Thursday, 8 October 2015

Partisanship Is Sooooo Over

Partisanship is at best silly, at times ugly, and right now it's bloody dangerous.

Since PMSHithead got his minority I've been imploring the Fucking Useless Opposition® (FUO) to get their act together and actually OPPOSE this government's destruction of Canada. You know, like they're supposed to do.

But no. They'd rather bash each other.

And now, we've got perhaps the LAST CHANCE to boot Stephen Harper and his band of vandals, and they're bashing each other even harder.

The majority of Canadians could Campbellize the hated Harperoids, if only the FUO® would co-operate with each other a teensy bit.

But no.

This morning, the story about the Short-Pants Brigade taking over from the Immigration Department and making literal life and death decisions based on political expediency drove me over the edge.

I decloaked.

Connie responded.

Connie's dismay at the Harper government has been brewing for some time. In February this year I linked to this at Free Dominion.
Canadian conservatives don't deserve to have a majority government.

There. I said it. I haven't given up on conservatism. Actually, quite the opposite. I have just come to the conclusion that it is not in the interest of conservatism (or liberty or democracy, for that matter) for the Conservative Party to remain in power.

Her main beef then and now is the Jihadis Under Every Bed Law, aka C51. Free Dominion reopened its forum to join the fray against it.

As I wrote then:
It beats the hell out of me why anyone purportedly in this fight -- and it is the fight of the decade at the very least -- would scorn any ally. But some are too pure to join forces with groups they otherwise disagree vehemently with.

Just as now, it beats the hell out of me why anyone would scorn any ally in the fight to get rid of the worst government in Canadian history.

And Connie has other issues with the Harper Party, so when I heard that she was writing a book addressed to her fellow Conservatives, I offered to help.

She accepted. I proofread and indexed the book. It's called Betrayed.

From the Introduction:

In this book, I will be making the case that conservative Canadians have a responsibility to keep our government in check.  When a leader that we have elected goes off the rails and begins to dismantle the very fabric of our democracy, we have a duty to send our own people into the political wilderness until they learn to handle the unfettered power of a majority government with the care and respect it deserves.

Perhaps you are thinking right now that I am not giving Stephen Harper enough trust.  You might think that he is not the type of man to abuse legislation that allows warrantless government access to our personal information, or legislation that allows judges, in secret trials, to give CSIS permission to do virtually anything but rape us or kill us.

His record tells a different story as I detail in Chapter ten.

But,  even if you do trust Stephen Harper and discount my reading of events, he is not going to be the Prime Minister forever. You have a responsibility to ask yourself if you trust the level of power that Harper has consolidated in the PMO in the hands of every potential new government that this country ever elects.

If the answer to that question is "no", then we must accept that Stephen Harper, by ramming through some very perilous legislation --most  notably Bill  C-51, the  Anti-Terrorism Act -- has put future generations in danger. For that reason alone he must be stopped. I will be talking in this book about Free Dominion's history and about some  of our experiences with censorship and "disruption" that have occurred already, under the watch of our Conservative government.
I'm pretty sure that regular readers here need no more reasons to vote against Harper, but maybe you've got Conservative friends and family you're going to be seeing this Thanksgiving weekend.

You could print out copies of Connie's Introduction and hand them around the table. *evil grin*

Or not.

So, what's the point of this blogpost?

To show ALL YOU "PROGRESSIVE" JACKASSES that common cause exists.

And that the stakes are high enough.

Do something to stop Harper.

And stop bashing each other.


Regular readers may remember that Connie and I have history. We've agreed on issues like prorogation, the G20 police state in Toronto, prison farms, and the need for better definition of online defamation. And of course the Jihadis bill.

We've both taken shit for our occasional public agreement. Notably, but perhaps not surprisingly, from male people who seem to think we need policing for consorting with each other.

It may amuse, then, to learn of my "price" for helping with Connie's book.

It was inspired by Canadian Cynic, who, in support of the documentary "Election Day in Canada," tweeted this:

I asked Connie to make a donation to the film in her own name. I didn't ask her to make any kind of statement about it.

But she did.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Droit au but!

Straight into the goal. NOT.

