters, what about the effect it might have on a male partner? Is this why queer men are so gay?

Oh. Wait. It's only about reproductive biology and, as Adrienne Rich called it, compulsory heterosexuality, isn't it?
But it is also important to acknowledge that there is a dark side to semen chemistry. The vagina is a very hostile environment for sperm. During human evolutionary history women couldn't afford to conceive as a consequence of being inseminated by just any man, and the presence of semen in the female reproductive tract often triggers an immune reaction that treats the sperm as a pathogen.
Gotcha! What we need is serious, all-encompassing and unbiased research regarding the effect of the plasma aka 'manly essence', as well as that of cyprine upon the happiness quotient of all human beings and ^NOT only upon their ability to breed.

We can safely surmise the Contempt Party and its homophobes wouldn't fund that, though.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Fun with Fetus Fetishists

Me, I'm bored with SUZY CAPSLOCK. And not just because of HER juvenile habit of redirecting any links to HER blog to fetal pr0n sites (hence, plain text url). Sure, SHE is occasionally hilarious, but mostly just boring, not to mention ponderously Catlick.

Now we haven't exactly ignored the 'new wave' of anti-choice/anti-feminist sites like Signal Hill, aka ProLife BC, and ProWoman ProLife, but I intend to pay more attention to them, starting a little while ago with PWPL's endorsement of the abusive, violent, father's rights guy Greg Fultz, aka The Billboard Guy.

These new wave efforts (mostly) eschew the old blame the sluts women, they-should-keep-their-legs-together, religious/legal approach. Instead, they adopt a treacly concern for women, maintaining that abortion 'harms' women.

PWPL is more interesting than Signal Hill/ProLife BC because it tries a lot harder to pretend that it is a real blog and not an astroturfed initiative by a fundy religious group.

It claims that its goal is not legal recriminalization of abortion but moral and logical suasion. Its motto is 'Canada without abortion. By choice.' (Note co-option of our language; there's a lot of that.)

From the site's The Story page:
…Pro-woman because we are pro-life…

The idea that abortion is a woman’s right was always just an opinion. There’s no basis in law, in logic or in our constitution. And there’s certainly no basis in early feminist thought.

The early feminist thought bit is true. Early feminists were, sensibly, more concerned with voting and property rights than reproductive rights. First things first, after all. Margaret Sanger was herself anti-abortion, a fact antichoicers omit when they are excoriating her for her (quite progressive at the time) views on eugenics.

More from The Story:
The idea for ProWomanProLife was developed by founding director Andrea Mrozek. “It’s not a woman’s right to have an abortion,” says Mrozek. “There’s no such thing as a right to an abortion, not for women, not for men. It doesn’t contribute to women’s rights and freedoms at all, because having an abortion is, put simply, not a right.”

That's a bit twisty, innit? Doesn't contribute to rights and freedoms because it's not a right? Well, if one considers bodily integrity and autonomy a right -- as sane people do -- then it bloody well is a right.

* ProWomanProLife is a home for all women who believe that being pro-life is compatible with women’s rights and freedoms.

Trans: PWPL is for women with the ability to hold diametrically opposed opinions at the same time.
* ProWomanProLife celebrates women’s legitimate choices, freedoms and rights.

Trans: 'Legitimate' as our lords and masters decide.
* ProWomanProLife believes abortion is bad for women and that women will be integral in removing abortion from our cultural landscape.

Trans: For 'bad', see 'legitimate' above.
DJ!: Fine, remove it from 'cultural landscape', whatever that may be, as long as it is left in the medical landscape.
* ProWomanProLife desires to bring an end to abortion, not by coercion, but by choice.

Trans: See? We worked the magic word 'choice' in again.
* ProWomanProLife believes abortion is a human, social issue, not a religious or faith matter, whereby women and men of any faith or no faith at all can stand up in support of women’s rights and life, at the same time.

DJ!: That's just a great big porky pie. See below.
* ProWomanProLife understands the fetus is a new and unique human being from conception, separate from, though dependent on, the woman.
* ProWomanProLife believes that the fetus is deserving of protection.

Trans: We reserve the right to display gory fetal pr0n anytime we get backed into a corner.

Here's the porky: From The Women section:
Andrea [Mrozek] currently works at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada as Manager of Research and Communications.

