Sunday, 26 June 2011


Sorry for the sporadic posting. Things have been busy and I've had to shy away from blogging for a while. That and I've been reading The Dialectic of Sex by Shulamith Firestone. But, here I am with a few things in the news I'd like to talk about. There's going to be a common thread here, I think. That thread is that I can't believe that here in the year 2011 we have still only reached this level of advancement as a society.

New York has legalized gay marriage. That IS great news, no doubt about it. The state has become the sixth in all of the U.S. of A to do so. Sixth. They have what, forty maybe fifty states down there? Six? That's fucking it? I can't believe that being gay is still such a taboo. That governments, state governments down there and federal governments up here still believe they have the right to determine who can marry whom in terms of sexuality. And Canada can claim it's soooo progressive, but our nationwide gay marriage law only passed in 2005. Vic Toews is still reeling. Isn't it funny when privileged white dudes tell you that no one is oppressed anymore but them? Six fucking states. Unbelievable.

The Conservative (Harper) government hates unions. Waves of shock and surprise wash over the nation. Then everyone realizes that Herr Harper hates people having rights that he didn't give them. Surprise goes away. Film at never. Seriously though, Harper's brash style of "Get-the-fuck-out-of-my-way governing" is being too readily accepted by the vast majority of Canadians, even the ones that didn't vote Conservative. Listen to how smug he is:

"We know what side the public was on and I think today Members of Parliament on the other side finally start to get that message," Harper said Saturday night outside the Commons.

Baaaaaarf. You know what side the public was on? Nobody asked me. Nobody ever asks me. I'm never a part of the surveys or the opinion polls or any of that shit that tells me what I think and want. Now, I'm not saying that some unions these days aren't corrupt. But, we should all be standing firmly behind workers' rights. Unions were a hard fought-for right, one that needs to be straightened out certainly, but a right that is to this day necessary for the protection of the working class. At least the NDP stood up for those rights. I wasn't sure what they'd do after they stopped being Socialists. Boogy-boogy, scary socialism!

Here's something that I don't understand. When teaching schoolchildren to sing, why does the instructor have to touch them? Answer, he doesn't. This guy, Uwe Lieflander, would rather step down and stop teaching choir than do it without being able to touch his students as he pleases. So, obviously he's not teaching for the love of music. You don't have to touch a kid to make him/her sing better. There is no need for that. On my understanding of Royal Conservatory vocal training, contact is completely unnecessary. This guy just wants to touch kids. And what blows my mind is that some parents are in his corner!

"He's found ways to demonstrate with touch — which is really taboo, unfortunately — how to get these kids fired up," 
says Mrs. Cummings, whose son was in the choir. I don't know, but if I had kids, I wouldn't want anyone getting them "fired up" about anything through the power of touch. Hands off. If these are his methods and people are going to bat for him, then how are the children supposed to refuse him if he makes them feel uncomfortable, or worse inevitably tries something? I don't understand how anyone can see this as anything but a giant violation of the children's rights and safety. I fucking hate people. So much.

It goes on and on. Abortion rights being debated and taken away every day. Prostitution being fought for. Pornography becoming more protected as freedom of speech. The rights of women and children slip further and further away every day. Why? How? In this age of supposed enlightenment and freedom, why are so few enlightened and even fewer free? Why can't we fix this broken system? Why are white males still the top of the food chain when they're so obviously outnumbered? The planet has finally had enough of us, and we're going to be wiped out as a race unless things change drastically. Does anyone want this age of suffering and oppression to be our legacy?

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Oh Work, Yr So Crzy!!!1!

Work makes you crazy. Or something. That's what a recent study of the Canadian workforce tells us. Around 44% of Canadian workers face or have faced mental health issues which have impacted their work, their work environments and their livelihood. The study seems not to differentiate between stress and mental issues caused by the workplace and those that were preexisting before said employment. And that's what I want to talk about.

How many people have worked in an environment where they felt completely safe? Safe to be themselves? Safe to dress as they pleased, speak their mind on issues no matter their opinion or personal politics? Safe regardless of their sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion or any other factor that may differentiate them from the ruling class? If you're a white, heterosexual male, you probably answered yes. Actually, you probably answered something like: "Yo dawg, work sucks, but nobody gets on my ass about shit like that, nawmean? They just fuck with me when I'm late 'cuz I was at the club real late last night and I'm all hungover and shit. Fuckin' slave drivers."

For women, people of other races and religions and LGBTQI folks, the workplace is much scarier. At best, you're treated like a curiosity, especially if you're the only one of your particular group around. You'll probably be tokenized, asked questions about your group as if you're the spokesperson, be pandered to and talked down to. Your co-workers might try to "relate" to you. All of this is unwelcome and makes one feel like an outsider, an other. But, it can get much, much worse as I'm sure most of you can attest to.

Because even though discrimination in the workplace is technically illegal in Canada, well, not everybody gives two shits about that fact. And that's putting it mildly. Workplaces are rife with slurs, catcalls, derogatory names and jokes, unwanted physical contact, threats and violence. White, heterosexual males don't have to fear this stuff. They're usually the ones that're behind it, protecting their precious "freedom of speech" and being "caped crusaders in the war against the PC bullshit ruining this country" and whatever. Meanwhile workers of any marginalized group feel the inequality, knowing that their coworkers resent and hate them, chalking up the presence of minorities in the workforce to "quotas" and "affirmative action". And people aren't making the connection between oppressive environments like this and mental health issues? Really?

