Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Understanding Stonewall

Forty years ago, the gay rights movement was ignited by the Stonewall Riots.

While seen by many as the first steps in breaking down some of the social, economic and other barriers thrown up by the state to make life harder for GLBT people, there are those who choose to understand the riots purely as social unrest and unnecessary violence.

I choose to neither condemn or approve of precisely what unfolded on June 28, 1969. It is a matter of historical fact that the riots happened, and that they were violent.

However, it is not so difficult to understand the reaction to the Stonewall Inn raid when one begins to examine the social, legal and political environment which the GLBT community in the United States found itself facing.

Consider the following: (via Wikipedia)

Spurred by the national emphasis on anti-communism, Senator Joseph McCarthy conducted hearings discovering communists in the U.S. government, the U.S. Army, and other government-funded agencies and institutions, leading to a national paranoia. Anarchists, communists, and other people deemed un-American and subversive were considered security risks. Homosexuals were included in this list by the U.S. State Department in 1950, on the theory that they were prone to blackmail. Under Secretary of State James E. Webb noted in a report, "It is generally believed that those who engage in overt acts of perversion lack the emotional stability of normal persons."[7] Between 1947 and 1950, 1,700 federal job applications were denied, 4,380 people were discharged from the military, and 420 were fired from their government jobs for being suspected homosexuals.[8]

Let's be clear here, McCarthy's paranoia and hostility basically included anyone who didn't think and act in some stereotyped way that McCarthy and his allies had dreamed up. This is but one of many factors that played into creating a social pressure cooker that was going to go awry sooner or later.

Cities performed "sweeps" to rid neighborhoods, parks, bars, and beaches of gays. They outlawed the wearing of opposite gender clothes, and universities expelled instructors suspected of being homosexual.[10] Thousands of gay men and lesbians were publicly humiliated, physically harassed, fired, jailed, or institutionalized in mental hospitals. Many lived double lives, keeping their private lives secret from their professional ones.

Now we get more into the heart of the issues that ultimately led to and provoked the Stonewall Riots. We aren't talking about the US Federal Government running its own little "Spanish Inquisition" to ferret out "enemies of the state", but also of an atmosphere of systemic criminalization and discrimination against GLBT people in their day to day lives. As revolutions around the world, and throughout history, have repeatedly shown, it is unlikely that such a harsh form of oppression will be sustainable. Even the Magna Carta's roots are in an uprising against abuses of power.

Closer to the Stonewall Inn itself, we have the following environment being fostered by the politicians:

By the early 1960s, a campaign to rid New York City of gay bars was in full effect by order of Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr., who was concerned about the image of the city in preparation for the 1964 World's Fair. The city revoked the liquor licenses of the bars, and undercover police officers worked to entrap as many homosexual men as possible.[31] Entrapment usually consisted of an undercover officer who found a man in a bar or public park, engaged him in conversation; if the conversation headed toward the possibility that they might leave together—or the officer bought the man a drink—he was arrested for solicitation. One story in the New York Post described an arrest in a gym locker room, where the officer grabbed his crotch, moaning, and a man who asked him if he was all right was arrested.[32] Few lawyers would defend cases as undesirable as these, and some of those lawyers kicked back their fees to the arresting officer.[33]

So, in New York, we have a situation where the police were engaging in entrapment - clearly this is well before any laws that made entrapment illegal. I don't think it's terribly difficult to infer from this that the GLBT community in New York would be less than trusting of the police.

But wait, it gets better.

Police raids on gay bars were frequent—occurring on average once a month for each bar. Many bars kept extra liquor in a secret panel behind the bar, or in a car down the block, to facilitate resuming business as quickly as possible if alcohol was seized.[3] Bar management usually knew about raids beforehand due to police tip-offs, and raids occurred early enough in the evening that business could commence after the police had finished.[47] During a typical raid, the lights were turned on, and customers were lined up and their identification cards checked. Those without identification or dressed in full drag were arrested; others were allowed to leave. Some of the men, including those in drag, used their draft cards as identification. Women were required to wear three pieces of feminine clothing, and would be arrested if found not wearing them. Employees and management of the bars were also typically arrested.[47] The period immediately before June 28, 1969 was marked by frequent raids of local bars—including a raid at the Stonewall Inn on the Tuesday before the riots[48]—and the closing of the Checkerboard, the Tele-Star, and two other clubs in Greenwich Village

So, not only do we have an atmosphere of legal oppression levied against a group of citizens, but there had been an increase in police raids.

