Legitimate what?

Over the past couple of days, the regina mom has read a number of pieces, some humourous, in response to a statement by US Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri,  regarding the medieval concept of legitimate rape.

How long has this no-pregnancy-in-rape theory been around?
“The idea that rape victims cannot get pregnant has long roots,” says Vanessa Heggie at Britain’s The Guardian. Think 13th century. One of the earliest British legal texts — Fleta, from about 1290 — has this familiar-sounding clause: “If, however, the woman should have conceived at the time alleged in the appeal, it abates, for without a woman’s consent she could not conceive.” Samuel Farr’s Elements of Medical Jurisprudence, a treatise from 1785 (second edition 1814), elaborates: “For without an excitation of lust, or the enjoyment of pleasure in the venereal act, no conception can probably take place. So that if an absolute rape were to be perpetrated, it is not likely she would become pregnant.”

What’s the medical underpinning of this theory?
From medieval times until the 19th century, doctors and laypeople alike widely believed that women only conceived if they had an orgasm, since the presumed female “seed” — needed to complement the male sperm to achieve pregnancy — was thought be secreted only during sexual climax. “By logical extension, then,” says Heggie, “if a woman became pregnant, she must have experienced orgasm, and therefore could not have been the victim of an ‘absolute rape’.”

Interestingly, and in stark contrast to what the right wing nut jobs (RWNJ) in the US have been saying, researchers at the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon recently shared their findings into a hormone that’s present in semen. They now believe it “nudges a woman’s body to ovulate.”

In a new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Saskatoon-based researchers and their colleagues in Chile went sleuthing in llamas and cows for the identity of a seminal fluid protein they’d previously found sends a signal to a female’s brain. That signal prompts the female brain to release hormones that stimulate ovulation.

Veterinary biomedical sciences Prof. Gregg Adams, who is with the university’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says he expected to find a brand new protein in the seminal fluid. Much to their surprise, they found this poorly-understood protein (called ovulation-inducing factor or OIF) is the same molecule as an old friend in the nervous system that’s critical for normal neuron function.

the regina mom cannot wait to see how the RWNJs respond to this piece of legitimate science!

Pipelines: Which side are you on, planet or profit?

Since the Northern Gateway pipeline hit the news, the regina mom has read more posts about science than ever before.  And it’s not because science claims a place in her higher reading order.  Rather, it’s because the HarperCon response to public outrage about the pipeline has forced her to know wtf she’s talking about.  Or try to, anyway.

 

David Suzuki says that’s a good thing, that “science literacy is good for society.”  So there.  trm is doing it for the good of society!  Suzuki also says,

 

In an open society, leaders who have nothing to hide and who base their decisions on the best available evidence should have no reason to muzzle scientists, or anyone else. Just as parents should help children find relevant facts and encourage exploration, governments have a responsibility to make sure we have access to good information.

 

Having answers to our children’s questions is not enough. If we want societies that provide the maximum benefit for the most people over the longest time, and if we want to find solutions to the challenges and problems we’ve created, we must teach our children and ourselves how to find and evaluate answers objectively. Making science education a priority is an important part of that.

 

Did the HarperCons have poor science education?  Because it’s clear they’re not responding to science or the very real dangers this project would create, unless to twist it for political points.  What interest, then, does it serve the HarperCon government in ignoring all this?  That question was answered when trm read US environmentalist and Distinguished Scholar, Bill McKibbon’s dispatch:

 

The open question is why the industry persists in denial in the face of an endless body of fact showing climate change is the greatest danger we’ve ever faced.

 

Why doesn’t it fold the way the tobacco industry eventually did? Why doesn’t it invest its riches in things like solar panels and so profit handsomely from the next generation of energy? As it happens, the answer is more interesting than you might think.

 

Part of it’s simple enough: the giant energy companies are making so much money right now that they can’t stop gorging themselves. ExxonMobil, year after year, pulls in more money than any company in history. Chevron’s not far behind. Everyone in the business is swimming in money.

 

Still, they could theoretically invest all that cash in new clean technology or research and development for the same. As it happens, though, they’ve got a deeper problem, one that’s become clear only in the last few years. Put briefly: their value is largely based on fossil-fuel reserves that won’t be burned if we ever take global warming seriously.

 

And that’s it, isn’t it?  The HarperCons are the party of big business, of the corporate sect that lined the Conservative Party coffers for the last election and they now have the ear of government.  Why, the CEO of Enbridge accompanied the PM on the trip to China!  That certainly doesn’t make the HarperCons look impartial to the pipeline now, does it?  Enbridge’s big  boss seems emboldened by the gesture, asserting that he has already offered enough to First Nations who would be impacted by his pipeline. “We think the financial package we’re offering is very, very strong, so we don’t have any intent (or) consideration on changing that,” is what he told the Reuters news agency.