There's a bigger picture getting revealed here. Mental health issues in the workplace can be tied directly to rising rates of self-harm and the increase of hate crimes in Canada. There is a war going on here at home. And it goes on in homes and at workplaces and in public places and in private places. The war is against the oppressed groups, the people who already have it hard enough. Women, homosexuals, transgender folks, aboriginals, Afro-Canadians, Muslims, Jews, Indians and Hindus, and all other groups that aren't of the three pillars of the ruling class: White. Heterosexual. Males. These are your bosses, your supervisors, your rule-makes and rule-breakers. These are the people that hold your employment and livelihood in their hands nine times out of ten. These are the people that want you to laugh at their jokes, accept their workplace pornography and let their bigotry run amok. And if you oppose them? Well, look at the job market these days. They hold the power. But they need workers. Can we, as a workforce band together and demand better for everyone? Can we hold our brothers and sisters of all races, religions and identities high and demand the equality that would create not just safe workplaces, but safe communities, neighborhoods, towns and cities? Is this power in our hands? Not without organization and camaraderie within the ranks, no. But, if we can foster understanding with one another as members of the non-ruling class, and if those of us that fit the bill of the ruling class refuse to perpetuate the oppressive behavior, if we can stand up for the oppressed too, really stand up for them with no fucking ulterior motives, then maybe, just maybe change can come about. It's a longshot, but doing nothing will accomplish nothing. As long as we live in this society, we need to work. Our jobs shouldn't be the cause of so much misery and pain.

I stand behind any worker of an oppressed group who's ever taken a stand against a racist, sexist or otherwise bigoted employer. I stand behind any worker who actively tries to make a workplace more inclusive and friendly for all workers. I stand behind employers who implement and believe in their fairness and workplace protection polices, who actually protect their workers for the right reasons. I stand behind you, and wish there were more like you. It is you that should be the norm, and your example that should be followed. Thank you to all the brave employers and employees out there, working hard not just at their jobs, but at making their workplaces better. You are all truly heroes in this society. Thank you, really and from the bottom of my heart.  

Monday, 20 June 2011

Newz And Noteworthy

Welcome back class. I hope you all had a nice weekend. There's plenty to discuss, so let's get right down to it.

Okay, first and foremost, the Vancouver riots, which I touched on in my last post. Disgusting. Absolutely horrendous behavior. And I get a kick out of the 'anarchists' being blamed, again, just like they were for the G20 riots. What a load of horseshit. At least the citizens of Vancouver are banding together to clean up the streets and identify the rioters. That wouldn't happen in Ontario, land of the meh. What really burns my ass is stuff like this. This little snot, who's only apologizing because he got caught on film and wants to save his scholarship chances almost deserves an Academy Award for least-believable performance. I love how he's got Doctor Daddy in the background with him. Yup, I'm sure this privileged little puke is going to face biiiiig consequences at home:

Dr. Dad: "You can't shame our family's good name like that by rioting and getting caught! What will the lodge brothers think?"
Snot: "But Dad, I already apologized at that press conference you called for me...."
Dr. Dad: "Can it! That's not good enough! You can only drive the SUV for a whole week! Leave the Porsche in the garage!" 
Snot: "You're such a dictator! Jeez! All I did was try to blow up a police car, which could've injured or killed literally hundreds of nearby people!" 

I can't even begin to explain how much I hate fakers like this self-entitled douchebro and his crocodile tears. I'm not going to waste one more second on him, but I think my new assistant might have something to add, isn't that right?


Thank you Sagat, that'll do.

Secondly, the Ontario Supreme Court has not yet decided that Ontario prostitution laws will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future, but it seems that's where the ruling is going to go. If this is indeed the case, thank you. Honestly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. But I'm curious as to why the arbitration is being kept so hush-hush. I guess they're saving the coverage for when the final ruling is announced.

As of Friday, June 17th, 2011, First Nations peoples are covered under the Human Rights Act. It's about fucking time. Sheila Fraser and Paul Martin have known that the conditions that First Nations people live in are absurdly bad, coming close to third world. So, this is a step in a very positive direction. As is usually the case in these types of things, white people are worried who will foot the bill for any human rights claims that might come in from First Nations communities. Partial fail, ruling class, partial fail.

The NDP seems to be the new Liberal Party of Canada, quickly eschewing all values which drew many of their supporters to the party in the first place. What is wrong with socialism, exactly? Public schools and libraries? The healthcare system we throw in the face of other nations? We're not even talking about Marxist Socialism here, just the palatable form of socialism that even staunch nationalists love. No, it's because socialism is connected in the minds of most to Communism, and in most peoples' minds Communism = EVIL!!!! Bullshit. The NDP is pandering to the wishy-washy masses, trying to offend no one and keep their official opposition status at the expense of their beliefs, if indeed their beliefs were ever truly reflected in their platform. Canada needs a true leftist party represented in the Commons, now more so than ever. The NDP was supposed to be that party. More and more every day, however, it seems we've been cheated into a right-versus-central party situation yet again.

There's lots more that happened these past few days, but I can't go on and on forever here, and I'll need what to write about for the rest of the week, so I'll leave it at that for now. I know it was kind of a slapped together post, but it's Monday. And I'm sleepy. Forgive me and I'll shape up for the rest of the week. Promise.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Who I Hate #3...... And More....

Before I get into this edition of the always funny, always lazy Who I Hate series, I'd just like to say that the rioting in Vancouver over the loss of a fucking game is both disgusting and saddening. What's equally saddening is that it probably would've happened if the hometown team had won, too. I think it's also funny that so many folks are calling the rioters "not real Canucks fans", tying into what I said yesterday about this country's need to protect the sacred institution of hockey at all costs. What, it's so unfathomable that the rowdy violent men outside that idolize the rowdy violent men inside would react this way? Give me a fucking break. Any team that has a fan base that reacts in such a way after a loss or a win should have their funding cut immediately. That'll fucking teach the unruly masses. Probably.

And now, onto today's edition of Who I Hate.

Who do I hate?

