Connecting the dots

If we want to make real change, then we need to connect the dots between and among the isms. This essay by Sally Darity, though hard to take, makes a strong case for the importance of doing so.

Serial Torture Murders From Chihuahua to Edmonton, Guatemala to Alaska: Connecting the Genocidal Dots

Living in the United States forces dwellers to either face the horrors of what is being done to crush all humanity impeding profit or to participate in the myriad facets of complicity. The most privileged people on the planet perch on remnants of dreams reduced to the hideous nightmare of looming total global annihilation. Each must heed the call of conscience. The roots of war infect planetary society. Iraq is the acceleration of 500 hundred years of the blueprint of domination taking us to the final brink. What follows is the torture slaughter carried out by social petty tyrants confident in the disposability of their victims in a climate of spreading patriarchal fundamentalist genocide never known on such a massive scale. Such killers do the dirty work of those in power. It can and must be halted.

The torture murders of thousands of marginalized women, Indigenous peoples, homeless, immigrants, homosexuals and others on the increasingly populated fringes is but an indicater of what faces most of us. 6,000 serial murders occur annually in the U.S., leading the world in such killings. Predominantly done by white males, this phenomenon is spreading, especially in South Africa and the former Soviet Union. The American Death Squads are here and they are us. Racism, sexism, classism, elitism and violence are essential to colonialism. The institutionalization of military corporate agenda along with alienation, destruction of culture, families and community and the stark absence of trust sew up the success of war culture. Dwindling privilege still keeps too many far removed from the desperation creeping ever closer. Time is short.

We certainly won’t see the de-institutionalization of the military corporate agenda with the Harper in control. Darity’s piece goes very deep connecting the dots between the isms in her documentation of deaths in Iraq, Saskatoon, Alaska, Mexico, and beyond.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Climate Change is a women’s issue

Here’s the story. No need to reproduce it in full here, but just to pique your interest here’s a taste:

Climate Change Is a Women’s Issue

By Bojana Stoparic, Women’s eNews. Posted July 10, 2006.

Some women’s advocates are demanding that new climate policies address the different ways men and women will be affected by global warming.

If climate change predictions by researchers at the University of Toronto prove to be right, low-lying Bangladesh will suffer some of the worst effects of global warming. Already, about a fifth of the country is flooded annually. As temperatures and sea levels rise, flooding may increase up to 40 percent.

For Bangladeshi women, this is particularly bad news. In some past floods–such as in April 1991 following a Category 4 cyclone–the death rate for women was five times that of men.

[…]

Neither the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change–the first international treaty to address global warming, which entered into force in 1994–nor the Kyoto Protocol, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 through legally binding measures, mentions gender.

Read the full article

Thanks to Debra at Bread and Roses for the heads-up.

Round-up: Cheatin’ Tories?

Well, lookie here! The pristine PMSH and his reconstituted Conservative Party appear to have had difficulty understanding the laws of the land regarding the rules for campaign financing.

Robert at My Blahg highlights the CTV story

The Conservative party may have illegally accepted millions in unreported donations last year because it didn’t understand political financing laws

while over at Accidental Deliberations is the Canadian Press story, Tories may have taken in close to $2 million in illegal contributions, along with a list of the sections of the Canada Elections Act the Cons may well have violated.

Meanwhile, in the comments section at My Blahg is a link to another interesting tidbit regarding an Alleged Conservative Blogsphere Scheme which Bound by Gravity also blogged this past January.

Vues d’ici links to the Globe & Mail story, Tories may have broken political financing laws.
What I’ve found most interesting are the comments sections at the blogs.

At Accidental Deliberations I followed a commenter to his blog, Blue Blogging Soapbox where he quotes the CP story and says he is not about to take the word of ‘’ Elections Canada spokewoman Valerie Hache,‘’ apparently because only the Chief Electoral Officer and Election Commisioner [sic] are capable of clarifying this.