 

No doubt he’s been crunching numbers.  He couldn’t offer more; it’d cut into his bottom line.  Make no mistake, that’s what this is all about, the bottom line.  Back to McKibbon for a moment.  He reminds trm that oil is a finite resource.  Oil execs and their minions, aka our governments, are racing to beat the pending disaster  inherent in continued GHG production, the distaster science is telling us we must avoid.  But keeping oil reserves in the ground, he says, would impact the oil industry’s bottom line by $20 trillion.  And that, in McKibbon’s words,

 

…would be a disaster, first and foremost for shareholders and executives of companies like ExxonMobil (and people in places like Venezuela). If you run an oil company, this sort of write-off is the disastrous future staring you in the face as soon as climate change is taken as seriously as it should be, and that’s far scarier than drought and flood. It’s why you’ll do anything — including fund an endless campaigns of lies — to avoid coming to terms with its reality.

 

NDP Member of Parliament Megan Leslie gets it.  She is not afraid to look at the reality of the situation and look to a solution.

 

We must recognize our fossil fuel stock as a precious resource that we can use strategically to provide jobs today, but also ensure longer-term job security by using the short-term wealth they create to transition us towards new industries. We need to stop denying the writing on the wall, and develop prudent strategies to find ways to transfer the skills and knowledge that the workers in the oilsands have toward green energy industries.

 

A green jobs strategy would include extending the ecoENERGY home retrofit program, which the Conservatives have just cancelled, because it has created economic spinoffs of $10 for every $1 invested by the government while simultaneously reducing our carbon footprint. Jobs can be created through investing in green infrastructure projects, enhanced public transit and green research and development, all of which will spur economic development in every community in Canada.

But the HarperCons aren’t set on taking us there.  So, what do we do?  McKibbon:

 

 

Telling the truth about climate change would require pulling away the biggest punchbowl in history, right when the party is in full swing. That’s why the fight is so pitched. That’s why those of us battling for the future need to raise our game.

 

We’ve started, that’s for sure.  But we need to pump it up a few notches if we want the attention of the HarperCons.  Make no mistake about it, we can do it!

 

 

Willful Ignorance

As the HarperCon delegation of Ministers and big biz boyz prepared to take off for China, the wise Yinka Dene Nation through whose lands the Northern Gateway pipeline is proposed to go, were busy writing letters.  They sent one to the Government of China loaded with examples describing how

Aboriginal communities in Canada live at the margins of society – in abject poverty with appalling conditions. Recently the community of Attawapiskat was highlighted in the news for the extreme conditions with lack of housing, running water and sewage. Attawapiskat is one of more than 100 First Nations communities in Canada that face this reality. These conditions violate the adequate standard of living guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the rights to adequate housing, education, and other rights guaranteed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

They sent an open letter to the People of China:

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is visiting China this week to talk about his plans toforce the Enbridge Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline and Tankers through our lands, territories, and watersheds. Harper plans to violate our indigenous human rights to build this 1200 kilometre oil pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific Ocean. We will not allow Harperto force this oil pipeline through our lands. Under United Nations international law, we have the right to say no to this pipeline. We will enforce our legal rights to protect our waters from the risk of an oil spill.

While the Prime Minister is in China, the Indigenous Environmental Network has teamed up with the Council of Canadians and the Climate Action Network to lobby various Ottawa-based European Embassies about the realities of the tarsands.  From their news release:

“The Harper Government has failed Canadians and the world by refusing to take the climate crises seriously,” says Hannah McKinnon of Climate Action Network Canada. “Instead of fighting a pollution battle at home, the government has chosen to fight a Public Relations battle abroad –it is pathetic that our government is putting more energy into trying to kill climate change policies in other countries than doing its fair share to fight climate change in Canada.”

The organizations discussed the importance of the policy and directly debunked common industry and government lobby points regarding discrimination, carbon intensity of tar sands, and trade concerns. They made clear the critical importance of pressuring the government to take action on cleaning up the tar sands, both from a climate change and energy perspective as well as the human rights implications on directly impacted First Nation Communities.

“Profound human rights violations are being perpetuated by the Canadian governments ongoing tar sands bonanza. First Nations in the region are living with 30% elevated rates of cancer compared to the rest of Alberta,” says Clayton Thomas-Muller, Tar Sands Campaign Director for the Indigenous Environmental Network. “First Nations peoples have been leading an international campaign to stop the Canadian tar sands, this policy will help cut off Prime Minister Harpers ability to peddle this dirty oil to the European market.”