Frank Miller

I'm a misogynist, racist douchebag! I write pretend stories! This is my poopy face!
Yup, Frank Miller. The jerk responsible for shite like Sin City, 300, and making Batman worse than anyone ever thought possible. He hates women, only ever writing them as prostitutes, rape victims, strippers or dead. He is a racist as well, coming up with a character I just learned about called Bruno, a henchwoman of the Joker. I won't link to any image of this character, suffice to say she is typical of Millers' portrayal of women in comics, but she's a Nazi, too. Absolutely disgusting. In an excerpt from his Wikipedia page:

"Some of Miller's works have been accused of lacking humanity, particularly in regard to the abundance of prostitutes portrayed in Sin City."
Ain't that an understatement. Miller is the worst in an already terrible industry, the comic book industry, churning out unregulated penciled pornography that anyone of any age can buy. People read this shit on the bus, no matter who's around and it's fucking disgusting. If comic books and the movies and shows based on them are going to be this misogynistic and porny, then they should have ratings and kids should have to be of a certain age to buy them. And, like actual porn, you shouldn't be able to read them in public, not that that's ever stopped dudes before. I'm embarrassed to say that as a youngster, I was quite the comic book fan. I wish someone would've stepped in and set me straight back then. I can see that the medium was never a good one in terms of portraying women and minorities, but the degree to which it's sunk surprises even me. Frank Miller, fuck you so very, very much.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Time For The Controversial 'Canadian' Post

I hate hockey. I really fucking do. I hate it so much. I hope the Stanley Cup never makes it back to Canadian soil. I hate the fact that I even know what the Stanley Cup is. I hate how much attention these spoiled-brat players get when there are important issues people should be caring about. I hate how much money they make when women's shelters are without beds and Planned Parenthood is defunded. And I hate how these murderous rapist-batterer asshole sports figures get away with murder and rape and battery. And I really hate that the majority of sports fans will defend their idols, blame the victims and generally act like a rape and battery apologia army. The ones who emulate the behavior of their heroes are the absolute worst.

I know it's a fact that domestic abuse rates rise during sports finals. And since I can't seem to get any real Canadian news since the hockey finals won't ever fucking finish, I thought I'd write about that. So, I went a-looking for information. Here's the first piece I found about it. If you want, I'll save you the trouble. It's a fairly minimizing piece that completely ignores the human aspect of abuse victims, merely focusing on what factors may make men beat their wives if their teams loses. But only if they weren't expecting their team to lose, apparently. Whatever. And while the article claims to be about hockey-related violence, the information is culled from a study on football. I know, tomato - tomahto, but still. I was looking for something that really illustrates how shitty our national passtime is for women.

The next piece I found was slightly better, but still leaves me wanting for some really radical analysis. The author still 'loves hockey', just wishes it wasn't so darn sexist and that ladies could be allowed to play professionally and oh, if you guys could stop that abuse stuff, that'd be grand. My question now seems to be, why are people so afraid to slam sports? I fucking hate sports, all professional sports. They're gross. But especially, ESPECIALLY hockey. It's such a brainwashing, nationalistic tool used to enslave the weak-minded, like Tim Hortons and whatever else we're "supposed" to be proud of as Canadians, I dunno... the fact that we love cold weather, even though everybody fucking complains about it?

The fact is that the information is made difficult to find, and I believe that's on purpose. Here's a study from fucking 2006 on football again, if you can wade through all the pages to find what you're looking for. It seems to be common knowledge that domestic abuse rates rise during sporting playoffs, but finding the actual numbers to prove that is nigh-impossible. This can't be a coincidence. I believe that there are deliberate cover-ups going on. Since the common knowledge can't be erased, the actual statistics are being hidden from the public. People know, but they're not allowed to know, to know in such a way that action can be taken. Men wouldn't want that, not their precious 'big games', their playoffs and finals and whatnot. All that can be found are vague connections to football losses equaling increases in domestic violence. Hockey, however seems to be protected at a degree much higher.

But, I remember this, even if the Canadian news sites don't. Every link I could find to this story was from an American source. What does that say to you, when a man kills his wife because she was asking him to come to bed during the hockey game, then burns their house down to cover it up and the Canadian media buries the fucking story? It says to me that our 'national passtime', our precious little game is worth more than a woman's life. Hockey is more important than human life in the eyes of our media. That is disgusting. Hockey is revered, granted an immunity in this country that nothing deserves. Hockey, it's fans and players and executives should be held accountable for every injustice, every incidence of rape and violence, every death that they've caused. The United States can keep the damn cup. I'll take social reform, if it's even fucking possible.

In closing, I hope the Vancouver Canucks choke. Figuratively and literally. I hope hockey can one day be an embarrassing memory in human history. And all you jerks in Vancouver with your painted faces and stupid jerseys? Get a life, read about what's really going on in this country. There's more to life than hockey, if you're interested. Turing off the game might just turn on your humanity, although I'm starting to wonder if hockey fans have any to begin with. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A Second Flush On Yesterdays' Shitty News

The debate over Ontario's prostitution laws began yesterday, and it's all I've really been able to think about. This province, this country is about to go to shit. If these new laws are passed, everything is over. Ontario, and quite possibly the whole of Canada will become the globes' newest sex-tourism hotspot. The new Las Vegas, the new Amsterdam. Women here will not be safe despite what the advocates for legalized prostitution will tell you. Women are not safe now, and their safety will be further compromised. Men will not treat prostitutes any better and as a result of these laws, men will treat women who are not prostitutes worse. Men will leave their families. Men will bankrupt themselves. Crime will skyrocket. Drug use and drug trafficking, human slavery and human trafficking will skyrocket. STD rates will skyrocket. Child abuse and kidnapping will skyrocket as attitudes become more perverse and a demand for the bodies of new women and new children fast becomes impossible to keep up with. There is nothing "liberal" about regulating human slavery. There is nothing "progressive" about keeping women and children firmly entrenched in their sex-class roles. There will come no good from decriminalizing prostitution unless the johns and pimps are cracked down upon. The men who buy and sell women need to be held responsible for the suffering they impose. Most women (99.9%, to be fucking SURE) do not choose to be prostitutes. More often this choice is made for them by the men in their life, through mind and soul crushing sexual abuse, rape, incest, forced poverty, forced drug addiction. This is not a victimless crime, as one dominatrix seems to want us all to believe.

Please Ontario government, don't do this. I'm begging you. Don't do this to the women of this province, of this country. Do the damn research. Stopping these new prostitution laws might be the only thing a Conservative majority ever does that I'll agree with. Harper, you can't be for this, not with your religious right backing. Do the right thing, even if you don't agree with why you're doing it. Save these women, don't doom them to continue this lifestyle of slavery.


