Friday, 24 April 2015

Fetus Freaks: They're Slow But They're Stupid

Good gord. Regular readers of DJ! know how highly we esteem the intelligence and moral compass of the fetus freaks, but this should be embarrassing even for them.

Let's hop into the Way Back Machine. On November 8 last year, we reported that the Trillium Foundation, the granting agency for Ontario's gaming proceeds, rescinded the second year of a two-year $84K grant to a fake clinic.

There was some squealing from the predictable sources, who amusingly decided collectively that this blog was to be unnamed as the culprit.

On November 25, SUZY ALLCAPS linked to Our Number One Fan (Bertha Wilson Motion, now sadly defunct, aww) who had uncovered the shocking fact that the CEO of the Trillium Foundation, Andrea Cohen Barrack, also serves as volunteer Chair of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Western Hemisphere Region.

Here's SUZY's plain-text URL:

And my reaction, dated November 26.

That's about as far as that went, until last week when Patricia Maloney, who is "Canada's pro-life investigator" according to Focus on the Family's Astroturf blog, finally twigged to Ms Cohen Barrack's dedication to public service. (More on Canada's pro-life investigator in a future post.)

As is the custom in the antichoice echo chamber, LifeShite picked up the SCOOP on April 23.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation has denied that CEO Andrea Cohen Barrack is in a conflict of interest after alert bloggers noted that while she is a member of International Planned Parenthood Federation’s governing council, her foundation recently cut funding to a pro-life pregnancy center and approved a grant for Planned Parenthood Toronto.

The fetus freaks are trying hard -- if ridiculously late -- to spin some shit out of this, even contacting Ontario's Conflict of Interest Commissioner, whose lawyer Heather Popliger said:

Popliger told LifeSiteNews in an email the following day that “our understanding is that the President & CEO of the Ontario Trillium Foundation plays no role regarding grant decisions. There is a process for evaluating which entities receive grants, and the Board of Directors of the Ontario Trillium Foundation makes all decisions regarding grants.  The President & CEO has no involvement.”

When questioned about Cohen Barrack’s involvement with IPPF creating the appearance of preferential treatment, Popliger only reiterated that, “the President & CEO has no involvement in the grant process at the Ontario Trillium Foundation.  Accordingly, she is not in a position to, nor is she in fact, providing one entity with preferential treatment.”
Ominously, LifeShite ends with:
The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport did not respond to enquiries from LifeSiteNews by deadline.

Oooh, I bet the Ministry is peeing its pants.

When you've got your Outrage-O-Meter cranked to MASSIVE allatime, I guess it's hard to remember that you've already hit a particularly dipshit note previously.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Exploitation of Parents' Fear Is Despicable

I was going to snark about today's sex-ed curriculum protest.

(Co-blogger dBO covered the previous hissy fit.)

An estimated 2,000 people gathered on the front lawn of the Ontario legislature on Tuesday morning to protest the Liberal government's proposed changes to the sex education curriculum.

I found this very funny:

Also, questions about who's funding this astroturf bunfest.

But then I saw this and now I just feel sad and sorry for these poor people whose ignorance and gullibility is being so cruelly exploited to further the anti-choice and Conservative political agendas.

Global reporter talks to protesting parents.

Whipping up these parents' fears is NOT funny. It's just disgusting.

Here, by the way, is what the new curriculum actually contains.

UPDATE: More exploitation. This time by federal MP Parm Gill who tries feebly to link Ontario Liberal sex ed plans to federal Liberal Party. And using tax-payer funded mailer to do it.

MORE UPDATE: Guaranteed 15 of the weirdest minutes you'll spend. Cheering on RWNJ Michael Coren as he takes on lying douchecanoe Charles McVety.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

From the bowels of rubbletv?