That Institute is the wholly owned subsidiary of the evangelical, Xian Focus on the Family.
Focus on the Family Canada is "committed to helping families thrive." Its mission is to "encourage and strengthen the Canadian family through education and resources based on Christian principles"; its purpose is to "love God and our neighbours by serving Canadian families and encouraging them to pursue a growing relationship with Jesus Christ"; and its guiding principles include the preeminence of evangelism, permanence of marriage, the value of children, the sanctity of human life, the relationship of church, family and government.

The other Women are painted as young, dynamic career women, who just care so darn much about (benighted) other women that they devote their spare time to propagandizing against promoting women's rights. Short of the right to bodily integrity and autonomy, natch.

Since they're all about respectful dialogue, yadayada, they are not so quick with the 'delete comment' button. I've posted comments, usually with pertinent links and usually ignored, over there. Viz, their Billboard Guy post. And Mrozek's belated and evasive response.

More recently, I chimed in on their latest attempt to appear relevant, in this case on the Saudi women's campaign to drive.
Commenting on true infringements of women’s rights is something PWPL likes to do.

'True' infringements like a ban on driving. In a Muslim country, note. Many more 'true infringements', in their view, seem to occur in Muslim places than Western places, but no matter about that.

Another new post over there (sorta) takes on the gender imbalance caused by sex-selective abortion in some parts of the world. Just to show you how serious they are, they quote Kathy Shaidle who SHRIEEEKS about how such an imbalance is imminent in Toronto because of all the -- you guessed it -- Muslim immigrants.

Anti-feminists/fetus fetishists love sex-selective abortion. They consider it the ultimate Gotcha! If feminists defend it, Gotcha! The evul feminazis are condoning killing 'unborn women' (no shit, that's how they refer to female embryos). If feminists don't condone it, Gotcha! Evul feminazis believe there should be some restrictions on abortion. If feminists don't address it, Gotcha! Haul out the 'where are the feminists?' refrain. (There is a new book about this generating some comment. I'm working on a response.)

So. An invitation from DJ! to like-minded readers: pop over there occasionally. Leave a (respectful) comment, with irritating links to facty-sciency stuff.

Let's show them some love.

Maybe a coupla iterations of the 'you know, you DON'T speak for me' refrain that anti-feminists love to throw at feminists wouldn't be outta line either.

(It's gonna be a loooong four years of The Harper Regime. I'm trying to find some fun where I can.)

It's not gravy, it's ideology

What else explains this idiocy?
Mayor Rob Ford has rejected the province’s offer to hire two public health nurses for Toronto at no cost to the city, drawing rebukes from both the provincial health minister and a loyal council ally.

Ford’s Monday decision marked the second time he has opposed a provincial health initiative that would not have required any city funding. In February, he was the lone dissenter in a 44-1 vote to accept provincial money for an effort to encourage residents to be screened for HIV and syphilis.

One of the nurses would have worked with new immigrants on disease prevention, said Councillor John Filion, chair of the health board. Another would have worked in a poor neighbourhood to promote health services.

Ah jeez, can't be helping those immigrants and poor people, now can we? They'd just get used to the gravy train of, of, of, health care?????
“It’s a bizarre situation, it’s completely unprecedented, and I can only assume it’s based on one of two things: complete ignorance of the facts of the situation, or a deliberate case of using ideology to trample on the most vulnerable in society,” Filion said.

I heard Filion this morning on Metro Morning. When the host asked him if maybe Ford didn't understand, Filion said he'd spent most of yesterday on this and it is not a matter of understanding, it is pure ideology. No government is good government.

Let's revisit Ford's 'thinking' on disease prevention, among other braindead pronoucements, shall we?
Rob Ford on AIDS prevention...

"(AIDS) is very preventable, if you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn't get AIDS probably, that's bottom line." With respect to the increasing rates of women contracting the disease, Ford said; "How are women getting it? Maybe they are sleeping with bisexual men."

People, what did Toronto do to deserve this? Really, what?

Image source

ADDED: Too. Also. Ford will skip the Pride March. Smartypantses on Twitter are saying it's not Teh Gey that's the problem, it's that 'walking' bit.

Tuesday 21 June 2011

WTF will it take?

. . . to get USian women into the streets?

Every day there are stories like this.
The first to defund Planned Parenthood, Indiana passed a law that cuts state and Medicaid funding to the organization’s 28 clinics in the state (only four of which provide abortion services). In effect since May 10, the law not only eliminates the clinics’ $1.3 million a year in Medicaid funds but also strips them of “roughly $150,000 in funding for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.” While a record number of donations allowed clinics to continue services, that help ran out yesterday. Now, Indiana’s Planned Parenthood clinics are shutting down operations and leaving thousands of Hoosiers without access to health care:

– According to Indiana Planned Parenthood president Betty Cockrum, the clinics will stop treating Medicaid patients today. “Our 9,300 Medicaid patients, including those who had appointments Tuesday, are going to see their care disrupted.”

