Tuesday 25 June 2013

I Stand with Wendy Davis

At this moment a Texas woman named Wendy Davis is attempting to hold the floor of the state senate in a filibuster to prevent the latest anti-abortion idiocy from becoming law.

Here's Rachel Maddow for the background.

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In the segment, there's a clip of this moron, sponsor of the bill, mind, Jodie Laubenberg explaining why a rape/incest exception is not needed in this new law.
Amid a heated debate over a restrictive anti-abortion bill being pushed by Texas GOP lawmakers, one Republican argued that a proposed exemption for rape victims was unnecessary because assaulted women could simply turn to rape kits for abortions. "In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out," said state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R), sponsor of the controversial SB 5, according to The Associated Press.
Senator Davis has already been speaking for about two hours. She's got to make it to midnight and follow these rules, including:
Rule 4.01 requires a member of the Senate to stand at his or her desk to address the Senate. The member speaking may not sit, lean, or use a desk or chair in any way. Bathroom breaks are not allowed.
RAPEublicans have the majority in both the House and Senate. This is a 'special session' called by the governor, who can, of course, call another one to get this critical legislation passed. But what's going on right now is exhilarating to watch. Here's the live feed of the filibuster. When I last checked, she was reading the testimony of women who wanted to speak before the committee last week but who got cut off by some RAPEpublican dude because he was bored by it. If you want to follow on Twitter, Senator Davis's handle is @WendyDavisTexas and some hashtags are #SB5 (Senate Bill 5), #txlege, and #feministarmy. (Blogger is screwing up my paragraph breaks. I'll try to fix it later.)

Mandos adds: Wendy Davis runs out the clock and kills the bill.

FURTHER UPDATE: Of course he would. Governor Good Hair calls another special session. Note that in such *special* sessions, a simple majority, rather than the 2/3s of the Senate in regular sessions, is enough to ram through legislation.

Thursday 20 June 2013

Spotting Lickspittles

Call me naive, but I can't get over this.

The Prime Minister's Office has been giving reporters 'marching orders' since May.

Kudos to the weekly Barrie Advancefor exposing the way some journalists are taking their marching orders from Erica Meekes, a flack in the Prime Minister's Office.

These edicts from Meekes instructing reporters to attack Harper's political opponents have been the subject of much chatter amongst the hacks in my small circle since they began arriving in the email box of a pal in May.

We've been using them to play Spot the Lickspittle -- we Google the key phrases to see who among the ink-stained wretches is merely a mouthpiece for Harper.
Isn't that cute? Playing Spot the Lickspittle.

Not Out the Fuckheads Playing Uber-Partisan Politics on the Government Payroll?

Kudos indeed to Lori Martin, editor of the Barrie Advance, who explains how the story unfolded and her reactions here.
If this was real, it wasn’t right. Why would the PMO, not the Conservative Party, be sending us unsolicited background information on Trudeau?
And here is Susan Delacourt's bizarre explanation for why the Star didn't reveal where the documents came from.
The Star was among those recipients. And why didn't we say where the documents came from? Well, because the PMO official asked first. This seems to be the big difference between how the PMO approached national and local media yesterday. Before I was sent the documents, there was a conversation about the conditions surrounding their release. 
Let's return to Lori Martin's account, shall we?
The caller, who identified herself as Erica Meekes, told me she wanted to send information regarding Justin Trudeau’s speaking engagement at Georgian College. She would send the information along if I agreed to identify the PMO as a “source.”

I thought it was a joke, someone pretending to be from the PMO.

I didn’t agree to the terms of the request because I didn’t know what the content was and I had no relationship with the person on the other end phone.

We had not contacted the PMO in search of this information. The situation was very odd.

I told the communications officer to send the information to me, saying I would have a look at it. That was the only promise I made.
Back to Delacourt:
For the record, it was a real conversation. I asked repeatedly why the PMO, and not the Conservative party, was making this offer.  Though the distinction may seem technical to many, it's an important one. The Prime Minister's Office is supposed to represent all Canadians, including ones the Conservatives don't like. This is why the staffers  get paid their public salaries -- ie, by you and me.  This is why they get extra-special security clearance; so they can be trusted with sensitive information -- not available to other opposition parties, or, we presume, the Conservative party. The official told me that the PMO was simply "contrasting" leaders, as is its job. I wondered to myself if this would include going through, say, tax records of other leaders, but I decided that was a question for another day.
A 'real' conversation. Well, okey-dokey then.