Further, laws which attempt to dictate that men must dress like men, and women like women falsely presuppose that the state has an interest in defining what is "masculine" clothing and what is "feminine" clothing. It does not, and worse, it is next to impossible to define that in any reasonable sense. Such laws are nothing more than blatant attempts to criminalize the fundamentally harmless activity of cross-dressing. In many respects, these raids impacted the transgender part of the population disproportionately although I imagine a fair number of "butch" lesbians were caught in the same net.

Whether the Stonewall riots were "unnecessarily violent" or not is immaterial. One cannot reasonably examine the riots themselves in a vacuum without giving consideration to the environment which gave rise to them. Any population that is actively suppressed from living peaceable lives will sooner or later rise up against their oppressors. While the New York police might have only been the instruments of oppression, it was with them that the GLBT population in New York ran into constant conflict. What happened in 1969 has happened before in other contexts - it only took a few cross-dressers deciding it was time to fight back for the rest of the people in an already tense situation to follow suit.

The issue is not, as some would claim, one of mere momentary violations of rights, but rather the consequences of a protracted campaign of oppression, harrassment and abuse at the hands of the state.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wise Words ... Pity Our Government Isn't Listening

Allan Gotlieb has some very interesting things to say about what Canada should be doing to ensure its future prosperity.

Guess what - it isn't looking south! Big surprise there.

...Canada’s strategic thinking must go beyond the bounds of North America

Gee...I've been saying that ever since GWB started to call himself a "war president".

But as the economic centre of gravity moves inexorably toward the Far East, particularly China and India, Canada should be laying the groundwork for deepening our trade with these countries, where demand for our resources, unlike in the sclerotic economies of Europe, is likely to grow exponentially.

This is the part that really caught my eye. China and India are certainly rising trade powers. I think where I disagree with Gotlieb on this is that he is over-focused upon the raw resources, and I believe that Canada needs to move its economy beyond the raw resource sectors and become a provider of finished products instead.

While Harper has proposed opening so-called "free trade" negotiations with Europe, I suspect that this is political tokenism on Harper's part - and it has been done at a time when he has already alienated so many of Europe's leaders that he will be largely unsuccessful gaining traction.

However, on the whole, I agree with what Gotlieb suggests and believe that it deserves far more time an energy on the national stage than does the partisan bickering that seems to have taken over in Ottawa.

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's Time To Replace "Progressive" with "Regressive"

... In Alberta at least.

Another Alberta MLA has been opening his yap and showing us the ugly side of a party that has been in power for far too long.

Today's specimen is a relative unknown by the name of Doug Elniski.

Doug's gotten himself into trouble for a couple of things recently. First up are some comments he left on his blog (since consigned to the memory hole - but then that's what internet caching is for!).

Google Cache copy of his blog

That's just the preamble - and it's sufficiently sexist to be generally offensive in a dozen dimensions, but perhaps the grand prize winner is this:

Ladies, always smile when you walk into a room, there is nothing a man wants less than a woman scowling because he thinks he is going to get shit for something and has no idea what. Men are attracted to smiles, so smile don't give me that "treated equal" stuff, if you want equal it comes in little packages at Starbucks.

I see. So in Mr. Elniski's fantasy world, there's no need for women's rights and equality? Beyond falling into the ancient and irritating trope that women are purely ornamental, Elniski's comments are simply reflective of a man whose attitudes are straight out of some antediluvian era where women where treated as nothing more than chattels.

The provincial NDP is demanding that Elniski apologize for his recently memory-holed remarks. This is good, but there's more to the picture.