Don't kill these women.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Did I Mention It's About To Get Bad? Because It's About To Get Bad.

Well, as of today Ontario's prostitution laws go back under review and I have little to no hope that things will be altered for the better, or even left as they are now. The proposed changes serve to decriminalize communicating for the purposes of prostitution, allow one to live off the avails of prostitution (while being taxed legally, of course) and legally run a brothel or bawdy house.

Any pause in my writing can be attributed to me running to the toilet and vomiting furiously.

There are a whole bunch of folks clamoring for the change in these laws, crying about how Canada has been a puritanical, prudish "Nanny State" for far too long. These folks will tell you that prostitution is the worlds' oldest profession, that it's not going anywhere anyways, that what happens between two consenting adults is their own business and blah blah blah. The same lines of repetitive rhetoric that get sloshed around in the early minutes of any defense of prostitution conversation. When pressed a little harder, these  people will tell you that these "new and progressive" laws will make things safer for prostituted women! Ah ha! So it's the safety of the women that we're worried about! Of course, how fucking stupid of me. I know, as most people do that prostituted women live a life of extraordinary danger. Rene Ross, the executive director of Stepping Stone in Halifax, a sex trade support and advocacy group knows that, too. Quoth Rene:

"Countless attempted murders, a few murders, rapes, forcible confinement — we need to come together and realize sex workers are people and are entitled to have some safety just like everybody else." 

A few murders? A FEW fucking murders, Rene? I guess there've been a few casualties of war since that started, too? Fuck you. But, the point is made. The life of a prostituted woman is in near-constant danger. A level of danger that surpasses the already unacceptable level of danger in most women's lives. Knowing that, one may come to the conclusion that being a prostitute is dangerous. So, to help with that danger, these new laws will get women off the street! Away from the dark alleys and cold street corners! Close to telephones and panic buttons so that the authorities, who are always on the side of these unfortunate women can be alerted if need be. That's how these laws will protect prostitutes, by getting them off the mean streets and indoors where they're safe.

But no one has ever been killed or beaten or raped by a street.

Prostitutes get beaten by cops. Prostitutes get killed by pimps. Prostitutes get raped by johns. Prostitution is abuse of women by men. To decriminalize prostitution would be to legalize this abuse. To say to the johns and the pimps and the traffickers "Come on and flock to Ontario! You need not fear here!" But the women would still need to fear. Legal prostitution would mean an increase in demand. Which would mean an increase in supply. Which would mean more trafficking, more kidnapping, more forced women. Women who lost regular jobs could be denied employment insurance due to the fact that there is viable, legal sex work for them to do. Men would become more brazen, more violent as their appetites turn towards ever more perverse acts and situations, just as they do with the pornography they use with intention of acting it out on the prostitutes they buy. Amsterdam is working to reverse the damage done by legalization. We're about to make the same mistake.

The Swedish model, adopted also by Iceland and Norway, criminalizes the johns, the buyers of women. With the men as the criminals, they are reluctant to purchase. This makes traffickers stay away and keeps women safer. If there is no demand, there need be no supply. The best way to keep prostitutes safe is to make men not want to rape them in the first place. And if the only way to do that is to threaten men with jail time and fines, then so be it. Women will truly be safe(er) when there is no more prostitution whatsoever. Until such time when men stop selling women to other men, we should be looking for the most effective ways to keep said women, indeed all women safe. Ontario's proposed law changes do not do that.

This has the potential to be one of the most frightening decisions made in the province of Ontario during my lifetime. And I feel as though this decision will be made to look like a women's rights issue. Like legalization will grant women some sort of freedom they've been clamoring for. Like so many little girls dream of growing up to be prostitutes and who are we to tell them no? This is bullshit of the highest grade. This decision is being made for men, by men and I feel I already know what the outcome will be. If these law changes pass it will be no exaggeration to say that Ontario hates women. I can only hope that not all provinces will follow suit. Canada can't even keep up with the level of human trafficking that's going on now. What would that future hold for us?

Friday, 10 June 2011

Same Old Story, All Over Again

TW for rape, sexual assault, victim-blaming and pedophilia

I might sound crass. I might sound unsympathetic. I might sound tired, or bored. I assure you I'm not, certainly not towards the victim. I just have to keep wondering how things like this are allowed to happen, over and over. The story plays like a broken record. A thirty-three year old man is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl. Louis McRae was a youth program coordinator at Joseph Brant Senior Public School in Toronto. He ran, or co-ran or whatever, the after school program. After school programs, as you may or may not know, are designed to keep youth out of trouble after school hours. As a result, predators flock to them. Especially predators with sexual assault records. And, true to form, in 2008-2009 McRae was charged with sexual exploitation and two counts of assault. Most likely involving a minor or someone significantly younger than himself, but details are unavailable.

Since Louis signed a peace bond, the case was closed. And since the case was closed, I guess that makes it all well and good for him to be hired on at a school and help run an after school program where he'd have access to vulnerable children. He found one, befriended her and built a relationship of trust, which he then violated without hesitation. Two counts of sexual interference and one count of invitation to sexual touching. Do these charges sound vague? Let me clear them up. Section 151 of the Canadian Criminal Code defines Sexual Interference: "If you are under 16 years old, it is a criminal offence for someone to touch your body for a sexual purpose with a part of their body or any object, directly or indirectly." From this definition, we know that the victim is a minor, and we know that McRae touched her. For sexual purpose. Already he should be fucking shot. 

Section 152 of the Canadian Criminal Code defines Invitation To Sexual Touching:
"If you are under 16 years old, it is a criminal offence for someone to invite, counsel or incite you to touch, directly or indirectly, their body, the body of someone else or your own body, for a sexual purpose (with a part of your body or any object)." This one is self-explanatory, I think, especially in conjunction with the previous charge. 