Our esteemed blogging colleague Montreal Simon wrote this:
There's a strange and disturbing story circulating quietly on the internet. It was forwarded to me by someone I trust.
And it seems to show that the CBC wrote a story claiming that Stephen Harper was thinking about conscripting young Canadians if he is re-elected.
Disturbing, yet plausible since it's been demonstrated that Harper is a mendacious warmonger and profiteer (politically, yes - personally, that's not known) from MASSIVE military weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

Tyrants have for centuries used mandatory military recruitment aka conscription to legally control young people and to counter high unemployment rates. Some libertarians even defend it as a "pillar of freedom". 

Though it's claimed the dubious item was posted on a CBC website, then withdrawn, there isn't any google cache links to substantiate this.

So, a twitter storm erupted about this purported CBC story.  The only Hill reporter to respond was a *junior journalist* who provided some background with regard to the item, as he sneered at those who try to keep abreast of political issues.

Earlier, Ling had said:

So, an email was sent to the Parliamentary Press Gallery members list.  Fuzzy Wuzzy observed:

Isn't anyone curious about where that purported CBC blogpost — which has now been dismissed as an April 1st prank and hoax — originated?

In addition to the claim that Harper would introduce conscription AFTER he is re-elected, there are some odd details, as fern hill points out:

That made me think: things have not gone well for Levant since the plug was pulled on StunTV.

He has indulged in his usual bullying, slanderous, hissy-fits on Twitter:

That was deleted, along with the nasty little rant he linked to, since it might be actionable.  Levant is intimately familiar with defamation suits.

What if Levant had been asked, as a favour by one of Harper's more devious back-room operatives, say... Jenni Byrne, to plant some vicious little item that, were it used by members of the Opposition parties or CPC critics, could be deployed to discredit any future legitimate information presented?

I can imagine that Levant, desperate for the media attention and brownie points, might jump at such opportunity.  A trifecta!  Smear the CBC for allegedly caving in to political pressure.  Test the public response to the circonscription notion.

And what about that allegedly fictitious, juicy detail about Stevie and Bibi?
But according to two reliable sources — both close friends of Baird — it was during a special closed-door meeting with Baird, Harper and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in January 2014 — on the third day of Harper's four-day trip to Israel — that Harper discussed the possibility of a conscription bill for 18-year-old men and women, based on the Israeli model.
Remember, Levant's father was one of the many schnorrers who went to Israel with Harper.

So, if anyone dared to deploy that particular bit of colourful information about a private Stevie/Bibi convo, Levant might weigh in as official debunker — amply weaponized with confidential Con sources as well as his own propensity to quickly switch from bully tactics to victim mode in order to shriek "anti-semitism".

Sheer speculation.  But to paraphrase Levant (on Lac-Mégantic): "It would be irresponsible not to speculate on these matters."

UPDATE: Montreal Simon articulates why the hoax has a very plausible resonance to it.

Friday, 3 April 2015

The Sanctity of (American) Motherhood

My mother is difficult. We call her the Princess of Passive Aggression.

Siblings and I think she's also a sociopath, but, you know ... whatever.

She's 85 and has all her evil wits about her, but isn't getting enough attention. She's also depressed and bored.

Lately, she's been exhibiting signs of Munchausen syndrome. That would be a charitable explanation.

Sibs and I think she's more likely exhibiting "If I keep fucking up my meds and winding up in the hospital, my horrible children will pay me the attention I am due" syndrome.

In her various hospital visits, they can find nothing wrong with her beyond stuff that any 85-year-old would have: heart and blood pressure issues that would be well controlled if she took her FUCKING MEDS properly.

Her evil scheme has finally worked. All the people around her -- she's in Florida -- have decided that she needs more help. More help than they're willing to continue to provide at least.

It's time for the children to step up, they have decided.

All right. Fine. We knew this was coming.

But here's the thing: Why are people, and USian people in particular, so insane about mothers?

Whenever one of her friends or neighbours calls to inform me of her latest 911 adventure, even the nicest of them are judgemental as hell.

For example, this latest hoohaw is happening just before Easter. One of the helpers couldn't restrain herself from pointing out to me that mother was going to be All Alone on the Holiday.


Like, are we supposed to jump on an airplane to prepare a jolly Easter egg hunt for our aged parent?