It turns out that Elniski was sent by Stelmach to show his face at the Edmonton Pride parade. Okay, fair enough. Then there's what he posted to his Twitter feed during the parade.

Put in perspective with a bunch of other things to come out of various members of the current Alberta government caucus, it becomes more and more clear that anything resembling progressive in this government is long gone. The wingnut opinions are getting more voice, and in their usual fashion it is snide, condescending and disrespectful of their targets.

So, the tally so far this spring?:

Liepert - Delists gender reassignment surgery to make political points
Blackett - Undermines recognition of sexual identity in the human rights code by providing a bogus escape rights for parents whose faith is offended.
Evans - Denies reality for so many Alberta families it's not even funny by slamming everybody who does not / cannot afford to do the stay at home parenting routine.
Elniski - Shows us that he's just about as snide and sneering as the rest, the only difference is that he isn't in cabinet yet.

Who's next?

As A Taxpayer, This Stinks

From the Accountable Government file, we have the Federal Government claiming national security concerns to avoid divulging how much Stevie's Excellent Adventure in Afghanistan is costing us:

The Defence Department cited a national security exemption when it censored a request under Access to Information by the federal NDP for the military costs of Canada’s military participation in the NATO-led, United Nations-sanctioned military mission to Afghanistan.

Hmmm...why does the government getting secretive about defense spending worry me? Well, let's start with the generally dishonest approach the HarperCon$ have had towards disclosing anything, and then compound it with an approach to budgets and fiscal planning that a ten year old can poke holes in. The real question is what are they hiding?

While I'm sure that the governing party will gleefully hide behind the claim that this was done "by the bureaucracy", the governing party sets the tone for policy and action within the government.

In a recent speech, Defence Minister Peter MacKay touted the price tag of the government’s program to buy new equipment for the military, telling an audience of defence contractors and lobbyists that the government would spend $60 billion on new capital acquisitions by 2028.

It's not hard to spend $60bn on military equipment. The question was, is and should be, whether that $60bn is being spent appropriately. The fact that they are now directing the DND to be increasingly secretive should give us all pause - governments that are being secretive are like children that are too quiet - they are all too often up to something you don't want them to do.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Alberta: Where It's AOKIYAAC

(* AOKIYAC - It's All Okay If You Are A Conservative *)

So, I see that Iris Evans has issued a sort-of apology:

The comments were "certainly targeted at financial literacy and not at people who had to work out of the home and be away from the children. It wasn't. And if they inadvertently, or if the way it's been reported, offends somebody, I do apologize," Iris Evans told CBC News on Wednesday evening.

"But it was never with the intent to slam parenting as people do when they have children in alternative care or in daycare. It was an intent to point out the importance of the early years in teaching skills to children whether it's behavioural issues or financial literacy."

First off, that isn't an apology, it's an attempt at a dodge. Iris screwed up, embarrassed the government and is now trying the "I was taken out of context" excuse, along with a conditional statement of apology. Sorry, not good enough, Iris.

Second, going back to her original comments, it's pretty hard to see how her explanation does anything to substantively mitigate the underlying message of what she said:

"They've understood perfectly well that when you're raising children, you don't both go off to work and leave them for somebody else to raise," Evans said. "This is not a statement against daycare. It's a statement about their belief in the importance of raising children properly."

She also said a lack of education is ruining the upbringing of some children and leading to mental illness and crime.

"The huge failure of Canadians is not to educate the children properly, and then why should we be surprised when they have mental illnesses or commit dreadful crimes?" she said. "We've really got to focus on that properly, and it should be financial literacy as well as anything else."

I just can't parse this collection of assumptions and assertions without it turning into nothing more than yet another dog whistle to the so-called 'family values' crowd that continues to argue that women who have children shouldn't be working - and if they are, that any problems in their families are "all their fault".

Among other points in here, she is essentially inferring that mental health issues are directly related to problems within the family unit. This is arguably false on many, many fronts, and coming from somebody with her background in health care, she should know better. There are many, many causes for various mental health issues, and it is beyond irresponsible to blame parents for those problems - by inference or otherwise.