The blog, Trapped in a Whirlpool, raises the question of water quality in First Nations communities, noting that Alberta has the biggest increase of boil-water orders in the country rising to 38 in 2011 from 8 in 2006.  [begin sarcasm] Of course, we don’t know why, do we? [end sarcasm]  But the HarperCons are doing nothing to fix this.  Apparently, they’d rather the First Nations people drink bitumen, I guess.  Of course, we are not surprised, are we?

The tarsands are also taking habitat away from wild animals. In a twisted scheme to save caribou herds, the HarperCon government will reduce the wolf population by poisoning bait with strychnine.  In a report on the impact of tarsands development the US National Wildlife Federation says,

Canada’s Minister of Environment Peter Kent said in September that thousands of Alberta wolves will need to be killed to rescue caribou impacted by tar sands development. “Culling is an accepted if regrettable scientific practice and means of controlling populations and attempting to balance what civilization has developed. I’ve got to admit, it troubles me that that’s what is necessary to protect this species,” Kent commented. Simon Dyer of the Pembina Institute estimates that many thousands of wolves could be destroyed over five years under Canada’s proposed plan.

The minister has it backwards. Rather than killing wolves, he should be stopping the habitat destruction and restoring habitat associated with tar sands production. Without healthy habitat, the decline of caribou is inevitable, no matter how wolves are managed. If Canada wants to protect caribou herds, the first priority should be protection and restoration of caribou habitat.

The Minister and his cohorts get a lot of things wrong, particularly when it comes to science, according to Metaman.  He basically suggests we turn on our bullshit detectors.

Check your science carefully folks: Give it the sniff test! Is the next phase of “CPC Agnotology” fake peer reviewed “bullshit”? The GOP republicans and CPC conservatives know that they are failing to succeed with ideology, so, is the next step is to put on the “SunTV lab coats (brought to you by FoxNews)” and do some “dog and pony science” for the masses? Perhaps Ezra will finally exchange his “heavy carbon footprint chainsaw for a more efficient and intelligent pen”? Watch for more the new “science parrot” to replace CPC “bullshit“?

It is 2012; Science, in the past 20 years has cleared out a lot of “Kenty” science, but there is much to be done. By eliminating government based science, seems our government expects us to trust corporate science: Tobacco science? Ethical science? FDA Science?

 

350 or bust shared a 26-second video created by NASA scientists.  It shows, very clearly, that global climate change is real.  Have a look yourself:

 

A child could easily understand that.  But our government refuses to.  Willful ignorance is so unbecoming a government.  But that’s willful too, isn’t it?

 

Opposing the Enbridge Pipeline: Saying No to Corptocracy

According to the Earth Policy Institute direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry world-wide amount to half a trillion dollars ($500,000,000,000) annually.  That’s a lot of zeroes for an industry that is killing people, plants, animals and whole ecosystems. That’s more than $1.4 billion per day impacting the climate.  Fortunately, Canada is not in the top 10, not even the top 25 of the countries most generous to the fossil fuel industry.  But given the Davos outing of the real HarperCon corptocratic agenda to “remake Canadathe regina mom shall be ever-vigilant.

If Americans are asking what has happened to their northern neighbour, it’s a sign.  Chris Hedges, in an Op-Ed published at Truthdig, asks outright, “What has happened to Canada?”  He goes on to answer:

I was in Montreal on Friday and Saturday and saw the familiar and disturbing tentacles of the security and surveillance state. Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Accords so it can dig up the Alberta tar sands in an orgy of environmental degradation. It carried out the largest mass arrests of demonstrators in Canadian history at 2010’s G-8 and G-20 meetings, rounding up more than 1,000 people. It sends undercover police into indigenous communities and activist groups and is handing out stiff prison terms to dissenters. And Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a diminished version of George W. Bush. He champions the rabid right wing in Israel, bows to the whims of global financiers and is a Christian fundamentalist.

The voices of dissent sound like our own. And the forms of persecution are familiar. This is not an accident. We are fighting the same corporate leviathan.

And the new Canada Inc. will stop at nothing to get what it wants.  The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal is a case in point.  Citing the economy as the reason for the vast devastation which will occur if the pipeline is allowed to proceed, Enbridge has charged ahead.  Geoff Dembicki offers up a detailed explanation of just what Enbridge has done in B.C. as it tried to gain the support of First Nations and small communities.  The Haisla Peoples do not believe they have been consulted, as is required.  Enbridge has walked all over them and not heard their views, despite promising — twice — to listen.