Are arrogant old creeps with an exalted sense of entitlement drawn to Olympic organizations because of the perks: a wide field of physically admirable and goal-oriented young women and men?

Slimy Marcel Aubut, ex-president of the Canadian Olympic Committee, is allegedly a long-time practitioner of a medieval tradition known as "le droit de cuissage". That term was revived in the French media following allegations against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. 

And these actions (described in excruciating, crude detail in several media news items) were allegedly tolerated because Aubut is wealthy, a gregarious schmoozer (he's an habitué of grandiose sporting events such as Montréal's Grand Prix), politically well-connected, a successful fundraiser, etc. etc. 

Doesn't that sound familiar: alleged habitual sexual harasser gets away with it because other men in the organization find it more beneficial to pretend it isn't happening.  Women who speak up are told to deal, to be a "good sport" about it or to look for another job. Rarely is the problem fixed - that is, the harasser told to stop.

In case you thought his repellent actions were only directed at menial support staff members, it seems "good ol' boy" Marcel always rose to any "opportunity" in a skirt.
TVA reported that Aubut settled a sexual harassment claim at his law firm, Heenan Blaikie, in 2011, over groping, verbal harassment and inviting a woman into a room only to show up wearing boxer shorts. In La Presse, lawyer and Canadian Soccer Association board member Amelia Salehabadi-Fouques alleged Aubut forcibly kissed her in a restaurant, verbally harassed her, and tried to enter her hotel room, also in 2011.

It's been reported that COC did try to read the riot act to Aubut.  Just as some un-neutered old dogs still try to hump just about anything in sight, some privileged old white men just can't stop playing their vile old patriarchal tricks.

Aubut's most recent peccadillo was a covert operation jiggered with Toronto Mayor John Tory as they colluded in trying to finagle an Olympic bid without the approbation of city council.

My co-blogger fern hill led the charge, writing and tweeting in support of #NoTO2024.  Her trenchant blogposts on that issue are here.

But now, Aubut has *resigned*.  I suspect he was given a spectacularly shiny golden handshake to speed him on his way.  Hopefully the women who allegedly had to endure his groping, his greasy kisses and his disgusting salacious comments in the work environment were just as generously compensated.

Ha! Kidding! Unless they hired a lawyer to secure a financial agreement, the COC will give them nothing for the humiliation they suffered

Finally: remember that one woman got very angry, d'une crisse de sainte colère and officially filed a complaint about Aubut's actions.  She was the tipping point, actually more than that: 
“I hope people don’t lose sight of the strength it took for this lady to come forward, faced with a very, very powerful individual,” says Rudge. “And to have the courage to challenge what had gone on, and the courage of her convictions to follow through and get a resolution to an issue for many, many other women who weren’t in a position to come forward.”

That, as much as anything, is the underlying lesson in all this. Nobody truly challenged Marcel Aubut, until somebody did. If you’re looking for the Olympian in all this, there you go.
Note: the above blogpost was edited to judiciously add the words "alleged" and "allegedly". This does not cast doubt upon the women who recalled experiences of sexual harassment; it highlights the reality that these events have not been entered as evidence in a court of law ... yet.

Monday, 28 September 2015

#ShoutYourAbortion Reveals the Stigma Enablers

Lindy West tells the story behind the hashtag, #ShoutYourAbortion.

But the deck sums it up nicely:

I set up #ShoutYourAbortion because I am not sorry, and I will not whisper

A recent study demonstrates what we intuitively knew: 95% of women who have abortions do NOT regret them.

But still we don't talk about it, because society has successfully stigmatized an ordinary, common, medical procedure.

I love #ShoutYourAbortion -- go have a look -- because it collects all the asinine anti-choice so-called arguments in one place; it encourages women to speak up, if they want to; and it's been driving antis insane for days now.

And there's a further reason. It is revealing people who call themselves pro-choice but who nonetheless are appalled, offended, or squeamish at the audacity of those using the hashtag.

I call them Stigma Enablers.

They are able to admit that abortion is sometimes necessary, but at the same time, want us still to whisper about it.

Yesterday I tweeted that observation and a very peculiar exchange began.

This woman, Melyssa Hubbard, who claimed to be prochoice, describes herself thus on her profile.
Author & Advocate of Self Actualization | Indiana Tea Party Founder | Former Pro Dominatrix
Interesting combination of attributes, yes?