– Without the STD prevention funding, Planned Parenthood has to lay off two of their three intervention specialists, or “health workers who track down the partners of someone who tests positive for an STD and ensure they are tested and treated.” Planned Parenthood is now left with a single specialist to address STD testing and treatment for the entire state.

– To reduce costs, all 28 clinics will close tomorrow and employees will be sent home without pay. Only one clinic in Indianapolis will stay open Wednesday but will close Thursday.

– Should the law remain in place, Planned Parenthood stated that “it must close eight” of its clinics: “two Indianapolis locations and clinics in Bedford, Hammond, Michigan City, New Albany, Terre Haute and Muncie.” The shuttered clinics would significantly restrict help for the 85,000 Hoosiers the states’ clinics currently serve.

Hoosiers are not the only Americans feeling the full weight of the GOP’s anti-choice attack. Planned Parenthood in Minnesota announced yesterday that it will close six clinics of its 24 clinics because of budget cuts to Title X funding for low-income women and families. None of the six clinics perform abortions, “but provided services ranging from contraception to cervical cancer screenings to testing for sexually-transmitted diseases.”

I am totally baffled.

Oh sure, there are lawsuits, lots of lawsuits, but where is the action? Where is the organizing?

Here's another woman who shares my bafflement.
The war against women conducted by Republicans in Congress gives rise to many questions but the most puzzling are: Where is the outrage? Where are the demonstrations and protests? Where is a March for Women’s Lives? If we could get half of the women to show up for a protest in front of Congress that show up to buy new iPods, iPads, or even tickets for Lady Gaga, we could make a difference. For that matter, why aren’t the famously rebellious Madonna and Lady Gaga out there demanding that abortion be kept legal and safe? Why aren’t the mailboxes of the Members of Congress clogged with letters from women and those who care about them? Why aren’t they emailing, texting, or Tweeting their displeasure? Are they asleep? Unless they act soon, they’re going to wake up one day and find that they have little more freedom than women in other parts of the world who must keep all but their eyes covered. The time for distraction is past. Women must act now to save their hard-won civil liberties.

It's not just civil liberties, important as those are. Women's lives are at stake.

Are USian women in denial or do they really think this can't happen? Again.

Monday 20 June 2011

USian-Style Dirty Tricks

My goodness. Actual indictments for voter suppression.
Two top aides to former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R) were indicted Friday for trying to suppress Democratic voter turnout by ordering misleading phone calls that discouraged voters from going to the polls. The Baltimore Sun reports that Paul Schurick, Ehrlich’s communications director, and Julius Henson, a longtime GOP operative, directed this deceptive robocall campaign targeting the state’s black voters during last year’s gubernatorial campaign.

(Erhlich lost anyway.)

Sound familiar?

Elections Canada investigates.
"Your concern about press reports of "robo-calls" providing false information regarding polling stations is of a different character. Your remarks will be considered in the context of an inquiry ongoing with regard to calls of this nature that have been reported to this office."

Well, if Merkin-style dirty-tricks are gonna come to Canada, let us hope for similar prosecutions here.

Yeah. Right.

Remind me, where are we with that In and Out Scandal?

Oh, yeah.
On February 24th, 2011, 4 senior Conservative Party members were charged in the In and Out Scandal under the Elections Canada Act with overspending over $1 million dollars in the 2006 election including allegations that Conservative election expense documents submitted to Elections Canada were "false or misleading" and attempted to fraudulently gain almost $1 million dollars in refunds from taxpayers. Senator Doug Finley, (the party's campaign director in 2006 and 2008, and the husband of Human Resources Development Minister Diane Finley), Senator Irving Gerstein, Michael Donison (former national party director) and Susan Kehoe (who has served as an interim party executive director) all face 3 months in jail, $1000 in fines or both.

Well, They Walk the Walk

For ReThuglicans, it's a Most Babeez Competition.
Presidential elections are supposed to be about the future, but more than a few Republicans eyeing the White House this year are throwbacks to the past – the 1800s, to be exact, when the typical American family had five to seven children.

