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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More spoken word, more reasons why Harper is not your friend

Please have a listen to the brilliant Canadian spoken word artist and poet Shane Koyczan about this election, and why voting Conservative is a wasted vote. Thanks Shane. You are fantastic.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hey Haters - Reproductive Rights advocates are pro-family

Sometimes I get "comments" sent to this site that are so off the wall, so vile, so hateful and so unreasoned that I save them in a special file called "scary people." I think that these are comments from the same kind of people who kill doctors.

Some time during the forty weeks of harassment, I wrote about a little incident at the local abortion clinic during which protesters exceeded the number of people allowed by the clinic's injunction. They claimed there were only four people there, not seven as there clearly was. They didn't feel their kids counted as people. I love irony, and apparently others do too because the post had quite a few hits and has been reposted many times as a ridiculous example of pro-life hypocrisy. Yay.

Anyway, someone must have reposted recently because it's getting a lot of hits again, and one comment that I just have to say something about. By the way, I don't post hate mail. This is a site for pro-choice people. Another great irony is how much hate mail comes out of the so called "pro-life" community. For people who are pro-life, they sure like to make death threats. Haters are gonna hate, and they can do that somewhere else. But this one particular sick person said I was just upset because those protesters hadn't aborted the three babies they had with them. Can you freaking believe anyone would say that? What kind of sick person would say that? How messed up is this person?

I bring it to your attention because sometimes I think it's important to make note of the great divide between us, the pro choice and anti choice. The haters think we are evil, that we are anti-family, anti-child. (I've written another sentence here six times addressed to the haters, deleted all six times and am trying desperately not to name-call. I'm just sayin' it's possible to show self-restraint and civility in this world, even to people who threaten your life.) To the haters: Try to think past the propaganda you've been spoon fed and hear what we say. Is it so threatening to hear another perspective? We believe every mother must be willing and every child wanted. We want every child in the world to be a chosen child, a loved child, a child who is supported not only by the core group of people who love them with their whole hearts, but also by society as a whole. We want our culture to be a place where health care is a right and easily accessible, where education is a right and people who look after children, mothers and fathers and day care workers and guardians and teachers and coaches are respected, valued and able to support themselves and their families in every way, including financially. We recognize that we don't live in that world right now. Teachers barely scrape by on their tiny salaries while lesser beings (that's almost everyone in my book because I love teachers) make too much money doing things that don't matter nearly as much. We want every child to be valued and loved for who they intrinsically are, not for who they become or for what they do. We love the straight children, the gay children the trans children. We love them all. Yes, we love all the little children, all the children of the world, and want them all to be taken care of. We recognize the limits of our capacity to do this sometimes and that we live in a world where our vision is not yet realized. We recognize that sometimes a child is not wanted, that a woman isn't willing. We believe it is her right to control her own body and plan her family as she sees fit, and that she is the best person to decide what is right for her.

We are pro-family. We are pro-child. We are pro-man. We are pro-woman. We are pro-choice.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Harpergeddon. Is this really what you want?

Is this really what you want? Really? I'm not the first to say that people get the government they deserve. And maybe it's true. Maybe you deserve this. You haven't been paying attention. You haven't seen the evidence before your eyes, or you have pretended what you have seen isn't important. Or maybe you have willfully ignored it.

To start to grasp what Harper is doing to our economy, read Joseph Stiglitz in this month's Vanity Fair, (or read his book Freefall) explaining how in America, one percent that the inequality in America right now is on par with the inequality evident in Russia where oligarchs rule, and in Iran where unrest is at the boiling point. This is where Conservative economic policies are taking us in Canada. Among the biggest threats to democracy is the growing gap between the rich and the poor. The rich will do everything they can to widen that gap and set policy that is in their own interests. The top one percent don't need our social programs. The rich don't need to fund medicare; they can pay for the best medicine available themselves. And they don't want to increase taxes to fund it for the likes of us, the dwindling middle class, the working class and the poor.