The exchange went on for a while. She was complaining that we were forcing our shamelessness (or something) on her. Which is amusing, considering her claim to be a pro dominatrix. Classic "likes to dish it out, but can't take it"?

Other people got involved.

Then Melyssa started scrubbing some of her more idiotic tweets and I hadn't taken screen caps.

Oh well.

No one is forcing anyone to talk about their abortion if they don't want to.

No one is forcing anyone to read the hashtag if they don't want to.

But if you're going to call yourself "pro-choice," you can't oppose the movement (if it is that) without participating in stigma enabling.

C'est tout.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Let's make ALL the girls and women wear niqab, RIGHT?!

Now that I have your attention, my point is that Harper and the CPC are cravenly using the niqab to push hot buttons during this election.

The political cartoon above suggests the niqab issue will provide Harper with a "wind at his back" which he needs desperately needs to win the election race.

There are dozens of institutions that oppress women.  The niqab is the least of them but Harper's Attack Dingo™ Lynton Crosby has found one with formidable scaremongering OPTICS, right?

Susan Delacourt unpacks CPC doublespeak with regard to the niqab.

Rational people and critics of Harper's regime nail what the CPC tactic obfuscates:

This happened north of Ottawa last week. Basil Borutski 'allegedly' executed three women. How can this still occur, in Ontario, in 2015?
“Our systems need to try to pick out these warning signs sooner and do everything we can to provide safety and security,” [Illingworth] said. “There are absolutely gaps.”

The province’s Domestic Violence Death Review Committee, which works with the coroner’s office to review every domestic homicide in Ontario over more than a decade, has compiled a list of risk factors that “indicate the potential for lethality” within relationships or, to put it another way, a check-list to figure out the likelihood that an abuser will kill his partner.

Most of the boxes would be ticked off when it came to Borutski: a history of violence, an escalation of violence, obsessive behaviour, unemployment, isolation of victims and victims having an “intuitive sense of fear.”
From here:
Leighann Burns, the executive director of Ottawa women's shelter Harmony House, said many women feel that abusive men are not monitored closely enough after being released from jail, and that conditions placed on those who are released can, in some cases, easily be ignored.

"We hear from women routinely that the offences that men commit against them are not treated seriously in the criminal justice system," Burns said.

"Somebody who is lethally violent, who has clearly got no respect for the system or any sanctions that are meted out — there's not much that can be done, other than to lock him up or keep her hidden," she said.
So, probation officer are overworked, likely because of a large client load which, at the risk of provoking shrieks from Babs Kay, I will guess is 90% male offenders.

Remember Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti Shafia, 13, along with Rona Mohammad Amir, 50? Their bodies were found in the family’s Nissan, submerged in the Rideau Canal on June 30, 2009. The family members who killed them were able to "justify" their murders using the same twisted patriarchal ideology that motivated Borutski.  

Women "provoke" their murderers by defying the Gawd-given control entrusted to men to extract resources from women.  If women and girls refuse to provide men with what they want and demand, they're disposable.  They can be threatened, harmed, damaged, tortured and killed with impunity.  That chilling premise is the core of patriarchal extremism throughout the world.

So, the niqab? Just as oppressive as Harper's Hard-On Crime regime of venal liars who did NOTHING during their 9 years in government to make Canada safer for women and girls.

For a rueful chuckle to end my pessimistic rambling, check out my co-blogger's post about #CdnNiqab as well has the photos that folks posted on Twitter.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Niqab Is as Canadian as Maple Syrup and Frostbite

The other day I started a Twitter hashtag #CdnNiqab. It got very little attention, but it amused me.

Leaving aside all the blatant, court-reinforced, Charter-busting wrongness of a ban on niqabs at citizenship ceremonies, I find it hilarious that citizens who for months cover most of their faces for sheer survival would get their knickers in knots about it.

(Also leaving aside the disgusting wedgie PMSHithead is perpetrating on the land.)

Here are some of the pictures I posted.

This is what Herr Harper said:

“Look, when someone joins the Canadian family, there are times in our open, tolerant, pluralistic society that as part of our interactions with each other we reveal our identity through revealing our face.”