So, this pervert with a history of sexual assault and exploitation is allowed to get a school job with apparent unfettered access to youth and what does he do? No doy, he abuses them. Why the fucking FUCK do school boards let anyone with a criminal record near children, whether the case was closed or not? It defies logic! He was not proven innocent, he signed a fucking PEACE BOND! That's a goddamn get out of jail free card! What the fuck?!!? 

But of course, it gets worse, because we'd hate to assume this manly man is guilty, even if he does have a history of sexual abuse. Quote David LaRochelle, full-time school principal/douchebag and part-time rape apologist:

"While it is important to remember that laying criminal charges does not constitute guilt, and that a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, we also cannot and do not take these allegations lightly," 
No, he absolutely does fucking not take these allegations lightly, which is more then can be said of the allegations of three years ago, which McRae bought exemption from. Apparently those allegations get you a job at a school. But, of course, it's important to remember that criminal charges do not equal guilt. Unless you're not a white male, 'cuz then well, fuck you, I guess.

And here, another of my favorites, the anonymous neighbor quote:

"My kids always talk to him. He's very good. Always helping at playground, homework."

This from a "concerned parent" in the neighborhood, who is "surprised" by the allegations. You always fucking hear this. No matter what the crime, what the circumstances. People always say "He was a good neighbor, a stand-up guy, give you the shirt off his back, I never suspected a thing." This is what is allows things like this to keep happening. I'm not saying we have to suspect everyone, but why are people always so fucking surprised? Like they couldn't have possibly been living next door to a predator, he didn't even put up his neon pervert sign! The "Not My Nigel" attitude extends from ones' immediate relations to their neighbors and acquaintances in situations like this without fucking fail. "Jerry always took out the trash on Wednesdays! He just couldn't be a rapist!" I fucking hate that shit. No one says "Shirley was only thirteen years old and trusted this adult, she just couldn't be lying!" No, women and girls are always branded as having some ulterior motive when reporting sexual assault or rape and this has to stop. No woman or girl has ever "gotten rich or famous" from accusing a goddamn high school program coordinator of rape. She was abused. She wants justice for herself, and probably wants to put this guy away so he can't hurt anyone else. That takes extraordinary bravery, especially when living in a rape culture, where victims are all too often shamed to silence. The stupid reverberations of "Well I thought he was a good guy..." only serve to silence the victims' testimony and undermine her claims, as well as make her feel further victimized and isolated from the community that should fucking be rallying around her.

These things DO happen, and they DO happen all the time, and they DO happen in your neighborhood, and they DO happen under your nose but they DO NOT happen in a fucking vacuum. These monsters get away with these acts because people think that they would've known. That their neighbors couldn't have possibly eluded their sixth sense, their Holmes-esque intuition. This isn't a fucking game of Clue, people. This is the life of a young girl, of every young girl. Victim-blaming goes hand in hand with the "good neighbor" defense. It is in the interest of the children that we examine closely why these things keep happening and what will happen when we finally run out of "good neighbors" to believe.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Why Are Hate Crimes And Women Mutually Exclusive?

So, reported hate crimes in Canada are up 42% from 2009. Which, of course, means that unreported hate crimes must also be up a gazillionfold. The breakdown is that 54% of these crimes were motivated by race or ethnicity, 29% by religion and 13% by sexual orientation. Of that 29% of religion-based hate crimes, seven out of ten were directed at people of the Jewish faith. Muslims also saw an increase of hate crimes directed towards them, and to show that it happens to Catholics too, they saw hate crimes go up against them by three. That's three incidences since 2009. I'm not saying that the Catholics deserved whatever happened to them, but somehow I get the feeling that a hate crime directed towards a Jew or Muslim is carried out differently than one being directed at a Catholic.

Four in ten hate crimes consist, either in whole or in part of violent assault. This is particularly true in offenses against people based on sexual orientation. Police hate crimes are up, especially against Arabs and West Asians. The cities with the highest increases of hate crimes, committed by police or otherwise, are Ottawa (our nations' capital) with a rise of 83 crimes since last survey, followed by Toronto at 79, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo at 62 and Montreal at 61. The top three cities are in Ontario, a province that boasts a supposedly "Liberal" population and mindset.

So, bad news all around, but there seems to be something missing here. We've got reports on hate crimes against every oppressed group... except women. Aren't women discriminated against, hated, beaten, raped, killed, kidnapped and rendered homeless and jobless all the time, simply because they're women? Does that not constitute a hate crime?

Let's look at what a hate crime is. Stats Canada gives this explanation, in regards to the article I'm citing from.

Police-reported hate crimes refer to criminal incidents that, upon investigation by police, are determined to have been motivated by hate towards an identifiable group. The incident may target race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, language, sex, age, mental or physical disability, or other factors such as profession or political beliefs.
Police-reported hate crime data have been collected on an annual basis since 2006 and cover 87 per cent of the population of Canada. This … article focuses on 2009 data, the most up-to-date information available on the extent and nature of police-reported hate crime in Canada.
The number of hate crimes presented in this release likely undercounts the true extent of hate crime in Canada, as not all crimes are reported to police. Self-reported victimization data from Canadians suggests that about one-third (34 per cent) of incidents perceived by respondents to have been motivated by hate were subsequently reported to police.
— Statistics Canada
Interesting. They clearly state sex in their description of hate crime. However, not a single statistic about crimes against women was provided for the article. Not even the barest mention of crimes against women, in fact. The part of the definition which lists groups likely to be the victims of hate crimes mirrors the passage in section 718.2 of the Canadian Criminal Code, which describes sentencing principles. So, if this is true, why is rape not considered a hate crime? Why is battery not considered a hate crime? What about wage disparity? Sexual harassment in the workplace, why is that not considered a hate crime, especially since the Canadian Labour Code prohibits it?

The answer is, of course, because since men make the laws, men also choose how said laws are enforced. If women were to truly be treated as a class worthy of protection, men lose their precious power over their "chattel". Pornography would have to be abolished, as it is a hate crime. Forcing women into sexual slavery would be abolished as it is a hate crime. Forced pregnancies and denied access to abortions would be abolished as they are hate crimes. Wage disparities and workplace sexual harassment would be abolished as they are hate crimes. Street harassment, cat-calling, eve-teasing and yes, RAPE would all have to be abolished because they are hate crimes.

