Friday, July 30, 2010

As The Sun Paper Chain Becomes The Ministry of Propaganda

Today's lead headline on the Calgary Sun reads Canadian jets repel Russian bombers, and provides us with an overly dramatic scenario of Canada's armed forces "repelling" Russian aircraft from the Arctic.

Except, that these are routine patrols which the Russians have conducted for years - as The Galloping Beaver points out, the Russians also notify the neighboring countries of their activity.

In other words, the ministry of propaganda is out once again to sow the seeds of fear in the population - and they'll do anything they can to fabricate an adversary. Since Canadians are tiring of the Afghanistan mess, the HarperCon$ have decided to try and resurrect the old soviet menace meme. (I'll give you idiots a hint - the soviet menace isn't exactly a viable threat these days either!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Slide Into Despotism

It's no big secret that the HarperCon$ have two sets of standards - the ones they insist that everyone else be held to and the standards that they hold themselves to. What most Canadians don't realize is how perilously close to the reality of various despotic regimes things are getting.

In the last couple of weeks, a few things have happened that deserve to be brought to our collective attention.

First up is Vic Toews gettin' all tough on prisoner transfers from the US.

For more than 30 years a matter of routine procedure, the Conservatives decided last year to get tough on Canadians who want to serve their sentences for crimes committed in other countries on home soil.

While all applications for transfers were rubber stamped in 2004 to 2005, the Harper government approved little more than a quarter of such applications between January and September 2009.

Why? Because the Conservatives are all about "gettin' tough on crime" ... or so says Vic Toews:

“Canadians want to know their communities are safe from serious violent criminals,” Toews said in an e-mail response to inquiries about the diplomatic note from the U.S. and the government’s stance on offender transfers.

Remember, we aren't talking about repatriating prisoners to turn them loose; just repatriating them to serve their sentences in Canada. Hardly something that means that they constitute any kind of threat.

But it's Mr. Toews handling of these cases that should cause a lot more distress:

Under the current legislation, the public safety minister can only reject applications on the basis of national security, namely terrorism-related threats, as well as a person’s affiliation with organized crime.

But lawyers argue the Conservatives have been misinterpreting the law. They have successfully appealed a number of decisions and B.C. lawyer John Conroy is even considering a class-action mandamus — a judicial writ — that would compel Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to make decisions on cases that have sat on his desk for as long as two years.

He's letting these cases sit and rot for two years? Somehow, I doubt that there are very many of these cases to begin with, much less enough to justify letting them sit around collecting dust for years at a stretch. Mr. Toews is just being malicious.

Second up, we leave Vic Toews and his "gettin' tough on criminals" nonsense to find Jason Kenney playing games with immigration law in this country:

According to Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, those applying under the Federal Skilled Worker or Canada Experience classes are able to choose to either take an International English Language Testing System or Test d'evaluation de Francais, or provide sufficient documentation demonstrating language proficiency.

But on June 26, Kenney gave "ministerial instructions" that only applications filed with a completed standardized language proficiency test will be processed, effective immediately.

"Ministerial Instructions" is nothing more than the government changing the rules without modifying legislation. We should be very concerned about this, for it is hardly the first time that the HarperCon$ have taken refuge behind closed doors instead of implementing their agenda openly.

David Matas, a spokesman for the bar association and a Winnipeg-based immigration lawyer, said this arbitrary change violates the rights of applicants, many from native English- or French-speaking countries who can easily prove their language skills without taking a test.

"This was done in an underhanded sort of way, because the law which says you don't need language testing remains. The government hasn't repealed the law, they've just given instructions not to process applications which don't have testing results," said Matas. "To me, that is an abusive way of going, for the government to get what they want without going through the proper procedures."

What else is this government going to do to undermine legitimate rights and process? How much more power are these clowns going to take to themselves, and take out of the legitimate legislative process?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cogito Ergo Spud: What Happens When The Unreasoning Attempt Reason

Over at No Apologies, regular writer Tom Bartlett vomits up this attempt to dismiss the point, purpose and validity of Gay Pride events.

I don't think I've read too many pieces of work that are less rooted in logic and coherent reason recently (the insane ravings of Feminazi blog keeper "Miss Andrea" aside).

At its black heart, the entire diversity movement has been about contempt toward the noble traditions of faith that have provided so much good reinforcement against the secular humanism and violent belief systems that undermine society. I do, however, have some rhetorical questions related to the homosexual P.R.I.D.E. parade fiasco.

First of all "Pride" is a word - just like you find it in the dictionary. It is not an acronym, nor is it some kind of organization out of bad 1960's era spy fiction.

Second, there is nothing "noble" about blatant bigotry - whether it is rooted in faith or malice is immaterial.

Let's go on and look at his "rhetorical questions", shall we?

1) Why has it been considered perfectly acceptable for the P.R.I.D.E. parade to engage in blatant shows of contempt toward Christians? Incidents such as the obscene re-enactment of the Last Supper were met with yawning indifference by the media? Perhaps Jews should at least take solace in knowing that denigration of their faith occasioned some debate.