I'm not even going to try to characterize the crap they dish out over Christmas and that holiest of holy days -- Thanksgiving.

So I'm used to this, but imagine my astonishment when a couple of months ago I ran into it at the US Consulate.

I was renouncing my US citizenship -- something I should have done decades ago -- and as one might envision there's quite a production over this. I mean, who would renounce citizenship of the Greatest Country on Earth Evah?

Many forms, many questions.

Viz., what remaining ties do you have to US? Moi: Just mother in Florida.

More questions.

What passport do you use to travel to US? (US demands you maintain and use USian passport if you travel there. Simple money grab? Dunno.)

Moi: I haven't been to US since last US passport expired.

Consular official, looking at passport and noting expiry date of nine years ago, says incredulously: "You haven't visited your mother in NINE YEARS?"

Moi: Nope.

Now she's giving me the full-bore "What Manner of Ungrateful Seed of Satan Are You?" look.

I'm withstanding it, wondering if my application is going to be denied because I am an awful, unAmerican daughter.

The look continues. I remain silent. It's getting a tad uncomfortable.

Finally I break the silence: "Do you have another question?"

She shook her head in disgust and the interview proceeded.

Monday, I'm going to Florida. My mother I can handle. It's the judgemental mother-worshipping ass-clowns that I'm going to have trouble with.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Carafem: Just Another Day at the Abortion-Spa

Big props to the new abortion clinic Carafem in Washington, DC.

It's got ALL the fetus freaks' knickers knotted.

With its natural wood floors and plush upholstery, Carafem aims to feel more like a spa than a medical clinic. But the slick ads set to go up in Metro stations across the Washington region leave nothing to doubt: “Abortion. Yeah, we do that.”

The Maryland clinic, opening this week in Montgomery County’s tony Friendship Heights area, specializes in the abortion pill. The advertising reflects its unabashed approach — and a new push to de-stigmatize the nation’s most controversial medical procedure by talking about it openly and unapologetically.

It's hard to say what has the freaks most outraged -- that women could be treated decently, that abortion could be treated like any other medical procedure, or that a business, yes, a business, could aim to help destigmatize a common life event.

The Dominionist Astroturf Gang, We Need a Law (Like a Hole in the Head), is appalled that the furniture is comfy.

SUZY ALL-CAPS is SHRIEEKING that abortion will be destigmatized OVER HER DEAD BODY!!!!!!!!

Kay Mère, as befits her very limited cognitive processing ability, is all over the map in her objections.

She cites a "left-leaning think tank" that points out that destigmatization worked for the LBGT community by sharing stories and coming out to friends and families.

But this is an untenable comparison. Gays are human beings with a minority sexual orientation.
As opposed to people who have abortions who are not human beings but amoral, irresponsible baby-killing sluts.

Ultimately, what bugs her the most is that Carafem is a business and this new and humane approach to a common procedure may make them money!!!!

The Focus on the Family Astroturf Gang, as usual, takes its cue from Kay, considered to be among the more "reasonable" of anti-choicers, and squeals about the profit.

Well, shut my mouth. I thought all these right-wing nut-jobs worshipped at the altar of the Free Market.

These are the same people eager to label any efforts by government to regulate contraception and abortion services as Communist! Fascist! Maoist! (You get the idea.)

Yet, these are also the people who revelled in the gore and filth of Kermit Gosnell's totally unregulated predatory racket.

But who insisted that there must be Gosnells in Canada. We just haven't caught them yet.

This Carafem development has them shoved back in that terrible pickle again.

HORRORS! People needing abortions are being treated decently.

HORRORS! People needing abortions (in the US) must pay for them and so will prompt entrepreneurs to cater to them.

HORRORS! If people needing abortions are treated decently, there will be no more Gosnells, no more stigma, no more needless suffering.

Ha. I say again -- props to Carafem.