White males hate to be told what they can and can't do to oppressed groups. That's why they hate that "P.C. bullshit" and they hate affirmative action and they hate feminism. They hate when the savages begin to think for themselves. But to deny women to even be recognized as a hated group, a group which by and large suffers more and is targeted more by what are undeniably hate crimes than any, than all other groups put together, is the supreme travesty. Women need that voice, that recognition. They need the law to say to men for them "No, you cannot treat us this way simply because we are women and you are men. It is wrong and we are protected from you and your violence. We are protected from your sexual aggression. We are protected from financial dependence on you. We are not objects for you to use and abuse as you please. There are laws that will be upheld."

The police are some of the most heinous perpetrators of hate crimes against women. The police rape. The police beat. The police bully women. The police blame victims. The police are supposed to uphold the laws that protect oppressed groups, which in this country, I am told, includes women. I have stated my opinion on police before, and I everything I said then rings true now. The police need an overhaul if they are to be taken seriously as protectors of the populace, seeing as the populace includes women and people of colour and people of other religions and LGBT people and people who belong to all other oppressed groups. Canada always touts itself as a place of diversity and tolerance, yet more and more every day the proof is in the shitty pudding we're forced to eat. Hate crime law needs to be enforced and the police that are supposed to be enforcing it need to monitored more strictly. I hope that this change can be brought about in my lifetime.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

You Had Me Fooled, Anthony

Well, it's official. United States Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner has admitted to sending lewd photos and text messages to any number of young women. Women who are too young for him. College age women. While he's married. His wife is an aide for Hillary "Kick-Ass" Clinton, by the way. 

I'm saddened by the admission, but not terribly surprised. It's just that I had expected better of congressman Weiner. He had always struck me as an ally, a staunch defender of the rights of women, LGBT people and other minorities. He seemed to be something of a pro-feminist congressman, a rarity to be sure. I had in the past hoped that someone the like of him would emerge in our own government. His witty, brash and unapologetic style of debate, coupled with a seemingly unending belief in human fucking rights made him a favorite of mine, one of the few U.S. congresspeople I knew on sight, by name. He was a defender of abortion, of womens' right to choose. He rallied against obscene 'art' placed on view in public places. Every cause he took up seemed to resonate within me as a cause that I was behind here, in my own hometown.

But, this revelation has cast doubt on all of it. How can Weiner be an ally after this? He has painted himself an adulterer, perhaps a closet porn addict as these things never happen in a vacuum. He's also painted himself a hypocrite, which may be the most damaging thing of all, as it takes weight away from all the arguments over important issues he's ever waged. How can one claim to be a champion of womens' rights if one doesn't even respect ones' wife? Or the boundaries pertaining to those young women he was communicating with that should not have been crossed? How can anything he said be trusted now?

Anthony Weiner now appears to me at least to be if any kind of feminist, a fun-fem. Had this story not broken, we may have well seen him marching in a Slutwalk in his town. I don't know if he was ever a feminist, if he ever really believed in what he was fighting for or if the platform he took and the issues he chose to stand for were just footholds he used to facilitate these illicit and perverse relationships with young women. Yeah, I'm saying it. Maybe he was just one of those dudes who says he's a feminist and gives a shit about womens' issues to get laid. Maybe. I don't know. But I DO know that he's let a lot of people down. I do know that a lot of people looked to him for hope and change, and now they've received more of the same disappointment that they get from others.

I feel sorry for his wife. I feel sorry for the young women he was corresponding with, as their privacy will be taken from them by the United States media in their pursuit of the story. I feel sorry for all those who championed and put their trust in Anthony Weiner for a better tomorrow.

Well, there's still Hillary, right?

Monday, 6 June 2011

If You Say Freedom Of Speech One More Time...

Funny thing, this "Freedom of Speech" has become for us in the western world. It's a powerful statement, mostly baseless, meaning nothing to all, only something to those that utter or shout it from the rooftops, individual as a pretty lil' snowflake to each and every person that invokes its' sacred rights and protection.

Freedom of speech is the domain of white, heterosexual, God-fearing men for the most part, although at times it is loaned to white, heterosexual, God-fearing women that conform to the patriarchy(Kathy Shaidle, I'm looking at you); to white, homosexual males that conform to the patriarchy (Dan Savage, I'm looking at you); to white, heterosexual women who pretend to be homosexual for the approval of the patriarchy. But, it can just as easily be taken away from these people. Freedom of speech belongs to the free. If you are a member of an oppressed group, you are not free, therefore you do not have freedom of speech. Moreover, if you take offense to the freedom of speech expressed by a member of the ruling class, you are an enemy of free speech, a bigot of sorts, an OPPRESSOR. And it is within the freedom of speech of the ruling class to point this out to you.

Case in point (as if I need to cite a specific example for you) the case of one Jack Christie of Whitby, Ontario. Christie was suspended from his high school for creating and uploading to YouTube a series of racist and misogynistic cartoons. His punishment? A twenty day suspension from school, not including his final exams or his senior prom. A mere slap on the wrist. But, to this "caped crusader", even this laughable attempt at punishment is an attack of his right to freedom of speech. Even though in his videos he jokes about racial genocide and invading Sweden to take (and presumably rape) their women. But, hey, it's just a joke, right?

Pornography is freedom of speech. Snuff films are freedom of speech. Upskirting is freedom of speech. The racist/sexist stand up comedian is protected. The perverted cartoonist/comic book artist is protected. The political candidate who wishes to abolish abortion is protected as are the pundits who continuously berate the Human Rights Commission and "climate of political correctness" that we're all forced to live in.

If you are not of the ruling class, you do not have freedom of speech. If you do not have freedom of speech, you do not have a voice in the public arena. If you do not have a voice in the public arena you are silenced in the private arena. If you are silenced in the private arena, then you have no voice at all. And if you have no voice at all, you are not even considered to be human, and therefore unworthy of even the basic human rights. Rights like freedom of speech and protection from verbal and physical attacks made on you by the ruling class due to your status as an oppressed person.

