Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Who Will Replace Duckett

I won't miss Duckett as head of Alberta Health - the man guided AH down a path where it has gradually crumbled while he has built up the edifice of the "superboard" under Liepert's direction.

There's not much to miss about a man who has overseen the degeneration of Alberta Health into needing critical care.

Unfortunately, I don't think Stelmach and company are going to do anything much about it. Duckett was the obvious fall-guy in recent weeks, and the 'cookie incident' is little more than the pretext to terminate him.

With Dr. Sherman evicted from the PC caucus for blowing the whistle on the incompetent management in AH, and by inference in the Minister's office and the Premier's offices as well, Duckett ousted, I'm sure that "Steady Eddie" thinks he's got things settled down and can go back to dismantling Alberta Health in peace.

Albertans should take note that the instigators of the fiasco we face today haven't paid a price for what they've done. Liepert is still in cabinet, and in spite of cuts made a couple of years ago to supposedly focus resources in key areas, Alberta Health is still in a pretty nasty crisis state, with emergency room waiting times getting longer and longer; and it gets harder and harder to find a family doctor in Alberta.

As much as Duckett's departure won't be met with many tears, I don't expect to see any real improvements in the near future - not until we have a party in power that understands the value of investing in public health.

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Called Shooting The Messenger

Not smart, Mr. Stelmach. This morning's lecture telling Albertans to "settle down" on the health care issues, followed by what you did to the messenger in your own caucus.

Dr. Sherman is not the problem - the problem exists right smack in the midst of the government you are responsible for, Mr. Stelmach.

Things weren't in great shape before Mr. Liepert became the minister responsible, but they have taken a distinct turn for the worse since he created his "superboard". Although Gene Zwozdesky is more moderate than Liepert, the fact is that things have continued to deteriorate.

In firing Dr. Sherman, you have shown Albertans that you are more willing to shoot the messenger than to take actual actions to resolve problems. Chastising Albertans for their very real concerns about access to health care tells us you are very, very out of touch with the lives of real Albertans.

Mr. Stelmach, you have neither the vision or wisdom of Peter Lougheed, nor do you possess the baffling charisma of Ralph Klein. How many votes have you just alienated?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tim Bloedow On Transgender Day of Remembrance ... Wrong Yet Again

Over at "No Apologies", we find the erstwhile Tim Bloedow spouting off about the wrongness of yesterday's Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Given where the article was posted and the author, I didn't exactly have high expectations for either accuracy or reason - Bloedow still managed to come in below the already low bar of my expectations.

Maybe some of these adults are predatory beasts who want to groom and desensitize youth and children to be their victims. Perhaps they are simply fools. But what a tragedy that on any day, let alone Universal Children’s Day, another group of sex activists wants to celebrate their confusion and a perversion that many say is a threat to children.

I'm sure that the choice of November 20 was a deliberate snub to Children's Day, Tim. More likely, it happened to intersect with someone's calendar, and it's not like International Children's Day is exactly a top draw in everybody's consciousness - frankly this writer wasn't even aware of its existence.

As for confusion and perversion, we'll come back to giving those assumptions the walloping they so richly deserve in a few words...

In Canada this “transgender” movement is now being championed by a piece of federal legislation, Bill C-389, that would put protections against discrimination for “transgendered” people into the Canadian Human Rights Act and into the Criminal Code. Yet another example of normalizing, protecting and affirming something destructive and repugnant.

Really, Mr. Bloedow? Would you care to enumerate precisely how being transgender is destructive? Can you cite peer reviewed studies that actually substantiate those kinds of claims? Somehow I doubt it.

As for being 'repugnant', well, that's your own value judgment Tim - your welcome to it - it's all yours. But, being trans is a little like sex - if you don't like it, you don't have to partake.

Some men who feel that they are women want to be able to use female bathrooms, but women walk in and see a man in their bathroom and file complaints or call the police. They don’t know if the guy is a sick pervert who wants to rape them, or a harmless “transsexual.” Of much greater concern, then, is the prospect of people’s little girls facing such an experience in a public bathroom.