By the way, the cost of a medical abortion at Carafem is below average.
The average pharmaceutical abortion cost about $500 in the United States in 2011, Guttmacher figures show; [Carafem President Christopher] Purdy plans to charge around $400.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Ethical Patriarchy

From LifeShite: Canadian Doctor Rallies Colleagues Against Tyrannical Attack on Conscience.

Dr. Martin Owen, a Calgary family doctor, has taken on the task of rousing his fellow practitioners to the danger posed to their integrity by policies being pushed by professional regulators in several provinces.

“My conscience is on the line,” Owen said in a chain e-letter. “If I lived in Ontario, I'd probably move my 7 children to another province so I could avoid the tyranny over my professional medical judgment and my conscience.”

Appalled by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons’ new requirement for all doctors, regardless of moral objections, to do or refer abortions,  Owen has launched a website,, with Ezra Levant just before the latter’s Sun News Network folded, and sent chain e-letters to colleagues asking them to vote in a “poorly worded” CBC poll about the issue. And as with a chain letter, he has asked his recipients to pass his message on to 10 colleagues.

“The time has come when doctors now need to fight for the right not to perform abortions, prescribe birth control, or refer patients for controversial procedures,” the email stated. 
The campaign, called Freedom of Conscience is backed by Campaign Life, evangelical church groups, and the Christian Heritage Party.

Beyond the clip at the site from Sun News (Feb. 4, 2015), it is not clear that Ezra Levant has any ongoing association with it.

I was curious about this Martin Owen, so looked him up on LinkedIn. Here's his summary.
Firstly, to be a witness to the transforming love of Jesus Christ in my marriage, fatherhood and medical practice. Secondly, to promote the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death by opening my self to be an instrument of Christ's healing power in the world. Thirdly, to bring unity to the international natural family planning community through education and healing of the past wounds, so as to be a sign to the world of Christ's promise to unite His flock.

That's not bad for a summary. Anyone want to help?

Owen is listed at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA), as "postgraduate trainee" from July 2010 to July 2012, and as "general registry" since August 2012. He claims also to be a member of College of Physicians & Surgeons of Ontario, but I couldn't find him in its registry.

So, he seems to be a relatively new doctor, though with seven children [!].

Things got quite a bit more interesting when I went looking for him on Twitter.

I found this fella.

Martin Owen is not a terribly unusual name, but the initial "G." corresponds to his CPSA listing. Also, how many medical doctors in Calgary named Martin Owen have seven children?

I've asked DocVemma twice if he is the same person associated with Freedom of Conscience and have had no response.

The Twitter profile page lists a website and, of course, people he's following. I scanned those 122 people.

There are body building and weight loss products, entrepreneurs for same and entrepreneurs in general, plus Dr. Oz, Tony Robbins, and Bill Gates. There are a few Christian and Catholic organizations and groups too.

Quite heavily weighted towards entrepreneurial pursuits of the health sort.

Lots of "Vemma" related accounts.

What is this Vemma the good doc is promoting so hard?

It is a nutrition company that sells "insanely healthy energy drinks" and weight-loss products through a pyramid scheme.

Vemma (/ˈviːmə/) Nutrition Company is a privately held multi-level marketing company that sells energy drinks, nutritional beverages and weight management products. The company, based in Tempe, Arizona, was founded in 2004 by Benson K., Lauren, and Karen Boreyko. In 2013, the company reported US$221 million in revenue. Most distributors are in their twenties. The company has been accused of being a pyramid scheme by U.S. media, business analysts, and former distributors, and was fined by the Italian government.

Some more about the company and its practices.

I don't doubt Owen's sincerity in objecting to "tyrannical" demands that he actually, you know, respect his patients' rights.

But I do doubt his judgement in getting involved in a pyramid scheme selling "nutritional" products. I wonder how hard he promotes these to his patients.

Previous DJ! posts on patient rights.
The CPSO consultation.

Christian Medical and Dental Society launches suit.

Meet a Christian OB/GYN.

UPDATE (April 3/15): Joyce Arthur at Rabble, "Christian doctors angry they can no longer abandon their patients."