Those look like members of my Canadian family.

As does this guy, whose face you can't see very well.

If you've got silly or fabulous pix of you and/or friends and family geared up for winter, post them on Twitter.

Let's mock this wedgie right out of our snowpants.

UPDATE: October 7, 2015. My timing sux, I guess. Niqabs of Canada.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Olympics: Dodged a Bullet, Set a Precedent?

Mayor Dad announced yesterday that Toronto is not going to bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.


As observant readers have noted, this blog was opposed to the greed-corruption-anti-democracy festival that the Olympics bring to town.

What galled me the most was the total needlessness of this kabuki.

Some points:
• We had already decided against this idiocy until John Tory got a bee in his bonnet and decided to drag us all through his dithering for more than a month.

• An Olympic bid was not on anyone's agenda. No one campaigned on it. It had zero interest, let alone support. (See link above. Not one person appeared at the economic development committee meeting to speak in favour of a bid.)

• One man, John Tory, all jacked up on Pan Am juice -- a third-rate sports event, amounting to a "high school track meet" in comparison to the Olympics -- decided to revisit an issue that no one gave a shit about. Why? Who knows? Maybe because he's an elite former executive who wants to run a one-man show.

• Speaking of which, Tory completely ignored elected representatives on city council, while lying his ass off about consulting them.

• Speaking of which, look how many council members refused to disclose where they stood on the matter, despite being repeatedly asked by constituents and media. (And kudos to those who did.)

• And finally the total lack of transparency. Which, one gathers, is typical for this sort of elite takeover of civic processes, but which, none the less, is infuriating.

In short, I was deeply offended and mightily pissed off by the sheer gall of elites deciding that we peons were going to pay BILLIONS for a big-ass party, while having no bloody say in it at all.

Then, as the topper, Mayor Dad calls a press conference to gather on the roof of a snack shop -- and doesn't that just scream World Class City? -- to blather on and on about how carefully HE considered everything (someone really should count the number of first-person pronouns in that speech; it's embarrassing) only to decide HE couldn't look people in the eye …
The truth is, I can’t look people in the eye at this point in our city’s development and tell them that an Olympic bid is the best use of our time, our energy, or our investment.

John Tory, the very embodiment of the Olympic Spirit -- in all its entitlement and noblesse oblige.

Toronto is entering dangerous territory here that I and Cityslikr thought we had faced and (barely) survived in the Rob Ford era.
But even if the mayor declines to proceed, city council needs to make it clear, in the strongest way possible, that this was never a mayor’s decision to make alone, that all the behind-the-scenes, Freedom of Information access only deliberations were unacceptable and undemocratic. If Mayor Tory’s doing all that on an Olympic bid, what else is going on back there?

City council needs to nip this mayor’s imperious inclinations in the bud now. It needs to show the mayor exactly who the boss is here. Like Rob Ford before him, Mayor Tory seems to have claimed a mayoral mandate as some sort of executive fiat. He’ll keep thinking that until city council shows him otherwise.
Wakey, wakey, city council.

And citizens of Toronto.

UPDATE: Janice Forsyth, who was a strong voice for reason and facts, still has questions too.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Toronto Mayor Aubut: "Just Trust Me"

John Barber wrote a couple of weeks ago:

Suddenly there's a new mayor in town. You don't know him and you didn't vote for him. But if his threatened coup comes off, he will be the one giving orders in Toronto for the next decade.

And after handing this new civic potentate supreme power, no pipsqueak council or elected mayor will dare complain as he burdens local taxpayers with grandiose monuments of crippling expense and little use.

All hail Marcel Aubut, chairman of the Canadian Olympic Committee! Desperately seeking attention in a perpetual fit of adolescent insecurity, we salute you. Make us do something other people will notice! Lay on the magic hands.
Today, we hear from Mayor Aubut in in his own words.

“There are lots of people...who are there ready to commit to go one step further,” says Marcel Aubut. “But I won’t give you the list.”
Well, why the heck would he? He's not answerable to anybody.
It’s “difficult” for Olympic backers to be transparent at such an early stage, Aubut said, but he promised the public would learn more soon.