Let's get one thing clear, Mr. Bloedow, Bill C-389 doesn't change the rules where bathrooms are concerned. Transgender people have been using the bathroom appropriate to their presented gender for decades now. Guess what? Nothing bad has happened to others in the same bathroom - in fact I don't think there is a single documented case of a transwoman playing predator in the bathrooms anywhere. As I pointed out back here, the kinds of predators you are really worried about aren't transgender, nor do they typically dress up as their prey.

Ironically, most transwomen are quite unremarkable - and don't attract attention at all. Unfortunately, because of ignorant fearmongers like yourself Mr. Bloedow, it is those who are in the middle of their transitions who face the greatest dangers when using bathrooms outside of their residences.

Homosexualists and other sex activists play down these concerns despite the heavy preoccupation with sex that they demonstrate and the lack of restraint exemplified in the sex activist sub-culture with filthy websites and demands that prostitution be decriminalized and that public sex be tolerated. Who is going to trust the spokesmen for this Movement when it comes to the security of our children in public bathrooms?

Wow, let's try stringing together a raft of unrelated topics, shall we? First of all, Mr. Bloedow, if you want to play that little game, let's consider another facet of the world. Why should anyone take the guidance of so-called "Christian" religious leaders seriously on matters of sexual morality when churches have acted to conceal and protect the sexual predators who are in the clergy?

More seriously, you've got more lurid imaginings in your mind about other people's sexuality than the people you are condemning often do. Get your mind out of the gutter and out of other people's sex lives. Nobody's bothering you about yours - much less what they imagine of your sex life.

As indicated in my initial comments above, those who think they are “transgendered” are also tragic victims. They are not transgendered. They are confused. They are lost. They need the guidance and help from real men and real women. They need protection, including by the law, from those who would sexually, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually abuse them by affirming them in their confusion.

I don't normally use foul language on this blog, but I'm going to make an exception.

Fuck You, Tim Bloedow. You arrogant little ass.

That statement, all by itself, makes it abundantly clear that you are among the most ill-informed, ignorant human beings on the planet when it comes to the issues you are writing about. How dare you dismiss the lived experiences of so many human beings!

Contrary to your arrogant pronouncements, transsexuals are NOT in the least bit confused (nor are other transgender people). To put this in perspective, I refer you to the following words in the DSM IV:

Insistence by a person with Gender Identity Disorder that he or she is of the other sex is not considered a delusion, because what is invariably meant is that the person feels like a member of the other sex rather than truly believes that he or she is a member of the other sex.

Is that not clear enough for you? Or are you incapable of understanding that other people who have actually studied and tried to comprehend transgender/transsexual people have reasoned far beyond your pithy little sound-bite claims?

If there is anything abusive in this world, Mr. Bloedow, it is the constant need for transpeople to call your BS out for what the ill-informed, bigotry that it truly is. You might very well represent the best possible reason for Bill C-389 yet - aside from the physical abuse and murders that transsexuals face in their daily lives that inspired TDOR in the first place.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dear Pope Ratzinger: WTF?

How utterly, ideologically blinded can you possibly be?

Pope Benedict XVI says in a new book that condoms can be justified for male prostitutes seeking to stop HIV, a stunning turnaround for a church that has long opposed condoms and a pontiff who has blamed them for making the AIDS crisis worse.

Okay ... that's sort of a step in the right direction - at least the Pope seems to be acknowledging that condoms do have an effect on the spread of HIV. However, to limit the use of condoms to male prostitutes is stunningly short sighted.

Condoms have the same effect for women, but it would seem that under this Pope, women are not considered important enough to protect from STIs. Does this man think that women do not get infected by STIs? Or is it just that fertilizing an egg is so much more important than the risk of a life-shortening disease like HIV/AIDS? Has he not clued in yet that the vast majority of Catholics in developed countries ignore him entirely on the subject of birth control? Not to mention the moral vacuity of his insistence that women must always take the risk of not just pregnancy but also of STIs? (I would argue that it is an immoral act to demand that someone take such risks without their full knowledge and consent regarding the consequences)

The double standards and misogyny that are so clearly embedded in this Pope's theology are disappointing to see in this day and age.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today is the 12th Transgender Day of Remembrance.

