Canadian politics, censorship, christians, Consevatives, culture, education, Mormonism and other forms of child abuse, politics, religion, willful blindness to absurd extremes

Close Your Eyes, Honey. Reality Will Pass Us By Soon…

In the interests of “getting parents involved in schooling”, Alberta has passed a law requiring schools to notify parents when ‘controversial’ topics such as sex, sexual orientation or religion will be discussed.

Or, to put it another way, intolerant lobby groups have successfully enabled intolerant  parents of innocent children to discourage intelligent debate and ignore facts that can influence their socialization, their health and their well-being. The “ignore it and it will go away” philosophy of education hasn’t really been a huge success in the past, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect it to work to anyone’s benefit this time, either. The law places limits on free speech that would be unacceptable outside a fascist dictatorship – having studied education, the free flow of ideas and the pursuit of knowledge through unlimited questioning of assumptions seems to me to be the most effective way of creating a citizen that is informed and willing to engage in their communities and the political process, not to mention increasing the odds that they can and will learn from other cultural traditions through a fair-minded and inquisitive approach to social interaction.

What Alberta is creating, by allowing reactionary parents to deny exposure to knowledge and controversy to their children, is another generation of reactionary parents. Ignorance breeds fear, which leads to hatred. That fundamental fact of human nature seems to have escaped the legislators out there. Take away the right of children to be educated through free inquiry, and you are robbing them of experiences that, while sometimes uncomfortable, can be life-affirming and character building. The parents in question obviously lack confidence that educators can protect children from the evils of sexuality and other religious views – I lack that confidence too, but that to me is a positive, not a negative. If I were a parent who were worth anything (as I consider Kevvy to be, for example), I would be there for my children to discuss anything they were disturbed by, to help give them context and the benefit of my experiences, not take away the opportunity for them to ask the questions out of a sense of parental laziness: “I’m too busy to set them straight on these liberal ideas, so it will save time if they are not exposed to them.” If parents were doing the job they are supposed to do, socialization into the family unit with all of its benefits and flaws, the law would not be necessary, and children would be free to form their own opinions.

You have done teachers, and especially children, an injustice. For the sake of political capital among the conservative ‘grassroots’, you have created the means to perpetuate ignorance and hatred, to place children’s health at risk, and to leave the impression to other Canadians that Albertans are ignorant hicks.

Not all of them are, I understand, but certainly the politicians are looking more and more like it.

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Canadian politics, Consevatives, Liberal, NDP, politics, right-wing tomfoolery, willful blindness to absurd extremes

A La Prochaine Fois!

They’re baaaaack!

chretien-broadbent

Jean Chretien and Ed Broadbent, in my opinion two of the best political minds Canada has produced, are rumored to be brokering a deal to create a coalition government in response to the Conservative’s continuing insistence on ignoring what is, to all accounts, a global economic crisis. Instead of actually proposing some stimulus for the economy, Harper and his cronies decided to make sure they’d be the only ones with enough money to carry on an election, should one occur. That particular hamfisted magnum opus has since vanished from the economic update, but the point remains: this is no time for gamesmanship – this is serious business, and the Conservatives are displaying a complete lack of comprehension of the seriousness of this economic downturn.

Canada may be in a somewhat better position than some other nations, thanks to some built-in protections, but this is not something that can be or should be used as a political lever to retain power. One Conservative, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, actually insisted that lowering the GST by ONE POINT way before this problem became apparent except to a few bright minds means that they are somehow responding appropriately. Sorry, I don’t think so, thanks for playing. Why is the Foreign Affairs Minister  commenting on this anyway? Was he the only one who managed to slip off the leash long enough to comment before Harper activated the shock collar?

It’s time to call the bluff. Let’s make Parliament functional again, by hitting Harper where it hurts most: his blind ambition. I wish Jean Chretien and Ed Broadbent success, and, more importantly, I wish my country success as well. Monday can’t come soon enough, for once.

It’s a Fervent Flash Fact.

Update: The CBC site reports that the Liberals will try to bring down the government through a non-confidence motion on Monday. This should be fun.

Consevatives, general silliness, Past indiscretions biting you in the ass, United States

The Big, Tall Wish

Bush

“I wish I wasn’t responsible for the world goin’ in the crapper… I wish I wasn’t responsible for the world goin’ in the crapper…

2008 US election, Barack Obama, christians, Consevatives, Inflaming rednecks for fun and profit, racism, religion, religious right, willful blindness to absurd extremes

Southern Man: Now Your Crosses are Burning Fast

favorite-time

An interesting article in the New York Times this morning about the loss of political influence in the American South, as evidenced by the residents’ worst nightmare – the election of an African-American president. As I was reading it, I was struck by the disparities in attitude between the rest of the states, particularly places like California, and the attitudes in the majority of the states making up the former Antebellum South.

Look, I understand belief systems and their place in society as well as, if not slightly better than, the average person, but I’m still taken aback at how racism can apparently be an acceptable component of everyday life. What motivates such bigotry? What would make the individuals quoted in the article so afraid?

One white woman said she feared that blacks would now become more “aggressive,” while another volunteered that she was bothered by the idea of a black man “over me” in the White House.


“I am concerned,” Gail McDaniel, who owns a cosmetics business, said in the parking lot of the Shop and Save. “The abortion thing bothers me. Same-sex marriage.”

“I think there are going to be outbreaks from blacks,” she added. “From where I’m from, this is going to give them the right to be more aggressive.”