Pressed for details, Aubut would only say there will be "momentum" leading up to Sept. 15, the deadline for cities to tell the International Olympic Committee they’re interested in bidding for the 2024 Games.
Torontonians may not remember or care about Marcel Aubut, but the people of Quebec City sure do.
Aubut was President of the Nordiques when the team was sold to an American communications company and moved to Denver in 1995, becoming the Colorado Avalanche. Maclean's Magazine reported that Aubut personally made $15 million from the sale and that t-shirts reading "Marcel Aubut: Wanted Dead or Alive" were not an uncommon sight in Quebec City at the time.
To add insult to the proverbial injury, the team won the Stanley Cup the next year.

And now the "big man -- with the equally large personality" is president of the Canadian Olympic Committee and is pushing to have Toronto sign a blank cheque to host the 2024 Summer Games.

But is that his ultimate goal?

Who knows?

But it would irresponsible not to speculate in light of this (from January 2012).
But where his pro-hockey and Olympic interests happily intersect are in the efforts to finally build Quebec City a new arena. The vision is that the $400-million, 18,000-seat facility would also serve as the centrepiece of a Winter Games bid. But funding for the project—a pastiche of provincial, city, Quebecor and fan money—remains sketchy. And the “target” Olympics is now 2026, which won’t be awarded until 2019.

Aubut, who splits his time between Quebec, Montreal and Toronto, remains an enthusiastic proponent. Quebec, like Winnipeg, is a different city these days, with a more vibrant economy. And it has the capacity to host not just NHL hockey, but the world.

Would there be an element of personal redemption? “You appreciate what you don’t have,” he says.“I really want a team back.”
Got that? The man who profited by $15 million on the sale of the old Nordiques wants another team in Quebec City and he's prepared to plunge Toronto and Quebec City too, presumably, into MASSIVE debt to get it.

No matter that every media pundit in Toronto is against it, joined yesterday by noted urbanologist -- and Toronto resident -- Richard Florida.
Mr. Tory posed the issue correctly when he said: “The most important question I have is, ‘Do you think this would be to the benefit of the people of the city of Toronto?’” Based on every shred of evidence, the answer is No.
Pundits, urbanologists, academics -- all think it's a very bad deal.

Even City Councillors are getting twitchy.

And then there's us peons who have little recourse but a petition.

But what Big (Unelected) Mayor Aubut wants, he wants.

And we should just trust him?

Yeah, right.

ADDED: Freedom of Information requests to John Tory's office raise lots more questions.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

INCOMING! (And I totally missed it)

It's hot and I'm having a shitty day. So out of boredom and in need of distraction, I googled "fern hill dammit janet" and look what I found from Canadian (formerly "Christian") Association of Pregnancy Support Services, aka fake clinics/crisis pregnancy centres.

We are excited to be holding the first annual CAPSS National day of Prayer on Thursday, April 2, 2015
There's a lot a jeezuzy stuff, then things get specific. Joyce Arthur of Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada and I are targeted for prayer assaults.

Joyce's many crimes against truth, science, and good care for women are listed -- of course with an emphasis on how successful she'd been lately at fucking up fake clinics' work -- are listed.

Then there's me.

In November 2014, the Ontario Trillium Foundation rescinded the second half ($41,500) of a $83,000 donation to the Lambton, Ontario Crisis Pregnancy Centre due to complaints by Fern Hill of the Dammit Janet blogspot:  Fern Hill is the pen name for the blogger and her real identity is anonymous.  If you read through her twitter account she is bent on attacking every CPC across Canada and her current target is the Kamloops Crisis Pregnancy Centre.  Fern Hill and Joyce Arthur are collaborating together to get the charitable status of the Crisis Pregnancy Centres revoked.

In what's gotta be a first for this gang, that description is accurate.

And finally I'm getting my due recognition for it.

