Thinking about it

Unrepentant Old Hippie has nominated me for a Thinking Blogger Award and though I’m a little late on the uptake, I want to thank her for the honour!

The participation rules are simple:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote (There is an alternative silver version if gold doesn’t fit your blog).

Five bloggers who make me think are, in no particular order:

  1. Alone on a Boreal Stage always has something writerly that makes my noggin work.
  2. Le Revue Gauche can always be counted on to bring forward the anarcho-socialist pov to any issue that arises and that never fails to make me think twice about my own analysis of the issue.
  3. The Conscious Earth keeps me thinking not only about the environmental havoc we’re wreaking on the planet but also about what we need to do to fix the mess we’ve created.
  4. Accidental Deliberations catches a lot of what the mainstream media misses, or corrects it, and it’s always information that makes me think more deeply about the issues.
  5. Thought Interrupted keeps me up-to-date on many of the goings on in Alberta which makes me think it’s rilly, rilly good to be living in SK!

There are several others that come to mind, such as April Reign, POGGE and Red Jenny, for example.  Hopefully someone else will nominate them for the Thinking Blogger Award at some point in the future.  So thanks for making me think.

And thanks again, U-ROH!  U-ROCK!


Still more on the NAFTA Highway

Here’s a loverly little bit out of the USA, pointing out that the NAFTA Highway is a big part of the North American Union that no one in power wants to tell us about and to which the mainstream media in Canada is turning a blind eye.

Thank goodness for the Interweb, eh?

From The New American

In the form of the NASCO SuperCorridor, a transport network is being implemented right under our noses for the purposes of accelerating the movement of goods and people across the Rio Grande and facilitating the creation of a North American Union (NAU), wherein our borders with Mexico and Canada would become as meaningless as our state lines are now. This is well documented in a variety of sources. One of the most comprehensive sources is Building a North American Community, the Council on Foreign Relations Task Force Report about how to create a North American Union, which explains the necessity of this transportation infrastructure for integrating Canada, Mexico, and the United States into a regional government.

High-priority highway corridors — collectively dubbed the “NAFTA Superhighway” by critics — are planned coast to coast and, in Texas, are already under construction. That’s unsettling. But the mischief doesn’t stop there. And this time, the road enjoys better than a king’s protection because it’s being implemented with the active participation and direction of a U.S. president — George W. Bush. But, precisely because President Bush is acting like a king in this matter, trying to impose his will without approval of the people or oversight by Congress, citizen-activists are assembling above and below Texas’ northern border, the legendary Red River, to oppose his plans.

On a lighter note

Amy on the Web has tagged me for the 8 things meme.

The rules are as follows:

• Each player creates a list of eight random personal facts/habits.
• At the end of your post, list eight people who you want to tag to also do this meme.
• People who are tagged will write their own list of eight personal facts/habits and, if they have a blog of their own, post these rules and their list.

Here are my 8 things:

  1. I drink a pot of Red Rose tea every day.
  2. I try to do at least one blatantly political act per day.
  3. I am part of a recording project that will bring 85 women from 10 different regions of North America together to record songs based on the Earth Charter.
  4.  My parents are divorced.
  5. My favourite book is Margaret Laurence’s, The Diviners.
  6. I love to plant, harvest and process fruits and vegetables, but hate the part in between — the weeding.
  7. I delivered two children into this world, without the use of epidurals.
  8. I live in a quiet, artsy neighbourhood.

I am tagging:

April Reign
Any one over at POGGE
The Wine and the Are
, if she can pull herself away from Daniel Craig long enough…

Censure sets back democracy & rights for Afghanistan’s People

Does anyone get the fact that by supporting the military action in Afghanistan they are now supporting the reversal of democratic rights and freedoms?

Human Rights Watch has responded to the censure of outspoken Parliamentarian, Malalai Joya:

Afghanistan: Reinstate MP Suspended for ‘Insult’

Censure of Malalai Joya Sets Back Democracy and Rights

(New York, May 23, 2007) – The Afghan parliament should immediately reinstate Malalai Joya, a member suspended for criticizing colleagues, and revise parliamentary procedures that restrict freedom of speech, Human Rights Watch said today.

On May 21, 2007, the Lower House of the Afghan parliament voted to suspend Joya for comments she made during a television interview the previous day. It is unclear whether Joya’s suspension will run until the current parliamentary session ends in several weeks or whether she will be suspended for the remainder of her term in office, which ends in 2009. In addition to her suspension from parliament, several legislators have said that Joya could be sued for contempt in a court of law.

“Malalai Joya is a staunch defender of human rights and a powerful voice for Afghan women, and she shouldn’t have been suspended from parliament,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Joya’s comments don’t warrant the punishment she received and they certainly don’t warrant court proceedings.”

Taxpayers Federation Dishonest Tactics

Over at The Wingnuterer I learned that the fellow who mouthpieces for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the elite organization that constantly attacks working people in Saskatchewan (and across the country), has been playing dirty political games online.  Giant Political Mouse broke the story yesterday and others are providing technical commentary, etc.  Today, GPM has posted a roundup of links about it.