With the government of Canada’s charge forward on the Joint Review Panel (JRP) for the Enbridge pipeline proposal despite the concerns and reservations of the Haisla People came a sense of distrust.  There is now real concern that the HarperCon government will inappropriately use the Aboriginal Consultation Framework piece of the JRP as its “duty to consult” regarding development on unceded lands. First Nations leaders are not, however, standing idly by.

Blogger 350 or bust has reprinted, with permission, an open letter to Harper and Oliver by a former Chief Councillor of the Haisla People, Gerald Amos.  He says,

Now we face Enbridge and their proposal to bring dirty oil from the tarsands through our territory via a pipeline, and ship it through our waters via super tankers.

This is the largest and most insidious threat to our culture that has ever existed, with the possible exception of the Canadian governments violent imposition of the residential school system.

trm doesn’t see these folks backing down.

 

The same goes for the Dene people.  Saik’uz First Nation Chief Jackie Thomas said, “We will be the wall that Enbridge cannot break through.” This came after signing the Save the Fraser Declaration, “a formal legal declaration that protects the world’s most critical salmon rivers, and the Pacific North Coast, from the threat of oil spills posed by the proposed Enbridge oil pipeline and supertankers.”

 

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo said that First Nations have a right to say no to pipeline development on their territories, based on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which Canada is not a signatory.  It would ensure Canada’s First Nations “right to free, prior and informed consent” in all matters, be they political, social or economic.

 

Given that Canada has not signed onto that Declaration, the regina mom will not hold forth much hope that the HarperCons will keep to their word.  And, like Chief Thomas, she is prepared to lay her body down in front of the bulldozers to stop this insanity, should need be.

 

PMO Hates Gays & Greens, Judges & Nurses, AKA “Foreign Radicals” (UPDATED)

(Scroll to bottom for UPDATE)

Wow! This media AlerteInfoAlert from the Prime Minister’s Office is a sight to behold, dear Reader.  Do take a moment to thank Kady O’Malley for postponing her book-reading and sleep in order to share it with us.  the regina mom is also foregoing some book-reading and sleep to write this.  As with her poetry, she’s going to take it line-by-line or at least stanza-by-stanza so it may take awhile to find appropriate links and all.  She hopes you’ll follow along, that you’re a brave enough soul to make it to the computer-eye-glazed end.

From: Alerte-Info-Alert
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 08:45 PM

At 8:45 PM on a Friday night, this goes out to the media.  That, in and of itself, is hilarious, is it not?  Can you spell, “desperate”?

To: Alerte-Info-Alert
Subject: Foreign radicals threaten further delays / Des groupes radicaux étrangers brandissent la menace de retards additionnels

Foreign radicals threaten further delays

“Foreign radicals”?  Hmm, those foreigners, maybe they have.  trm has threatened to delay the northern pipeline project.  She has publicly stated that the Northern Gateway Pipeline project will go ahead over her dead body.  And if the HarperCons want her dead body that badly, so be it.  But trm is filled with gratitude for these “foreign radicals” who are threatening to delay her death.  Not yet 50, trm is far too young to die.

So, what else does the PMO have to say about these foreign radicals?

Today, Ecojustice attacked the independence of the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel.  ForestEthics, Living Oceans Society and Raincoast Conservation Foundation joined them in their attack on the Joint Review Panel.

*GASP* — a foreign attack on a Canadian Panel!  By four tree-hugging groups!  Call in the military!  Those plant-loving, ocean living, ethical conservationists, how dare they challenge our panel, eh?  Let’s have a look-see who they are, those radicals!

Ecojustice is a registered charitable organization in Canada.  And all such organizations are subject to laws which regulate all charitiestrm is certain we can trust that with the HarperCon law and order government, any organization undertaking illegal activity would meet the swift hand of justice.  One would expect Ecojustice to know that.  After all, they’ are  “lawyers and scientists.” Just because they “believe in leading the way to a sustainable future” by taking the “lead in four key areas:  clean water, natural spaces, healthy communities and climate protection” shouldn’t mean they don’t know how to follow the laws of the land.

OMG!  An American serves on the Board of Directors:  Judge William Alfred Newsom is a retired state appeals court judge, living in San Francisco, a city also on the western coast of the continent.  And, oh my, he administrates the Gordon P. Getty Family Trust.  But oh-oh!  His son, Gavin, is the former Mayor of San Francisco who granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples!  And now he’s the Lieutenant Governor of California, on record for his support of universal healthcare.  A radical almost as bad as Tommy Douglas!  No wonder the HarperCons a red alert about the organization his father is involved in!