Harpergeddon offers another threat to democracy: the erosion of human rights. The richest one percent don't need to care about human rights. They have enough wealth to mitigate any problems they may run into and they set policy so that nothing can threaten their power. But the rest of us aren't in that position. Rolling back reproductive rights is a big part of chipping away at human rights. I've said it before and I'll say it again. If I do not have the right to control my own body, I am no better than a slave. I am simply not free. If I don't have the right to my own body, what other right really matters? If I'm willing to let that go, those who try to exert power over me know I'll let anything go.

And although health care might not be officially a human right (maybe it should be), in Canada universal health care is certainly something we value. What will happen to health care? Read this. Without public health care, we are all one serious illness away from financial ruin. For source material, read Murray Dobbin on what will happen to health care. He's been studying Harper since the beginning, and Harper is not about to change his ways.

Do you really want the most intolerant, the most self-serving, the most entitled group of people in Canada to be the boss of you? Really?

Harpergeddon. I don't think you deserve this.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spoken word against Harper aka Harper is still not your friend (6)

The series continues. Watch this great spoken word piece by sLIGHT about voting for choice.

Also, have a look at this great video about the best pickup line ever, "I am not Stephen Harper" from shitharperdid. Great fun. I will be humming that little riff all day.

Also, in a sub-theme on this thread, how evangelicals have taken over your government, read this article about MP Trost in Saskatchewan and his speech to his pro-life supporters and how they defunded Planned Parenthood International.

This issue has really taken off. There are dozens of articles popping up everywhere about it now. Here's a list.

Tories defunding Planned Parenthood, MP says
Conservatives scramble to head off brewing controversy over abortion
Tory speech ignites abortion flap
Abortion and hidden agendas: Brad Trost set to be this year's Cheryl Gallant
Tories scramble to douse abortion fire

Tories leave Planned Parenthood in limbo over funding

Tories forced off message to address abortion funding

Planned Parenthood funding pulled: Trost

Sask MP Brad Trost claims he killed funding for Planned Parenthood

And here is Andrea Mrozek whining about it on her "ProWomanProLife" blog: http://www.prowomanprolife.org/2011/04/21/going-off-message/

I'll say it again, the agenda is not hidden people. It's right out there for anyone to see. The question is, are you voting for it or not?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Death of a Machiavellian vacuum salesman - Harper is no friend to women (5)

Thanks to Margaret Atwood for today's piece in the Toronto Star on Harper as a vacuum salesman. As she says, this is fiction, but all too painfully real, done in my favourite style, funny (with fact).

I was talking to a smart, successful (if money is the measure of succes, that is) thirty something guy last week who votes Conservative. He listed all the problems he saw with the other parties and said that he didn't trust the other leaders, said the usual crap about someone being too intellectual and someone else being too socialist (actually, he said "pie in the sky" but meant socialist.) He said there were no alternatives. He said this like he was reading a script from the National Post.

Living in Alberta, I often have to listen to this kind of diatribe, said out loud in public places as though everyone within ear shot agrees. I cleared my throat and disagreed with him in front of the assembled group. I took a chance on diatribing right back. You may be surprised to learn I don't usually do this, at least not outside of the blog. I was civil. I told him that I was concerned that the Conservatives shut down dissent. He said this was about "winning," and I felt myself being pulled into a Charlie Sheen world. I said that democracy is more complicated than winning and losing, that the winners, even though they won, have to represent the losers, the people they most disagree with. I explained how they pulled funding from people they saw as enemies and that this was a problem in a democracy. But in his view, it's okay to kill your opponent, like to do otherwise is weak. Nods of approval from the assembled. Politicians as gladiators.

But that is the way of war, the way of capitalism, not the way of democracy, I said.

I said I was concerned that they prorogued Parliament when things weren't going their way. He said that he felt this was an acceptable tactic. I said it was childish, picking up their toys and going home when friends didn't want to play their games. I said that they have repeatedly called this election is "unnecessary." He said it was, but I reminded him that they were in a minority government that had lost the confidence of the House. I reminded him that they had been found in contempt of Parliament. He said it was about the budget. I said, no, they were in contempt. He didn't understand. I said that they refused to give details about spending. He said that was an excuse. I said, "No. The government was brought down on it." Facts didn't seem to matter.
I said they claimed to be all about accountability, but wouldn't disclose their spending.