Since I haven't personally witnessed the "obscene" re-enactment of "The Last Supper", I can only imagine that it was apt as not to have its roots in much the same kind of parody that inspires so much of the Drag performance community. There's no doubt a certain amount of thumbing one's nose at those who have been so quick to condemn in there as well.

As for yawning indifference by the media, most of the world has gotten past being outraged by Pride parades - why would this be a big deal either?

2) What does it say about homosexual activists that contempt for these faith traditions is so intertwined with their events? Doesn’t this belie the notion that issues like same-sex marriage are about trying to blend into, rather than undermine, our culture?

I hate to point this out, but in today's world it would be difficult indeed to make a compelling argument that any one faith is "preeminent" over all others in society. Blending into society doesn't mean that anyone has to adopt a particular faith tradition.

3) How does a group that “prides” itself on diversity try to exclude a group with its own ideology? What does this reveal about the hypocrisy and premises of the “diversity” movement when it merely draws its own lines on what attitudes, beliefs and lifestyle choices are unhealthy or unacceptable? Don’t such incidents mean that we must uproot the core suppositions behind secularism and start from scratch in determining whether the homosexual (transgender, bisexual, etc.) lifestyles have equal merit and are thus deserving of special protections?

Huh? Where's the exclusion here? Do I really need to point out that there have been religious groups who participate actively in the GLBT community, churches that openly accept GLBT members without persecuting them.

What Mr. Bartlett is misunderstanding ... and misrepresenting ... is the idea that diversity means treating all with respect and dignity. Respect and dignity is a two way street - generally one reaps as one sows, and the hardline anti-gay crowd has hardly treated GLBT people with respect or dignity. One can hardly be surprised that the GLBT community works with those who treat them well and feels it appropriate to 'return the favor' to those whose contempt for them has been so blatant.

4) Given the fact that homosexuals make up only 1 to 2% of the population, why do they have so many hateful activist subgroups among their numbers?

Such as?

Sorry pal, if you want to claim hatefulness and so on, I'd suggest you provide real and concrete examples ... along with specific organizations that are allegedly behind these acts. Simply asserting hatefulness is not the same as demonstrating a reality behind it.

5) Why are P.R.I.D.E. parades mired in such controversies that don’t tend to plague other groups? For instance, how is it that N.A.M.B.L.A. (the North American Man-Boy Love Association) has enjoyed such close ties with P.R.I.D.E. events? Why did P.R.I.D.E. only distance themselves from N.A.M.B.L.A. after public scrutiny and outrage? Why have homosexual activists fought so hard to lower the age of sexual consent if there is no link between these two groups? What, for that matter, is the secular argument against sex between adults and children?

Ummm...really? I haven't seen or heard of NAMBLA being anywhere near a Pride parade for years. This is yet another example of making false connections - the inference being that GLBT people are really just pedophiles.

I can't speak for the situation in the US, but in Canada there's been an interesting double standard in our sex crimes laws. If someone is female, they can consent to sexual activity at the age of 14; however for someone who is male the laws make it a crime (statutory rape) if the individual engages in anal sex under the age of 16. Why the difference? That has been at the crux of that lobby for years. It's disappointing that Mr. Bartlett hasn't bothered to do any research on the matter.

As for any link between NAMBLA and the mainstream GLBT community, that's a huge reach.

The indoctrination and recruitment programs that government is complicit in imposing on society keep many homosexuals from getting the compassionate help that would help them deal with underlying hurts, break free from their lifestyle, and be fully informed of the risks inherent in it. Social acceptability won’t eradicate these very real issues.

"Compassionate help"? What does that mean? Reparative therapy perhaps? We all know how well that works. As for "risks", the risks of ignorance are far, far greater - and it's no secret that Bartlett's argument is heading towards returning to an era of blatant oppression of GLBT people - something which makes it even harder to communicate with those groups.

I know many will insist that pro-lifers have such radical elements, but that argument is easily refuted. Those who have committed acts of violence, such as killing abortionists and bombing clinics, are neither on the fringe nor at the centre of any pro-life organisation. Any such rogue individuals and groups have never had a part with us and are roundly and consistently denounced. In fact, pro-life gatherings are peaceful; where there has been violence, it has almost always been directed at pro-life protestors. That is because pro-lifers don’t promote nebulous concepts of “diversity,” but make an unapologetic stand in defence of vulnerable human life.

At its core, Christ-centred advocacy is borne of compassion, while homosexual activism is mired in hatred.

Therein lies the double standard of the entire argument. On one hand, Mr. Bartlett trashes GLBT people based on the acts of a few - arguably some of whom would be considered extremes even within the community and then tries to deflect the actions of extremists like Dennis Roeder by claiming that they are mere "aberrations". Sorry, Mr. Bartlett, but if you insist that the GLBT community own the acts of its extremes, then it is only fitting that the lobbies you support take ownership of the actions of their own extremists.