A couple of interesting comments over at My Blahg. Here’s #16

Last election we now have them on:

1. using undeclared money (see this thread)
2. publishing pamphets and distributing without identifying the source (see g@m toronto ridings during election)
3. running an undeclared “third-party” fake news outlet
(see National P online, Montreal G, Van Sun, and Me)
4. undeclared pre-writ spending used during the writ (how do you think the CPC paid for all their polling and targeted marketing used *during* the election)

and #19

consider this…

The CPC paid well over million for its phone polls to identify winnable ridings and close polling stations. They continued both the calls and used the reports right up to election day… where does this expense show up in delcared spending???

For those ridings selected for the polling service, the economic cost of detailed polling is around $80,000/riding and the information is used in that riding during the election…. but does the riding delcare the expense??? The calls per riding versus the assigned cost per riding is generally off by about 5 to 1… In some cases no cost is declared as the calling is pre-writ and the only the reports are used post-writ; but according to the canada elections act if you use something during the writ period – even if paid for pre-writ – you have to declare it as an expense.

and, of course, the PS to comment #24

P.S. Does this mean they also stole the last election?

Well, does it?

Update 11:40AM 29Jun06:

* Somena Media is having a good chuckle at the irony of it all and points to Dissonance And Disrespect and Canadian Cynic, who sums up D&D’s remarks.

* Liberal Catnip, once referred to by a right-winger as an Uber-lefty, ends her post with a series of questions that had me laughing: What shall we call this one? DonationGate? We’reJustSoConfusedGate? Don’tBlameUsWe’reToriesGate? Or how about ThereGoesOurMajorityGate?

* Greg at Sinister Thoughts comments on the tie-in with the upcoming Liberal convention.

* Eugene at Le Revue Gauche weighs in with a concise paragraph on the fiscally-challenged Harpercrites. (Heads up: longer than average load time, but worth the wait.)

Update 2:15 AM 30Jun06

* Rambling Socialist nails it — the party that came into power on accountability had no right to talk about accountability — with his pot/kettle post.

Update 11:15 AM 30Jun06

* Best and Better provides a short, annotated ConventionGate round-up.

Update 10:00 PM 30Jun06

* Blog Critics has an excellent essay suggesting that the Cons are proving they can be just as arrogant as any other party and have no conception of what the word accountable means.

It’s inequality, love

Wimbledon is underway this week.  And the women who will still win less than the men who win.

From The Guardian

Monday June 26, 2006
The Guardian


For Venus Williams, who is defending her women’s title again this year, it’s a travesty. She has been vociferous in her attacks on the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club over the issue: on the eve of the championship she is still smarting over the announcement made earlier this year that the winner of the men’s competition will get £655,000, while the winner of the women’s will net less – £625,000.

It was, she tells the Guardian, a disappointment. “For us it’s not about getting paid because all the players love what we do, and that’s playing tennis. For us it’s about equality, it’s about treating a human as a human, no matter what the sex is, and it’s about women all over the world. It’s a bigger picture than tennis . . . it’s about a premier women’s sport setting an example all around the world.” In the coming contest, she says, she and her fellow women players will “do our best to show we’re equal on all fronts”.

So, a woman’s victory is worth  £30,000 less than a man’s and that’s because

“We believe that what we do at the moment is actually fair to the men as well as to the women,” says club chairman Tim Phillips. He says that because men play five sets to the women’s three, the top men rarely play doubles and so earn less overall than women.

“It just doesn’t seem right to us that the lady players could play in three events and could take away significantly more than the men’s champion who battles away through these best-of-five matches.”

Oh, these old boys are just too, too much!

“It’s bullshit,” says Martina Navratilova, the nine-times Wimbledon champion who hasn’t grown mellow with the years. “How can anyone not feel strongly about this? Whenever there is inequality it doesn’t matter whether it is a penny or £100,000. It is about the principle – and the principle is wrong.

“We are willing to play five sets, but they won’t let us. Maybe the men should play three. After all, who wants to sit through a five-hour sporting event, unless it’s a Test match? It is quality, not quantity. Women’s rallies actually last longer so the ball is in play for longer . . . so maybe we should be paid more.

Thanks to brebis noire @ B&R for the lead.