He said what about the Liberal scandals? He groused about them being a bunch of criminals. I said that although I will be the first to admit other parties have had scandals, the Conservatives currently have several members and high up mucky mucks embroiled in scandals, under suspicion, investigation or with criminal charges pending because of their scandals. They have cheated on election spending among other things. (I didn't even mention that we are about to learn they hid lots of perks for some MP's ridings in their G8 spending. We don't know the details yet because Sheila Fraser hasn't released the report yet. Let's hope she does it before the election.) Speaking of the G8, they basically suspended the Charter of Rights during the G8, the greatest affront to the rights of Canadians since the FLQ crisis. As far as women go, (not that he cares particularly about women) they have taken women back a generation, defunded status of women, killed the court challenges program (I had to explain what that was) and would end abortion. He said he thought that was fear mongering. I detailed their record. I said they would bring back capital punishment, end gun control, give tax breaks to the wealthiest and to corporations, extend the gap between the rich and the poor and make social welfare a thing of the past.

I said they have changed, are changing and will continue to change the Canada I was proud of, the peacekeeping, globally respected Canada of the past, the one that was so well respected that people from other countries pretended to be Canadian while travelling so that the local folks would be nice to them. Remember that Canada? Remeber when others used to want to wear our little Canadian flag pins? Now we have a country that goes too quickly to war and spends insane amounts of money on fighter jets while cutting back help to veterans. We have a country that does not pay its fair share in global aid, and has gone back to the most colonial of mentalities in the aid it does give (do what we think you should do, global aid recipients, not what you believe you need to do for yourselves). I even talked about how they have stopped collecting accurate data by ending the long form census so that they can fund what fits their ideology (like more prisons) instead of dealing with what is real (our crime rate is unchanging.)

The rich get richer and the poor get children.

He was unconvinced. I said that their base is Evangelical Christian. He said that was intolerant of me to bring that up. Actually, he said I was a bigot. I said it was not intolerant and that I was not a bigot, that I didn't feel Christians were in any way a jeopardized minority but instead that it spoke to the kind of society they were trying to build, their desire to link church and state. I said, "For goodness sakes. They don't believe in evolution." He said Harper does believe in evolution. I said "Yet, he put a guy in charge of science that refuses to say he believes in evolution." A look of concern briefly, ever so briefly, crossed his brow. "EVOLUTION," I said. "How can you vote for people who don't believe in evolution?"

I am frustrated. Our conversation ended with my voice rising and a friend pulling me away.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Harper Majority? Say Goodbye to Abortion Rights

Thanks to Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada for this article on the implications of a Harper majority on reproductive freedom in Canada. As always, please pass it on to those who aren't yet singing in this particular choir.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Harper is still not your friend, women (4)

In my ongoing series about why Mr. Harper is no friend to us women, I offer another set of links. Please send these to the unconvinced, uninformed and unconscious. Spread the word.

You probably already know about the viral phenom shitharperdid. Love their style - funny and fact based.

Here is a piece from the Toronto Star reminding us all that the religious right is still behind the conservative machine.

And here is another on the evangelical machine.

This is a great briefing by Peter (thanks Peter, whoever you are) of what Mr. Harper has done TO women, not FOR women.

Of course there are more and I urge you to look around and find out for yourself. Why, you might ask, am I so concerned on this blog about this election? Shouldn't I confine myself to abortion related issues? I am. Mr. Harper has it in for women. Let's make it personal, because it is. He has it in for me. He has it in for my daughter. His ideas, his policies, many of his colleagues and his evangelical base hates women. There is no secret agenda-it is as plain as day. Mr. Harper has already set women back a generation. He must be stopped.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Questions for your candidates from ARCC

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada has prepared a list of questions for you to ask your candidates so that you can gauge where they are on women's rights generally and abortion rights specifically. Have a look at them here. Thanks to ARCC for being on top of this, and while you are on their site, have a look at their full list of pro and anti-choice MPs.