The math is striking: Six Republican candidates and prospects have 34 children among them. And that’s not even counting Michele Bachmann’s 23 foster children.

For comparison purposes, the standard-issue family has two children. That’s where we find former Minnesota governorTim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson and former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain.

And, it need not be said, but wotthehell, every man/woman -jack of them is a card-carrying fetus fetishist.

According to Conan O'Brien, Ron Paul, the fetus-fetishist libertarian (get your head around that), WINS!

One of our faves, Rick Santorum, places with the creepiest anti-abortion abortion tale.

But then there's nutzoid Michele Bachmann with five of her own and 23 foster children.

She says she 'raised' these foster children.

Asked how long they lived with her, she said "it varied."

I asked Bachmann to explain the parameters of how long the children lived with her - was it as short as one week? As long as three years?

"It varied, it really varied depending on the children," Bachmann responded. "And we've never gotten into specifics about the children because we've always wanted to observe their privacy and that of their families. As I'm sure you can appreciate."

That privacy thing . . .

But then there are those facty things.
Bachmann often says she has "raised" 23 foster children. That may be a bit of a stretch. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Bachmann's license, which she had for 7 1/2 years, allowed her to care for up to three children at a time. According to Kris Harvieux, a former senior social worker in the foster care system in Bachmann's county, some placements were almost certainly short term. "Some of them you have for a week. Some of them you have for three years, some you have for six months," says Harvieux, who also served as a foster parent herself. "She makes it sound like she got them at birth and raised them to adulthood, but that's not true."

They were/are all teenagers. Some have questioned her motives.
One line of attack goes like this: She was only in it for the money.

The state of Minnesota pays foster parents $30 per day tax-free, which means that to take care of the children she fostered the Bachmanns raked in more than $1.2 million. (Of course, this argument fails to take into account how expensive it is to raise a teenager.)

Another well-worn attack is that she took in foster girls because she was looking for reliable built-in babysitters for her kids. For some reason, Bachmann has done little to shunt aside this criticism. When she has been asked if these foster girls babysat her biological children she says she can’t recall.

Finally, Bachmann’s past as a foster mother has been branded a cynical attempt to curry favor with her ideological pals on the right, particularly the anti-choice crowd that gives lip service, if not always actual support, for adoption and foster care.

Hm. The babysitting one . . . Just like a lot of anti-feminist rightwing nutjob women, Bachmann has a pretty busy career. And even if she had only three foster kids at a time plus five of her own, that's a lotta kids to feed and water when mom is on the road a lot.

Just sayin'.

h/t matttbastard.

Image source.

Josée Verner: One hell of a Sore Loser

It appears
Contempt Party incumbents not re-elected to Parliament on May 2 found a way to punish the electors in their riding.

Many, such as former Con MP and new Senator Josée Verner, shredded the entire content of their file cabinets.

Citizens who experienced problems regarding the provision of services from federal programs or issues with ministries are up shit creek without a paddle. Whatever work was done to advance their complaint has evaporated. In the case of the notoriously indolent Verner however, if her riding and Parliamentary staff followed her example, there probably wasn't much to lose.

(Google translation) More than a month after their election, members of the New Democratic Party are struggling to explain why those they have defeated them did not bother to transfer important files from their constituency.

The current MP for Louis-Saint-Laurent, Alexandrine Latendresse visited the constituency office of former Minister Josee Verner few days after her victory May 2, but ran into closed doors.

When she took possession of House of Commons furniture that had been assigned to Verner, it had been emptied of files and records for the riding's residents.

"There are citizens who have contacted me to tell me they had current cases, so we must start from scratch. It's deplorable that nobody monitors these actions. Riding residents are the losers in this situation," Ms. Latendresse.

Stevie Spiteful trained his Cons well.

Saturday 18 June 2011

Voting at ProgBlogs

We've got a new voting system with the relaunched Progressive Bloggers. One votes for individual posts on a scale of 1 to 5. Can't say I care for it.

Like, why vote anything but 5? Is one signalling: 'This post is sorta interesting, but not as interesting as this blogger usually is, or not as interesting as other bloggers on the same subject, or I don't like this blogger and s/he is getting way too many 5s?'

So. If I vote for a post, I vote 5. Otherwise, I don't vote and don't affect the score given by other people on the blogger/subject/treatment.

Virtual Vigilantism and Public Shaming

Last night I wrote a long and somewhat incoherent comment on my Let Your Inner Stasi Out post. (It was incoherent to the point that JJ thought I was calling her 'GoodyTwoShoes'!)