The porn victim has no voice.

The prostitute has no voice.

The feminist has no voice, but fights for one every single day.

The native American/Canadian has no voice.

The people with skin that is not white have no voices, save for the ones given to them by their rulers.

But the most important thing in the western world is that freedom of speech is defended. Because without it, why then we'd all be oppressed. We'd all be mindless drones. We'd all be slaves. Because thanks to freedom of speech, only some of us are oppressed. Only some of us are mindless drones. Only some of us are slaves. Thanks to freedom of speech, as a member of the ruling class, you can say whatever the ruling class wants to hear, wherever, whenever and fuck those that aren't of the ruling class if they happen to be in earshot. You want to know what freedom of speech really is in Canada?

In Canada, you can berate a same sex couple for taking offense to your jokes at their expense. In Canada you can make racist cartoons for fun with no punishment. And in Canada I can get my ass kicked in any sports bar for daring to say that I hate hockey and I hope the Stanley Cup never returns to Canadian soil. And in Canada I can get told to shut up when I say abortions should be legal or that Planned Parenthood needs the funding that was stolen from it. And in Canada there's pornography everywhere and if I don't like it, that's my fucking problem, because apparently men need it and that's a right, too. And in Canada, the pundits for Sun Media get multiple platforms across multiple media to spew their opinions but I have to settle for screaming into the void here, because they don't want to hear what I have to say. That's my freedom of speech. For now.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Taking A Page Out Of The Commons (Get It?) A.K.A. REVOLUTION!

Oh geez, oh Maude, how pissed was I that I couldn't be home yesterday to be the first to blog about this? Viva la revolution! Now this is what I'm talking about! The amount of planning and bravery of this protest is, as far as I know, on an unprecedented scale in Canada. Right there in the House of Commons! Sneaking a "Stop Harper" sign onto the floor! Disrupting the throne speech! Having a news release already prepared for distribution upon your almost certain impending removal from the House! Like WOW, man! This kid is a hero. You wanna see cool? Well, this is cool. Check this out if you haven't already seen it and couldn't be bothered to click on the link I so thoughtfully provided for you.

That takes guts. This (former) parliamentary page, Brigette DePape, is calling for a 'Canadian Spring', a series of movements of civil disobedience by the Canadian populace to rise up against our government and demand the changes we so obviously need. This kid realizes that Herr Harper's agenda is bad fucking news, and has the chutzpa to DO something about it. Well, I'm all for this. I hope she gets the wealth of support she deserves. The youth of this country do need to stand up and be heard. The Conservatives only got their majority due to the backwater ridings containing few voters that are die-hard bible-thumping conservatives out in the middle of the boonies. This government is NOT the one chosen by and large by Canadians. There are more small Conservative ridings with less people in them than can be countered by large left wing ridings that have triple the populace! The system is broken, and it takes brave individuals like DePape to get the ball rolling to fix it.

I get a kick out of dudes who are all distraught over this, saying crap about how this is a travesty. "This is an outrage. You should be ashamed of yourself." says one passerby, offering his dudely opinion during an interview with DePape, of which he was no part of. These are the same dudes, mind you, who are all "Freedom of speech!!!" when anyone gets close to their pornography, or their strip clubs or cracking down on Johns or saying that, you know, women should be conscious to provide consent throughout sexual activity and whatnot. And these dudes say this shit without a hint of irony. I just don't get it. Where are your fucking priorities, people? What the fuck is wrong with you? This is your country too! Do all you dudes out there hate women that much that all you care about is humiliating, raping, beating and killing them for your gratification at the expense of everything else? Are your sick porno fantasies so dear to you that you'll fight tooth and nail for them, but not for an egalitarian society where everything will be better for everyone?

Fact is, this kid is fighting for that egalitarian society, for AND in spite of dudes that would see her abused and dead. That's REAL bravery, just as much as it took to stand there and wage her protest in the House. This kid is a hero, not just for what she did, but for what she has to believe in to do it. She believes that we deserve better, that we can do better, if we all band together and demand a government that will put us as a populace ahead of their own selfish interests. That womens' rights and environmental care will take us into the future over financing weapons of war and big business. Can we afford to let her message go unheard and unregarded? Can we as a society afford NOT to wake up and start seeing our similarities instead of our differences? Can men stop killing women in the name of their sick sexual gratification so we can get some fucking work done and save this country we're in? This kid thinks so. Do YOU want to let a young activist down? I don't.

Friday, 3 June 2011

A Few Thoughts And Articles

Well, there's no one topic I'm going to address today, and in light of the weight of recent posts, I think I'll hit a lighter vein, just for this post. More hard-hitting Nimbostratus-style journalism to come, worry not.

First of all, wanna see something cool?

Yup, that lobster is blue.
You can read the whole story about this neat-o blue lobster here.

TW for homophobia

Next up, I have a story that has ended seemingly well, but illustrates the amount of hetero-normative privilege that still exists in all levels of society.  Alvaro Orozco, who is now 25, left his home in Nicaragua at age 12 due to the fact that homosexuality was outlawed. In fact, the country only legalized homosexuality in 2008, roughly four years after Orozco fled. Fled the oppressive country that denied him the right to publicly express his sexuality. Fled the shaming and violence his community would have most certainly wrought upon him had he made his sexuality public. Fled the beatings and death threats his own father inflicted on him, while still just a child. His story is not unique, not, I'm sure, in Nicaragua, not here in Canada, where we are supposedly more tolerant, more accepting of those who are not "hetero-normative" as if that should even be a description of a human being.

To get back to the story, Orozco left his home with only a grade school education, hitchhiked across Central America and then entered the United States by swimming across the Rio Grande. Upon entering the United States, he was quickly arrested and detained, released only upon promising to return to Nicaragua. The United States, land of the free, home of the brave would not grant this brave young person his freedom, they would only send him back to his doom.