Ms Martin must have had an imaginary conversation with the PMO and yet those documents *did* arrive at the office of the Barrie Advance.

This is what I can't get over: Only Lori Martin saw the newsworthiness of the source?

From a Q&A between J-Source and Ms Martin:
JS: What was the discussion in the newsroom after receiving this information?

LM: We talked about the fact really the story was the source of the email, not the content. And we all agreed that that's the way we would roll with it.

So I and the editor of a weekly small-town newspaper must both be naive to be shocked by this.

Or maybe just not as self-important as Ms Delacourt and her insider colleagues.

ADDED: Alison has a graphic to go with this.

Tuesday 18 June 2013

That fetus is doing WHAT?

As predicted, RAPEublicans can be funny about abortion, just not intentionally.

Get a load of this.

As the House of Representatives gears up for Tuesday’s debate on HR 1797, a bill that would outlaw virtually all abortions 20 weeks post fertilization, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) argued in favor of banning abortions even earlier in pregnancy because, he said, male fetuses that age were already, shall we say, spanking the monkey.

“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful,” said Burgess, a former OB/GYN. “They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?”
A former OB/GYN?

The jokes, as they say, just write themselves.

UPDATE: The Science of Masturbating Fetuses.

Monday 17 June 2013

Abortion? What a Riot!!!

Bloggers rejoice! What could possibly go wrong with the RAPEublicans' plan to make abortion funny.

“How do you make abortion funny?” That was a key question mulled at a major conservative gathering Friday on how to make social conservatism appealing to young people, after an election where Republicans got trounced in the battle for millennial voters (who are are moving even further and further away from the Christian-right on marriage and other issues).

Abortion has to be made funny, the thinking goes, because funny sells on social media, and that’s where one goes to court young people. “You can engage with sarcasm, it’s hard with the abortion issue, but you have to,” said Students for Life president Kristan Hawkins at a breakout panel at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference in Washington today on how to win millennial voters. “Unfortunately we have to, because this is the generation that we’ve been dealt.”
If there's one thing conservatives cannot do, it's humour. And, as we know, the fetus fetishists among them are the most humour-impaired.

This is gonna be a gas. And not in the way they intend.

Thursday 13 June 2013

BREAKING! NO link between breast cancer and abortion

So, inquiring minds want to know -- how much (non) evidence will be enough? Probably no amount will ever satisfy the nutters, but here's yet another study that finds NO evidence of an association between induced abortion and breast cancer risk.

In 2004 the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer evaluated the worldwide epidemiological evidence on the possible relation between breast cancer and previous spontaneous and induced abortion ad found no link. The results, drawn from 53 studies, were published in the Lancet.

A new study confirms this data, that there is no link between abortion and breast cancer. The data come from a study of over 25,000 Danish women from the DIet, Cancer, and Health study. The women completed questionnaires and then were followed for an average of 12 years. This kind of study is probably the best way to look at two common and emotional charged occurrences, like abortion and breast cancer, because there is no recall bias. When something bad happens it is human nature to look back and try to assign causality, but collecting the data prospectively removes this element. The study was also well-powered to detect even a small increase, so another plus.
Link to abstract.

Canadian Media Provide Comfort to the Enemy

In the media coverage of the tenth anniversary of equal marriage in Ontario, I noticed an odd thing.

Not one anti-gay spokesperson was polled on his or her 'take' on the situation. That's odd considering how strident opponents are and how readily they will spout their hate and lies.

No. In fact the coverage was rather self-congratulatory. Golly gee, aren't we enlightened and aren't we pleased to have moved on?

Look at this CBC piece for example.