Based on what, exactly? Do you think perhaps that being constantly degraded and often killed while trying to achieve the delerious American fever-dream might have made them just a touch angry? As is common for racists, guilt by association is the easiest way to keep your safe, selfish illusions of superiority – a black man is Prresident, therefore they will all benefit by being able to be more aggressive. As if they had  – *shudder* – equal rights under the law.

Particularly troubling is the comment from a functionary in the local government:

Don Dollar, the administrative assistant at City Hall, said bitterly that anyone not upset with Mr. Obama’s victory should seek religious forgiveness.

“This is a community that’s supposed to be filled with a bunch of Christian folks,” he said. “If they’re not disappointed, they need to be at the altar.”

Because, of course, god favors one race over another – I’m sure it’s all right there somewhere in the Handy Dandy Book O’ Prejudice you call the Bible, and, if not, I’m sure people won’t check if you tell them that it is. Lucky for you, if they believe in that crap, they won’t question, particularly if not questioning maintains their moral and civil superiority. Self-interest is, as I’ve said before, a great motivator of religious belief.

My dismay at having an enclave of such backward, medieval belief and unquestioning devotion to a way of life that should not exist outside of the Third World in the 21st century (and not even then, really) is profound. The fact that it exists within one of the most technologically advanced nations on the globe is doubly depressing. To have the very fact that the color of the President-elect’s skin is darker than yours lead to irrational fear is devastating.

That noise you hear is the lessons of history knocking on your doors. Once upon a time, it took a civil war to illustrate how wrong some of your most cherished traditions were, and how the majority of people in your own country disagreed with the degradation and slavery you visited upon your fellow men. Now, the lesson is reinforced by the free choice of a majority of your fellow citizens. The “audacity of hope” has brought your worst nightmare to life, and you need to ask yourselves: are these beliefs actually helping me, or are they just trapping the population of the south in a stagnating quagmire of backwardness, superstition and irrational clinging to a dishonorable past?

As the old guard are slowly replaced by the new generation who reject your narrow-minded avarice and insecurity, you may not even be aware of the new civil war being fought, slowly and inexorably taking away your right to hold your bigoted attitudes and thinking of your fellow humans as somehow less than human. There will be no loud skirmishes, there will be no Antietam, no Chancellorsville, no Gettysburg or Bull Run. The battle for hearts and minds will be won with the weapons of hope and inclusion. Your small, fearful, god-given, safe, black vs. white world will be replaced by an America that moves as one, fearlessly and proudly into the future.

Your world will end, not with a bang, but with a whimper.

It’s a Fiery Flash Fact

Consevatives, politics

Wait for It, It Gets Better…

Mike Harris, Montreal Economic Institute, December 2002 (excerpt):

Thinking about things from a new and different perspective is never easy. It takes courage, conviction and the strength to know that in taking a new and innovative course, you are making change for the better… Genuine leaders are the one who do the right things.

Stephen Harper, House of Commons, February 2003 (excerpt):

Thinking about things from a new and different perspective is not about reading the polls and having focus group tests. It is never easy because it takes courage, conviction and the strength to know that taking a new and innovative course is going to make change for the better… Genuine leaders are the ones who do the right thing.

The video evidence:

Hmm… Speaking of doing the right thing… If I were a student and plagiarized even once, I would risk being tossed out of school on my ass. In this case, Dion has the right idea: expel him!

Ironically, as the Liberals point out, Harper is apparently only plagiarizing from small-‘c’ conservative governments that have failed. I hope Steve continues to emulate them, particularly in the failure department.

Consevatives, Iraq, Past indiscretions biting you in the ass

I see a new Conservative campaign poster…

If there is any truth to it, there is a certain audacity to the artlessness with which it was employed. Of couse, I speak of the rather compelling video splicing together John Howard’s 2003 “rah rah let’s kick Sadaam’s ass” speech with the identical speech given in a losing effort by then PC leader Stephen Harper in Canada’s House of Commons. The video is all the rage at ProgBlog today, and even among the mucky-mucks in the Liberal campaign apparently. Those that haven’s seen it can watch it here:

Naturally, the Tories don’t want to talk about where the speech came from, saying that it “was given by a person who was leading a party that doesn’t exist anymore”. However, either of the two possibilities, that Harper plagiarized the speech outright or it was issued by someone within the Bush neocon circle to raise support for tragic Iraq folly, are worth considerable investigation.

 

I have always considered Stephen Harper to be a neocon wolf in moderate clothing, but if the link is this direct, this intimate, I want to know more before we go to the polls. If Harper was PM in 2003, there is a very good chance that we’d be arguing about our involvement in the Iraq war today rather than Afghanistan, or hell, maybe both. Knowing as many in the forces as I do, I shudder to think about that.

 

Stephen Harper: Autocrat, Neocon, Plagiarist, Puppet.

 

We need it on a campaign poster to put alongside a picture of him in soft focus in his fucking fuzzy sweater mouthing platitudes about how much he loves his kids. Asshole.

Consevatives, politics

Full of Shit

Nice one, Steve. Not only do you have the gall to launch ad hominem attacks on Stéphane Dion rather than addressing policy issues, you are guilty of some pretty pathetic symbolism as well:

The Puffin Poops. Somewhere, A Maritimer Weeps.
The puffin poops. Somewhere, a Maritimer weeps.

I’m sure I speak for most of my compadres when I clearly state that American-style character assassination is unwelcome and unnecessary. Ever wonder why Canadians are deciding not to vote? It’s juvenile shit like this.

It’s a Flash Fact.