Orozco would not return. He found asylum in a church, then fled to Canada to apply for refugee status in 2005. His claim was denied however, due to the fact that his sexuality was called into question as he never pursued any homosexual relationships while in the United States. That's right, I mean, even though you're being detained and forced back to the country that would most certainly see you dead just for being you, shouldn't you at least have time to head down to the local gay bar and gay it up so that we can see you're truly gay? I mean if you want to stay up here in the "True North Strong and Free", you'd had better show us that you really need to be here. Isn't that what being a refugee is all about? Once again, it seems that this strong young person, who faced overwhelming odds to get here, would be denied his freedom.

Supporters for Orozco rallied on his behalf as he stayed illegally in Canada, hoping and begging for his freedom. He was finally granted it. Citizenship and Immigration Canada bestowed unto him his permanent resident status on "humanitarian" grounds. Now, this is great news for Orozco, who may now stay in Canada and pursue his dreams. He says he will go to high school, then university to pursue his dreams of architecture. I wish him well. But the length of time apparently required to make this decision and the grounds on which the delay were based are utterly ludicrous. Orozco fled Nicaragua's oppressive homophobic atmosphere, to come to Canada and be greeted with a more "civilized" version of that same homophobia. Asking a refugee, a person on the run, a person under the threat of being returned to a place that would see him dead for his sexuality to prove that very sexuality to save his life is unacceptable. If we are to be as tolerant as we claim to be up here in Canada, this kind of garbage must be stopped. Which is not to say that false refugee claims are never made, but how can one be expected to prove their sexuality while on the lamb? One's mind is on escaping capture and deportment, not on finding ones' soul mate! Amidst the triumph of one individual, the whole system should learn a lesson so that the lives of all LGBT peoples can be improved. The Conservative government should take notes... as if.

And finally, the government is back to work, with the Throne Speech today and the election of a new Speaker yesterday. So, our whitebread Conservative Governor General can say his little speech and our brand-new white male Conservative Speaker of the House can take his seat for the first time. Hoorah. The deck is stacked completely in Herr Harpers' favor now. I can't be the only one that sees this. As a matter of fact, I know I'm not the only one that see this. I'm bracing myself for what this new term will deliver upon the populace. Since I'm not a rich Albertan oil baron, I'm not expecting much personally, but I'm even more frightened at what's in store for the non-white, non-male, non hetero portions of the populace. Let's all hope for the best.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Tragedy In California

TW for kidnapping, rape, pedophilia, forced pregnancy

You'd probably think this has something to do with Arnold Schwarzenegger or the fact that Los Angeles is the porn capital of the universe. And you'd be right, in a way. Because those are definitely reasons I don't want to go to California, but what I was referring to specifically was this.

So, we've got a couple here, husband and wife. The husband, Phillip Garrido, sixty years old is a convicted sex offender, which usually translates to pedophile. He was convicted of a kidnapping and rape in 1976, and for whatever reason was let out on parole, to back to a life and his wife, who apparently forgave him. Garridos' own blog entries paint him as a lunatic. Possibly due to his abuse of LSD, Garrido believed he could "manipulate sound waves with his mind" and that “the Creator has given me the ability to speak in the tongue of angels in order to provide a wake-up call that will in time include the salvation of the entire world”.

Okay, sure, fuck-o. But, these wacky claims aren't the problem. The problem is that Garrido was (is) still a rapist and a pedophile, and that this time, it goes so much deeper than any crime he committed before. Using his wife, Nancy, as the kidnapper he had her abduct then eleven year old Jaycee Dugard from a bus stop on her way to school in South Lake Tahoe. She was taken to Antioch, 270 miles away, where the couple lived in what may be Garrido's mothers' house, where she was kept and raped repeatedly for eighteen years. She bore two children to Phillip Garrido, both delivered by Nancy in the privacy of the house, while being forced to live in tents in the backyard. As the children grew, Garrido enlisted them in helping to pass out pamphlets, spreading the word of his drug induced "talks with God". He told people they were his neices.

A Berkley security guard didn't buy it. She phoned Garrido's parole officer and asked that the situation be looked into.When Garrido reported to a parole meeting he took his wife as well as Jaycee, under the alias "Allissa" and their children. During the meeting "Alissa's" true identity was revealed and Garrido and his wife were taken into custody.

Jaycee was reunited with her parents. Phillip and Nancy were put on trial for everything they'd done to Jaycee, including videotaping the rapes, and eventually plead guilty. He faces 431 years to life and she 36 years to life. Both have waived their right to appeal. Jaycee has reported feeling guilty about developing a sort of Stockholm syndrome and bonding with Phillip Garrido. She will need extensive counseling and since the state of California paid her a twenty-million dollar settlement acknowledging the mistakes that were made by previous parole officers that were supposed to be monitoring Garrido, at least that may be covered.

But the wounds that this woman has suffered may never truly heal. And the time she's lost can never be returned. Her childhood, as well as the childhoods of her children are lost forever. All because of another deranged product of the porn/rape culture. The role of pornography is never mentioned in any of this, although remarks were made that pornography was found at the Garridos' home and at the site of the 1976 rape. While Phillips' drug abuse may have been a factor in this case, I highly doubt that it is the sole factor, in fact, it's probably a minor one. The major factor is, of course, our society that shows women and girls are there for the taking. Phillip Garrido took. The only surprise I see is the guilty plea. But, even so, Garrido paints himself a tragic, misunderstood figure, saying "In the end, this is going to be a powerful, heartwarming story":

My life has been straightened out. [...] Wait till you hear the story of what took place at this house. You're going to be absolutely impressed. It’s a disgusting thing that took place with me at the beginning, but I turned my life completely around.

This is what the rape culture gets you. There's no doubt in my mind that Garrido is insane. But, he's also a product of this, our culture. Until the message that men can do as they please to women and children is eradicated,  tragedies like this will continue. Victims will get younger. Rapes will be more brutal. Kidnapped victims may never be returned to their families. This makes me sick and the world needs to stop ignoring what the problem really is. Phillip Garrido is an absolute monster-beast and deserves no sympathy. He was let off once, and look what he did. I sincerely hope the same mistake is not made twice.