And we have come a long way pretty damn quickly.
In 2002, an Ekos poll found that 47 per cent of Canadians had an unfavourable opinion of same-sex marriage. Taking into account the high number of undecideds, the pollsters concluded that opponents of gay marriage made up a majority. In 2012, an Ipsos Reid poll found that just 18 per cent of respondents were “totally opposed” to same-sex marriage. What happened?
Well, some would say that 'media happened'.

Even in the US, things are moving along on this front. Here's a bit of video on media there congratulating itself for its role in normalizing USians' view of gays and gay culture.

In fact, one pundit says: 'Gay culture is American culture'.

Funny thing. Here, pro-choice culture is Canadian culture.

But does our media celebrate that achievement? Does it congratulate itself for moving the issue forward and normalizing the notion that women have the same right to bodily autonomy that men do?

Does it appropriately marginalize the tiny percentage of extremists -- around 5% -- 'totally opposed' to abortion rights?

No. Canadian media -- perhaps envious of the acrimonious and profitable abortion 'debate' in the US -- continue to try to whip up controversy where it just doesn't exist. In covering Dr Morgentaler's death 22 of 35 stories saw fit to consult wannabe abortion abolishers to 'balance' the views of Dr Morgentaler's friends and supporters.

One would think this is counter-productive. After all, a large majority of Canadians -- two-thirds of us -- don't even want to talk about it.

But a group that does want to talk about it is the nutters themselves of course. In fact, the media's obeisance to their foot-stomping and shrieking has them crowing 'The media is ours'.

If this was war, one could say that the Canadian media is giving comfort to the enemy.

We ask again: When will Canadian media step up and celebrate the achievement of human rights for women?

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Some decent folks live in Texas but...

its reputation as an extreme right-wing, christian fundamentalist, patriarchal, xenophobic, misogynist, homophobic, violent hell-hole is mostly well-deserved.

When Louise (of _Thelma and Louise_) wanted to make a run for Mexico, she wanted to avoid Texas.  Except for the enlightened city of Austin and environs, that is the correct approach to this reactionary US state.

DJ! has many, many blogposts about the Texan political climate and its dominant anti-Choice practices.

This judgement was recently pronounced there:

On Christmas Eve 2009, Ezekiel Gilbert, 30, shot Lenora Ivie Frago, 23, in the neck. She was paralyzed; seven months later, she died due to complications from that injury. On June 6, 2013, Gilbert was acquitted of that crime. He was acquitted because he claims she accepted $150 for escort services but did not have sex with him, which means that he was just defending his property. This acquittal shows the dangerous use to which such common "self-defense" laws can be put.[...]

Gilbert claimed he believed that sex was included in the $150 fee he paid to Frago as an escort; thus, when Frago did not have sex with him, he considered her a thief. Gilbert was probably also concerned about his inability to recover the money, as it would have required admitting to attempting to solicit a prostitute. As such, his attorneys successfully argued, the Texas law permitted the murder.

Criminal prosecutors Matt Lovell and Jessica Schulze, on the other hand, disagreed. Even with the Texas law, they argued that Gilbert's behavior was not protected. The law, they said, only protects "law-abiding" citizens; it does not protect those attempting to force the commission of an illegal act, such as prostitution, as would have been required of Frago.

Obviously, prostitution is illegal in the majority of the United States, which means that these people — if Frago was a prostitute, as is claimed – were already committing a crime. Also, admittedly, punishing Gilbert will not bring back this poor young woman. However, those facts to not obviate the problems with a law that justifies murder by the supposed theft of $150.

There you have it. This is even more callous than "Stand Your Ground" laws, which, as Florida recently demonstrated, works exclusively for men and people of pallor.

Grand merci to @godelnoodle and @godammitkitty for the link.

Friday 7 June 2013

Join the Pro-Choice Truth Squad

I have a nifty idea for fashion writers hard-up for ideas for next season's trends and must-haves. When you're talking about clothing, it's only fair and balanced to also talk to nudists (or naturists as I think they prefer to be called).

You know, get their take on how clothing is restrictive and unhealthy and expensive and often silly. Get their views on fashion designers who are just in it for the glory. And on workers in the fashion industry who are just in it for the (miserly) income. And on the selfishness and vanity of people -- women in particular -- who buy and wear clothing.