Are R.E.A.L. women for real?

They’re ba-ack! And with a vengeance, it seems. They call themselves R.E.A.L. women but their goals are pretty unreal and quite frightening, as they always have been. Their ongoing attack on Status of Women Canada (SWC) sounds pretty much like their battlecry from the Mulroney years. And they’re specifically targetting the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC), the Women’s Legal Education & Action Fund (LEAF) and the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL).

NAC, NAWL and LEAF were part of the coalition of women and women’s organizations which worked to defeat Canada’s misogynist abortion law in the 80s. That they are pro-choice and continue their work, across the country, for the equality provisions afforded to women in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms must be why they’re under attack. Well, that, and the anti-choicers must believe they have a sympathetic ear in the Harper.
Here’s an update on the (un)R.E.A.L. Women’s current campaign:

REAL Women of Canada has obtained an additional Access to Information
request on feminist groups for 2004 - 2005 through Status of Women Canada. 

In their latest newsletter (May - June 2006), they've posted budgets to
organizations such as LEAF, NAWL, & NAC on their website as part of their
Letter Writing Campaign to MPs. 

Links to the specific articles in their online Newsletter:

Ongoing Discrimination of Status of Women:

Professional Feminists Face Changing Times:

For visitor's who don't wish to visit the REAL Women website, the text of
the letter to MPs from REAL Women is also available online at DAWN Ontario
et en français

In the 80s a Planned Parenthood worker suggested feminists call themselves FAKE women: Feminists, Ass-Kicking for Equality. It still has a certain ring to it…

Updated to add this link where a long-time R.E.A.L. women’s activist, Gwen Landolt, trashes the Supreme Court as a political toy.
Thanks to Barbara at DAWN Ontario for the lead.

While corporate revenues top seven billion she steals

While corporate revenues top seven billion she steals

a moment alone where music blares, cubes

tinkle glass, and balls clack on green tables.

She tries to find solace in her away from home

break, a quick trip to the mall

to the new Winners, looking for wooden blocks,

finding two sets: one letter-stamped with faded primaries

the other, factory-carved, bright, bold characters,

both stickered Made in China where, she knows, gears and buttons

churn out purchases, plastics, assorted other toxins, and

more of what she thinks she just might need…

And she never says stop. Enough. No more.

No more of the bore. No more more-more bore,

cuz she’s hooked on the rush of the buy,

the eightball in the corner pocket, the next fix —

convinced this is freedom of choice:

two sets of educational blocks.

An earlier version of this poem was published in In Medias Res, St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan, Fall 2004

One down, ??? to go

protest banner
Activists got busy in North Dakota this week, knocking a nuclear weapon offline with their hammering and spraypainting. Then they strung a banner proclaiming weapons of mass destruction – here. The protestors included a Roman Catholic priest and two war vets. From their statement:

We have chosen to start the process of transformation and disarmament by hammering on and pouring our blood on components of the Minuteman III nuclear missile system. We believe that the concrete that goes into making missile silos would be better used for building homes. We know that total disarmament of our first-strike system of nuclear weapons will require national repentance with a change in the hearts and minds of the people of the U.S. The pouring of our blood is meant to make visible the bloodshed resulting from the production, testing, and use of nuclear weapons. We believe the message in the Bible that after Cain killed his brother Abel that Abel's blood “cried out from the ground.” We hear our sisters' and brothers' blood crying out from the ground. We believe that God hears these cries and grieves deeply over every person whose blood is shed.

We call ourselves the “Weapon of Mass Destruction Here Plowshares” to highlight that our nation has thousands of horrific weapons of mass destruction. U.S. leaders speak about the dangers of other nations acquiring nuclear weapons, but they fail to act in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which commits the U.S. to take steps to disarm its weapons of mass destruction. We act in order to bring attention to people's responsibility for disarming weapons of state terrorism. We can begin the process of exposing U.S. weapons of mass destruction, naming them as abominations that cause desolation, and transforming them to objects that promote life.

I also found an interesting notice at the Coalition of Women for Peace site last night.