Well, there.  One radical down.  Now to ForestEthics who just fired a whistleblower.  trm discussed that here, but oh dear, lookie here!  They have offices in San Francisco, CA, Vancouver, BC and Bellingham, WA, another Pacific Coast town.  These “foreign radicals” include Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner, Stuart Sender, as well as Kevin Johnson, the author of the successful book, The Power of Legacy and Planned Gifts: How Nonprofits and Donors Work Together to Change the World which sounds like it could be radical.  And there are a couple of entrepreneurs (one with an MBA from the Harvard School of Business), a nurse-entrepreneur and a Spiritual Director for a Buddhist meditation centre. Aha! trm has attended Buddhist meditations.  It is pretty radical to sit still for 45 minutes, that’s for sure! Two down.

Onward, then, to the Living Oceans Society, which claims it is “a leader in the effort to protect Canada’s Pacific coast” and focuses “exclusively on marine conservation.”  Sure enough, there are a couple of Americans on the Board and they employ a bunch of educated people.  A sure sign of trouble, isn’t it?  And OMFG, they have proposed an oil tanker prohibition area that extends from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert because “[h]istory has shown that oil spills come with oil tankers. It’s not a question of if a spill will happen, but when.”  [emphasis mine]  They also provide a detailed oil spill model (map) of what’s at stake in the area.  What a radical concept!  Radical, I tell you! Three radical groups down.

All right then, on to the last one, the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, “a team of conservationists and scientists” who use “rigorous, peer-reviewed science and grassroots activism to further [their] conservation objectives.”  Oh, well, then we can be assured these folks are radicals!  Peer-reviewed science?  Real science?  And it’s mixed with activism?  Oy!  How radical can you get?!?  Four radical groups.  Wow!  It’s almost like they’re colluding or something.  All that science and smarts and creativity.  And a bunch of foreigners, to boot!  Oh, the PMO had to take action!

Let’s see what else is in this red alert.

Here are the facts:

The Northern Gateway is currently going through a careful and comprehensive review process to ensure the proposal is safe and environmentally sound.

A lot of people hope so, anyway.

Radical groups are trying to clog and hijack the process, rather than letting the panel do its job independently, expeditiously, and efficiently.

Hijacking?  Yup, that word again.  And, apparently, this hijacking is a fact.  A fact, unsubstantiated at present, but that doesn’t matter in the HarperCon world, so let’s just carry on.  The PMO has more to say, after all.  And I know you want to know, dear Reader.

Our government has asked that the review process be conducted efficiently and without excessive delays.  We believe reviews for major projects can be accomplished in a quicker and more streamlined fashion.

Yes, the HarperCon government has asked for efficiency and speed in the environmental review process, that’s a fact.  And it’s quite likely that they do believe the process could be streamlined, so that is also quite possibly a fact.  Again, unsubstantiated, but let’s give the poor PMO peeps a break and go forward.

We do not want projects that are safe, generate thousands of new jobs and open up new export markets to die in the approval phase due to unnecessary delays.

Our Government’s top priority remains the economy and creating jobs.

Canada is on the edge of a historic choice – to diversify our energy markets away from our traditional trading partner in the United States or to continue with the status quo.

It may well again be a fact that the PMO wants that.  And who really cares about human rights in China when there’s money to be had a new market waiting.  We need dirty jobs just as much as the next guy.  Our oil’s ethical and clean, right?  And it’s safe, too.  That Obama down south there in the USA is just another eco-radical, anyway.  Didn’t you hear him bragging about his billions of dollars for green initiatives during his State of the Union address the other night?  So we’d best cut and run from that sure market, eh? And get back to red alertville.

We know that increasing trade will help ensure the financial security of Canadians and their families.

We want to take advantage of the booming Asia-Pacific economies that have shown great interest in our oil, gas, metals and minerals.

Well, sure they are.  We’re resource-rich.  For now.  And the folks in the PMO probably think that their buddies we had better get as much profit as possible out of Canada’s resources before we have to change things. But never fear, our HarperCon government is already looking at ways to do stop the changes they don’t want.  Some are even talking out loud about it.

All this talk about a little pipeline project has really tuckered out trm.  It’s possible that some dear Readers have also tuckered out and drifted off trying to plough through all this boring material.  That’s sure to make the PMO people happy.

————

UPDATE:  Those four foreign radical organizations have issued a legal notice of motion calling on the Joint Review Panel to “affirm its impartiality in the face of government interference.” Go read.  Now!  With gratitude to Kady @ Inside Politics for keeping us informed.

UPDATE2:  Should have also included a link to the cover letter and and supporting documents these foreign radical groups based in Canada included with their Notice of Motion.

Hyperbole, Haste and the Nail in the Coffin: The Death of Oil Pipedreams

It’s been more than a week now since Minister Joe (McCarthy) Oilver’s divisive screed appeared in the Globe and Mail. His attempt to create an us’n’them scenario has been thoroughly denounced and discredited in the blogosphere, as the links provided in my previous posts indicate.