Similarly, I don't buy the claim that implied about youth crime either. There are many factors that can cause youth to turn to crime. While parental neglect can be a cause, it is beyond irresponsible to assume that it is a necessary precondition. Blanket "blame the parents" comments reflect sloppy thinking on the minister's part.

She is claiming that her comments are about "financial education", and yet it is so painfully clear from the content of what she said that financial matters are at best secondary clauses in the core message of her statements. At the core of it all is the same romanticized view of family that is often used to oppose gay marriage, abortion, sex education and whatnot. Sorry, but the era when families could routinely afford to live on one income while the other parent stayed at home is long past. At most it is a romanticized ideal now, and the romanticization has quietly omitted all of the reasons why it had to change.

Limp, half-baked apologies are not what we need from this government and its ministers. But then again, we have a minister in charge of health care who has no health care background and a finance minister who used to be a nurse - not exactly the kind of stellar qualifications that would get them senior executive posts in any kind of corporation looking after similar responsibilities!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Stlemachites: Taking Progressive out of Progressive Conservative

It's not like I am even the least bit surprised by the latest utterances from Iris Evans.

'When you're raising children, you don't both go off to work and leave them for somebody else to raise.'

Oh brother - yet another conservative whose contact with the economic and social realities that so many Alberta families face. In Calgary, even a modest house is going to cost around $300,000 or more - which makes the mortgage payments several thousand per month for a family starting out with a 5% or 10% downpayment. When average household incomes are between $40,000 and $65,000, that makes the costs of just putting a roof over the head of the family, and food on the table. Much less dealing with the endless costs of educating and raising children.

The 'user fees' that are levied over and above the taxes used to fund our schools are not cheap. Few, if any families, can afford to not have both parents working. One family I know and admire is far from the luxurious "dual income lifestyle" that Ms. Evans' comments suggest. It is a struggle for them from month to month, and the parents sacrifice hugely both career and income in order to raise their family. Yet, there is no way that they could raise their family if it wasn't for the economic contributions of both parents.

Evans' commentary is beyond ignorant of the realities that today's families face in Alberta, but also reflects other aspects of the growing presence of a TheoCon dominance in the Stelmach government.

Whether one looks at the content of Bill 44, which essentially creates a false hierarchy of rights that places religious belief ahead of other fundamental rights. Instead of fostering equality, it will in fact only serve to produce further bigotry and ignorance.

The cancelling of funding for GRS also reflects a similar, ignorance guided prejudice that lurks within the Stelmach cabinet.

While many Albertans fondly remember the era of Peter Lougheed (I am one of those), and respect the sense of balance and wisdom that his governance brought to Alberta - a balance that made Alberta truly one of the great places in Canada to live. Under Lougheed, the Progressive Conservative party was truly both progressive and conservative. Today, the party has lost any sense of understanding of the meaning of progressive. Under Stelmach, they are becoming a party that is not just conservative, but in fact truly regressive.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Not Sure What To Make Of This

An omlette perhaps?

Okay, Ignatieff (sorry, I just can't bring myself to use "Iggy" - it just doesn't stick in my head) has handed Harper a list of conditions to which Harper must respond in order to avoid triggering an election.

The points themselves are not news, the Liberals have been on these subjects for a long time:

* EI reform.

* How much infrastructure funding is being spent, not just announced.

* What is the plan to dig us out of the deficit?

* What is the plan to deal with the isotope crisis?

In terms of policy, frankly any party right now is hooped. I don't care what their strip is, the demands on them are so far out of the realm of normal that I do not believe any of them have a hope of digging things out from within their current ideological structures. It will require a pragmatic not wedded to any one solution when we go to dig the economy out of the mess we're in, much less the problems we have to deal with in four or five years when the chickens really come home to roost.

What Ignatieff has really done here is hand back to Harper the gun, and told Harper to shoot himself in the head.