The First Feminist Activism Festival

23-24.6.06 in Park Hayarkon in Tel-Aviv

I remember Starhawk writing about her work in Israel and Palestine a few years ago.  It's good to see feminists connecting.  May they lead the way to a lasting peace.  I'll watch for a  report and post what I find.

PMSH wants to hear from you!!!

From the inbox (to which I'd add that a handwritten note, popped in an envelope, and addressed

Office of PMSH
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON
K1A 0A2
is also effective. But I suspect the Sierra Club wants numbers. So, take your pick. Or better yet, do both!):

Prime Minister Stephen Harper needs to hear from all Canadians to save Kyoto.

Our civilization is headed full steam ahead towards catastrophe, and we need to make it a top priority to turn that around. Calling the PM is one way of contributing to that turn-around.

What you can do:

1. Call the PM at 613-992-4211.

2. Ask to speak directly with PM Stephen Harper and if you can’t, leave a message.

3. Tell him: "Mr. Prime Minister, please commit Canada to meeting our Kyoto targets and agree to longer term deeper reductions because Kyoto is a first small step to slowing down the climate crisis."

Put (613) 992-4211 on speed dial and call more than once. Tell your family and friends to call. Get on speaker phone and call with your whole family before dinner.

Call to save the planet. Call to stop the climate crisis. Call to save generations.

Visit: www.sierraclub.ca for more information on the climate crisis.

Updated to add this comparison:

Harper set to announce $15B in military spending

Ottawa will announce $15 billion in new spending on the Canadian military next week, CBC News has learned. 

A report by SRC, the CBC's French language service, says the spending spree will be "Christmas in June for the Canadian Forces."

 Thanks again, Robert.

Action: Liberal Abortion Bill

I cannot believe that almost 20 years after Bertha Wilson and the Supreme Court decision, this is still going on!

The Liberal MP for Huron-Bruce, Paul Steckle, introduced the new abortion bill which would carry sentences on par with the average sentence for manslaughter, if the abortions are carried out after 20 weeks.

Now, some might think this is a good thing. But, according to Canadians For Choice, access to the medical procedure is unequal across the country. From their January 2006 Choice Update (PDF):

We have a baseline against which to measure whether a woman’s right to choose is being rolled back.

That baseline shows that eighteen years after the historic Morgentaler decision, Canadian women still face challenges with realizing choice, in particular with access to abortion services. A recent national study of access to abortion services at hospitals across Canada found that:

  • only 17.8 of all general hospitals in Canada perform abortions, with some jurisdictions, such as Prince Edward Island and Nunavut offering no hospital abortion services at al;
  • even hospitals providing abortions place obstacles in the way of women trying to obtain one, including restrictive gestational limits and long wait times (sometimes 2-3 weeks);
  • in many cases, hospital employees are not able to provide women with information about alternative resources;
  • physicians and hospital employees deny women access by refusing information and referrals, or by referring women to anti-choice angecies; and
  • many women have to travel significant distances to obtain abortion services, which is time consuming, expensive and conflicts with work and child care.

Contact Mr. Steckle and remind him of this. He can be reached in Ottawa

Email: Steckle.P@parl.gc.ca
Telephone: (613) 992-8234
Fax: (613) 995-6350
Land mail (postage free):
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

or at his Constituency Offices

30 Victoria St North,
Goderich, Ontario
N7A 2R6
Telephone: (519) 524-6938
Fax: (519) 524-9374

And remember to send a copy of your message to Jack Layton, Bill Graham, PMSH, Gilles Duceppe, and your MP.

Updated to add : Take a look at this! A Secret Anti-Choice Caucus!


Thanks to Robert at My Blahg for the lead, to Greg at Sinister Thoughts for firing up my passion, and to Trizia in the enMasse forum for the update!

Updated to adjust link. (Thanks again, Trizia!)

Updated to add this link to stories about anti-choice women who’ve had abortions. (Thanks Toedancer!)

Updated 29Jun06 to add a link to this most excellent post at The Galloping Beaver.