Commentators, even some in the mainstream corporate media, continue to provide more information worthy of yet another blogpost by trm.

Tabitha Southey takes a swipe at the HarperCon hyperbolic campaign with her own hyperbolic prose and imagines a love affair between Big Oil and the Environmental Movement.  trm giggled.

Paul Wells, possibly using the research produced by Deep Climate and DeSmog Blog (Who knows? He credits no one.), also wades into the online discussion.  He quotes an unnamed HarperCon supporter who assures him there’s no connection.

“I’m 100 per cent sure that there’s no coordination between Alykhan and Joe Oliver’s office,” one Conservative said. The connection is loose and cultural, not conspiratorial: “This government has narratives, and this”—the virtue of the oil sands, suspicion at the motives of its opponents—“is one of them.”

Max Paris at CBC notes that the no-go on the Keystone XL pipeline in the USA “added new urgency to the Northern Gateway Pipeline process.”  He addresses Tom Flanagan’s suggestion that PMSH could use Section 92(10)(c) of the Constitution  to ensure the pipeline goes ahead.

Here’s what Bruce Ryder — a constitutional law expert and prof at Osgoode Hall — thinks of Flanagan’s clause:

“It’s a valid legal power that Parliament possesses. To use it would raise an outcry and be intensely controversial from the point of view of constitutional convention or practices that have evolved to reflect contemporary understandings of federalism that treat the provinces and the federal government as equal.”

Bloggers and alt media haven’t stopped talking about the pipelines, either.  DeSmog Blog has a detailed expose of the interconnections among Sun Media, the HarperCon government and the folks at Ethical (sic) Oil, including an analysis of the digital fingerprints, the creation of the echo chamber and the relationships of those in that chamber. A bonus in the post is the Rick Mercer spoof of “foreign influence” spin.

And last, but certainly not the least, is Andrew Nikiforuk’s piece in the Tyee.  In What the Keystone Rejection Really Reveals, he educates trm on the jobs! jobs! jobs! blather we regularly hear from the proponents of both KXL and NGP:

(For the record, the oil industry is not a jobs machine. It is the world’s most capital-intensive industry and earns more than 10 per cent of the world’s GDP. But it only employs less than one tenth of one per cent of the world’s workers. In Canada it accounts for but 1.8 per cent of the workforce.)

And, he leaves trm with a smile on her face.

TransCanada says it will apply again in 2013 with a different pipeline route. For oil-sand developers, Keystone XL still remains Plan A to get bitumen to foreign markets. It’s not as cheap as moving bitumen to the Canada’s West Coast but it comes with fewer risks.

Most senior executives in the oil patch quietly admit that Enbridge Gateway project (Plan B) will never be built. The local opposition against this desperate pro-China folly is much stronger and just as committed as that against Keystone XL.

In fact, the path closed long ago due to ineptness and hubris as well as a ruthless disregard for the power of salmon, whales and First Nations.

It’s deader than Keystone.

And trm‘s still smiling about that!

Harper continues to ignore will of Parliament

And I’m not referring to the prorogation perogative he was granted in order to avoid a motion of nonconfidence in Parliament.

No, I’m talking about the resolution Parliament passed in June, 2008, the one that says, “conscientious objectors to wars not sanctioned by the Security Council of the United Nations” should not be deported from Canada.  An Angus Reid poll conducted in June 2008 showed that 63 percent of Canadians (that number again!) agreed with allowing war resisters to stay in Canada.  That’s likely because they know the US invasion of Iraq was not sanctioned by the Security Council of the United Nations and is, therefore, an illegal war. Refresh your memory here.

Harper, however, doesn’t have to listen to Parliament, eh? Cuz he’s the Supreme Being, apparently;  he is above the law and certainly above the whims of a majority of Parliament, or so it seems.

Needless to say, I was a little miffed when this landed in my inbox today.   (Note:  There is an action item at the bottom of this post.)

War Resister Cliff Cornell Told to Leave Canada by Christmas Eve

Rivera Family to Get Decision on January 7

Toronto — In the latest of a series of deportation orders, Citizenship and
Immigration Canada has told war resister Cliff Cornell, of Nanaimo, BC, that
he must leave Canada by December 24, or face removal by force. Cliff,
originally from Arkansas, arrived in Canada in January 2005. He currently
works as an Assistant Manager of a retail store near Nanaimo, where he has
an excellent work record.