Harper, being who he is, will try to find a way to agree to "just enough" to make it difficult for Ignatieff to trigger an election without actually answering the hard questions. This is actually one of the common problems with multiple choice exams - if the student figures out what the game, is, it is no longer difficult to bet the teacher at their own game.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

But...But...Teh Librulz!

It never gets old for the Harperettes it seems. Every problem they encounter as a government is automatically the fault of the Liberals.

The Conservatives also went on the attack Wednesday, charging that the Liberals knew the Chalk River reactor was near-death while they were in power.

Of course, let's just ignore that the Con$ have been at the helm since 2006 now, and have had plenty of time to actually remedy the situation.

Instead of remedying things by actually showing some kind of long range planning, Harper takes the following action:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that Canada will be getting out of the medical isotope business.

Canada produces at least one-third of the world's medical isotopes, which are used in cancer and heart scans, at the aging Chalk River facility.

Brilliant thinking there, Steve. Take Canada from a leading role in the world further into the dark ages. Medical applications of radioactive isotopes are among the few peaceful uses of nuclear technology - and one of the most beneficial in the world.

While the Con$ criticize the Liberals over AECL funding and the MAPLE reactor program, it's equally important to recognize that the MAPLE program has its roots in the late 1980s - when AECL had acknowledged a need to replace the NRU reactor. Remember who was in power then?

However, the point isn't about the political stripe of who was in power. The fact is that there was a plan in progress to replace the NRU reactor. Someone was looking forward.

In Harper, we have a Prime Minister who is driving forward while staring in the rear view mirror.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Here's Why Raitt Should Resign

Okay, compared to some in Harper's caucus, Ms. Raitt seems quite moderate in her views. That's no doubt why the PMO is scrambling so hard to back her up right now - with an election possible at any moment - especially if Harper does something to upset the Bloc or NDP, her presence is needed to tone down the outright insanity and viciousness of some of Harper's key henchmen.

It's a simple enough rationalization of Harper's motives in defending her.

However, it's not about what she said but rather the fact that she's sloppy about things that we should be taking issue with.

Canada's cabinet ministers are privy to some of the most important information in the country. Like Mr. Bernier, Ms. Raitt has shown us that she doesn't appreciate the importance of that information, or the consequences for Canada if certain documents and conversations turn up in the public sphere where they can be misused.

The fact that the discipline in her office was lax enough that an aide was able to leave confidential documents at a media site, and that same aide never recovered a tape recorder and recording from another media site is a sad condemnation not just of her aide, but also of Ms. Raitt's judgment. Clearly, she has not thought enough of the issues of governance to understand that when you are in a ministerial post - even a junior portfolio, you run a tight ship. Otherwise, sooner or later, something will slip up and the wrong information will be leaked.

Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt called the medical isotopes crisis a "sexy" problem and wanted credit for fixing it, according to an audio recording made public by the Halifax Chronicle-Herald after a court battle to suppress its contents.

She also expressed doubts about the abilities of her colleague, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, to handle "hot" issues, the paper reported.

Her comments themselves merely confirm what most would suspect of Harper's cabinet - namely that they are ego-centric, and looking to twist anything they can lay their hands on into their personal gain.

I won't say I'm surprised by this. However, when combined with such obviously sloppy management within her department, Ms. Raitt is hardly someone that has the skills and judgment necessary to run a ministry within Canada's government.

Monday, June 08, 2009

It's Not Just What You Say ...

You know, the whole "pro-life" movement is showing its dark side in the wake of Dr. Tiller's murder. Today's gem of the week comes to us from Lifesite: Fr. Pavone Emphasizes Biggest Danger From the Killing of George Tiller

Says Father Pavone:

The biggest danger is the enemy within. It is the fear and self-doubt to which we can all too easily fall victim. It is the voice inside that makes us feel guilty for saying “Abortion is murder” or “Abortion is a holocaust” or “The babies who are being killed need to be defended now.”

Why yes, there should be some serious introspection taking place right about now among the fetus fetishist movement. It's not just the words - it's also about how that word is delivered.

The issue is also the blood-soaked rhetoric and imagery that the fetus fetishists employ. These images are designed and intended to shock people. To the more rational among society, these images are propaganda and have little impact.