Clearly, I'm not done with the Vancouver hockey riot and its repercussions. And in particular, I am REALLY not done with witless comparisons of the Toronto G20 police riot and the Vancouver drunken idiot riot.

For background, some excellent analysis of events, one by Ivor Tossell, the other by Dave Zirin, both of whom emphatically crush the 'anarchist' and 'few bad apple' memes issuing from mini-minded MSM pundits.

For examples of MSM not getting it, there's Neil Macdonald, who at least admits he doesn't geddit [though why he's given umpty virtual column inches to say so is a mystery], and the sublimely idiotic Rex Murphy.

In the comments to Macdonald's piece, 'PinkoCommie' has already started the G20/G8 refrain of 'getoveritalready': 'Are we STILL talking about this? What are we, a hick country ??? Move along, lets hope this does not happen again.'

Yes. We are still talking about this. (Google 'Vancouver riot 2011' and you get over 22,000 hits of mostly moronic commentary.)

However embarrassed the citizens of magical, pristine Vancouver, BC, are, we in Toronto are still outraged at our treatment. And yes, there is yet another protest rally, G20 Redux, on the first anniversary, next Saturday, June 25. For all the fucking good these bunfests are doing. . .

Well, then, carry on MSM with your wittering, though I did find one bit of sense that the chattering classes might consider:
“This riot is not the result of one single factor,” said Prof. Gruneau. “It is an ensemble and certainly far too complicated to explain in a soundbite. At the very least to say that it had anything to do with hockey as a game leaves far too much out of the account.”

On to the repercussions, which I find truly frightening. (Note use of 'Stasi' in my blogpost title. Yes, I went there.)

To stave off accusations of hypocrisy, let me say upfront: Yes, I applauded the use of 'citizen journalism' at the Toronto G20 -- because it was used to provide evidence of abuse of authority by the police and their bosses. We here and many others, especially Dr. Dawg, have repeatedly catalogued the many many crimes by police that go unpunished, despite abundant video and photographic evidence. These are excellent examples of citizens' exercise of Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Because, clearly, the custodes are not custodieting themselves (sorry, Latin scholars, my ancient Grade 13 Latin isn't up to doing that properly).

What is now going on in Vancouver is not 'watching the watchmen'. It is virtual vigilantism.

Here is Christopher Parsons detailing the dangers in a post titled Vancouver's Human Flesh Search Engine.
During and following the riot, Vancouver Police Department (VPD) has requested that citizens provide photos and video of riotous behaviour so that the cops can conduct investigations and bring charges. Importantly (and responsibly) the VPD asked for images and video to be shared directly with them; they don’t want individuals publicly posting images and video. There are at least two reasons for this kind of request:

1. Preserving the chain of evidence. When you upload photos to Facebook, as an example, it strips the metadata off the images. As a result there is a more labor intensive process to verify the legitimacy and accuracy of images located on Facebook. I can guarantee that clever defence attorneys will point to a flawed chain of evidence stemming from lack of metadata information as reasons that social media-based imagery and videos should be disallowed from the courts.

2. Understanding the danger of the mob. The VPD clearly recognizes the potential harms that arise when a mob races off to identify and convict, in the court of public opinion, individuals who allegedly engaged in illegal behaviour. I say allegedly because even if an image shows a person seemingly lighting a car on fire, until the court has evaluated and verified the evidence, and the person in the image has a chance to defend themselves (or admit their guilt) they are allegedly guilty. This presumption of innocence before the courts, regardless of evidence that exists to ground a case, is a fundamental cornerstone of our democracy and we should be mindful and respectful of it.

However, grandstanding pols are not responsible at all.

Here's an excerpt from B.C. Premier Christy Clark's open letter.
Citizens have also come together to create their own social media sites to share information about events and images of troublemakers captured on mobile phones. The police will monitor these sites closely as part of their efforts to gather evidence.

We will push for full justice. Collectively, we will do our best to bring those responsible to account. Criminal charges will be pursued wherever possible and appropriate.

If you are responsible, we will hold you responsible. Your family, friends and employers will know. We will ensure we have the resources to do this. You will not be able to hide behind your hoodie or your bandana.

Indeed, citizens have come together. Here's a Facebook group and, even more unsettling, a site devoted to public shaming.

Here's the site's rationale:
These young men and women IF they get prosecuted will most likely be given probation, perhaps fines, community service etc. If they do end up with a criminal record, they will also (if given a savvy enough lawyer) be able to have that black mark removed. At the end of it all, the consequences are minor.