It doesn't matter that naturists are a small minority in Canada. It doesn't matter that most sensible naturists would think you nuts for inviting them to opine on fashion. And it doesn't matter that the vast majority of Canadians are stout defenders of pants and shirts and sox and toques and so on.

See, fashion writers, you've got to be FAIR and BALANCED.

OK, that's loopy, but that kind of thinking seemed to bestir the mainstream media in reporting on the death of Dr Henry Morgentaler.
Although nearly all mainstream media sources quoted pro-choice views, most also interviewed at least one anti-choice spokesperson (22 out of 35 news articles or broadcasts that I reviewed). Apparently, the media thinks that view has some kind of legitimacy and must be presented against the pro-choice view in the name of "balance." Well, NO. The anti-choice position -- that women must be compelled to carry every pregnancy to term under threat of criminal law regardless of circumstances -- is an extremist view held by only 5 per cent of Canadians. It is also profoundly mistaken, cruel and undemocratic. As such, it does not deserve equal time or respect in Canada.
Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada has had it with the lying bullshit spewed by fetus fanatics and the obligatory obeisance of the media.

And so have we.

There was absolutely no point in polling the forced pregnancy brigade on Dr Morgentaler's 'legacy'. We know what they thought of him and his work. They loathed him. They attacked him, his motives, his personal life, his clinics, and his person. Even -- especially gleefully -- after he was dead.

As for his legacy, they simply want to obliterate it.

There was plenty of grave-dancing going on in their own media, why the hell did the mainstream media -- who purportedly serve us all -- feel they had to give equal time to this tiny minority of lying nutbars?

Joyce again:
The lives and health of half the population are at stake here, so why is the mainstream media casually repeating dangerous medical misinformation from the mouths of zealots without any correction? Why did the media allow extremists to propagate their vicious libel and stupid lies about Dr. Morgentaler? And why is the media still giving equal time to interviewing these pro-death proponents, as if women's right to life is up for debate in Canada? Pro-choice advocates have had enough.
It's cheap, lazy, and stupid. It misrepresents Canada to itself.

And it's got to stop.

The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada is collaborating with Dammit Janet! bloggers on a project to hold mainstream media to account when they publish or broadcast anti-choice hatred and propaganda in the name of "balance." Please email joyce[at]arcc-cdac.ca to alert us to examples, or to help with the project.

Go read Joyce's whole piece. It's brilliant.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Rathgeber and Warawa Sitting in a Tree

Interesting development in the House of Commons.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has suffered another blow as a Tory MP quit the Conservative caucus Wednesday night, decrying the Conservatives’ lack of progress on open government.

Alberta MP Brent Rathgeber made public his decision on Twitter, saying he had informed the board of directors for his riding association and the Speaker of the Commons that he had resigned from the Conservative caucus.

“My decision to resign from the Caucus is because of the Government’s lack of commitment to transparency and open government,” he announced on Twitter.

Rathgeber was first elected MP for the Edmonton-St. Albert riding in 2008 and then re-elected in 2011.
Immediately-- and rather hilariously -- there was a call for Rathgeber to step down from the PMO.
Harper’s office reacted quickly, saying that Rathgeber should face the voters again.

“The people of Edmonton-St. Albert elected a Conservative member of Parliament. Mr. Rathgeber should resign and run in a byelection,” Harper aide Andrew MacDougall said in his own Twitter posting.

This was not the position the Conservatives took, however, when former Liberal MPs David Emerson, Wajid Khan and Joe Comuzzi defected to the government party over the past few years.
Frankly, DJ! doesn't give a rat's ass over one Contempt Party member's finding his 'nads, but there was this intriguing -- and quick -- reaction.

Yep, that's our Mark Warawa, he of Warawa's Wank and he who got miffed enough at his own party to at least float the notion of a Backbench Spring.

Now that he has seen how it's done, might he follow Rathgeber's trailblazing lead and quit the party?

And might some of the one hundred anti-choice CON MPs join him?

We live in hope of an implosion.