But, as has been shown repeatedly over the years, there are those in the anti-abortion movement whose contact with reality is sufficiently weak that these images and the blood-soaked rhetoric can drive them to violence - sometimes, it seems, to a killing rage.

The claim has been made that the man who kill Dr. Tiller was "mentally unstable", and a "loner". Perhaps he was all of the above. But he was also a consumer of the propaganda that the fetus fetishists have been producing for so many years.

The monsters who have carried out these assassinations may not be "sanctioned" by the screaming banshees of the anti-choice movement, but that doesn't mean that they are not influenced and driven by the propaganda of this movement.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, responded to criticisms that the civil rights activists were fomenting violence. No, he said. That’s like saying the person who owns money is fomenting the activity of the robber. To expose the violence that is already occurring, to call it what it is, and to sound the alarm that it has to stop, is not to foment violence.

The pro-life movement is a movement of non-violence.

I won't even touch the slimy attempt to co-opt Martin Luther King's work in the name of the anti-choice movement. It's more important to recognize the lack of understanding of the responsibility that the propagandists carry.

We should also recognize the repeated belligerence of the fetus fetishists - whether it is the juvenile behaviour of the University of Calgary's "Campus Pro Life" group, or the shrieking loons one sees accosting patients, staff and family outside of abortion clinics, this is not a group that conducts itself civilly. This is a movement that has lost its perspective, and needs to take a step back to re-examine its tactics, strategy and goals.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Whose Brainchild Was This?

From the Globe and Mail:

MPs Loosen Rules For Cash and Benefits

Members of Parliament have exempted the cash and benefits they receive from political parties and riding associations from restrictions and public disclosure under the House of Commons conflict-of-interest code.

The move was unanimously approved without a vote in the Commons after a series of committee hearings conducted entirely in secret.

Let me see if I get this straight - our federal MPs have just made it easier to take benefits and perks from their parties without being accountable to the public for them?

This smells worse than last weeks fish on the counter. Especially in light of the crisis in Britain, brought on by dishonest abuse of expense accounts.

The fact that it hasn't even been voted on in the House of Commons makes it look even worse. In my view, this smells like something the oh-so-accountable HarperCon$ would have cooked up - especially after their little "In-and-Out" advertising scam in 2006 - it's also completely in character with the kind of closed-door governance that we've seen in Alberta since Klein took over.

I don't care how honorable the intentions here might be. The public is looking for their leaders to be more accountable, not less. Broadening exemptions for reporting of benefits is not helping matters. I don't trust our politicians that far to begin with, and anything that makes them beholden to someone other than the voters worries me.

The change also could erode the independence of backbench MPs and make them more beholden to party bosses instead of voters, adds Democracy Watch chief Duff Conacher.

Not that backbench MPs are particularly independent these days, but having things "hidden" that could be revealed publicly by a conveniently placed media leak makes it a lot easier to railroad bad legislation through.

Lifting The Barrel ...

Just when you think you've found the bottom depths that humanity can descend to, someone lifts up the barrel and shows you what's squirming underneath.

Of particular note is a link to a conversation from a Quiverfull movement message board talking about Dr. Tiller's assassination last Sunday. (Do not follow that link unless you have a strong stomach for the kind of bilious rhetoric that gave Roeder the excuse he needed to justify killing someone)

However, they underscore my point for me from back here - namely that there is a collective responsibility from the ranks of the "pro-life" movement for Dr. Tiller's murder.

The flaccid "I condemn but ..." statements from the more publicly visible parts of the pro-life movement, and the utterly insane commentary on that message board serve as an indictment of a movement that has inspired others to kill in its name previously.

It is past time for the "Pro Life" movement to look at its own bloody rhetoric and imagery, and take stock of the implications of how they have argued their "righteous beliefs". If that is how they intend to continue to conduct themselves (and I include Calgary's own "Campus Pro Life" crowd in this), then it is high time that society hold these groups collectively responsible for inciting violence.