Public shaming however reveals their faces, their names and ultimately has longer lasting effect. There are those who would say that our court system is for the public record to view. When was the last time the average person sat in on a trial and read court transcripts? They are all there for the viewing to see. Public shaming thru the use of social media and blogging shall place them into a world that is engraved into history. It shall be chiseled into the hard stone of the internet and last eternally.

When a person’s name is typed into google or any search engine, especially if they are relative nobody’s, they do pop up on the first page during the search. More and more of today’s employers are googling the names of the people who apply for jobs. I know when I run my company, I wouldn’t hire the people I saw rioting in the streets of my city. So if they show up in a search 5 years from now, let them explain in their job interview’s how they’ve “all grown up now”. Roll the dice and see if they still get the job.

Booya! Let's punish a drunken 18-year-old yob who posed in front of a broken window -- for the rest of his fucking life! That's the Canadian way. Isn't it?

Um. No. To quote again from Alexandra Samuel's excellent essay:
The fact that the police department itself is encouraging people to share their photos and videos privately should tell us a lot about the troubling territory social media users have wandered into. There is a reason that the state has been defined by its monopoly on the legitimate use of force: delegating law enforcement to professional police is a way of preventing vigilantism, ensuring due process and protecting civil rights.

Just as crucially, professional law enforcement protects a healthy civil society from the corrosive effects of citizen surveillance. When citizens take on the job of reporting on one another it can lead to some very dark places, very quickly. One of the most difficult revelations to emerge in the wake of German reunification was the sheer number of civilians who cooperated with the Stasi, East Germany’s notorious secret police. About 5% of East Germans were secret informants, a culture of crowdsourced surveillance that eroded social trust and perpetuated an authoritarian state.

Canada is NOT -- or was NOT -- a shame culture.

Unlike the Excited States, Canadians can't even get it up, so to speak, to give our sexually transgressing pols -- even when they richly deserve it -- the 'santorum treatment'.

But a bunch of self-righteous, embarrassed GoodyTwoShoed Vancouverites are ecstatically participating in ruining whoknowshowmany ordinary -- if stupid -- people's lives. It makes them feel good about themselves. Like returning a lost wallet, maybe.

Fuck you, GoodyTwoShoed Vancouverites.

And oh, yeah. Your team choked. As usual.

Friday 17 June 2011

Letting Your Inner Stasi Out

I agree with pretty much everything Alexandra Samuel has to say about crowdsourced surveillance.

A taste:
The fact that the police department itself is encouraging people to share their photos and videos privately should tell us a lot about the troubling territory social media users have wandered into. There is a reason that the state has been defined by its monopoly on the legitimate use of force: delegating law enforcement to professional police is a way of preventing vigilantism, ensuring due process and protecting civil rights.

Just as crucially, professional law enforcement protects a healthy civil society from the corrosive effects of citizen surveillance. When citizens take on the job of reporting on one another it can lead to some very dark places, very quickly. One of the most difficult revelations to emerge in the wake of German reunification was the sheer number of civilians who cooperated with the Stasi, East Germany’s notorious secret police. About 5% of East Germans were secret informants, a culture of crowdsourced surveillance that eroded social trust and perpetuated an authoritarian state.

Or even more briefly, what Jim Bobby has to say:
Virtual viglantism.

But, hey nice Vancouverites, losing is tough. So I guess getting your jollies by fingering some drunken yob celebrating a burning car is some solace.

Kinda pathetic -- not to mention dangerous -- but some solace.

Thursday 16 June 2011

Mrozek Speaks!

Last Friday, I blogged about the support by Andrea Mrozek of ProWoman ProLife for the vicious, lying, coercive, abusive, violent, and short-eyed Greg Fultz, he of billboard infamy.

Mrozek said he had 'gumption'. She did not do her homework. His apparent 'prolife' stance and typically 'prolife' in-your-face-bitch tactics were good enough for her.

I left some links at her place, which were stoutly ignored by her and her minions. A few other sane people chimed in and the discussion became truly bizarre, with one guy insisting that Gord doesn't make mistakes and that there is no such thing as a 'natural' miscarriage.

Still Mrozek lalalalala-ed, except for a short appearance in the comments here to tut-tut at ck for her complaint that she was banned from PWPL.