We’ve always known the CTF to be nutbars shilling for business, but until now we didn’t know just how dishonest their tactics really were.

Idjit on Uranium

The Sask Party’s top idjit Leader, Brad Wall is even worse on the uranium issue than the NDP government. According to Wall, with a Sask Party government in Saskatchewan we’d be looking at giving our tax dollars to the likes of Areva, a very profitable multinational corporation, to build a uranium refinery and to promote value-added opportunities right here in Saskatchewan.

Never mind that uranium is one of the most deadly substances on the planet or that the ethical funds people won’t invest in uranium or that it would lock us more tightly into the military industrial complex or that it is our uranium that was depleted and used to kill other human beings and will continue to create health problems for people for generations to come…

From the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.

A Saskatchewan Party government would provide incentives to spur research into uranium refining and possible nuclear power production in the province, leader Brad Wall said Wednesday.

Wall told the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce that Saskatchewan should become a world leader not only in mining and exporting uranium, but also in refining and storing it and generating nuclear power.

“If elected, a Saskatchewan Party government will immediately take action to move Saskatchewan into a leadership position in uranium value-added opportunities,” he said.

“I think we need to give the uranium value-added cycle much more provincial attention, both in terms of public policy and provincial resources.”

Male Military Vets Committing Sexual Assault at Alarming Rates

This is US data, but it makes one wonder how Canadian veterans fare in this regard.  Surely we are better placed to prevent such horrific statistics, by simply being a less militaristic culture than our southern neighbours. Mind you, with Harper and Hillier at the helm, we may be doomed to echo the patterns of the USians.  From AlterNet: War on Iraq:

Why Male Military Veterans Are Committing Sexual Assault at Alarming Rates

By Lucinda Marshall, AlterNet. Posted May 25, 2007.

A recent DOJ report found that vets are twice as likely to be jailed for sexual assault than non-veterans.

A recent study by the Department of Justice found that military veterans are twice as likely to be incarcerated for sexual assault than nonveterans. When asked about the finding, Margaret E. Noonan, one of the authors of the study, told the Associated Press, “We couldn’t come to any definite conclusion as to why.” The intrinsic and systemic connection between militarism and violence against women, however, makes this finding far from surprising.

Sexual violence has been a de facto weapon of war since the beginning of the patriarchal age. Raping and assaulting women is seen as a way to attack the honor of the enemy, and women have always been the spoils of war. The result is that many types of violence against women are exacerbated by militarism, including the indirect effects on civilian populations both during hostilities and after the conflict ends and soldiers go home. These include:

  • Rape/sexual assault and harassment both within the military and perpetrated on civilian populations
  • Domestic violence
  • Prostitution, pornography and trafficking
  • Honor killing

Read the rest of the article

Tory MP defends Karzai?

What follows is an excerpt from the letter my MP, Dave Batters, sent in response to my concerns about the deaths of Canadians in Afghanistan. As you read, keep in mind that it was Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s Parliament that voted a woman, duly elected to serve in the Parliament, out of it.

We also recognize that important progress is being made in Afghanistan because of the sacrifices of those serving in the Canadian Forces. Under the Taliban, Afghanistan had no free elections, women had no rights, and most Afghan children were denied the opportunity of basic public education. Because of Canada’s important role:

* Over five million children have been enrolled in school, one-third of whom are girls
* Free and fair elections, backed by a national constitution, have allowed 10 million Afghans to have their voices heard and their interests represented
* A new Canadian-led project is enabling 1,500 women to develop home-based fruit and vegetable gardens to supplement family diets and generate income
* Medical attention is now accessible to 77% of the population, up from only 10% in 2001, and 7.2 million children vaccinated against polio
* 4000 houses and shelters have been constructed
* 63,000 soldiers have been disarmed and demobilised and 334,000 mines have been defused and removed.

I assure you that the work of our Armed Forces with NATO in Afghanistan has helped to enrich the lives of millions of Afghan citizens and safeguard Canada against the threat of terrorists. I would encourage you to consider what the world has gained from the sacrifice of these brave men and women in uniform.

When Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai visited Canada’s House of Commons on September 27, 2006, he thanked our country’s soldiers for their work and the sacrifices they have made. He stated: “If the greatness of a life is measured in deeds done for others, then Canada’s sons and daughters who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan stand among the greatest of their generation.”

Regarding a diplomatic solution, clearly this is always the preferred means of resolving conflict. However, the Taliban are extremists and murderers who show no regard for human rights and the rule of law. I have attached a list of atrocities recently committed by the Taliban to illustrate why a diplomatic solution is probably not feasible or achievable in dealing with this radical group.

Wars are never entered into easily and we take our commitment in Afghanistan very seriously. It is important that Canada leave the local population better off than when we began our operations and that we ensure that Afghanistan remains a responsible participant in the international community. Our Conservative government will continue to support our troops as they work for the advancement of human rights and security in Afghanistan and around the world.

Interesting spin, isn’t it? How an elected official of one country can condone the creation of a culture of fear in another country and call it advancing human rights is completely and utterly beyond me.