Sunday, 29 March 2015

IS and the rescue narrative

Echidne has been writing up an excellent series on Daesh and women, including on the rules they enforce on Sunni Muslim women and their establishment of sexual slavery for non-Sunni-Muslim women (not easy to read).

Her latest installment is on women who voluntarily join ISIS/IS/Daesh/whatever and their motives, experiences, and outcomes. In my view, one of the most important takeaway points of her work is that it is not the case that the women who join and support ISIS, especially the ones coming from the West, are dupes who do not know what they are doing. While some of them end up regretting it, there are not a few of them who are ideologically committed to what they are building, and not measurably to a lesser degree than the men who join it---some of whom are also naive dupes who don't understand what they were getting into, but not all.

The reality is, the view of "mainstream" society into religious-fanatical, particularly Islamically-motivated fanatical societies and organizations is coloured by a materialistic calculation of costs and benefits which these groups, almost by definition, don't share. That women, even willing women, must accept less personal freedom than men does not register within the minds of the subjects of this discrimination as a moral assault. Quite the contrary, the distribution of clear life-roles is viewed as an obvious advantage of the Daesh dystopia. From their perspective, who wouldn't prefer the clear outlay of detailed life expectations to the chaos and confusion of "free, liberated" life in the rest of the world? For them, it must be the devil misguiding the rest of us to believe that "the search for Mr. Right" is better than having one's spouse and sex partner simply assigned.

More importantly, Echidne's post points out the obvious fact that many of the reasons that women might voluntarily join IS are (suprise!) the same reasons that men do. While this should be obvious, it is important to point it out because a lot of Western media interprets gender relations in the Muslim world as a whole through the lens of a kind of rescue fantasy. Those Muslim women who, unimaginably, aren't waiting for the American troops to roll through and liberate them from their nasty bearded husbands/fathers in favour of some unspecified life doing...what? the feminist utopias that Western colonies universally become can only be accommodated, in this narrative, by an imputed Stockholm Syndrome.

The case of female ISIS volunteers is a piece of evidence against the rescue narrative that is difficult to ignore. This is not in itself, however, evidence for some kind of deep relativism. However, if liberation is a basic goal, then what it is evidence for, to risk a platitude, is that such liberation cannot be effected in the absence of willing participation by the liberatees, so to speak, and when that participation is withheld, it can sometimes be withheld with knowledge of what is being rejected.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Meet a Christian OB/GYN

Since I'm being smeared for "targeting" antichoice MDs -- for avoidance by 21st-century minded people -- I thought: what the hell? Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.

I googled "Christian Medical and Dental Society" and scrolled through looking for individual practitioners identifying themselves as members. (Yes, I know, using deeply nefarious tactics here.)

I found more than a few Christian dentists. Here are a couple: Gordon Wong and Tom Harle.

I found a retired paediatric nutritionist, John Patrick, who looks pretty harmless.

Then I hit the jackpot with Dan Reilly, an OB/GYN practicing in "the rural communities of Centre and North Wellington." That would be in Ontario, subject to the new referral guidelines of the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

He's rather full of himself and devotes a page to his dedication to obstetrics and gynaecology, listing eight reasons he chose this specialty. (Really, it deserves a read. The pomposity is amazing even for a male OB/GYN.)

But reasons 6 through 8 are priceless (bold mine):
6. I have to struggle to be empathetic when a patient has a medical complaint I have struggled with. In training it was tough for me to empathize with someone who had a headache or cold or back pain. Deep inside I wanted to say, “I have had this problem and it didn’t slow me down. Buck-up and get back to work!” In ob/gyn I deal with problems that I will never experience. So I have to agree with the patient’s assessment of the severity of the problem and that makes it easier for me to empathize.

7. I enjoy the complexity of medical ethics and law. And there is lots of both in OB/GYN. [Grammar AND creepiness alert!]

8. Men are boring. [Misandry!!!!]

Get your head around number 6. He wanted to deal with problems he will never experience to improve his deficient empathy and claims that as a result he has to agree with the patient's assessment of the problem.