Cliff’s deportation order comes after similar orders for war resisters Corey
Glass, Jeremy Hinzman and his family, Patrick Hart and his family, Matt
Lowell and Dean Walcott. Like them, Cliff has begun to build a peaceful and
productive life in Canada and hopes to stay in his new country.

War resister Kim Rivera will receive a decision on January 7. Kim served in
the US Army in Iraq. She came to Canada with her husband, Mario, and their
two children, Christian (6) and Rebecca (4) in early 2007. Kim had a new
Canadian-born baby, Katie, on November 23, 2008.

The War Resisters Support Campaign continues to call upon the Harper
government to implement the will of Parliament, as expressed in a House of
Commons motion adopted on June 3, 2008. The motion recommended that
“…conscientious objectors to wars not sanctioned by the Security Council of
the United Nations,” such as the Iraq War, be allowed to remain in Canada
and apply for permanent resident status. It was adopted by a vote of 137-110
and also directed the Government of Canada to stop deportation proceedings
against all of the war resisters here.

I was further miffed when I called the office of the Minister Responsible to voice my concerns about this and the receptionist would not refer me to anyone who could speak about the issue to me.  She had been ordered to not refer telephone calls on this issue to anyone except the call centre.

I am not the only one concerned about this matter.  Sandra Finley, former leader of the Green Party of Saskatchewan, a woman who is going to court for her refusal to fill out a census form that would be processed by Lockheed Martin, an arms manufacturer, had an earlier conversation with a Kenney Executive Assistant who claimed to know nothing about the Parliamentary resolution,

I spoke with Ministerial Assistant to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney,:

Essentially I was talking with someone who knows very little about something
he should know a lot about.

It is disconcerting, to know that people in the Minister’s office, in the
Canadian Dept of Immigration, where this has been an on-going issue for a
long time, do not know the most basic of information.

I won’t go into all the details. Some of the back-and-forth:

Lyntner: – no, I am not aware of anything passed by the House of Commons
(that would prohibit the deportations).

(I supplied the date and nature of the motion passed, and mentioned that
the deportees are people who resisted an illegal war.)

Lyntner: – who says it was illegal?

Me: – I don’t believe you would challenge the fact that the Bush
Administration used lies as the basis for dropping bombs on Iraq? There
were no weapons of mass destruction, as claimed. And I don’t think you
would challenge the fact that the U. N Security Council refused to sanction
the war? … okay. There are international laws that prohibit a state from
just dropping bombs on other countries.

Lyntner: – at some point in all this he says “well, that’s your OPINION
that the war was illegal”.

Me: - International Humanitarian Law, also known as the Law on Wars
makes it illegal. It is not my opinion. It is IN FACT an illegal war.

Lyntner: – well who passed that law? A country has to sign these laws
before they are binding.

Me: – The United Nations passed the various conventions that make up
International Humanitarian Law and Canada is signatory to those treaties.
Google “International Humanitarian Law” or “Law of War” – you can find it
all.

Lyntner: – There are many different agencies (how can it be “international”
or “UN”).

Me: I am aware that there are many different agencies. But they all fall
under the rubric of the UN. There are International Laws that clearly make
the War on Iraq an illegal war.

Harper doesn’t care about anyone but himself and his own power.  We, as compassionate Canadians do and are taking action:
Contact Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney and ask him to:

• STOP deportation proceedings against U.S. Iraq war resisters, including
Cliff Cornell and Kim Rivera and her family; and
• IMPLEMENT the motion adopted by Canada’s Parliament to allow U.S. Iraq war
resisters to apply for permanent resident status.

Here are the numbers to call:

Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney
Call 613.954.1064

MP Jason Kenney’s Parliamentary office:
613.992.2235

Or email him at:
minister@cic.gc.ca
or
Kenney.j@parl.gc.ca

Please cc the opposition party critics if you email Jason Kenney:
Liberal party immigration critic Borys Wrzesnewskyj:
wrzesnewskyj.b@parl.gc.ca
NDP immigration critic Olivia Chow: chow.o@parl.gc.ca
Bloc Québécois immigration critic Thierry St-Cyr: st-cyr.t@parl.gc.ca.

Happy Hallowe’en

Have a blessed Samhain.

From my inbox:

Palin and Suffering

The full piece, Palin and Suffering, as published in the Oct 23 issue of the prairie dog.

Palin And Suffering

Scary Sarah leads the way to a nastier, stupider America

by Bernadette L. Wagner

.

Sarah Palin wouldn’t be my first pick for Vice President of the United States. The Alaskan Governor is unfit for the job.

For starters, forget that she’s female. Palin is no friend of women’s rights. She rose to the top not because she’s cream, but because she’s female, a token woman — a strategic play by Republicans to lure Hillary Clinton supporters to their ticket — and because neoconservative types like her. A lot.