To conclude that his own brand of advocacy is rooted in "compassion" when it has so often turned not just to hate-mongering, lies and deceit but to outright murder is a stretch, especially in contrast to his claim that GLBT activism is filled with hatred (which he only claims, but does not substantiate).

There's a little hint here - just as people's sexual and romantic lives are personal business, so is an individual's religion. That means that I don't have the right to limit someone's religious beliefs, but nor do they have the right to impose their beliefs upon others.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Get Tough On Crime": Expensive and Unnecessary

With Canada's crime rate continuing to drop - even without Harper's "get tough on crime" laws in force - we might want to consider just how necessary that very political agenda is.

While the statistics show a long-term decline in crime rates, the federal government continues to stress the threat.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews own web site says: ``Unfortunately, our safe streets and healthy communities are increasingly under threat of gun, gang and drug violence.''

So...according to the HarperCon$, we need to spend more money on prisons, lengthier incarcerations and so on.

If we put more people in prison for longer, the natural consequence of that will be a need for more prisons. The United States has already gone down this particular road - and the US has the largest documented population of prisoners - at what cost?

Canada's taxpayers are going to foot the bill for Harper's fear-laden agenda - monies which arguably would be better used elsewhere - education, health care and the like come to mind as a starting point.

Instead of paying attention to the numbers, we find Harper's minions running about trying to make us all afraid, so that they can write more bad legislation.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Papal Misogyny is Alive And Well

Who is it that comes up with these things? In the same breath that the Catholic Church made the first steps to rehabilitate itself in light of the Pedophile Priest scandal, they turn around and do this.

The Vatican's reclassification of attempted female ordination was part of a revision of a 2001 decree, the main purpose of which was to tighten up the rules on sex abuse by priests in reaction to the scandals that have been sweeping through the church since January. The most important change is to extend the period during which a clergyman can be tried by a church court from 10 to 20 years, dating from the 18th birthday of his victim.

The new rules introduce speedier procedures for dealing with the most urgent and serious cases; allowed for lay people to form part of church tribunals that judge such cases; put abuse of the mentally disabled on a level with that of minors, and introduced a new crime of paedophile pornography.

Really? The idea that ordaining women is a "crime" on the same level as child molesting priests commit tells us a great deal about how far the Catholic Church has stepped backwards in time.

It seems to me that the current pope is doing a great job of showing the world just how desperately broken the Church is today. There's no way you will ever convince me that someone who has attempted to ordain a female priest has done something as damaging to the lives of others as a priest who molests young children. That the Church is so clueless as to announce these changes along with changes that are related to the pedophile priest situation is a sad, sad testament indeed.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Generalize Much, Feminists?

This isn't really directed at all feminists, just the arrogant, obnoxious varieties like "Miss Andrea", keeper of the Feminazi blog. (I've written about her before here)

Her most recent anti-trans tirade is here.

It isn’t their existence which is in doubt, but strategy-wise, it’s beneficial for them to continually refocus attention away from their various inconsistencies and towards some sleight of hand poppycock while overly dramatizing their feelings. They embody, pardon moi’s crudeness, the worst stereotypes ever of hysterical effeminate dandies. They are literally acting out a caricature of something which exists only in their imaginations, because not even effeminate dandies (if any actually existed) are that fucking hysterical.

Generalize much, "Miss Andrea"? Or is it merely that your argument can't stand up to actual scrutiny without using such broad brush to describe others?

I'd love to know what these alleged "inconsistencies" you claim transfolk in general are responsible for. If I had to make a wild guess, I'd suspect that you were trying to put together a convenient straw-man to knock down.

More seriously, if you try to treat the broad spectrum of people that are transgender as if they represent some coherent unified whole, you are in for a world of difficulty. At best the broad term transgender can be considered descriptive, and does not describe a singular, coherent group that share the same goals. For example, attributing to transsexuals behaviours seen among drag queens is simply going to show that you have little or no idea of understanding of the people you are writing about.

They claim that any objections to transgenderism or any nagging requests that they clarify their own inconsistencies, are merely impertinent impositions on their valuable time and energy, and of course, an insult to their existence.

Ummm...not really. If you engage with people intelligently, you might actually get intelligent discourse. Unfortunately, far too many "radical feminists" start off with an argument position that attempts to erase the experiences that transsexuals very consistently express. (and, "Miss Andrea", you have a track record of attempting precisely that kind of erasure before - and I've shredded your argument in some detail)

Validating our humanity, and especially validating our neutrality – by that I mean constantly reaffirming that our status is non-whore and non-madonna — are two tasks which occupies the vast majority of a feminist’s time and energy. Validating our entitlement to civil rights, usually comes dead last.

Erm ... so? and this gives you some blanket right to trash on transpeople in general how? I hate to point this out, but the "victimhood" status that you like to whine and whinge about transpeople using is precisely what you are adopting here as a feminist ... and by some weird leap of logic, you seem to think that cross-gender identity is inherently misogynistic.

I'd like to think you are capable of actual informed discourse, but until you are prepared to actually deal with the groups that are loosely understood to be 'transgender' as individual populations, I doubt that any reasoned discourse is likely.

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...