ADDED: Rathgeber in his own words.

UPDATE: List of eight CONs who have 'bucked' the party. How many do they need to lose to get back into minority status? Six? Come on, boys, just how much do you care about those fetuses?

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Naomi Lakritz: lies galore.

In a piece titled "An Inconvenient Truth" (stolen from this documentary), anti-choice and anti-feminist Lakritz regurgitates the dog-eared lies that fetus fetishists habitually spew about abortion.

Lakritz uses these fabrications to spin her attack on Dr Henry Morgentaler.
When the University of Western Ontario in London awarded him an honorary doctorate eight years ago, he said: “Well-loved children grow into adults who do not build concentration camps, do not rape and do not murder.”

Interesting, how he only acknowledged the humanity of these unborn babies when he predicted their future criminality; otherwise, they were just non-human blobs to be obliterated.
Lakritz claims to locate "gaping holes" in Morgentaler's observation; instead she digs herself deeper and deeper into an irrational and illogical bear-pit of MASSIVE zygote zealotry.

This approach is interestingly enough, echoed in her shrieeeky defense of Israel's apartheid policies and practices where Lakritz denounces Hamas for its decision to segregate a marathon event on the basis of gender.  

This is a deplorable consequence of patriarchal religious ideology — which occurs in many Islamist countries, as well as in Israel, and Central/South America where Catholicism rules many governments.

"An inconvenient truth" about Israel that I've never heard Lakritz denounce is this one
Figures show that 57 per cent of Depo Provera users in Israel are Ethiopian, even though the community accounts for less than two per cent of the total population. About 90,000 Ethiopians have been brought to Israel under the Law of Return since the 1980s, but their Jewishness has subsequently been questioned by some rabbis and is doubted by many ordinary Israelis. 
 Racism and misogyny.

We've dealt with her many fabulations before, at DJ!

But then, Lakritz is only about truthiness and competing against Kay Mère, to be the most bad-ass anti-feminist pro-Israel violence R.E.A.L.WOMAN columnist in Canada.  It's been quite a lucrative pursuit for Babs; Lakritz may well be auditioning to replace her.

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Dead, Brainless Baby + Tortured Woman = All Good

So, the El Salvadoran woman known as Beatriz was *granted* a C-section at 27 weeks to save her life and the brainless baby has, as expected, died.

Latin America, like Ireland, pretends it doesn't have an abortion problem.

But it sure does.

Despite the region’s tough abortion laws, there has not been a drop in abortion rates.

In fact, they have had the opposite effect.

According to a 2008 study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Guttmacher Institute, Latin America has one of the world’s highest abortion rates, with 31 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, compared to 12 per 1,000 in Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds.

According to WHO, botched abortions are a leading cause of maternal death in all parts of the world, accounting for 12 percent of maternal deaths in Latin America and the Caribbean, based on 2008 figures.
These laws cause not only needless death and suffering, but also the criminalization of miscarriage and obstetric complications.
Since abortion was made illegal in El Salvador in 1998, 628 women have been jailed for having abortions, according to local rights group Citizens for the Decriminalisation of Abortion (CFDA).

In 2010, the case of one Salvadoran, known as Manuela, shows how women end up paying with their lives because of the country’s absolute abortion ban.

Manuela, who suffered from advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after suffering severe complications giving birth.

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which campaigned on her behalf, doctors treated her as if she had attempted an abortion and immediately called the police. She was shackled to her hospital bed and accused of murder.

Manuela did not receive appropriate medical treatment for lymphoma, the rights group says, and died less than a year after being sent to prison, leaving behind two young children. Her case was put before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2012.
On Twitter, someone sensibly asked 'WTF was the point of dragging Beatriz through all that?'

Answer is simple. So the fetus fetishists can maintain their fantasy that abortion is never medically necessary.
Claudia Handal, a spokeswoman for the anti-abortion group Red Familia, said the rights of all had been respected.

"We're very happy because as we said from the beginning, it wasn't necessary to perform an abortion, the point was to respect the baby's life and to give Beatriz the care and the right to health that she deserved," Handal told Reuters.
See? It's all good.