There is a fine line between civil disobedience and provoking murderous violence, and the collective "pro life" lobby has arguably stepped over it.

H/T JJ @ Unrepentant Old Hippie
Sabina at Hollow Hill

Friday, June 05, 2009

Canada's Conservative Government - Missing The Point

I don't think it's any secret that I'm no fan of the current conservative government in Canada. Their handling of several foreign affairs files makes my point for me - this is a government that has placed ideology and assumed guilt ahead of due process and law.

Whether we are talking about Mr. Abdelrazik, Mr. Celil or Omar Khadr, the Conservatives have failed to perform their duty to Canadians who are being detained abroad.

When they file papers like this in court, I think it tells you a great deal about this government's attitude to Canadians who dare travel outside our borders:

Canada's legal duty to protect its citizens, even children, ends at the border and there is nothing in domestic or international law that obliges the government to seek Omar Khadr's repatriation, say federal arguments filed in court.

We don't need to go into the game playing that Mr. Abdelrazik has been subjected to:

In a toughly worded 107-page ruling, Judge Zinn pilloried the government's claims of trying to help Mr. Abdelrazik, concluded that Canadian anti-terrorism agents were implicated in his imprisonment in Sudan, denouncedthe UN terrorist blacklist as an affront to justice and basic human rights and slammed Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon for high-handedly ignoring due process of law.

When comments like the following are made in Parliament, I think it tells us something about the toxicity of the current government:

Said Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, under fire in the House of Commons Thursday by NDP MP Libby Davies: “Inasmuch as I have never been a member of the NDP, we will actually read the decision before taking a decision on it.”

In short, Minister Nicholson is saying that the government is going to drag its heels on this, and find every way it can to subvert, dodge and avoid carrying out its duty to a Canadian citizen. I don't think I have ever experienced such a small-minded, mean-spirited government...except possibly the PC government in Alberta in recent months.

I have criticized many of their legal reforms as violating all sorts of key principles of justice, and their conduct towards Canadians held abroad is so appalling as to simply leave me wondering if they even understand what law and due process are actually intended to serve.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Twofer: One Gets It ... The Other ...

Not so much.

Over at the "Mere Comments" blog, we find two responses from different authors to the murder of Dr. Tiller on the weekend.

The first one gets it:

Whoever murdered George Tiller has done a gravely wicked thing. The evil of this action is in no way diminished by the blood George Tiller had on his own hands.

The second writer, on the other hand is not so successful in achieving understanding:

Too much blood, too many victims. Dr. Tiller's many, many victims. His own life ended in cold blood. Roe opened this door and he went through it.

In this one sentence, he says exactly what has been said elsewhere - and just as wrongly - by the fetus fetishist crowd. His focus on Dr. Tiller's professional work misses the point - Dr. Tiller was murdered by a man because of that man's judgment of Dr. Tiller. In doing so, the author has tacitly approved the murderer's actions.

But, it gets better. He writes:

There will always be bad men (who of us is without sin?) but laws can make us worse, and abandoning the respect for human life in the womb cannot but make a nation worse. The children of Roe are rising up. Lord, have mercy.

So, once again, we have more excuse making going on. It wasn't the shooter's fault at all, it seems - no, it was a "bad law". Well wait a minute here. That line of reasoning is no difference than the "panic" defenses that are routinely dragged out when someone is accused of murdering GLBT people - it essentially blames the victim in a sorry attempt to justify the unjustifiable.

Let's be very clear about two things here. Dr. Tiller was murdered - in cold blood on Sunday. He was murdered, it seems, for carrying out abortions - something which the article's author is willing to excuse by saying that a 'bad law drove the man to it'. Well, no, it didn't. The constant howling from the fetus fetishists calling abortion murder and showing lots of lovely blood-soaked images gave him the sense of horror he needed to justify what he did. Those images come from all over the anti-abortion lobby, not just the "Army of God" types.

The Cass Review and the WPATH SOC

The Cass Review draws some astonishing conclusions about the WPATH Standards of Care (SOC) . More or less, the basic upshot of the Cass Rev...