(Plus, like any good Christian, he is using his patients to further his own personal goals.)

Intrigued, I searched the site for abortion, you know, because if he has to agree with the patient's assessment, then he'd do abortions when that's what the patient assessed as the solution to the problem.

From the abortion search, four items come up:
1. A video of a one-hour talk he gave at McMaster University called "Abortion and the Four Principles: Clarity without Resolution." I watched about five minutes of it and that was the end of my patience for his smarmy style.

2. A link to a pdf called "Prenatal Genetic Testing, Eugenic Abortion, and the Christian Physician." I did not download this; the title says it all.

3. and 4. Pages titled "Abortion Ethics Talk" and "Abortion Ethics: Understanding the Debate."

Here they are.

And that's my public service duty for today.

Friday, 27 March 2015

FFS: Near Defamation (Is That a Thing?)

This is the blogosphere. I geddit. I can dish it out and and I can take it.

But there are some things that cannot be allowed to stand. Two comments on the Focus on the Family Astroturf Blog (FFAB) fall into this category.

Background first.

Yesterday, I blogged about the Christian Medical and Dental (?) Society's quest to be exempted from new rules requiring physicians (eat your inferiority-complected hearts out, DDSs) to refer patients for treatments that CMDS members find objectionable.

I had what I thought was a simple solution, first voiced on Twitter…

… then again in the blogpost.

Tell us who you are so we can run a mile from you.

As reported yesterday, FFAB called me a hypocrite for asking for names and promising to publish them when I use a pseudonym.

The illogic of that didn't bother me. Neither did the snide remarks about my personality, writing skills, and psychology, both in the blogpost and gleefully added by commenters. (Comments haven't yet descended into speculations about my body hair and weight; they are admirably restraining themselves.)

One commenter though, John Baglow, wondered what the problem was when the intent is clearly to inform potential patients of probable mis-matches between their needs and the medicos' moral capacities.

Two commenters took it upon themselves to respond.

Here's what can't stand -- implications that I intended some kind of harm to come to anti-choice MDs.

Melissa said:
I don’t suppose that naming doctors would be such a bad thing if there weren’t a group of pro-choicers who were dead set on taking them down. But when you have a small group of people (ie the Radical Handmaids) who are committed to taking these doctors down, to bullying these doctors in a media that is quite receptive to the pro-choice cause and quite hostile to the pro-life one. Nobody wants to get caught in one of those smear campaigns, which understandably makes them reluctant to make their names known publicly.

Mary Deutscher said:
If only Fern Hill were naming physicians to help patients avoid them! The fear here is that physicians are being named to be targeted and reprimanded for refusing to harm their patients.

"Dead set on taking them down." "Bullying." "Hostile." "Smear campaigns [!!]". "Fear." "Targeted."


I know, I know, I know. It's just typical fetus fetishist self-pity and martyr-card deployment.

IANAL, but I'm pretty sure those comments wouldn't qualify as defamation either.

But they are on the path to defamation and I call on FFAB's Andrea Mrozek to disavow herself and her blog from them.

Deletion of them and an apology would be nice but I'm not holding my breath.

I intend to leave a link to this post in a comment at the blog.

UPDATE: As of noon, Saturday, March 28, Andrea Mrozek has not responded. My comment with a link to this post was published though.

UPPITY-DATIER: I woke on Sunday to the comment from Joel Kropf (below) urging me to meet Mrozek and this from her at the Astroturf blog:
"Fern, I’m happy to address anything with you, in person. Invitation for coffee still stands.
PS Since so much is misinterpreted over text/twitter/email, I’ll add this is not a sarcastic comment."

Is it just me or is this getting creepy?

No. I have no interest in meeting Mrozek in person. I want her to address the implication that I intended harm ONLINE. The implication was made ONLINE and needs to be addressed -- if at all -- ONLINE.

Mrozek, you created the opportunity for stupidity to occur. It is your obligation to fix it.

Or not.

My physical presence is not required.