UPDATE: Actually, a correction. Beatriz did not have a c-section, she had a very high-risk procedure called a hysterotomy. The bullshit gets piled higher and deeper to perpetrate the denial that abortion is frequently a life-saving measure.

Monday 3 June 2013

Don Martin on Mike Duffy

Apparently, CTV has pulled this from its site and it recently disappeared from YouTube.

Now it's back and I'm grabbing it in case it gets disappeared again.

Remarkable truth telling.

UPDATE: Confirmation that CTV pulled the piece because it made them 'nervous'.

UPDATIER: Gone. I need to get smarter about saving stuff like this.

EVEN UPDATIER: Now it's on Facebook.

Saturday 1 June 2013

One of These Things Is NOT Like the Others

Let's get something straight. 'Robocalls' is NOT a generic term for electioneering or marketing techniques that piss us off.

A robocall is a phone call that uses a computerized system to call targetted numbers and deliver a recorded message.

It is not unlike a flyer in your mailbox or an ad on your telly.

In Canada, robocalls are legally used for political purposes and are subject to regulation by the CRTC.

Sometimes, operatives misuse them -- knowingly or not -- and, when the system works, they get caught and fined by the CRTC.

As was reported last week.

Robocalls are the tie that binds politicos of all stripes — in trouble, that is, to the tune of $369,900 in fines for leaving voters in the dark on who was making the telephone sales pitches.

Running afoul of federal rules on the controversial calls is clipping the finances of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party, Montreal Liberal MP Marc Garneau, the federal NDP and Conservatives, Alberta’s Wildrose Alliance Political Association, Alberta Tory MP Blake Richards and Edmonton telemarketer RackNine Inc.

Scripts for their automated, pre-recorded telephone messages did not say which political party or candidate was behind the calls, nor did they leave a phone number, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Tuesday.
Some of these may indeed have had fraudulent intent or effect, but this 'robocalls' matter is a wholly different kettle of fish from the ELECTION FRAUD case.
The Federal Court has found in no uncertain terms that widespread election fraud took place during the 2011 federal election. The ruling clearly states that "there was an orchestrated effort to suppress votes during the 2011 election campaign by a person with access to the [Conservative Party's] CIMS database."

"This Federal Court decision is a major indictment of the Conservative Party of Canada," says Garry Neil, Executive Director of the Council of Canadians. "Either senior leaders of the Conservative Party were directly involved in election fraud or they were astoundingly negligent in securing access to their voter database. Illegal or incompetent -- just like in the Senate scandal."
Or as Andrew Coyne put it:
Someone is trying to frame the Conservative Party of Canada. Either that, or the party is the victim of a theft, possibly by its own supporters.

Someone, at any rate, hacked into the party’s closely guarded voter database in the closing hours of the 2011 election, using it to call thousands of voters across the country whom the party had previously identified as non-Conservatives, telling them, falsely, that their polling station had been moved. Someone, that is, committed massive electoral fraud, in a way that could only benefit the Conservative party and making use of proprietary party information. But they did it without the party’s knowledge or participation.
The means may have been automated dialling, but the resource was the Conservative Party of Canada's 'closely guarded voter database'.

And the beneficiaries were solely the Conservative Party of Canada.

And yet, said Conservative Party of Canada seems strangely sanguine about it.

Asked about the database breach, Conservative Party spokesman Fred DeLorey said: “We take security very seriously.”

So. The Cons' only plausible defence is that the database was hacked, yet that's not what they're claiming.

If anything, they are celebrating.

And yes, they fight all investigations tooth and nail. And yes, they are trying to conflate ELECTION FRAUD with the CRTC's robocall probes, which they are pleased to note nabbed actors from several parties. And yes, they are deflecting as hard as they can onto the Duffster's greed and vainglory -- who is leaking all those damning emails to the media, by the way?

But they seem quite unconcerned about their precious database.

Susan Delacourt is almost alone among the media wondering why.

Or as a famous detective wondered, why aren't the dogs barking?

I'll leave you with this because we are knee-deep at the moment and it's going to get waaaaay deeper.