TDOR exists to remind us of the violence that so many transgender people face in their day to day lives - the price paid for being true to themselves in a world where being transgender is seen as threatening.

The TDOR 2010 update has revealed a total of 179 cases of reported killings of trans people from November 20th 2009 to November 19h 2010. The update shows reports of murdered or killed trans people in 19 countries in the last year, with the majority from Brazil (91), Guatemala (15), Mexico (14, and the USA (14).

Cases have been reported from all six major World regions: Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, North America, and Oceania. As in the previous years, most reported cases were from Central and South America, which account for 80 % of the globally reported homicides of trans people since January 2008. In 2008, 97 killings were reported in 13 Central and South American countries, in 2009, 136 killings in 15 Central and South American Countries, and in 2010 so far 122 killings in 12 Central and South American Countries. The starkest increase in reports is also to be found in Central and South America, e.g. in Brazil (2008: 59, 2009: 68, January-November 2010: 74), Guatemala (2008: 1, 2009: 13, January-November 2010: 14) and Mexico (2008: 4, 2009: 11, January-November 2010: 12). The data also show an alarming increase in reported murders in Turkey in the previous years (2008: 2, 2009: 5, January to November 2010: 6).

... and people wonder why Bill C-389 is important?

Is violence and murder not reason enough?

Friday, November 19, 2010

When Will He Learn?

So ... it seems that Ezra Levant has lost yet another libel suit against him.

You would think that after so many libel suits where he has either lost outright, or settled out of court (e.g. the Ghitter case), he might have learned to express himself in more reasonable terms. Some people never do learn, though.

H/T: BigCityLib

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Baying At The Moon

I see that Chuck McVety has opened his yap on Bill C-389.

“As adults, we can handle these things,” Mr. McVety said. “But my daughter turned 13 on Saturday, and I don’t want some guy showering beside her at the local swimming pool.”

The worst-case scenario, he said, would be if someone like convicted killer Russell Williams, who photographed himself dressing in women’s lingerie, could demand protection under human-rights legislation after being found in a gender-restricted space. “That would absolutely horrific.”

That was entirely predictable from the alarmists like McVety. First of all, I don't know of a single case where a violent rapist like Williams has been transgender - if someone would care to show me evidence of such a case, I'd like to see it. Williams was a violent murderer whose behaviour is closer to that of a rapist than it is to any transsexuals I have ever known.

As Bill Siksay points out, McVety is being a twit:

“I think this is Mr. McVety being his alarmist best, once again, when it comes to an issue of human rights, equal rights, for minorities in Canada,” he said. “There is nothing in this bill that will change our understanding of appropriate behaviour in public washrooms or in gendered spaces.”

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of voyeurism or inappropriate sexual contact in a public space can report the matter to the people who manage that space, or to the police, Mr. Siksay said.

Bingo. The fact is that transgender people who use a gender appropriate washroom aren't likely to do anything untoward. Like everyone else, transgender people use the washroom for basic bodily functions. You're more likely to find stray politicians soliciting in the men's room than a crossdressing predator in the ladies room.

Think about it for a minute - sexual predators are all about power and violence. Chances of such a person being willing to make themselves appear feminine in order to get to their prey is just about zero - that would make them their own prey, and the cognitive dissonance that would induce would be crushing to the very drive that makes them predators.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Response To Genesis 1:27 In The Bill C-389 Discussion

In recent weeks, I've seen a lot of biblical arguments about transgender people in response to Bill C-389. Almost inevitably, these arguments start off by citing Genesis 1:27, which reads as follows:

1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

In particular, the last phrase male and female created he them gets cited to support a claim that there is no such thing as a 'woman in a man's body'. (which is a gross oversimplification of what it means to be transsexual - but that's a topic for another post)

First of all, let's look closely at the logical structure of the sentence:

male and female

Please note the use of the word 'and' to join the words male and female together into a singular subject. Anyone who has at least taken a first year college course on logic will immediately recognize that AND is a logical conjunction - only true when both sides of the equation are true. This different from a logical "OR", where either side may be true, and one could argue that the authors actually intended what logicians call an "Exclusive OR" had Genesis 1:27 read "male OR female" in that critical clause.