The page goes on to instruct the faithful on which particular failings Joyce and I need to improve.
Joyce Arthur & Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada

• For the Holy Spirit to hover over her and to move her towards her own healing journey
• For ARCC members’ eyes be open and see the truth about abortion
• For Joyce Arthur and ARCC members to experience firsthand the love of our Father
• For Joyce Arthur and ARCC members’ eyes to be open to the truth of abortion
• For God to open Joyce Arthur’s eyes to see that Centres and CAPSS does not give out anti-choice misinformation and harassment – that Centres and CAPSS are  not her or ARCC’s enemy

Fern Hill and her Dammit Janet Blog

• For Fern Hill to experience firsthand the love of our Father
• For Fern Hill’s eyes to be open to the truth of abortion
That God will nullify the influence that she has
• That as people read her blog that they will read it in light of their own experience and have the courage to speak out
Interesting differences. Joyce gets both the Holy Spirit and "our Father." I get the attention of only "our Father." We both need our eyes opened.

But I love the third incantation for moi.

I'm sitting here feeling quietly INFLUENTIAL. And proud.

But this got me thinking of our old pal and sadly missed sister Vicious Abortion Crusader®, JJ who used to chortle when she was -- pretty regularly -- targetted for prayer assaults. If I were a praying gal myself, I'd lob a few in her direction. Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, JJ, we miss you.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Round-up: Toronto's Punditocracy Gives Thumbs Down to Olympic Bid

What does Toronto's punditocracy think of an Olympic bid for Toronto?

Not much.

All of them, from all beats (politics, sports, urban affairs, business), say a bid for the 2024 Summer Games would range on a scale from "stupid" to "colosally stupid."

One, Royson James, initially a fervent booster, has now changed his mind.

Here they are in chronological order.

Cathal Kelly, July 27: Hosting the Olympics is a roller coaster of despair.

Chris Selley (1), July 28: Everyone take a deep breath -- Olympic fever is fertile soil for nonsense.

Globe and Mail, Report on Business, no byline, July 28: Dear Toronto: Hosting the Olympics is really really expensive.

Royson James (1) August 7: Bring on the Olympics.

Lorrie Goldstein, August 22: Olympic bid survival guide.

Edward Keenan, August 12: How to keep the T.O. mojo going -- with or without the Olympics.

John Barber, August 25: The case against the Olympics.

Christopher Hume, September 1: Let the Games begin -- Somewhere else.

Royson James (2), September 4: An Olympian effort is beyond us for now.

Chris Selley (2), September 4: Not screwing up the Pan Am Games is no reason to dive headfirst into the mother of all money pits.

The only people in favour of a bid are former elite athletes and people who stand to make money from it.

Here Councillor Shelley Carroll hits the nail on the head.
Councillor Shelley Carroll (Ward 33, Don Valley East) says there is no way city officials have the time to gear up for a 2024 bid. But she understands the enthusiasm in some circles.

“Whether you win or lose, preparing a bid is a business and you make money being the guy who gets to prepare the bid,” she said. “A whole bunch of consultants make money and a whole bunch of retired dignitaries, and retired CEOs, get to have fun with this project and play around with big amounts of public money.”
Gee, I wonder who those people would be?

Here's a hint. Former co-chair of John Tory's campaign, former leader of a Toronto bid, and non-yet-declared member of the non-existent (if you believe them) Bid Committee, Bob Richardson howled over this admittedly mistitled Star article, This time, Bay St. joins Toronto's anti-Olympics team.

Will John Tory go ahead with a bid that will please only elite athletes and just plain elites?

We hope he'll soon give us an answer.

ADDED: It occurred to me that people might want to copy and paste just the links.

Cathal Kelly:
Hosting the Olympics is a roller coaster of despair

Chris Selley (1):
Everyone take a deep breath -- Olympic fever is fertile soil for nonsense

Globe and Mail, Report on Business, no byline:
Dear Toronto: Hosting the Olympics is really really expensive

Royson James:
Bring on the Olympics

Lorrie Goldstein:
Olympic bid survival guide

Edward Keenan:
How to keep the T.O. mojo going -- with or without the Olympics

John Barber:
The case against the Olympics

Christopher Hume:
Let the Games begin -- Somewhere else

Royson James (2):
An Olympian effort is beyond us for now

Chris Selley (2):
Not screwing up the Pan Am Games is no reason to dive headfirst into the mother of all money pits

UPDATED September 9/15: Two more.
Richard Florida, Why Toronto Should Say No to the Olympics

Martin Regg Cohn, Why the Pan Am Games Don't Qualify Us for Olympics

UDATE, September 11/15: Globe and Mail editorial