Today, Mrozek breaks her silence to tut-tut at everyone.
I deeply regret not noticing how thoroughly out of control comments on this post had gotten. I don’t support the individual who made the billboard. Women have natural miscarriages all the time, and it has nothing to do with abortion.
Comments closed. Everyone gets a time out, in my books, for being perfectly, totally and utterly ridiculous.

No apology for shoddy blogging. Just blaming the commenters.

Gord doesn't make mistakes. And neither do fetus fetishists.

Saudi Women Can Do It

Tomorrow, June 17, is the day that Saudi women are taking the wheel. It is not a one-day protest.
Their Facebook campaign, dubbed Women2drive, says the action will start on Friday and keep going "until a royal decree allowing women to drive is issued" in the ultra-conservative kingdom -- the only country where women face such a ban.

It was organized through social media and needs social media support.
Activists pushed the movement via Facebook, Twitter and other online outlets before some of those accounts were shut down. And al-Sherif was arrested and jailed after her YouTube video (pictured above) hit the web. Al-Sherif was eventually released from a women’s prison after nine days, pledging she would no longer drive nor take part in the Women2Drive initiative.

But online support for the campaign has lived on through copies of earlier Facebook groups. And people in other parts of the world have also taken up the cause. The Honk for Saudi Women viral campaign is one example, featuring videos of women and men from around the world, honking their horns in support of Saudi women who will drive on June 17. The campaign also has a petition on online activism platform, asking Oprah to make a similar video in a show of support.

So get out there and honk and tweet and blog. And follow on Twitter, #women2drive. Let's make Saudi Arabia the laughingstock of the world.

The Latest Hockey Riot

Excellent analysis of the riot in Vancouver.

Booze-fueled, consumerist über-nationalism.

I did receive this incisive bit of analysis from Dru Oja Day, an editor at the Media Co-op. “If you ask people to pour all of their emotions and anger into a game, then a major event (Montrealers have rioted after first round game 7 wins!) is going to occasion some outbursts. Hockey commentators like Hockey Nights’ Don Cherry are constantly associating hockey with the troops overseas (he went to Afghanistan and fired a live shell, for chrissakes) and promote fighting and big open ice hits. We shouldn’t be surprised.”
. . .

As one of those real heroes, Harsha Walla said to me, "There is a sense that people rioted over a 'stupid apolitical hockey game'. While I too wish people were motivated by social justice issues, the hockey game is NOT apolitical by any means. The riots were a fundamentalist defense of a type of nationalism, most evident in the beatings and stabbings of Bruins fans in Vancouver last night. NHL hockey is not simply a game, it is representative of obedience to consumerism and is part of the state's attempt to forge a false identity - despite vast differences and inequalities across race, class, and gender, through the spectacle of sport."

The state does reap what the state sows. We should remember that as the hand-wringing by police and government officials commences in earnest.

The piece also points out that bystanders were safer at an idiotic hockey riot than at the G8/G20 protests last summer.

Do NOT help identify the idiots. Soon -- very soon -- it will be you and me the cops will ask for help in identifying.

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Kansas North Loses Another One

Well, imagine that. As we keep saying, abortion access is a human right.
The New Brunswick government has lost a bid to block the Human Rights Commission from investigating the province's abortion policy.

The policy has been a source of controversy for years and is at the centre of an ongoing lawsuit, which was filed by Dr. Henry Morgentaler, Canada's leading abortion activist.

With the Morgentaler lawsuit still in the court system, an unnamed doctor filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on two grounds. The doctor argued that, on behalf of women, the provincial government's restrictions on access to abortion are discriminatory.

As well, the doctor argued the restrictions make it difficult for her to help her patients get a full range of medical services.

The provincial government only pays for an abortion performed in hospitals and a woman must have two doctors certify that it's medically necessary.

By cracky, we'll drag New Brunswick -- kicking and SHRIEEEKING -- into the 20th century yet.