So ... let's take a look at the evidence before us, shall we?

In the physical world, we have the following broad categories of human physical genders:

a) Males
b) Females
c) Intersex

If I treat the AND of Genesis 1:27 as joining two exclusive categories together, I must conclude that either c) doesn't exist, or that there is an enormous logical error in the statement - since the intersection of two mutually exclusive categories is the empty set. Worse, I find the entire notion of "God doesn't make mistakes" is suddenly in a whole lot of jeopardy, isn't it? After all, if God doesn't make mistakes, then why do we have people around who are not distinctly male or female, but somewhere in between? Not to mention the whole notion of the Bible being the 'inerrant word of God' is similarly in jeopardy when confronted with this reality.

However, if I treat this as a logical conjunction, then in order for the statement to be true, we all must be a combination of Male AND Female.

But wait, you say - how can I possibly say that a Male is partially Female? There's plenty of evidence for it, actually. Let's start off with sex hormones. Both Males and Females produce Testosterone, and both Males and Females produce Estrogens - the proportions are naturally quite dramatically different, but there is a nominal amount of each in either body. Further, drawing on the Intersex issue a bit, we know that there are bodies out there which are indeterminate - either obviously, or chromosomally. There are (albeit rare) Female bodies with XY chromosomes.

Taking this physical reality in, it seems that the only reasonable interpretation of the sentence that preserves the notion that God never makes mistakes is one that says that we are all in fact a combination of Male and Female attributes.

In other words, in order for God to have made Man AND Woman in his own image, God must in fact be both, and furthermore, that phrase out of Genesis must be read as an admonishment to us that Male and Female are not mutually exclusive categories.

Genesis 1:27 DOES NOT read as follows:
1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male OR female created he them.

It reads:

1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male AND female created he them.

So, how does this apply to the Transgender/Transsexual narrative? Quite simply, actually. Given the amount of physical evidence that there can be a myriad of variations between Male and Female, it is hardly a great leap to recognize that there are inevitably going to be equally dramatic psychological variations as well. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that brains and personalities are going to be delightfully regular and consistent when we already know that bodies may well vary so much in the first place, is there?

Lastly, if one turns to an interpretation that is logically consistent with the wording used, as well as the evidence that is available to us in the world, then the concepts of 'inerrancy' in scripture, as well as 'God doesn't make mistakes' cease to be issues at all - something which dramatically simplifies the entire discussion, n'est ce pas?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why The WAP Is Doomed To Be Another Reactionary Party

I won't go into a deep analysis of Danielle Smith's bio in the Globe and Mail - readers familiar with the 'fend for yourself' world of Ayn Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged' should have a pretty good idea what she's about already.

However, she said one key thing that tells me that the WAP is doomed to be overrun by the social conservatives that are in its midst:

Ms. Smith believes they can: “There is a tension, but I believe that part of being a libertarian leader is allowing for MLAs to be able to express themselves freely on issues,” she says.

If her party is elected, she said she would hold “citizens referendums” on “morally contentious” issues at the community level to settle disputes.

“I don't think there would be that many of them,” she says.

Really? She thinks that there's a possibility for quiet coexistence with the wingnuts, it seems. I hate to point it out, but that isn't the case. The shrieking insanity of those who would legislate on issues of 'moral conscience' doesn't have room for either rational discussion or compromise. "Live and let live" is not in their lexicon. Live and let live (or laissez faire) politics of the libertarians is anathema to the social extremists. Unfortunately, it tends to degenerate into a 'tyranny of the majority' situation which ends up diminishing the ability of minorities to participate fully in society.

Unless Ms. Smith chooses to become a more decisive, and clear, leader on these matters it is only a matter of time before yet another party in this province is overtaken by the unreasonable extremists.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Alberta's Bill 17 - Alberta Health Act

I'm not even sure that some key aspects of this legislation are sustainable under Canada's current legal frameworks.