Still, her spot on the Republican ticket shocked the world. Mitt Romney or Joe Lieberman were the favourites to run as Senator John McCain’s running-mate. How, exactly, Palin floated to the top remains a mystery.

Palin hails from Wasilla, Alaska, a town in a state with an incidence of sexual assault that’s twice the national average. During her two-term reign as mayor in the 1990s, Wasilla was one of a number of Alaskan municipalities that began billing victims of sexual assault for the forensic testing they underwent after filing a report with the police. (This ‘blame the victim’ policy stood until 2000, when the state legislature squashed it so Alaska would be eligible to receive funding for (from?) the federal Violence Against Women Act.)

The “rape-kit” story has been virtually ignored by the mainstream media during the U.S. Campaign. That’s surprising given the sheer viciousness of this policy that was in place under Palin’s tenure. Can you hang the whole mess on Sarah? Well, no, but she’s far from blameless. — After all, she hand-picked a police chief who championed the policy and Palin signed off on the budget that turned the rape-kit expenses into revenues.

None of this should be really surprising, given that Palin belongs to a book-banning, gun-toting brand of hard right, Christian fundamentalism. Officially blessed by Wasilla’s Church of God, Palin opposes same sex marriage and holds strident views on reproductive choice (women don’t get any). As a member of Feminists for Life she believes all pregnancies should be carried to term, even those that are the result of sexual assault.

It’s enough to make a cynic wonder whether Palin believes that a rapist should be able to freely choose the mother of his children.

But hey! She’s a feminist.

And gosh-golly, she believes in equal rights. Or so she told Katie Couric in the fated CBS interviews. And in one of those interviews she proudly proclaimed herself the harbinger of new energy for old politics. However, the only energy she’s creating is old: fear and hatred. And she feeds on it.

In Alaska, it’s fairly well known that Palin and State Senate President, Lyda Green, don’t exactly see eye-to-eye. When Palin appeared on a KWHL radio show early this year, the DJ called the senator “a jealous woman and a cancer.” The senator is a cancer survivor. Palin knew that and said nothing. The host escalated his attacks, joking about Green’s body size. Palin laughed. He called the senator a bitch and Palin laughed harder. So, when the DJ invited himself over for dinner, what did Palin do? She agreed!

Palin’s attacks on Obama run in a similar vein. Her constant aspersions on Obama’s character, attempts to connect him with voter fraud, insistence on painting him as a radical, and repetition of the question, “Who is Barack Hussein Obama?” feed a frenzy unlike anything the U.S. has seen since the McCarthy era. Palin is not for equality. She is doing nothing to promote equality and egalitarianism among Americans. She’s inciting hatred. When her supporters call out “Terrorist!” or “Kill him!” or “Bomb Obama” she doesn’t stop them and insist on civility. She doesn’t explain that William Ayers was a civil rights and anti-war activist when Obama was eight years old, that Ayers is currently a university professor, or that he and Obama served on the board of an anti-poverty organization together with several of Republicans.

No, Palin can’t mention that. Doing so would stop the energy rising around her.

Instead, she smiles and winks, and feeds off the frenzy.

Is anyone surprised, then, that a Palin supporter assaulted independent journalist, Joe Killian, as he interviewed a protester at a Palin campaign rally on October 17? That the offices of ACORN, the community organization whose workers find and register new voters, have been vandalized? That a member ACORNs senior staff has received a death threat?

The neocons in the Republican party like anger and conflict. They’re all about war. And they like Sarah Palin.

William Kristol introduced Palin to the Republican inner circle in June 2007. A very influential and diehard neoconservative, he was Chief of Staff for former VP Dan Quayle. Kristol’s magazine, The Weekly Standard, is hand-delivered to every member of Congress every Monday morning. His father, Irving, sired the neocon movement and is a Senior Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The AEI is a far right think tank that’s all about unlimited free enterprise capitalism — the brand of capitalism that just sucked $700 billion out of the U.S. Treasury. And, SourceWatch.org says that AEI “succeeds in placing its people in influential governmental positions.”

Would that be people like Sarah Palin? The kind of people who tell us that we “shouldn’t worry about government not having enough money. Government’s got plenty of money.”

And the US is $10.3 trillion in debt. Don’t worry, be happy.

Earlier in the campaign an AEI official, quoted in the UK Telegraph, said of Palin, “She’s bright and she’s a blank page. She’s going places and it’s worth going there with her.”

Ahem.

Well, bright is relative. But the Couric interviews and the VP debate certainly highlighted Palin’s blankness.

Let’s hope that on Nov. 4, Americans won’t enter the dark places Palin wants to take them.

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