Poverty, Rape, and Abortion

The US Third Wave Foundation (TWF), which among other activities helps fund abortions for women unable to afford them, has released a report on the circumstances of the 505 women they helped in 2010 (bold mine).
Key findings:
• 85 percent of pledges went to fund second-trimester abortions, 10 percent first-trimester, 5 percent third-trimester
• 83 percent of pledges were given to people of color, compared with 80 percent in 2009 and 68 percent in 2008 and 2007
• 16 percent of pledges funded abortions for women impregnated because of rape (10 percent of those pledge recipients were impregnated because of incest)
• 48 percent of pledge recipients under 14 said their pregnancies were a result of rape

• Of 148 pledges made to minors, 64 percent were required to obtain consent from their parents due to state laws, 47 percent of pledge recipients had their parents notified because of parental notification laws
• Of all the minors who received money for abortion, 13 appealed to a judge to override parental consent/notification laws, what’s known as judicial bypass
• 17 percent of pledge recipients were homeless, compared with 10 percent in 2009 and 6.5 percent in 2008. Of these pledge recipients who were homeless at the time of their procedure, 58 percent had children and 15 percent were homeless due to domestic violence
• 49 percent of women who received pledge money were already mothers, but the majority had no “involvement” of a partner
• 15 percent of pledge recipients said they had a partner involved; of those, 57 percent said they were experiencing physical violence from their partner
• Low or no-income pledge recipients lacked Medicaid mostly due to homelessness or illegal residency, long waiting periods, or because the state dropped coverage once the person turned 18
• Thus, in 2010, only 6 out of 505 pledges were made to people who were employed full-time, and 19 out of 505 were made to people who had part- time employment.

(Note that these dismal figures pre-date the orgy of new laws on mandatory wait times and other run-arounds, including defunding all reproductive health care for poor people.)

It is not at all surprising that 85% of procedures were carried out in the second trimester, as opposed to abortions in the general population, more than 90% of which are done in the first trimester.

D'uh. If you got the dough, you go get it done as quickly as you can. If you don't have the dough, you're scrambling, eventually, if you're lucky, winding up with emergency funding from one of the National Network of Abortion Funds. But there's going to be delay, often a significant delay.

The rape stats, though, are surprising.

So, what percentage of rapes result in pregnancy? It's devilishly difficult to find out.

Here's one range:
Some statistics report that conception as a result of rape occurs in less than one percent of cases, while other studies indicate higher figures such as 4.7%. Rape-related Pregnancy may be more widespread than we know - many women are understandably reluctant to talk about it. Common contexts for conception in rape are war and domestic violence settings.

Here's Wiki:
The rate varies between settings and depends particularly on the extent to which non-barrier contraceptives are being used. A study of adolescents in Ethiopia found that among those who reported being raped, 17% became pregnant after the rape, a figure which is similar to the 15–18% reported by rape crisis centres in Mexico.

A longitudinal study in the United States of over 4000 women followed for 3 years found that the national rape related pregnancy rate was 5.0% per rape among victims aged 12–45 years, producing over 32 000 pregnancies nationally among women from rape each year. [1996]

It's perhaps not that surprising then, that poor USian women have rape-related pregnancy rates comparable to developing world rates.

But if you listen to fetus fetishists, there's no need to make a rape exemption to an abortion ban, because pregnancy hardly EVEH results from it.

Using some very dubious methods and very old stats, this Xianist comes up with the figure of 0.1-0.2% of rape-related pregnancies.

So, hey, we don't need no steenkin' exemption for rape. What's a few forced pregnancies in Gord's greater scheme of things?

Then, there's the fetus fetishist fall-back argument, as argued by SUZIE ALLCAPS recently. To wit, some rape victims choose to carry the rapist's sperm to term. (I got involved in the comments there and the phrase 'sperm to term' earned me an outraged spanking from one of her minions. Expect to see it a lot here. *evulsmiley*)

Lady Janus and I commented: 'Cool. That's what feminists mean by choice. It was her choice to make.'

SUZIE ALLCAPS countered with: 'It PROVES that the claim that ALL rape-related pregnancy results in INEVITABLE trauma is false'.

LJ et moi: Um. No. One person's decision doesn't PROVE anything. And besides, who ever claimed that all rape-related pregnancy created inevitable trauma?

ALLCAPS: Pro-aborts claim it is automatically traumatic and therefore there must be a rape exemption.

LJ et moi: No. Pregnancy resulting from rape certainly causes trauma in some women and that's why abortion must be an option.

Well, as usual, the discussion got all stupid after that. OK, it was stupid to begin with. . .

Going back to TWF's findings -- the quick rise in the number of homeless women is depressing, isn't it?

In related news, a preliminary report out today shows that USian births are down for third year in a row. The article speculates that 'the economy may be a factor'.

D'uh. Ya think?

But now with all the new abortion run-arounds and funding barriers -- not to mention MASSIVE cuts to basic contraception services -- YIIPPEE! The US birth rate will no doubt be on the rise again.

Among poor, raped, abused, homeless, racialized women. Isn't that grand news?