In particular, I'm looking at sections 10 and 11 of the legislation, which appear to be an attempt on the part of the government to prevent Albertans from seeking redress in the courts should the Health department do something egregious:

Proceedings not subject to review

10 A decision or action of the Minister, the Health Advocate or any employee or agent of either of them shall not be questioned,
reviewed or made the subject of a proceeding in any court by application for judicial review or otherwise
, and no order shall be made or process entered or proceedings taken in any court by way of injunction, declaratory judgment, prohibition or mandamus or otherwise to question, review, prohibit, restrain or compel the Minister, the Health Advocate or any employee or agent of either
of them.

11 No action lies against the Minister, the Crown in right of Alberta, the Health Advocate or any employee or agent of any of them for anything done or omitted to be done by that person in good faith while carrying out that person’s duties or exercising that person’s powers under this Act or the regulations.

Just thinking out loud here, but this looks distinctly like Alberta is trying to exempt itself, and its actions under this act, from judicial review and scrutiny. Further, they are trying to take away from Albertans, the right to challenge the government's decisions with respect to Health Care.

Given that within the constitution there are guarantees access to the courts for redress, one might suspect that Sections 10, 11 of the proposed Alberta Health Act are in fact in violation of Canada's Constitution and Charter of Rights:

24. (1) Anyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed
or denied may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy as
the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances.

There is another question that we should be asking ourselves. Why is it that the government feels a need to attempt to exempt its decisions from scrutiny? Just what has the government got up its sleeve that it putting in place an obvious legal obstacle to challenging its decision making in this arena?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I Was Afraid This Might Happen

In my travels through the web this afternoon, I found that one of Canada's more notorious anti-gay extremists has begun associating the images of Colonel Williams with transgender people as a whole by adding Williams' pictures to his posts on Bill C-389.

Okay, Whatcott's off his rocker to begin with - it's not like he has a track record of sane and reasonable public utterances. That's not the issue here - it's the linking of a violent psychopath's actions to transgender people as a whole. Unfortunately, the media's coverage of the Williams court proceedings was so lurid and vivid that it is hardly surprising that Canada's wingnuts would pick up on this as a reason to fight against Bill C-389. (Mercedes has a great summary of what Bill C-389 is really about on her blog)

However, let's be clear about one thing - Col. Williams is closer to a rapist than he is to the broad spectrum of people who are transgender.

Yes, there are aspects of Williams' crimes which involve cross dressing, but most important is that those crimes ultimately involve control and violence aimed at their victims. This is not typical of transgender people in any way shape or form.

The media has unfortunately published the most lurid pictures of Col. Williams, and in doing so given those who are most hostile to transgender people as a whole another club to use against that population.

Even if Col. Williams was a closet crossdresser before he started on his crime spree, he hardly stands as a representative of crossdressers - the vast majority of whom are perfectly peaceful people who never commit a violent crime of any sort. Col. Williams turned down a path to becoming a violent man. We may never know precisely what led him to that place, but it is unlikely that it had anything to do with crossdressing.

(as an aside, there are plenty of serial murderers out there who got some kind of sexual thrill out the underwear of their victims ... they are still serial killers - and as such live in a class all of their own)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Mr. Ignatieff - Are You Listening?

If not, you should BE READING:

They say taxes are too high. We should say there are more important things to tackle right now than reducing taxes for rich people.

They say they'll give everyone some of their money back. We should say paying for tax cuts by running deficits is theft from our children.

They say it's time to sell off and privatize schools, hospitals and public services. We should say there are some important things best done together – like good public education for our kids and good health care no matter how big your wallet is.

They say it’s “time to stop the gravy train.” We should say good idea! Let's stop the gravy train – starting with the insiders, rich tax cheats, speculators, and all the other geniuses who wrecked the world economy and put millions out of work, while pocketing the bailout money.

It's time to fight fire with fire. Come out swinging, and keep swinging. I find it amazing that it was a Liberal government that brought Canada's systemic deficit under control in the 1990s - after two terms of Mulroney's government spending us into debt; and today we have a Conservative government again ... spending us into debt. Meanwhile the Con$ are the ones who call the Liberals the 'tax and spend party' ... is anybody else noticing the irony here?

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...